‘Believe in yourself’: Media personality encourages Chambers of Commerce’s leadership class

Published 12:01 am Friday, May 20, 2022

SALISBURY — On Thursday morning, the graduates of the Chamber of Commerce’s 29th Leadership Rowan class were recognized during the Power in Partnership breakfast at Trinity Oaks.

Leadership Rowan is a nine-month program where participants meet once a month to improve their understanding of community issues, develop skills necessary to assume leadership roles and are exposed to community involvement opportunities. Graduating from the program on Thursday were 25 Rowan Countians who work in various fields including health care, banking, civil rights, government and retail.

“We are extremely proud of these individuals who have completed this prestigious nine-month long program,” said Nick Means of F&M Bank, who serves as steering committee chairman. “The Leadership Rowan program has a proud history of success with over 750 graduates from the past 29 years. The steering committee has worked hard to make this year’s class a valuable and meaningful experience.”

Helen Little, a media personality whose voice is heard daily over the airwaves on New York’s 106.7 LiteFM, delivered the equivalent of commencement speech.

Before imparting advice on the graduating leaders, Little told her own leadership story. Born at Rowan Memorial Hospital, Little was raised on the west end of Salisbury. Little remembers learning the tenets of how to lead from her parents when she was just a child.

“The things they taught us at home, like how to speak, well it afforded me the success I have today,” she said. “You see, my roots run deep here in this community, in Salisbury, in Rowan County and in leadership.”

A graduate of Salisbury High School, Little went on to study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, she launched her radio career. She later joined the staff of WSTP and WRDX in her hometown of Salisbury.

“Getting a job in radio was tough, and it still is,” Little said. “Most of my Carolina counterparts who were in the same major went into different fields to work. Fortunately, I had the support of a community that welcomed me with open arms. At WSTP and WRDX, I worked with some outstanding leaders and learned a set of leadership skills that took me beyond my wildest dreams.”

Helen Little, a Rowan County native and media personality, imparted leadership advice on the Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class during the Power in Partnership breakfast on Thursday morning. Ben Stansell/Salisbury Post

Currently working in New York, Little is now the most listened-to non-syndicated personality in radio, reaching more people than anyone in any day part, in any format in the country. When asked what advice she would give someone hoping to start a “positive leadership journey,” Little said the key is self confidence.

“The most important thing is to believe in yourself,” said Little, directing her words to the side of the room where the recent Leadership Rowan graduates were sitting.

One way Little does that is by talking to herself in the mirror each morning to instill a sense of purpose and belief.

“It’s the most important conversation before I walk out of the door,” Little said.

In the past, she’s even used lipstick to write words of encouragement to herself on her mirror.

“You’ve got to believe in yourself and don’t let anyone shake that belief,” she said.

Little shared many other nuggets of wisdom during her address, advising members of the class to lean on each other for guidance and support.

“No one succeeds alone,” she said. “This is something central to the growth and teaching of every leader, because that’s part of being a leader — realizing it’s a collective process.”

Graduates of the 2021-2022 Leadership Rowan Class are: Debbie Barnhardt Basinger (Barnhardt Jewelers), Gemale Black (NAACP), Rebecca Fern Blair (city of Salisbury), Brian Canavan (Novant Health Foundation), Scott Cozart (Rowan-Cabarrus Community College), Ashley Efird (F&M Bank), Stacy Fackler (Atrium Health), Mary Fainn (Pregnancy Support Center), Janna Griggs (Saving Grace Farm), Jamie Guagliano (Smart Start Rowan), David J. Hanzel (Walser Technology Group, Inc.), Sydney Holmes (Trinity Oaks), Xavier Klonowski (North Carolina Transportation Museum), Tracey L. Lewis (Rowan-Salisbury School System), Courtney Meece (Healthy Rowan), Erin Moody (Prevent Child Abuse Rowan), Stephanie Petrea (Trinity at Home, Inc), Daniel Potts (Potts Financial Services, Inc.), Crystal Ryerson (Rowan-Cabarrus Community College), Teri Shaw (city of Salisbury), Meredith Bare Smith (Town of Landis), Terri Stevenson (Livingstone College), Marva Wilson (Timeless Wigs), Cathy Wood-Romero (Rowan Helping Ministries), Nicole Wright (Eagle Creek Renewable Energy).

Thursday’s Power in Partnership breakfast was the last event of the season. The series will return in the fall. The Chamber will be hosting its ever-popular Dragon Boat Festival on July 23 at the Shrine Club on High Rock Lake.

For more information on the leadership program, contact Erica Church at the Rowan Chamber at 704-633-4221 or echurch@rowanchamber.com.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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