By Shane Rogers
Leadership Lorain County recently announced its class of 2014 for the Signature Leadership Program. According to its website, “the mission of Leadership Lorain County is to foster life long Leaders who serve as catalysts for positive change,” and the Signature Leadership Program is a “development class that explores the county and provides hands on learning and engagement.”
Of the 36 people selected to participate in the 10-month-long adult leadership program, many of the class of 2014 members have Avon Lake roots.
Dennis Richards, Jason Perkins and Michael Brunetti all represent PolyOne Corp., which has a long tradition of having multiple members in program. Lori Magyar, who formerly worked for Community Resource Center in Avon Lake and is representing Neighborhood Alliance in the program, was selected, and Avon Lake High School senior Conor Patton is one of four high school students who were selected.
“At the end of the year our goal is to have (the members be) more informed about the community and the issues that are shaping it,” said Beth Maiden, president and CEO of Leadership Lorain County.
To accomplish this, the class of 36 takes a day each month to focus on a different area of interest in Lorain County, such as economic development, health and wellness, law and government, and social justice. Aside from just learning about the county, the members are also required to do a community service project or multiple in order to graduate.
Past classes have done such things as a pet adoption at Midway Mall, a book drive for the patients of Lorain County Health & Dentistry and an extreme makeover of the Lorain County Free Clinic.
“It’s a great way to not only enhance my career but also work with other people in the community and gain some leadership experience,” said Perkins, a senior systems analyst at PolyOne Corp.
“It’s a learning experience and a network experience so it gets a little bit of everything tied into on, I’m excited,” said Richards, an accounts payable supervisor at PolyOne.
An interesting aspect of Leadership Lorain County is that it is one of the only leadership programs in the country that allows participation by high school students, with four being in the 2014 class.
“Well, I think we always strive for diversity in our classes,”
Maiden said. “It’s not just ethnic background; it’s their work experience and where they come from, and also their age.”
Many of the adult members are excited to be working with the younger ones in the program, and are also a little envious they didn’t have the same opportunities when they were in high school. According to Maiden, the combination of experience and enthusiasm from the different members fosters a sense of creativity and produces great community service projects.
As the program prepares to commence, the 36 members can breathe easy knowing they have secured a coveted spot and soon will be working to help make Lorain County a better place.
“I live in Lorain County and have most of my life, so that’s an added bonus to give back to the community,” Richards said.
Contact Shane Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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