All posts tagged future leaders and entrepreneurs exchange

FLEX Looks Forward to a New Year

When FLEX, the young professionals group of the Venango Chamber, started in 2007, no one could have predicted the growth we would see. Thirteen years later, we have 128 members, and we continue to add and improve our programs and events.

Rather than look back at 2019, we are excited to look forward to 2020 and begin creating a vision for what the year will look like and make a plan to make those things happen.

“What excites me heading into 2020 is the blend of seasoned leadership and experienced professionals,” said Rachel Stiller, outgoing FLEX President. “Everyone on leadership has had involvement with FLEX and are passionate about the mission of the organization, which will benefit us as we move forward with those projects we started in 2019.”

Rachel also added: “We are all equipped to maintain our current level of energy as a young professional group and I anticipate we’ll continue to see FLEX make leaps and bounds this year through the hard work and dedication of our incoming leadership.”

Kat Thompson, incoming FLEX president, added: “Serving as VP this past year under Rachel’s presidency has been an amazing learning experience. Seeing up close her passion and knowledge has inspired me in my involvement with FLEX and in my own professional development.”

“As the incoming president, I look forward to continuing the trajectory of growth and development established by 2019 leadership under her guidance and with the support of the Chamber,” Kat said. “I, along with our seasoned chairs, am excited to welcome two new faces to the leadership team. With continued involvement in our communities, I hope to see FLEX become a household name across Venango County, and be an accessible and valuable resource for young professionals.”

We invite you to get involved with FLEX in a new way this year! Whether it’s coming to an event, joining one of our committees, or volunteering, we hope to see you as we continue to grow.

Meet the 2020 FLEX Officers

President – Kat Thompson
VP/Secretary – Saxon Daugherty
Membership Chair – Laura Ordaz
Marketing & Community Partnerships Chair – Tessa Byham
Events & Fundraising Co-Chair – Ashley Smith
Events & Fundraising Co-Chair – Rachel Stiller

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) January 2020 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

May 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Becca Weidle & Sarah MacBeth

Becca Weidle, an Oil City native, is a young entrepreneur and a   mom. She is a health coach through her new business “Motherhood Made Healthy,” and is expecting her second child in June.

After graduating from Oil City High School in 2010, Becca earned a biochemistry degree from Pitt at Johnstown, and recently got her health coach certification from Health Coach Institute.

Becca looks forward to continuing to grow, personally and professionally, and is excited to gain clients who are eager to learn how to shift towards a healthy lifestyle. “I’m proud of the hard work I put into finding my passion, going for it head on, and completing my coaching certification,” she said. “I’m also proud of the consistency and determination I have put towards healing myself naturally and gaining the healthy lifestyle that I live and love.”

Being a mother has taught Becca a lot and is also something she takes pride in. She tries to soak in and enjoy every minute with her family that she can, and also in her free time she loves gardening, anything outdoors (camping, hiking, riding bikes), doing puzzles, sewing and crafting, and playing with her daughter, Henley.

In Venango County, Becca appreciates the trails, parks, local businesses, libraries, and farmers markets, and is happy to live in a neighborhood that feels safe.

“I want to constantly learn and grow in all aspects of my life,” she told us. “My dream is for my business to ripple out from Venango so that I can help guide as many mamas as possible to live healthy, happy lives and instill that in their kiddos!”

You can learn more about Becca’s new health coaching business by visiting

Sarah MacBeth recently became a Venango County community member! She is the branch manager at the Seneca office of Farmers National Bank, and will be transferring to the Emlenton branch soon.

Originally from Bradford, Sarah has lived in various places, including Kane and Tionesta, and eventually settled in Clarion after graduating from Clarion University in May 2014. She majored in business management with a minor in marketing and has also gone through leadership and mindfulness trainings.

When asked about special achievements, Sarah told us: “My goal in life has always been to be happy and although happiness can be viewed as a constantly changing state of mind, I believe I have achieved my goal and I hope to continue that.”

Professionally, Sarah looks forward to continuing to help fulfill the mission and vision at the bank and hopes to be there for many more years. Personally, giving back is a huge passion of hers. “Throughout my life, so many have helped, guided, or supported me,” she said. “I hope to establish some type of organization or event that would allow me to give back.”

Traveling is something Sarah has always been interested in and she hopes to be able to do so with her husband and family in the coming years. She also loves spending time riding in their Jeeps with their dogs in the summer, running and fitness, crafting, hiking, cooking, and listening to music. Most importantly, she enjoys spending time surrounded by her loved ones.

Although Sarah hasn’t been in Venango County for very long, she has visited many enjoyable destinations, such as coffee shops, restaurants, and local shops. She looks forward to experiencing the theatre and trails in our region, too.

Since working in Venango County, Sarah has learned to love the people and their energy. “It is so great to see members of the community working towards making things happen,” she said. Sarah is interested in getting to know more people, contributing to the area, and developing personally and professionally.

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) May 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

Choose Your Attitude (It’s the One Thing You Always Have a Choice About)

This months TED talk is from a TEDx event. TEDx is a program that has allowed smaller communities or individuals to host their own self-organized TED events. This allows TED speakers to reach a bigger audience and the event can be tailored to a communities needs.

Debra Searle rowed across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. She started the journey with her then husband but when he had to be rescued due to his severe anxiety, she decided to continue the trek alone. Debra said she had constant thoughts of shark attacks, being run over by large container ships, and never being found by her team back in England. She soon realized the only thing she could actually control was her attitude.

So, each morning she “chose her attitude” for the day and clung to it. It’s a fantastic story about her journey and her decision to take control of her life.

Find it here:

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

March 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Nicole Novicki & Sam Breene

Born and raised in Oil City, Nicole Novicki now lives in Seneca and works for Venango County Human Services as a System of Care Coordinator.

After graduating from Oil City High School, she attended Clarion University, Venango, where she earned an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, then went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology from main campus.

Nicole worked in Clarion County at Children and Youth Services for more than eight years, but began her new career with Venango County Human Services in January, and is looking forward to making new connections in her home community.

She’s a mom of three and spends time taking her kids to various activities and being their “biggest cheerleader” at sporting events. She grew up along Oil Creek, and still appreciates the outdoors in our region, where she takes small trips looking for hidden gems.

Also in her free time, Nicole enjoys browsing real estate and checking out all the neat properties (both commercial and residential). Although she’s not able to invest now, she would love to see old buildings and homes in our area be brought back to life.
Nicole will always work in a field where she can help others and plans to continue assisting with service and communication gaps between human services departments, service providers, school districts, and community members.

“I love being part of a close-knit community and being able to serve the area I grew up in,” she said. “There are some large areas of need in our community, but there is also a lot of potential, given the right resources.” Nice to meet you, Nicole, and welcome to FLEX!

Sam Breene, one of our newest members of FLEX, is a Venango County native who has recently returned to the area.

Sam was born and raised in Oil City and attended Oil City schools and The Kiski School in Saltsburg, PA. Upon graduation, he went on to Allegheny College in Meadville.

Currently, Sam is a Senior Staff member for U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly and has recently announced he will be running for Venango County Commissioner. Sam stated, “I hope to be elected so that I can use my professional experience and relationships to better serve this region that I care about deeply.”

In reference to his greatest achievements, Sam said that his career in public service and politics has been rewarding in many ways. He is especially proud to say he was the campaign manager for U.S. Representative Mike Kelly’s victorious re-election campaign, which was hotly contested and drew national attention.

Sam loves the outdoors, including spending time on the river, and all the activities available in our region such as kayaking, hiking, golf, shooting, skiing and ATVing. He said his favorite local spots to eat are the Yellow Dog Lantern Restaurant and Villa Italia Ristorante.

Sam is excited to be spending more time in Venango County and for “the opportunity to contribute to a community with such a special history and in which my personal history is deeply rooted.”

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) March 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

FLEX to Recognize Local Young Professionals—Friday, April 5

Have you ever heard the comment: “All young people have to leave our area to be successful”? We know this is absolutely untrue, and on Friday, April 5, we will recognize 12 professionals under the age of 40 who are making a difference in Venango County.

These nominees’ professions range from business owners and accountants, to psychologists and engineers, and all contribute to our community in significant ways.

All professionals are invited to attend the event, not just young professionals, and it will take place at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Community members can register by visiting and FLEX is also welcoming sponsorships.

The evening of FLEX Presents is full of networking, delicious food and drink, and a presentation about these young professionals and FLEX.

Find more information about FLEX Presents and past nominees here and RSVP here.