02board room Leadership comes in many forms. Friday, March 8, we will celebrate The Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under 40 winners who have achieved benchmarks of success in their personal and business lives through dedication, hard work and perseverance. This is absolutely something worth celebrating.

And, to their credit, the folks at The Fayetteville Observer have done an extremely good job in making sure this annual recognition remains balanced, politically correct and representative of our diverse population by covering all business and socio-economic aspects of our community. The honorees include those who work in business, all levels of education, the military, the medical field, nonprofit organizations, government and entrepreneurial endeavors.

These extraordinary young people have made their mark locally and, in many ways, contribute to the personality and fabric of our community.

This being the case, it does not bode well for the future of our community that all these high achievers — except Tisha Waddell, District 2 city councilwoman — seem to avoid public service as elected officials. Out of 40 young notables, one would think there would be at least a few who are politically active.

This begs the question: Are we doing enough to engage these ambitious young professionals? Are we encouraging them to get involved politically?

I’m not sure we are. Organizations like the Greater Fayetteville Chamber have traditionally mentored and groomed young talent for business, industry and public service. Now, not so much.

Chambers of Commerce need to be fierce advocates for local business. By doing so, they should engage the people and processes that develop talented and effective leaders.

Millennials are the future of our community. We need to make it our highest priority to get them involved and engaged. More importantly, we need to do our part in creating a community where they want to be involved and engaged.

Forty Under 40 has gotten them to the starting gate. Now, we need to get them to the finish line.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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