Leadership Metro Richmond

May 14, 2020 | Paycheck Protection Program Loan Stories

When the first Paycheck Protection Program loan program was announced, Myra Smith, President and CEO of Leadership Metro Richmond, reached out to LMR’s primary bank, a large financial institution. She ran into hurdles and unresponsiveness, and the application didn’t get submitted before the program ran dry. When more funding was released, Smith turned to VCC and found a quick, timely, and helpful process. “VCC eased our anxiety,” Smith says. “We found support and a comprehensive approach. That’s not something you can measure. That’s a feeling. And that feeling means something.”

With a loan keeping the doors open, Smith pivoted the leadership development program to a virtual experience. “Through this crisis, we saw an opportunity to shift our approach, so community leaders can be prepared to address issues that are critical right now. More than ever, we need present and informed leaders to guide us through this,” Smith says. LMR builds community engagement across every sector, allowing leaders to stretch beyond their silos to create interconnected solutions.

The pandemic broke out as this year’s 69-member class was preparing their final presentations. Those took place digitally, and online channels have enabled Smith to deepen outreach with 2,000 alumni who have graduated from their program over the last 40 years. “We’re not in the same physical space, but we are seeing more of each other,” she says. “This is just a different way to fulfill our mission.”