Leadership Central Penn Celebrates Largest Graduating Class in Program History

When the journey began, there were 21 strangers wondering what to expect. On May 17, 2018, this group of colleagues and friends gathered for last time as the Leadership Central Penn Class of 2018. The Pine Barn Inn was the location of the festivities of the final class day and graduation. The morning began much like the rest, greetings and a light breakfast. But soon, there were four presentations on the community impact a group of strangers can have, when motivated by a single goal of service.  The four Leadership teams tackled projects for five worthy community organizations and made a real impact on those these nonprofits serve. 

The community projects included backpack stuffing at AGAPE, organization of the donation warehouse, and hospital bed assembly at the Hope Center (Nescopeck), cleaning of the camp and stocking the med shed at Camp Victory, exterior clean up and maintenance at the Teen Center (Berwick), and painting, new light fixtures, bedding and all the comforts needed at The Women’s Center. Hundreds of lives were impacted by these efforts, including those of the LCP class. These projects inspired the class members so much that they went above and beyond the requirements of the class. Some got corporate sponsors and partners to assist, others organized teams of additional volunteers, and more went back for additional hours of community service, joined local nonprofits’ boards and kept giving.

After an emotional morning it was time for lunch with the graduates’ guests.  The keynote speaker was Ed Edwards, former president and CEO of the Columbia Montour Chamber, and one of the founders of the LCP Program. Edwards spoke about his experiences with LCP and what it means to be a leader in today’s community. He also shared that community leadership does not need to be done in grand gestures, but large impact can be made by small efforts that inspire others to act, which is what LCP works to instill in its graduates.

Following Edwards’ keynote, the 2018 class nominated speaker, Eric McCabe, assistant to the athletic director at Bloomsburg University, gave a witty and thoughtful speech about his experiences with LCP. He shared insights from his classmates and stated, “each class taught us something new, gave us something different to take away. I must admit I was a skeptic before I participated in this program, but I now know I am much better for it. Leadership Central Penn has made more knowledge on topics that don’t just affect my place of business but affect our local communities as a whole. This program has made me more confident to communicate and work with what was a once a group of strangers.”

Following McCabe’s speech, Jeff Emanuel, Chamber Foundation director, and Fred Gaffney, Chamber president, presented the LCP certificates of completion to the class of 2018, which are:

Matt Beltz
Columbia Montour Chamber

Tamara Collae
PPL Electric Utilities

Stephanie Gryboski
Geisinger

Vanessa Hales
Geisinger

Sharon Haverlak
SEKISUI SPI

Brandi Hoffman
Service 1st Federal Credit Union

Jordan Ikeler
First Keystone Community Bank

Amanda Jarski
First Keystone Community Bank

Michael Maylath
Autoneum North America, Inc.

Eric McCabe
Bloomsburg University

Scott Near
Kawneer

Jalon Orzolek
Kawneer

Brandon Stauffer
Autoneum North America, Inc.

Teresa Peters
For the Cause

Brian Rakauskas
Girton Manufacturing

Adam Robinson
Geisinger

Candy Ryan
Bloomsburg University

Carol Walters
Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital

Rhonda Wieners
The Hope Center

McKayla Zimmerman
First Columbia Bank & Trust

Congratulations to the Leadership Central Penn Class of 2018.  A special thank you goes out to 2017-18 program sponsors: SEKISUI SPI, Kawneer, USG and Bloomsburg University. Thanks to the nonprofits scholarship sponsor Central Susquehanna Community Foundation for sponsoring Teresa Peters and Rhonda Wieners’ participation in the program. Finally, a special thank you to Welch Performance Consulting for sponsoring breakfast and assisting Emanuel in his first year as the director of the LCP program.