Last Word:  Cultivating Leadership On The South Shore

Filed Under: Banking, Last Word, More News

Leadership South Shore, a program established by South Shore Bank in partnership with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, recently marked its fifth anniversary of helping to develop community-minded leaders.  

This celebrated program leads participants through a yearlong immersive learning curriculum, resulting in a group of individuals who are highly committed to transformative leadership in our community.  

South Shore Bank CEO James Dunphy founded Leadership South Shore to help leaders and emerging leaders understand what is unique to our region so they can learn to navigate and embrace opportunities and challenges to help build, define, and promote the South Shore.

Dunphy created the leadership program in 2016, based on a similar program he had been involved with in New Hampshire, and partnered with the South Shore Chamber of Commerce to bring it to life here.

As Dunphy sees it, becoming a business leader in a diverse community like the South Shore requires taking “a holistic view of the community and understanding how the local economy impacts individuals in terms of jobs, housing, education and public safety.” 

 “The idea is to bring together emerging business leaders to learn more about the South Shore community – the community in which they live and work – and to expose them to things they wouldn’t necessarily encounter,” Dunphy said.

After undergoing an application and interview process, those selected to join the Leadership South Shore cohort embark on a unique learning experience in the form of expert panel discussions, on-site visits, volunteer experiences, and networking sessions.  

 Activities bring the group to arts and cultural institutions, nonprofit community agencies, courts, public safety agencies, hospitals, and trade schools. The pandemic required a pivot to a virtual experience; however, the current cohort has the added benefit of a primarily in-person experience.   

 One of the unique things about this program is that alumni become part of the working group shaping the curriculum for future classes. This is a true testament to the program’s experience providing deep personal bonds which foster a community-minded spirit of paying it forward not only to the community at large, but also to the next group of leaders. 

 Like previous cohorts, the most recent graduating class was made up of members from various industries including healthcare and wellness, nonprofits, arts institutions, financial services, the education sector and real estate development.

People who have gone through the program tell us they “gain a great perspective to step outside of my industry,” and this is exactly what Dunphy wants to hear.

“Informed leaders make informed decisions for the betterment of our communities,” said Dunphy. “We are helping to create highly motivated leaders who are committed to using their knowledge to forge positive change in the region.  Leadership South Shore is a process for emerging and established leaders to connect and become inspired to build vibrant relationships that strengthen the South Shore.”

For more information, visit

Jane Bowman is chief marketing officer for South Shore Bank.