Destin, Fla., Sept. 23 –
On Sept. 22, the Destin Chamber celebrated the graduation of 11 business professionals from its 12th Destin Forward class. Though typically held in May, the ceremony was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, ensuring class members had time to finish their class project and other program requirements. During the event, the prestigious Destin Forward Leadership Award, chosen by class vote, was presented to Catherine Card, City of Destin.
Destin Forward, a community education and leadership program, was created to help find and educate future city and business leaders. After a retreat in August, the class spends the next eight months touring and learning about Destin’s waterways; tourism industry; arts, culture and non-profits; environment; city programs and services; military bases; and the state legislature.
Class requirements also include attendance at several Chamber and civic functions, as well as a group project that creates a lasting impact on the City of Destin. Recognizing the value of Henderson Beach State Park to families of Destin visitors and residents, the class focused on the park’s older playground, replacing some of the equipment and base material, as well as painting and enlivening the entire space.
Graduates of the Destin Forward Class of 2020 include Neil Barlow, Synovus Bank; Michael Burgess, City of Destin; Catherine Card, City of Destin; Debbie Eggers, Destin Chamber; Natasja Fischer; Shannah Hanks, Hancock Whitney; Aaron King Vaughn, Sinfonia Gulf Coast; Lori Leath Smith, Destin Life; Sophia Lombardi, Carter & Company, CPA, LLC; Mackenzie Mainland, Vacasa; and Chuck Rathke, Destin Water Users, Inc.
Four class members, chosen by class vote, will join the Destin Forward Advisory Board for a 3-year term, where they will help steer the program for future classes. Those chosen include Burgess, Card, Hanks and Lombardi.
For more information about the program, please call (850) 837-6241 or email mail@DestinChamber.com