2018 graduates of the Leadership Wyoming program on June 13 included, seated (front, left) Mike Gomez, Phil McKeon, (second row) Alisa Shaffer, Bonnie Nemergut, Matt Swartwood, (standing) Diana Petlock, Kimberly DeLeo, Justin Kostelansky, Brad Georgetti, Rick Hiduk and (not pictured) Kelly Langan and Brian Zeidner.
Twelve representatives of as many different businesses in Wyoming County enrolled last August as members of the second Leadership Wyoming class. Some were encouraged to participate by business owners who saw leadership potential in them, while others saw an opportunity for personal growth and networking. Some divulged on their first day of class that they enrolled because they wanted to learn more about Wyoming County.
Through monthly meetings, the diverse group visited numerous venues throughout the county and learned about the vast array of businesses and non-profit organizations that provide both job opportunities and services for county residents. These included agriculture; heritage, culture and tourism; natural gas; government functions and emergency services; health and wellness; economic development and entrepreneurs; community and human services; and manufacturing.
Additionally, the group was challenged to create a career fair for seventh- through ninth-grade students in the Tunkhannock Area School District, a highly successful event that drew the participation of approximately 30 businesses. The fair was designed to help nearly 240 students better understand what jobs would be available to them upon graduation and what courses and programs already existed in their school system to get there. It is hoped by the Leadership Wyoming team that their template can be used by the school district to repeat the event in coming years.
On June 13, the graduates of the Leadership Wyoming Class of 2018 shared their experiences with members of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual program. The ceremony was a bittersweet moment for a dozen people who had not known previously each other but who bonded and learned how to work together in ways that they could not have foreseen.
Classmates presented Chamber president Gina Suydam (above) with a bouquet of flowers and a gift card to express their gratitude for the opportunity that they were given. Suydam and her staff devised the outline for the program and set perimeters but generally allowed the class members to make their own decisions. Suydam indicated that, with two classes now graduated from the Leadership Wyoming program, she would like to see members start an alumni group to assist and help attract future participants.