True Leadership is Servant Leadership: Cory’s Give Back

As our focus on leadership this month comes to a close, it is only fitting for us to highlight someone in our Passion + Productivity = Give Back feature whose passion is focused on developing leaders of all ages.

Cory Wilbanks, Director of Leadership Development at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, facilitates four yearlong leadership classes for members of the community. Her focus is on growing potential leaders as well as nurturing the skills of well-established leaders. She does this not only through the leadership programs, but also through her own personal volunteer efforts and supporting the volunteer efforts of others.

When asked her passion, Cory says, “My passion is people. I love working with the participants in the four leadership classes the Chamber offers. The two youth programs give me the opportunity to get to know and work with students in our county. It is exciting to see all of the potential the students have and the opportunities before them. The adult programs give me the opportunity to get to know some of our up and coming community leaders and some well-established leaders as well. In addition to working with the leadership classes, I also get to work with our Commodores. The Commodore program is a group of volunteers that serve the Chamber and the Community. The best part of my job is that I get to meet and know all of the volunteers and participants with the leadership classes and Commodores. They are phenomenal people.”

Cory gives credit for the success and growth of the leadership programs to the dedicated volunteers. She says, “The Chamber has been able to add an additional leadership class during the last couple of years. We have great volunteers that work with our leadership programs. These programs wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers.”

Seeing that leadership is grounded in volunteerism, Cory spends time each week helping students at Hartselle High School determine their career and college direction. Her focus is on helping students find their passion so they can be productive in the work they do and grow to be leaders in the community that give back through a servant leadership mindset.

She says, “I help students look at career options and give them opportunities to see those career options first hand. It is so exciting to help students discover their passion. I tell them how important it is that they LOVE their job. My goal is to help students find a career that is well suited for their skill set, in demand and something they will enjoy doing long term. I think you foster passion and productivity by having people do jobs that they enjoy and fit their skill set. If you have the right person doing the right job then they will be both productive and passionate.”

True leadership is grounded in an attitude of service, which allows leaders to make more leaders. Cory does just that through her focus on people and on giving back.

Wanting to enhance your leadership skills? You can learn more about the Chamber’s four leadership programs here.

Cory facilitating an exercise on the “best” and “worst” leaders with the Edge Student Leadership Class.


Mary Ila Ward

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