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GBCF revives Leadership Golden Belt; classes begin in June
Kimberly Becker, at the whiteboard, reviews lessons from the Kansas Leadership Center for Teresa Powelson, right, and Christy Tustin in preparation for the upcoming Leadership Golden Belt program sponsored by the Golden Belt Community Foundation. Becker will facilitate the classes; Powelson is the Foundation’s program officer and Tustin is its executive director.

A common experience among many in the workforce is attending conferences where they learn about new ideas in their industry.

They leave with good intentions to follow through on these concepts but often become stymied. As a result, nothing changes.

The revived Leadership Golden Belt (LGB) program is designed to remove this barrier to implementing new ideas in the office or plant.

The Golden Belt Community Foundation (GBCF) is sponsoring the program; the first of nine weekly classes is set for June 7. (see sidebar story.)

GBCF supported a leadership program for about 10 years in its service area of Barton, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford counties. 

“But once the pandemic hit, everything stopped,” said Christy Tustin, executive director. “Now is the right time to revive the program.”

Tustin has the support of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Great Bend Economic Development, as well as other community leaders.

Kimberly Becker, an alumna of the 2013 LGB program, will facilitate.

“Since her earlier experience with the program, Kimberly has received significant leadership and facilitation training,” Tustin said. “She is a great fit because we need a skilled facilitator, with the training, time and interest to make this worthwhile to participants.

“We share Kimberly’s vision that anyone can be a leader. This program is not just for upper management. Anyone can participate, whether a young professional or retiree. We had this diversity in our earlier program and hope this one also attracts people from varied walks of life.”

Becker operates Move Your Mountain Coaching & Consulting at the Fieldhouse in Great Bend; she is a professional certified coach.

“I have yearned to revive Leadership Golden Belt,” Becker commented. “We want to address the struggle that people go through in implementing new ideas after the classes. This has always been a hang-up.

“There are so many people in entry or mid-level positions who are never invited to the table. We can learn so much from them. For example, a school custodian probably has more influence on students than a principal simply because they interact with the custodian regularly.”

Throughout the classes, Becker and other leaders will stress that leadership is an action, not a position.

“You can exercise leadership no matter what position you’re in,” said Becker, who founded Central Kansas Dream Center and is its chief executive officer.

“Even at the Dream Center, we focus on teaching people about their influence,” she said. “We cheer people on to become leaders, and they in turn, cheer others on.”

While participating in the earlier LGB, Becker had the opportunity to: make connections with other leaders; come out of her comfort zone and take risks; and overcome her fear of networking with people.

“Now I have the opportunity to go back to some of these connections to build this new program,” she noted. “Some of them will help us facilitate these new classes.

“There is an increasing entrepreneurial mentality here and we want to support this mindset through empowerment,” she added.

At $30 million in total assets and more than 180 funds under management, the Golden Belt Community Foundation has been connecting people who care to causes that matter since 1996. Golden Belt Community Foundation exists to provide non-profit organizations in central Kansas with a permanent source of support and to serve as a vehicle for charitable giving for donors. GBCF serves the counties of Barton, Pawnee, Rush, and Stafford. For more information about Golden Belt Community Foundation, call (620) 792-3000 or visit their website at

Leadership Golden Belt Schedule/Background

The nine Leadership Golden Belt classes are set for 8 a.m. to noon on consecutive Tuesdays, starting June 7 and ending Aug. 2. Six of the classes will be held in Great Bend, and one each in St. John, La Crosse and Larned.

“We chose the summer months so that teachers and others in the school system will have a better chance to participate,” said Kimberly Becker, facilitator.

A Harrison Assessment, which analyzes 175 behavioral traits, interests, and work-environment preferences, is offered at registration. This helps participants learn more about their leadership style.

Cost for the program is $399; some scholarships are available. Capacity is 15 people.

Some of the Golden Belt Community Foundation’s first endowment funds came from the Kansas Health Foundation to support a Leadership Great Bend program. Later, this became a regional effort called Leadership Golden Belt. This lasted about 10 years and now is being revived.

As in the past, the program will focus on the core competencies as taught through the Kansas Leadership Center.

For more information, contact Kimberly Becker by calling 620-282-8970 or emailing