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Step forward: Leadership Warren County celebrates Class of 2024

It takes a host of people, organizations and business to make Warren County go.

Most careers in the county only engage directly with a small portion of that large web.

That’s where Leadership Warren County comes in.

The nine-month program takes participants through a series of classes and experiences to acquaint them with the strengths, resources and op

    portunities in the community.

    The 2024 class graduated on Wednesday morning in a ceremony held at the Inter-Faith Chapel on the Warren State Hospital grounds.

    LWC Director Lacey Hanson said the students “honed skills that define true leadership” over the last nine months. “I’m proud of what you’ve achieved.”

    She added that they have “also sown seeds for a bridger future for all of us.

    “Today is a day to reflect on your journey,” she said, and “look forward on the impact you will continue to make.”

    This year’s class includes Leslie Bailey, Kassie Damcott, Joann Elletson, Danielle Flasher, Autumn Highhouse, Jenna Kibbey, Jill Lasecki, Andrew Papalia, Tyler Settlemaier and Gregory VanOrd.

    “Leadership Warren County is an incredible gift to the citizens of Warren County,” Pat Evans, a member of the steering committee, said.

    This year marks the 17th class for the program.

    “This class is really something,” Evans said. “I’ve never seen a group of adults come from disparate places who gelled together so completely.”

    The LWC graduation event typically includes a keynote speaker.

    This year’s class was its own keynote.

    Flasher said she has lived here all her life but added that there were “many things I learned that I had no idea were right in front of me.

    “I thought I knew what home was,” she said. “I was only aware of the tip of the Warren iceberg.”

    Settlemaier said he has volunteered in the community but “learning about Warren. … It’s been an experience I will never have again.

    “I think this has just been so amazing, a great opportunity to come here and learn….”

    “I learned so much about so many different assets we have,” Lasecki said, “things that make Warren County unique.

    “We still have big things coming from this group,” she said, “a lot of impact we’re still going to make on Warren County.

    Damcott said she “never would have imagined I’d be in the place I am today” when she and her family moved to Warren over seven years ago.

    “Leadership is about inspiring and guiding others to achieve a goal,” she said.

    Highhouse called it an “amazing leadership course” while Kibbey said echored that she is “really confident this group will have some big achievements.”

    Papalia said it was an “honor” to participate in LWC, “educating me on what Warren County has to offer.

    “The Warren County I grew up in does not (exist) anymore,” he said. “Not if you can’t find anything to do, it’s your own fault.”

    “I got to know the place I was born and raised,” VanOrd said of the program. “Warren isn’t some dead city. Warren is so much more than that. Leadership… taught me what I was missing out on in my hometown.”

    Bailey highlighted the benefit in the people they met in the program – “how many people care about this county.”

    Passion is a key ingredient to a sense of a community,” Elletson added, calling Warren a “gem of a community that we all call home. First impressions are not always what they seem.”

    A statement from Hanson said that applications for the next class, which will begin in September, are now being accepted.

    “We invite anyone who wants to make a positive impact on our community to apply,” she said. “Our program is designed for individuals who are committed to learning, growing, and giving back to Warren County.”

    Those seeking more information are asked to visit leadershipwarrencounty.org or email director@leadershipwarrencounty.org.

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