Leadership Wyoming Team Begins Plans for Student Career Fair

Leadership Wyoming team members participated in a two-day retreat at Camp Lackawanna on Sept. 20 and 21, during which they worked on team building skills with a number of local business leaders, including (above, far right) Edgar Warriner of Elk Advisors Group. 2017 Team members include (front, from left) Kelly Langan, Bonnie Nemergut, Alisa Shaffer, Mike Gomez, Matt Swartwood, Kimberly DeLeo, Ben Zeidner, (back) Phil McKeon, Rick Hiduk, Justin Kostelansky, Brad Georgetti, and Leadership Wyoming chair Jami Layaou Hearn.

Leadership Wyoming 2017 participants took part in a two-day retreat at Camp Lackawanna near Vosburg recently, where they received more information about this year’s team project. The retreat focused on team building and brainstorming for a career fair for students in the Tunkhannock Area School District that the group will conduct in Spring 2018.

Leadership Wyoming chair Jami Layaou Hearn and Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce president Gina Suydam provided welcoming remarks prior to introducing the group to Edgar Warriner, president and CEO of Elk Advisors Group. Warriner, who had conducted an online DISC behavioral assessment survey of the 12 participants in advance of the meeting, distributed the individual results and explained four steps of effective communication that can be achieved by understanding the data.

Team-building exercises were conducted by University of Scranton Small Business Development director Lisa Hall Zielinski (above); and Toyota of Scranton owner Greg Gagorik, who brought life-size puzzle pieces that literally challenged the group to think outside the box.

Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission (NTRPDC) workforce development deputy director Frank Thompson, and Jerrica Cumminskey, NTRPDC career coach, were the first to provide some much-anticipated details about the community project this year’s Leadership Wyoming class will undertake.

Northern Tier will help to fund a career fair, as it has for similar events in Bradford County. The project was selected as a means to effectively bridge the chasm between students who believe that the pathway to a enjoyable and lucrative career is overwhelming and employers who are having trouble filling entry-level positions with qualified young adults entering the work force.

An ideal class project is one that fulfills an outstanding need for the nonprofit and/or addresses a core challenge,” Suydam explained. “The Leadership Wyoming candidates are emerging and existing leaders in our community who are prepared to make a lasting impact on their community through the development of this career fair.”

Tunkhannock Area School District’s superintendent Heather McPherson, executive director of school consolidation Kelly Carol, and career and technical director Greg Ellsworth explained that the implementation of a career fair is perfectly timed with their consolidation, as the new K-12 curriculum is career-based.

The administrators (above) offered the Leadership Wyoming team great leeway in coordinating the event in terms of space and time available, as well as what grade levels the team feels that it can effectively reach with the format they develop. Regardless of the approach, McPherson maintained, the event should be student-centered.

Creating a meaningful change for the school district and the surrounding community will build a lasting legacy for the Leadership Wyoming class,” Suydam remarked. “A crucial part of a project proposal is finding a creative and engaging way to utilize the diverse skills and backgrounds of the team.”

Additional speakers of the two-day retreat included Frank Sorokach, State Farm insurance agent and Penn State University professor, and Leadership Wyoming Class of 2017 alumni John Fager and Katelyn McManamon (below). Class members enjoyed energy-boosting morning snacks and two healthy lunches prepared by Donna LaBar, who provided a synopsis of body-cleansing and pH-balancing foods during one of the meals.

Upon receiving and compiling the available data, team members met to brainstorm on the career fair, appointing Kelly Langan, director of United Neighborhood Center of Northeast Pennsylvania’s Camp Kelly, as the project leader. Some points of general agreement from the first meeting was a focus on grades 7 through 12 over the course of one full school day; the involvement of as many as 40 businesses, as well as colleges and trade schools; and the recruitment of high school seniors as volunteer event staff. Further information about how organizations can get involved in the career fair will be published at a later date.

Leadership Wyoming will spend a day together again on Wednesday. Oct. 18, exploring the theme “Heritage, Culture and Tourism.” In the meantime, group members will now begin to communicate routinely and work together in smaller groups as they identify the variety of elements and roles that will be part of the process of building the career fair. Ultimately, it is hoped that the group will produce a career fair template that can be used by the Tunkhannock Area School District for annual events.

Leadership Wyoming team members (above, clockwise from left) Mike Gomez, Matt Swartwood, Brad Georgetti, and Ben Zeidner lift a hula hoop in tandem without verbal communication as a team building exercise.

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