All posts tagged leadership development

Leadership Venango Shifts to Virtual Sessions

What better way to test the leadership skills of our 2020 class than to see how they handle a global pandemic? With the stay-at-home order in place, we have moved Leadership Venango sessions to Zoom and are staying connected online. The class is still working on projects and presentations and is hopeful to hold a graduation in the near future. 

The class brought Jeff Fowler of the Penn State Extension Venango County office and Brittany Eisenman of the PA Farm Bureau to their April session to provide insight on local agriculture.

More virtual sessions have been taking place this month and graduation information will be released as soon as it is confirmed.

Learn more about Leadership Venango at:

Leadership Venango Holds Fifth Session: Honorable Leadership

The 2020 class of Leadership Venango met for their fifth session in February in Franklin to learn about local governance and honorable leadership.

The day began at the County Courthouse Annex with a panel discussion facilitated by Randy Arnold, 2019 Leadership Venango graduate. The panel included Jason Ruggerio (County Planning Commission), Mike Port (Cranberry School District board member) and Tracy Jamieson (manager of the city of Franklin). They were asked about their respective jobs including motivation and challenges, and gave advice on how to obtain similar leadership positions.

Next was Joseph Grunenwald, past President of Clarion University and an active community member. He spoke on what it means to be an “honorable” leader and traits these leaders have, including honesty, courage, long-term persistence, humility and doing the right thing even when it’s hard. The best leaders are forward thinking and put service above self.

The group walked to the Barrow’s Little Theatre for lunch and a discussion with the three County Commissioners. They discussed job responsibilities, challenges of the County, and their hopes for moving the County forward as united leaders.  They also encouraged questions and stated their open door policy of hearing constituents’ concerns. 

After lunch, members of the FLEX Young Professionals gave an overview of the group’s mission and activities and encouraged participants to consider membership.

Trenton Moulin, President/CEO of Bridge Builders Community Foundations, then gave a presentation on Boardsmanship.  He discussed the importance of serving on a board that lines up with personal values. As a future resource, he gave each member of the classa copy of the Handbook for Directors of Nonprofit Corporations in the United States of America. Prior to leaving, Zach Covington gave the class a tour of  the Barrow-Civic Theatre.

The last stop of the afternoon was to visit Judge Lobaugh and tour the Venango County Courthouse. Judge Lobaugh was a gracious host describing the history of the building and its contents. He exemplified the qualities of an honorable leader as it was clear he has devoted his career to child advocacy and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.  It was also clear that he had a passion and love for Venango County.

The next session will be in March at UPMC Northwest and will focus on “Leading a Healthy Community.”

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s March 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Leadership Venango Holds Fourth Session: The Importance of an Educated Workforce

The 2020 class of Leadership Venango met in January at Clarion University – Venango to discuss the importance of an educated workforce.

Hope Lineman of Clarion University welcomed the class and provided an overview of the programs, and some exciting renovations that have taken place in the last few years. She also gave the class an idea of what campus life looks like for the students.

Eileen Mullen, program coordinator for Crawford County K-12 Career Education Alliance, then presented and detailed the many programs that she provides for students, including a STEM camp and mock interviews. Her programs help students understand 21st century workforce skills. She provided understanding of the importance of partnerships with the community and putting your best self forward.

Next was Taylor Snyder of eAcademy explaining the work that her students do. The class learned about the school districts involved in eAcademy and the different field trips the class goes on to learn about the community.

The day ended with Corey Christman of the Center for Victory, who spoke of the importance of understanding a multi-generational workforce and work style differences. He also discussed the levels of engagement employees have with their company and jobs, and how to get the most out of your employees through effective and compassionate leadership.

The next session will be in February at the Venango County Courthouse to discuss “Honorable Leadership.” Learn more about Leadership Venango at

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Leadership Venango Holds Third Session: Understanding Community Caregiving

The Leadership Venango Class of 2020 met on December 11 at the Cranberry Place in the Cranberry Mall. The third session of the nine-month program was focused on understanding community caregiving.

Joe Croskey & Kathleen Ellwood of Cog Coaching and Consulting connected with the class to explore diversity of thought. They started with a values assessment worksheet which helped the class narrow down a long list of common values into the six most important to them. The class then participated in a few activities that encouraged them to be vulnerable and open with one another while concentrating on the dimensions of diversity and prejudice.

The class then took a break for lunch and filled out a quiz on local statistics around poverty in Venango County. This primed them for the afternoon session led by Kimberly Robertson, focused on understanding power, privilege, and poverty.

Kim’s presentation was interactive and eye-opening, allowing the class to see where their own privilege is and how that affects their lives. Kim talked about the different core values at each income level and the hidden rules among social classes. Much of her presentation was based on the book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” by Dr. Ruby Payne.

This session was very interactive and had the class on their feet and participating in different role-playing activities. Many class participants felt this session was one of the most impactful and emotional yet.

The next meeting for the class is scheduled for January 8 at Clarion University Venango, where they will focus on the importance of an educated workforce.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Leadership Venango Holds Second Session: Maximizing Clean Communications

The 2020 Class of Leadership Venango met on November 13 at PennDOT’s District 1 Office in Oil City to discuss “Maximizing Clean Communications.”

The day began with a welcome from Jim Foringer, District Executive of PennDOT District 1. Jim provided an overview of PennDOT District 1 territory and responsibilities, helping the class better understand the scope of work that comes out of our region.

The rest of the morning was spent with Jill Harry, PennDOT District 1 Press Officer and Ashley (Cowles) Sheffer, program manager of Be Here. Jill shared her experience working in Media Relations. She reviewed how to appropriately and effectively connect with different types of media to provide them the information they are seeking, while best representing your business or organization. Ashley provided insights on how to use social media to connect with customers. She reviewed the features of the social media platforms to market your business. Jill and Ashley engaged the class in several interactive exercises.

Over lunch, Lucas Salusky with Identity Studio & Design took a class photo on the steps of the Venango Museum and took each class member’s professional headshot.

Betsy Kellner, Executive Director of the Venango Museum, gave an overview of the museum and demonstrated their Theatre Organ. Several class members were visiting the museum for the first time. Cindy Urban, President of Klapec Trucking Co (KTC), and Greg Lander, Vice President of KTC, joined the class for lunch. Greg is also a 2019 Leadership Venango graduate.

To begin the afternoon, Brian McNulty, Assistant District Executive at PennDOT District 1 and 2019 Leadership Venango Graduate, gave a presentation about Project Management. He provided an overview of PennDOT projects and explained the process they use, beginning with the goals in mind.  Brian then worked with the class to explore how this process could work for them with the Leadership Venango team projects.

The remainder of the day was spent with Susan Hileman, Strategic Business Advisor for Northwest IRC, on Effective Communication. The class learned about communication channels and barriers and discussed verbal and non-verbal communication and listening skills. Susan also talked about communication across different generations and cultures.

While class feedback showed that every part of the day was appreciated by participants, many cited the value of being reminded to actively listen and suggested they would be more mindful of this, in returning to work and home.

Find bios for the 2020 class of Leadership Venango here.

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.