All posts tagged FLEX Speaker Series

Taking Control of Your Career Development

No matter what stage of your career you are in, there are always opportunities to learn and grow.

At the FLEX Speaker Series in November, Kat Thompson with PA CareerLink and Deb Eckelberger of the Franklin Industrial and Commercial Development Authority shared their knowledge and wisdom around career development.

Attendee ages ranged from an 18-year-old high school senior, to a President & CEO in their late 50s, and everyone was able to take away something beneficial from the presentation.

Kat touched on topics including soft and hard skills, setting goals, taking trainings and courses, and the importance of networking and getting involved in the community.

“No one starts out being perfect or knowing everything,” said Kat. “It’s essential to recognize your weaknesses, understand why it’s important to work on them, and then practice until you improve.”

Deb has worked for various organizations throughout our region and shared how she got to where she is today.

She started out planning to go to nursing school, but instead went right into the workforce. She got her Realtors license, and eventually went back to school and is now in the economic development industry.

“I always knew I wanted to work in my hometown, and now I have a job here that I absolutely love,” said Deb. “Two of the things that have contributed to my success have included networking in the community and finding great people to be my mentors.”

If you missed the Speaker Series but are looking for ways to develop in your career, you can find resources below. You can also find more photos from the Speaker Series here.


ResCare Academy: Free courses on a variety of professional topics; Must register through Kat (email Kat Thompson)

Big Interview: Free job interview training; Visit (click “Individuals,” then “Interview Practice”)

Traitify: Personality and career assessment; Visit

Occupational Research (O*NET OnLine): Database of occupational information; Visit

FLEX Leadership Development Resources (LDR): Collection of professional books, documents, videos, and more; Visit

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

Everyone is a Leader

When many hear the word “leader,” they imagine a CEO, executive director, or president. At the FLEX Speakers Series in June, panel participants assured attendees that “everyone is a leader.” The panel consisted of six of the 13 graduates of the inaugural class of Leadership Venango, the Venango Chamber’s new leadership program.

Brian McNulty, Randy Arnold, Dan Flaherty, Greg Lander, Ashley Smith, and Tessa Byham shared their experience and advice from the nine-month program. Leadership Venango is designed to identify, educate, involve and motivate individuals who desire to become more effective leaders, and participants got to know the region.

“It wasn’t just about leadership, but about getting to know your community,” said Ashley. “Most of the places we visited are hiring and expanding, and our eyes were opened to all we have here.”

Several sessions helped participants learn more about themselves, too, and involved personality tests, mindfulness, and diversity.

“Many of the activities helped us build self-awareness, which in turn makes us better leaders in our community and work,” said Tessa.

“Learning my strengths and weaknesses enlightened me and has helped me strategize how I can use those to better work with others,” Brian added.

The participants networked with local leaders, as well as the other participants, forming a “family” they described. “We found we’re not all that different and were able to grow and develop together,” said Dan. “We learned the community needs people to step up and this program gave us the empowerment and skills to do that.”

At the Speaker Series, each panelist covered a topic, including honorable leadership, community, economic development, and communications. “Leadership is what you make of it and the value you bring in your position,” said Randy.

The Chamber is currently accepting applications for the next class, which begins in September.

“Leadership is not knowing all the answers, but where to find them,” Greg said. “This program helped us build connections and knowledge to do just that.”

Learn more about Leadership Venango, at or get  in touch with us—we can connect you with graduates who are happy to share more about the program.

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

Book Recommendation: The Perfect Health Booklet: Simple Steps Proven to Transform Your Health

51VvgyIienLIn this short 84-page book, author Ben Azadi provides concise and impactful insights surrounding wellness, fitness, and infusing a successful mindset into your daily life. This is a useful resource for entrepreneurs and young professionals searching to find that happy work-life balance. Written in a charismatic and entertaining manner, you’ll be able to decide which transformational methods work best for your unique lifestyle.

Ben Azadi was our first featured guest in the FLEX Speaker Series last month, and you can find additional information about him and his book at

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.