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Leadership Niagara kicks off 29th year

by jmaloni

Press release

Fri, Jan 18th 2013 07:35 am
Leadership Niagara
Leadership Niagara

29 Western New York leaders begin yearlong journey

On Friday, Jan. 18, 29 leaders across the region will begin a yearlong graduate level leadership development program sponsored by Leadership Niagara. The inaugural meeting of the class will be a two-day retreat at the Four Points by Sheraton in Niagara Falls, held for students to learn leadership concepts and principles, the importance of community interrelationships, how to enhance their personal style through DiSC behavioral assessments, critical thinking, and other introductory exercises to prepare for their year together.

Leadership Niagara, in its 29th year, is the longest running community leadership program in New York, and has revamped its programming in recent years to provide its class members and alumni with practical and in-depth leadership development, coaching and mentoring, study of change, transformation, creativity, innovation and the latest information on regional issues. Since 2012, Leadership Niagara has aligned its monthly themes with the priorities of the WNY Regional Council to introduces each class to area experts and thought leaders in tourism, small business and manufacturing, workforce development and education, agribusiness, regional economic development, binational relations, health and life sciences, renewable energy and criminal justice.

"Our brand of leadership emphasizes self-awareness, humility and purpose in order to become a better leader," said Molly Anderson, executive director of Leadership Niagara. "To advance our region we need leaders with a renewed interest and knowledge, and who will work together for the greater good. We make no assumptions that because you have a title that you are leader. We start at square one with everyone learning, nurturing and practicing leadership development."

While the program attracts many participants and speakers who live or work in Niagara County, it emphasizes the importance of regional issues and industries. Class members have had an opportunity to visit the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the Larkin Building, Southern Ontario and have planned joint leadership sessions with their colleagues at Leadership Buffalo and Leadership Niagara Ontario.

Leadership Niagara's Class of 2013 includes a diverse group of professionals from small business, military, law enforcement, education, nonprofit and government.

"When you look at the work the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is doing and the direction the state is taking in terms of starting to focus on a more regional approach, Leadership Niagara is pleased to be leading the way on this new thinking. We have the best and brightest of local leaders and we look forward to a great year ahead," said Frank Mergl, board chairman.

The Class of 2013 includes:

Jen Baumgartner

Process Manager - 914th Airlift Wing

Todd Bush

Lieutenant - North Tonawanda Police Department

Patricia Copeland

Director of Outpatient Center - The Dale Association

Bryan DalPorto

Superintendent - Niagara Falls Police Department

Chris Dawson

Branch Manager - First Niagara Bank

Elaine Duquette

Associate Executive Director - Opportunities Unlimited

Bruce Elliott

Captain - Niagara County Sheriff's Office

Melissa Foti

Partner - Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP

Rita Geiben

Employee Relations Manager - Niagara University

Terry Gill

Lieutenant - Lockport Police Department

Judie Glaser

Community Relations - Niagara Falls City School District

Ken Hamilton

Columnist - Niagara Gazette

John Higgins

Commander - 107th Airlift Wing

Justin Jacobs

Wholesale Fuel Credit Manager - Noco Energy

Luke Kantor

Camp Kenan Director - Lockport Family YMCA

Susan Kelchlin

Risk Manager - Tops Markets LLC

Anthony Lanza

Area Retail Leader - KeyBank

Elizabeth Lavis

Media Adviser- Niagara Gazette

Phyllis Murawski

VP of Quality - Upstate New York Transplant Services

Tammy D. Ramos

Branch Manager - Key Bank

Chris Schifferli

Principal Engineer - Covanta Energy

Brad Schumacher

Senior Aircraft Mechanic - Calspan Corporation

John Spanbauer

Director of Recreation - Niagara University

Bill Thompson

Foreman - VanDeMark Chemical

Marie Walters

Owner - Marie's Sewing Center

Jennifer Weber

CEO - All Things Jennifer

Jennifer Westerholt

Director of Marketing & Development - Literacy New York

Libby Woock

E-Marketing Coordinator - Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation

James Zeames

Electrical Maintenance Supervisor - New York Power Authority

Lead facilitators of the opening retreat include: Tim Widjaja, founder and principal adviser - Kingdom Hearts Group; Dr. Nancy P. Askins, LN '04, Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara; with support from Patricia Wrobel, LN '12, Niagara University; and Anderson, LN executive director.

The group's opening retreat will include a welcome reception with guest speaker Jodi Johnston, director of corporate media relations at First Niagara Bank. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton, 7001 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls.

Leadership Niagara's mission is to strengthen regional leadership. It was founded in 1984. More than 1,000 leaders in Western New York have graduated from Leadership Niagara.

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