The focus for the academy was “Building the Leader Within” (Day One) and “Building the Community with your Leadership” (Day Two). Day one began with professionalism activities for learning effective communication skills (Cassandra Suggs), owning your digital brand (Mason Duchatschek), and dressing for success (Gretchen Pettet). Students then spoke with Frank Hemmer at Mercy and were led in a business lunch etiquette activity by Mayor Sandy Lucy. Students ended day one with industry tours and leadership discussions at Hodges Badge, Ziglin Signs, and Clemco.
Day two began with Sal Maniaci speaking to the group at City Hall about Washington’s civic and service leadership opportunities that exist. Jon Bauer presented a message about East Central College, and Danielle Unnerstall and Jennifer Geisike covered ways students could get involved now through joining junior boards in the area. The group walked to the Bank of Washington and participated in a leadership panel that proved to be informative, engaging, insightful, and interesting. The leadership panel consisted of many area leaders including: Jay Nowak, Julie Scannell, Casey Zastrow, Andrew Clary, Becky Cox, and Matt Posinski. Leaders spoke about their journey through leadership and engaged students with authentic examples and genuine conversation. The panel and group transitioned to Marquart’s Landing for a professional pair up and lunch where more casual leadership discussions occurred. Students heard from Dana Marquart at Photogenics on Location and Jessica Sneed from Envy about their unique and recent professional journey in the great town of Washington. The day ended by learning the components of a thank you note and putting the lesson into action to thank the many people who made the inaugural Leadership Academy of Washington a successful event for area students.
A Fall Follow-Up was conducted in September with the Leadership Academy students to reflect on the Academy activities, discuss part of the book they were gifted (“Make Your Bed”), and talk about the three hour shadow experience or community service each student completed, as a requirement of the Academy. Students enjoyed their experiences and several were connected with events in the community they had never been a part of until their assignment.
Students attended and were recognized at the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in October to round out their leadership experience and meet and greet local business owners in a networking environment.
The goals of the Leadership Academy were to invest in youth in order to grow, support, and maintain positive leaders in the community. The committee strived to form meaningful connections between our community and the students in area schools. The Leadership Academy aligned nicely with the strategic plans of those involved by connecting youth to the community and developing potential future leaders. Students were presented multiple viewpoints on leadership and opportunities within the community. They were encouraged to think critically about leadership and also begin to identify their own particular leadership strengths.
The Leadership Academy would not have been possible without the generous contributions from the following area businesses: Enduro Binders, Ziglin Signs, Bank of Washington, Washington Area Chamber of Commerce, Four Rivers YMCA, City of Washington, Washington Rotary, Washington Lions, Washington Jaycees, Washington Kiwanis, Washington Optimist, and many others. In addition, the following community leaders worked tirelessly to create this event for the youth in our community: Pam Tholen (St. Francis Borgia Regional High School), Andy Robinson (School District of Washington), Jennifer Geisike (Washington Area Chamber of Commerce), Danielle Unnerstall (Bank of Washington), Brandy Koch (Four Rivers YMCA), Becky Cox (Four Rivers YMCA), Annie Wieland (School District of Washington, and Mary Kleekamp (School District of Washington). The hope is to offer this leadership event for many years to come.
For more information on Leadership Academy of Washington, and to view our re-cap video of 2019, visit washmochamber.org/law.
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