January’s Leadership NEXT program, to be held Jan. 8 at the Collaboratory in Fort Myers, will explore a regional effort to enhance education levels across Southwest Florida.

Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, will offer insight into the FutureMakers Coalition, a regional initiative emphasizing post-secondary education in the five-county region.

Following LeSage’s presentation, attendees will tour the Collaboratory, a new vibrant event and meeting space designed as a hub for social, economic and sustainable change. It is operated by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

Leadership NEXT, a monthly program of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, offers unique educational and networking opportunities for advancing business professionals in Southwest Florida. The two-hour session begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Collaboratory, 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers.

LeSage previously was sustainability programs manager for Lee County government and has served as a principal planner with Barraco and Associates, senior planner and project manager with Johnson Engineering, and resource coordination and diversion program manager with Lee Mental Health. LeSage is a graduate of Cypress Lake High School, and she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy from Boston College and a master’s in public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Through a partnership with the Lumina Foundation, the FutureMakers Coalition was launched in March 2015 to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of residents with college degrees, post-secondary certificates or high-quality credentials to 55 percent by 2025. Five years ago, the rate was just 37 percent.

Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright & Co., P.A., a Fort Myers-based public accounting and business consulting firm, is sponsoring the January program. Complimentary light appetizers and refreshments will be available.

Leadership NEXT is a group of advancing professionals who represent a variety of businesses and industries throughout Southwest Florida. Monthly sessions take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month and offer opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills, establish working relationships with colleagues and engage in valuable programs and discussions to further enhance their careers. The Leadership NEXT annual program is sponsored by the Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association.

Leadership NEXT is free to attend for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $10 for future members. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance at FortMyers.org and follow “Leadership NEXT” on Facebook for more information.

About the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce:
Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization of professionals who support and promote a progressive, sustainable community. The Chamber represents nearly 800 businesses, professionals and individuals throughout Lee County, providing opportunities for members to participate in a variety of meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is located at 2310 Edwards Drive in downtown Fort Myers. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events please call 239-332-3624 or visit www.fortmyers.org. For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gfmcc or Twitter at @FtMyersChamber.