BY RACHEL RAE DYER, OWNER AND PRESIDENT, THIS PLACE
Hope and pride.
Early last year, the Leadership West Virginia Class of 2018 asked ourselves what our state needed most to be successful. As leaders in our communities, more than 55 of us from around the state, we shared the same understanding – West Virginia is an amazing place, but West Virginians don’t always seem to know it.
Each year, Leadership West Virginia works to develop and motivate a cross-section of leaders who will use their talents and abilities to inspire others and foster a new spirit of energy, enthusiasm and vitality throughout the state. As part of the program, class participants are challenged to take on a class project of their choosing that will give back to West Virginia. The class meets throughout the program, independently determines their project and then completes it prior to graduation.
The Leadership West Virginia Class of 2018 loves West Virginia to the core. We love the people, the beauty and the opportunity of our great state. We feel strongly that the narrative of West Virginia should belong to West Virginians, and that West Virginians are smart, resourceful, determined and capable of making West Virginia the best version of itself.
We see the challenges, and we believe we can overcome them. We see the opportunity and we want to inspire West Virginians to embrace it and work toward it. For too long we have dwelled on the rankings and the negative media, but they don’t tell the whole story. It may help their ratings to paint a bleak picture of us from the outside, but on the ground and in our communities there are amazing and inspiring successes happening every day that we want to celebrate.
With this in mind, the Choose West Virginia campaign was born as our class project.
As the first phase in a long-term strategic goal, the #ChooseWV video, social media campaign and website were developed as a method to share what is great about the state we love. In addition to providing resources and information about our state, we want to encourage people near and far to show off why they choose West Virginia so others might benefit from all we have to offer.
Our home is a source of pride and hope. Whether you are West Virginia grown but residing elsewhere, a current West Virginian or a potential West Virginian, we want to remind you that this state is beautiful, its people are strong and have grit to overcome challenges, and its future is what we make it.
We love this state. We welcome you to join us. For work. For family. For life.
We hope, like us, you #ChooseWV.
You can also learn more about Leadership West Virginia at www.leadershipwv.org.