All posts tagged leadership program

Leadership Venango Holds First Session: Business & Economic Development


Written by Saxon Daugherty

The 2020 class of Leadership Venango reconnected for their first session of the program at Komatsu’s engineering office in Franklin to learn and discuss business and economic development in the region.

Komatsu’s Alan McBride opened the day with a presentation on the organization’s approach to leadership training, breaking down those who lead a function, those who lead leaders, those who lead others and personal leadership.

McBride also introduced how to create an accountability culture and incorporating progress tools, such as the Individual Development Plan (IDP) that can help employees improve their performance and meet both long- and short-term goals.

The class then heard from Frank Hajduk, the Branch Manager of SCORE’s Venango office, regarding economic development and strategic planning.

Hajduk provided an overview of America’s mixed economy, referencing the influences from capitalist and socialist dynamics.

The local economy revolves around having critical job centers with having useful resources readily availability.

Hajduk used the analogy of the cycle of water to describe how the flow of money and products impacts the local economy. This also stressed the importance of spending money locally and the Be Here initiative.

Wrapping up the morning was a panel of 2019 Leadership Venango graduates, including Randy Arnold, Lauren Lupinacci and Ashley Smith. The trio answered questions from the Class of 2020 and provided insight on their experience in the program.

Emily Lewis, the Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Authority, opened the second half of the day with a discussion on some of the most pressing economic development projects in the county.

At the top of the list is the transformation of the Oil City National Bank building into a multi-purpose facility including a brew pub and banquet space. 

Lewis also highlighted the eAcademy at Venango, which launched earlier this year. The program is an extension of the highly-successful eAcademy program at Linden Pointe that fosters and encourages an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Venango County version specifically targets high school seniors.

The remainder of the day for the leadership class was spent touring several businesses in the area including Komatsu’s chain plant, Webco’s Reno facility, and Klapec Trucking.

Each organization provided an overview of what they do and gave the group a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate.

The next session will take place on Wednesday, November 13 at PennDOT’s District 1 office in Oil City with a focus on maximizing clean communications.

To learn more about Leadership Venango, visit leadershipvenango.org.

Leadership Venango Holds Second Annual Retreat


The Leadership Venango Class of 2020 met for the first time on September 12-13 for a day and a half overnight retreat.

The first afternoon, at Whitehall Camp and Conference Center, was spent exploring our personalities and how to work better by understanding what influences our behaviors.

After dinner, the class reconvened for a Community Conversation with Dan Flaherty, a LV  Class of 2019 alumni. Before turning in, the new class met around a campfire, getting to know each other.

Friday morning began with an exercise on visioning, led by Chamber President Susan Williams. Next, Andy, on staff with Whitehall, led the class in teambuilding.  Along with completing physical challenges, the class discussed the dynamics of working together.  With encouragement from the new class, Susan willingly participated in the trust fall, allowing the class to catch her from a fall.

The day concluded with the class approving class rules, learning about managing a meeting and introducing speakers and creating a class vision for this year.

Participants this year include:

  • Kaylee Azzopardi, UPMC Northwest
  • Damien Cherico, Webco Industries
  • Saxon Daugherty, Child Development Centers
  • Matthew Deal, Morrison Funeral Home
  • Ethan Gravatt. Klapec Trucking Company
  • Carrie Karns, Oakwood Heights
  • Tracy Lander, Klapec Trucking Company
  • Jessica Schultz, Child Development Centers
  • Kat Thompson, PA CareerLink Oil Region
  • Annie Welsh, Oil Region Library Association
  • Amy Keth, Clarion University Small Business Development Center
  • Thomas Chase, Videographer

Learn more about the Leadership Venango program at leadershipvenango.org.

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

Leadership Venango Accepting Applications


The 2019 2020 Leadership Venango Class will hold their kick off retreat on September 12 13, 2019, followed by monthly full day sessions through May of 2020. This program is a significant commitment of money and time.

So, why should you consider investing in such an activity or encouraging someone else to do so? You may already be in a position where you are managing others, through your title or simply your areas of responsibility. Perhaps you’ve already taken classes, read books, and served in leadership positions. We encourage you not to dismiss this opportunity to further enhance your leadership journey, which is sure to be newly informed by the changing times, a diverse class make up, and an array of great speakers and activities.

Tessa Byham, a graduate of the inaugural class remarks “My favorite things about Leadership Venango were the connections made within the class, getting out into the community and learning about the different businesses and locations, and growing professionally in my ability and confidence in my networking skills.”

Ryan Sweeney adds “This program is a great value to the area and the people involved. I gained so much knowledge about the area that I didn’t know and also gained some great connections both in the class and with presenters.”

Emily Lewis, another member of the class of 2019, said: “Leadership Venango taught me that there are many traits of a good leader but the most important is the ability to truly listen and lean in to challenging issues. I feel I am a better equipped member of my community because of my participation in this program.”

If you have any questions about Leadership Venango, please visit www.leadershipvenango.com for details or contact the Chamber office and we’d be happy to meet with you. Registration is open and scholarships are available.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s August 2019 VenangoWorks! 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 leadershipvenango.org 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.

Leadership Venango Holds Eighth Session: Energy & Agriculture


The Leadership Venango Class of 2019 met for their eighth session on April 10 at the Venango County Fairgrounds. This session focused on Energy and Agriculture. Renee Tritten, Communications Supervisor for Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) and member of the Chamber’s leadership committee, had a full day planned for the class.

The session began with Larry Brink, System Engineer from CEC, discussing the alternative energy initiative and the pros and cons of various energy sources. He explained that in 2018 the United States was still 64% dependent on fossil fuels, 19% dependent on nuclear power and only 17% dependent on renewable resources. The class next heard from Bill Fesenmeyer, Senior System Engineer at CEC. Bill spoke on the energy industry, reliability, and grid security. Bill explained the different types of grids for areas from cities to rural communities.

Jeff Fowler, Senior Extension Educator for the Penn State Cooperative Extension, introduced the Extension to the class and provided an overview and history of the Venango County Fairgrounds and 4H Program. Jeff is passionate about the program and the life skills students learn through their 4H projects and classes taught by the Extension. He then led the class on a tour of the Fairgrounds.

Following lunch, the class heard from Dan Brockett of the Penn State Extension Program, who spoke on the oil and gas industry and its impact in Venango County. The class discussed the new cracker plant in Monaca and its effect on the economy and the environment.

Warren Thomas, owner of Baytree Farm in Emlenton, then spoke on local agriculture opportunities. He emphasized the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how much work goes in to each crop. Warren recommended supporting local farmers through community-supported agriculture (CSA) and being mindful of the amount of food we waste. 

Finishing up the day was Adam Cook, CEO of the Franklin and Grove City YMCAs. Adam spoke on leading change with energy, touching on the different levels of leadership and how to encourage and motivate others. The Leadership Venango Class of 2019 will meet for their final session May 8 at the Drake Well Museum.

Join us in celebrating the inaugural class of Leadership Venango on May 22! Find more details about graduation here.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.