All posts tagged flex fyi

February 2020 Young Professional Profiles: Josh Lewis & Lainey Pilewski


Josh Lewis is originally from Lancaster County, PA, and moved to Franklin with his wife, Emily, after college.

Josh graduated from Slippery Rock University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and went on to earn a master’s degree in Environmental Sustainability from Chatham.

He is now employed as conservation coordinator at the French Creek Valley Conservancy in Meadville. Josh says his favorite work event of the year is the French Creek Clean Up. “I like knowing how excited everyone gets about getting outside and cleaning such a great waterway,” he said.

Outside of work, Josh enjoys backpacking, cycling, and going outdoors with Emily and their dog, Bo.  They love hiking at Two Mile and relaxing in their quiet neighborhood. He is also a youth ice hockey coach for a travel team of 9 and 10 year-olds based out of Meadville.

Josh noted one of his favorite things about living in Venango County is the great trails and roads for biking. “If I turn left out of my driveway I can ride my bike for over 40 miles without hitting a stop light,” he said.

Josh would love to see more sports facilities in our region and wishes he could practice his love of ice hockey without having to travel. Josh’s goals for the future include enjoying his new home with his family and seeing what opportunities present themselves.

Lainey Pilewski feels lucky and honored to have been given the opportunity to work as Executive Director at the Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped Association (VARHA). She enjoys watching the program grow and looks forward to sharing the experience with the community.

Lainey earned her bachelor’s degree in Science from Morehead State University in Kentucky. She grew up in Wellington, Kentucky, and moved to Pennsylvania in 2017 with her husband, who is originally from Oil City.

Lainey loves animals and feels lucky to have the opportunity to work in a place that surrounds her with animals all day, and then when she goes home, she has four big pups that love to play.

In Venango County, Lainey enjoys spending her time outside working, hiking, or canoeing when it is not raining or snowing. Two of her favorite past times, since moving to Pennsylvania, include walking the bike trails and canoeing down the Allegheny River.

The people and the community are what Lainey loves most about working in Venango County. Though she hasn’t been here long, she has been welcomed in by so many people who have been willing to help.

In the next five years, Lainey’s goal is to become rooted into the community. She was heavily involved in the community in her hometown and would love to gain that sense of involvement here in Venango County.

She desires to help others, as they have helped her. Professionally, Lainey would love to grow into a better leader and role model for the younger generation.

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Want to be Happy? Be Grateful


We hope you’ve had a great holiday season! During this time of year, it’s especially important to recognize what we have and to be grateful. Our last TED Talk recommendation is all about the connection of gratefulness to happiness, and speaker David Steindl-Rast tells us: “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”

It’s not just about grateful experiences, but grateful living. How do you do that? “By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It’s a gift. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that’s the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains,” he said.

We can’t be grateful for everything, but we can aim to be grateful in every given moment for opportunities we are given. Listen to Steindl-Rast’s TED Talk at bit.ly/SteindlRastGrateful.

2020 Tip of the Month: Professional Development

We hope you enjoyed our TED Talk recommendations this year! In 2020, we plan to share monthly “Professional Development Tips” in each newsletter, on various topics including personal branding, networking, work and life balance, and mentorship.

We want to share these tips FROM young professionals. If you have a tip or advice you’d like to share, please email Tessa at tbyham@venangochamber.org.

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) December 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.