Leadership Texarkana History

Phase 2: 1992-2001
Leadership Texarkana Alumni organize for action.


The LT Alumni Association held its first annual program of awards for Community Leadership, the First Annual Community Achievement Night, the evening of February 28, 1992. Eddie Farnsworth and Barbara Bennett led the effort, chairing the first awards program.  The event was renamed "The Wilbur Awards" in 1993 as proposed by LT graduate Janet Elwood, to honor Wilbur Smith.


Texarkana had a first attendee to the annual conference of the National Association of Community Leadership Organizations; LT has maintained an annual affiliation with the national organization since that time.


  • LT Alumni Association (LTAA) began additional initiatives in Texarkana for fostering community leadership: an LT Graduate Directory was published as resource for connecting leaders, by listing each individual's areas of interest for community service. An LT Alumni newsletter was launched to inform and engage leaders; lacking staff resources, the effort is unsustainable and there was only one issue published (LINK and PUBLISH IT).
  • LTAA hosted its first Community Leadership Initiative event in May, 1995, bringing community leaders together to frame community issues, under the leadership of Covey-based consultant Peter Dove, through the support of Mo Orr: Entitled "Getting to the Meat of the Matter" the day-long event with luncheon was well attended by sixty-plus community leaders. A cross-stateline team was named to develop community vision from past community input; the group included the President of Chamber of Commerce as well as city council/board representation from both Texarkanas. Although the group subsequently met, the effort lost focus and was abandoned when the 1995 BRAC developed to crisis proportions shortly afterward.
  • The LTAA initiated the annual Idalee Raffaelli Hawkins Award for Community Leadership as a vehicle for LT graduates to honor an outstanding leader from their ranks each year.
  • The LTAA laid plans for a youth leadership program for high-school aged students, which in 1998 was named Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders by the participating students.
  • A Joint Task Force was formed with representatives from the Boards of both Leadership Texarkana and the LT Alumni Association to plan the best future for both organizations; the question was "Would the best future be as one coordinated or as two organizations?"


Leadership Texarkana and the LT Alumni Association merged; the bylaws of LTAA were used as the basis for the new joint endeavor, to focus on graduate-based leadership impact for Texarkana.


With a new leader at the Chamber of Commerce, there were new challenges for Leadership Texarkana: The new leader wanted LT to serve as a fund-raising arm for Chamber projects and also wanted to charge LT for Chamber resources dedicated to maintaining the program. The leaders of LT resisted both and voted to separate from the Chamber of Commerce; the groundwork was laid for Leadership Texarkana to establish itself as an independent non-profit organization.