The History of Leadership Metro Richmond
Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) started as a program under the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce in 1980. The city climate at the time was tense, as most leaders had not gone to integrated schools. The intent behind creating a leadership program of this nature was to improve relations between communities – specifically North and South of Broad Street.
LMR fit into the pattern for everything the chamber was trying to do at the time: economic development, embracing regional collaboration, and engaging citizens and elected officials outside of the business community. From the beginning, the program was particularly successful in two areas. First, it gave people an opportunity to significantly broaden their view of the region, introducing them to people, places and institutions that they had not known. Second, it provided an opportunity to discuss issues and confront prejudices in a safe environment. Priorities for the program were diversity (representing the whole community), teaching (building skill sets for more capable leadership) and connecting (fostering networking and discussion).
At its inception, LMR gathered leaders from Richmond, Chesterfield, and Henrico, but over time it has grown to include all the localities of the metro Richmond region bringing in Charles City, Goochland, Hanover, Powhatan and New Kent. The first graduating class in 1981 was comprised of 47 community leaders selected from 100 applicants, and today the organization boasts over 2,000 alumni with 75% of those individuals continuing to reside in the Richmond region.
Without initial funding from The Metropolitan Foundation (today known as the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond), LMR would not have been possible.
The idea for a leadership program is brought to Richmond
LMR Alumni Association formed
First use of traditional sponsors
Team building retreat is added
LMR & Alumni Association unite
First full-time staff is hired
First class to select a Servant Leader Award recipient
LMR website goes live
Hiring of education consultant to manage flagship program
Off the Cuff and Convening Leaders programs created for alumni engagement
First Board Connector held in partnership with Community Foundation for greater Richmond
Launch of LMR Magazine
The first class is selected
Change from focus on emerging leaders to inclusion of existing leaders
LMR Annual Fund established
Community Action Projects are initiated
First year of Ukrop Community Vision Award
Endowment fund initiated out of $1M challenge grant
LMR is established as a standalone 501c3
Seminar day issues are chosen by the current class
Community action projects are replaced by the Immersion Experience
Inaugural Lora M. Robins Speaker Series in partnership with Robins Foundation
Last print directory published – Alumni directory now exclusively available online
Board Concierge Service established