On May 15, the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce graduated 46 participants from the Leadership Delaware County Class of 2019. The graduation luncheon was held at Willow Brook at Delaware Run, the event’s annual sponsor.
Leadership Delaware is a community leadership program and has been a hallmark program of the Delaware Area Chamber since 1991. To date, the program has graduated 685 participants. The program is designed to identify, nurture, and promote future leaders in Delaware County; to increase awareness and provide education and opportunity to leaders in the Delaware County community. The program develops informed and committed leaders by providing participants with an understanding of the critical issues affecting Delaware County and beyond. Leadership and stewardship capabilities are developed to assist in resolving these issues with an emphasis on knowledge, skills enhancement and trusteeship.
Leadership Delaware County is structured to encompass a broad variety of citizens from up-and-coming office associates to corporate management staff to CEOs who have demonstrated an interest in assuming greater leadership roles, and to educate them through programs that broaden and deepen their knowledge of the county’s challenges and opportunities.
Leadership Delaware County participants engage in a nine-month program carefully designed to increase their community leadership skill. During the leadership experience, participants are exposed to a variety of viewpoints in various areas illustrating the broad array of economic, political, educational, and social issues at all levels. The program is experiential and is best described as a “backstage pass,” offering opportunities participants couldn’t otherwise experience.
This year’s graduating class of Leadership Delaware County chose three community projects. The participants came out on evenings and weekends and helped with one or more initiatives, working side-by-side with their classmates.
One was a landscaping project at a property owned by Delaware Creative Housing, which, since 1991, has been providing affordable and quality housing for people with disabilities and seniors. They created flower beds around the perimeter of the house, planted shrubs, flowers, one shade tree, and a decorative bush. They also created an outdoor dining area with a picnic table. This project not only benefits Creative Housing, but also helps beautify the neighborhood.
On April 15, 2004, the team at Habitat for Humanity of Delaware and Union Counties was excited to open the ReStore for one day a week. Now, 15 years later, they are moving from their 7,000-square-foot location on Curtis Street to a 14,000-square-foot facility in the Delaware Square Shopping Center at the former site of Metro Fitness. The Leadership class helped get the facility ready by painting the interior.
The class’ third community project was undertaken in the Second Ward Community Center in Delaware. The Second Ward had a library that needed attention — organizing, alphabetizing, and weeding hundreds of books. Because of Leadership’s help, the library is now open and usable to the Ward’s neighbors.
The class of 2019 included the following individuals: Jeff Balzer, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office; Julie Bardelang Wolf, Willow Brook Christian Communities; Sarah Barr, Syntero; Ryan Belcher, Delaware Speech & Hearing Center; Tony Benishek, Preservation Parks of Delaware County; Michele Boni, Orange Township; Gorjie Christian-Colwell, Ohio Living Sarah Moore; Susan Cornett, The Alpha Group; Karen Cowan, Friends of the Delaware County District Library; Todd Daughenbaugh, Fresh Start Café & Bakery; Corie Dunfee Thompson, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Megan Edwards, Delaware General Health District; Averee Fields; Columbus State Community College; Sharon Griner, Common Ground Free Store; Mandy Henning, Delaware County District Library; Kaitlin Jordan, Holony Media; Jonathan Kelly, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital; Dustin Kent, Delaware General Health District; Mandy Lynch, First Commonwealth Bank; Erin MacLellan, Willow Brook Christian Communities; Angie Macwhinney, Delaware City Schools; Ryan Malany, Delaware City Schools; Marie McCreary, Willow Brook Christian Communities; Jenn McGowan, Delaware County Fair; Molly Myers LaBadie, Delaware County District Library; Kassie Neff, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office; Shannon Niedzwicki, Marion Technical College; Kristin Nietfeld, Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Brittney Nowlin, Delaware City Schools; Zach O’Dell, First Commonwealth Bank; Jen Pollard, Delaware City Schools; Tom Rubadue, Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan; Jeff Rupp, Woodland Environment; Melissa Schiffel, City of Delaware; Jessica Sergent, Sky Climber; Steve Sikora, Delaware County Dept. of Job & Family Services; David Simon, Nationwide Insurance; Matt Simpson, Preservation Parks of Delaware County; Kyle Steinbauer, OSU Wexner Medical Center– Lewis Center; Shelly Stewart, Willow Brook Christian Communities; Tracy Stojkov, Village of Ostrander; Mike Studer, Del-Co Water Co.; Tammy Tangen, Common Ground Free Store; Abbey Trimble Delaware General Health District; Chautauqua Youngblood, First Citizens National Bank; and Julie “Z” Zdanowicz, SourcePoint.
The chamber is accepting applications for the Leadership Delaware County class of 2020. The program begins with a kick off lunch in August, followed by a full day on the second Thursday of the month from September to May, and it ends with a graduation luncheon in May. Information and application can be found on the chamber website, DelawareAreaChamber.com, under the “Programs” tab, or by calling the chamber at 740-369-6221.
This story was submitted by the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce.