Brian Battaglia selected for Leadership Pinellas Class of 2018: In 1977 with the idea of creating a better community by producing better informed citizens, organizers of Leadership Pinellas sought to give business people and professionals a “backstage pass” with access to top executives of corporations and non-profit organizations who could talk about their businesses. The goal was to get business people and professionals involved and for them to become prime movers in their communities. When the first class convened that November, the program was called Leadership Pinellas. Its 20 students were handpicked from several dozen applicants who had responded to questions such as “What do you consider your best skill?” and “What do you consider your most important community achievement?” Nearly 40 years later, interested residents from across Pinellas County are still answering those and similar questions. More than one hundred have completed the 10-month program. The program’s curriculum has changed little over the years. Its longevity is a testament to the excitement and involvement that the members have after they graduate and their desire to give back to the community. The appeal of Leadership Pinellas has led to the creation of programs targeted at groups outside the usual classroom demographic: high school students, with a shorter version of the program through Youth Leadership Pinellas, and alumni, through the Leadership Institute, which provides “strength-based” leadership programs. Leadership Immersion condenses into two days the experiences of the full-length Leadership Pinellas curriculum and is open to the general public.