When Myles Rademan, Director and Founder of Leadership Park City, moved to Park City 31 years ago he encountered a community in the midst of some serious growing pains. People were particularly upset about changes happening in town and it was quickly apparent to him that Park City was in need of strong leadership. Having previously completed a fellowship through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Rademan suggested Park City start a similar program. "I wanted people to stop complaining and work together to do something," he says. "The idea was premature at the time, but I kept putting it out there and in 1992 people agreed."
So, with the initial green light, Rademan put together a proposal for Leadership Park City, modeling it after the Kellogg Foundation program, and got it approved by the City Council in 1994. Then, six years after Rademan's original proposal, the first Leadership Park City class commenced in fall 1995. In the 25 years since then, the program has amassed more than 600 alumni, many of whom are still very actively involved in Park City.
What's the secret to the all the success? "Every city provides police, sewage, and the basic services," Rademan says. "Great communities take it a step further with culture, open space, and trails. Exceptional communities do all that plus invest in their people." It speaks volumes that there is hardly a board, committee, or commission in town that does not include an LPC alumnus as a member. Although its modeled after other leadership programs, LPC focuses on individuality and ethical leadership rather than coming from a government or business point of view. Each class spans 10 sessions delving local government, planning and development, management, and issues like the environment, affordable housing, recreation, tourism, and beyond. Participants also work together on a final group service project, putting their skills to the test by helping to find creative solutions to issues like water conservation, plastic waste reduction, or integration of green energy in Summit County.
Between 80 to 120 applicants typically vie for the 30 spots available in each LPC class. The selection criteria centers around two things: a genuine desire to be part of the program and diversity that represents the community. Everyone who is accepted is granted a scholarship to ensure all participants have equal access opportunity.
Dr. John Hanrahan, a Class 4 LPC alumnus who was instrumental in founding both The People's Health Clinic (where he now works) and The Hope Alliance, moved to Park City in 1992. "I wanted to understand how things worked inside the government and outside of it and meet other people interested in changing the community," Hanrahan says. "Networking with other people engaged in the community was really helpful and over in the past 20 years those connections are still valuable for mentors, advice, input, and ideas."
Colleen McGinn, from the Class 23, feels similarly. After spending vacation time in Park City, McGinn decided to take up permanent residence here in 2009. Since then, she's been a busy bee around town, starting a trivia night in town called MegaMind PubQuiz; executing the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade on Historic Main Street; organizing the Dive-In Movie film series; and, last spring, co-chairing Leadership Park City Class 23’s “Save Bonanza Flat” project. McGinn applied after one of her friends related what an awesome experience he'd had. "It offers so much for people who want to be involved in the community, it's a gateway that gives you the tools and knowledge you'll need," says McGinn. "Going through the program gave me such a soft spot for Park City, it’s totally different than the East Coast. That’s what’s so cool about everyone in the community, they all want it do be the best it can be. They’re all working toward the goal of making it a unique place full of opportunities."
At its core, LPC is about bringing people together and, after twenty five years of programming, that's still what Rademan enjoys the most. "This keeps me on my toes and meeting new people. I knew everyone who applied to the first few classes. But in the last 22 years, I haven't even known five people out of all who've applied, and I've been here awhile," he says. "They bring all sorts of skills and backgrounds to our intentional community and we’re really blessed that they've been attracted to here."
Think you may be a good fit for Leadership Park City? Applications for Class 25, which begins October 2018, will be available via the Leadership Park City website starting July 1. The deadline for the application is August 22.