For Steve Bush, Executive Director of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, a military background instilled a leadership style that was disciplined and obedient. But in his civilian role, he needed to add individual empowerment, collaboration and creativity. So he turned to WNC Nonprofit Pathways for leadership training, support and guidance. 

“In the fall of 2013, WNC Nonprofit Pathways offered a leadership program right here in McDowell County,” said Bush. “I attended with the hopes of learning how to create a stronger leadership role, not only for myself, but for the community I share at the Chamber.”

Building and sustaining strong organizations requires effective leadership. In today’s professional arena, challenges can arise at any time, and being prepared to respond to those challenges requires strategy and expertise. WNC Nonprofit Pathways’ leadership training programs help to build self-confidence, empower success and teaches valuable skills.

“Being a part of this program helped me clarify my goals and vision. I was encouraged to get to know myself a little better by exploring my motivation to lead, and testing my level of self-confidence,” said Bush.  “I learned how to move on from my mistakes and, most importantly, I gained insights on how to build a team capable of delivering the vision.”

Bush and his team are working hard to produce positive results for the Chamber and the community and are committed to accomplish the peak amount of quality work possible.

“Part of my job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain the team’s morale,” said Bush. “I have to keep up my confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, I’ll help keep the team feeling the same.”

As a result of Bush’s commitment to becoming a stronger leader, he wanted to find other areas to engage his team and again turned to WNC Nonprofit Pathways for assistance.

“As I became more confident in my role as director, I recognized it was time to help our board become more empowered and be better prepared for the future,” said Bush. “Pathways’ on-site Board Best Practices Training really helped us better understand our roles and responsibilities, especially around recruiting and membership retention.”

Bush believes his own personal development and professional achievement is making a difference in the quality of leadership he provides. As the Chamber’s infrastructure becomes more solid, Bush is now better prepared to move them to the next phase.

“With the resources we’ve received so far from WNC Nonprofit Pathways, we feel the stage is set to enter into a strategic plan to assure sustainability for our Chamber and the community,” said Bush. “Pathways is helping us learn to grow, and we’re ready to move forward.”

For more information about WNC Nonprofit Pathways, explore this website or email

For more information about the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, visit