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Leadership Genesee

CCE and Leadership Genesee offices closing early June 13

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Genesee and Leadership Genesee offices will close for the day at 2 p.m. on June 13. The offices will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 14.

Leadership Genesee discovers the abundance of Genesee County arts & culture

By Press Release
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Submitted photo of Leadership Genesee 2024 participants hear from Kathy White about what it takes to present a live performance at Main St. 56 Theater, home of the Batavia Players.

By Peggy Marone LG ‘02, Director

Press Release:

How many times have you driven in downtown Batavia and never noticed there are more than 20 murals between Jackson, Ellicott, and Bank Streets? The Leadership Genesee (LG) Class of 2024 discovered them during a ‘scavenger hunt’ activity on March 27, LG Arts & Culture Day.

One participant shared, “The scavenger hunt allowed us to really observe the murals. How often I drive by these murals and don’t really notice the detail or the extent of artwork on display. Some of the murals I have never seen or noticed (like the one on the fire hydrant). Art can be made anywhere!”

Leadership Genesee Our Arts & Culture Day works to raise awareness about arts initiatives and activities in Genesee County and reveal some of our cultural history and traditions. “This month's topic really encouraged me to think about my personal background and heritage. Our community is so diverse!” said one participant.

The group met at Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (Go Art!) for the morning hearing from Gregory Hallock LG ’18, Executive Director, about how the organization has grown over the past several years. The organization is dedicated to developing the cultural life in Genesee and Orleans Counties by facilitating the creation, presentation, and experience of art, heritage, and traditions. The facility has a dance studio, podcast studio, displayed art, open mic sessions, Tavern 2.o.1 as well as offering community events. The class had the opportunity to tour the facility and participate in a Bollywood Dance session.

Terry Abrams LG ’07, Curator/ Collections Manager, Niagara County Historical Society, shared information about The Tonawanda Seneca Nation, our neighbors in Genesee County. Terry spoke of Seneca's history and culture and how their values remain strong and intact. Language, song, art, dance, and sports are all vital aspects of Seneca culture. 

After a tour of Main St. 56 Theater and learning about the initiatives from Batavia Players to bring additional live theater to Genesee County and offer options to kids for theater camps, the group visited The Harve in the Harvester Center. The Harve is a 7,000-square-foot hidden gem of art and music! Nestled within The Harvester Center with its entrance just through Pub Coffee Hub this vibrant venue is a haven for creativity and entertainment.

After sharing stories of their cultural heritage, the group participated in a drum circle led by Jackie Swaby, Executive Director of the Arts Council for Wyoming County. Jackie not only shared her expertise in drumming but the background and significance of drumming. The group ended the day by participating in activities to create their own stories through art. 

Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer, and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities, and provides equal program and employment opportunities. 

For more information, visit LG’s website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee; “like” LG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leadershipgenesee; or contact Program Director Peggy Marone at (585) 343-3040, ext. 118 or mem77@cornell.edu.

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Submitted photo of members of the LG Class of 2024 pose in front of the downtown Batavia mural they discovered during the scavenger hunt activity.

Leadership Genesee studies ‘our business & economics’

By Press Release
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Submitted photo of (from left to right) Yvonne Peck ’02 & Peggy Marone ’02, Leadership Genesee Representatives; Robyn Brookhart ’02, President & CEO, Liberty Pumps; Dennis Burke LG ’01, CFO, Liberty Pumps.

Press Release:

By Julia Garver, LG Class of 2010

What is “leadership”? The Leadership Genesee class of 2024 was able to get insight into this question from many community leaders in its first-day session, “Our Business & Economics” on Feb. 28. Responses included communication skills, engaging and motivating your team, leading by example, listening to your team and building trust and connection. 

One design team member put it this way: “Leadership embodies the art of inspiring others to achieve collective goals through vision, empathy, and decisive action. It's about guiding and empowering individuals to realize their potential, fostering collaboration, and navigating through challenges with integrity and resilience.”

The day started at Liberty Pumps with Robyn Brookhart LG ’02, President & CEO and
Dennis Burke LG ‘01, CFO sharing what makes LP so successful. First and foremost is the workplace culture, one that is collaborative, respectful, engaging, trustful, and has an element of fun. 

The business model of an ESOP, which LP has embraced, makes all employees (members) owners of the company so they have a stake in the efforts of their labors. That motivates members and encourages them to contribute their ideas for improvement to company operations. Also, the key to success is customer service, as mentioned by both Robyn and Dennis, a theme that reappeared several times during the day.

A presentation about how much of our expendable income is spent in Genesee County raised awareness about the impact of spending locally. Supporting local businesses ensures the vitality of the local economy and job creation with more than 55 cents of every dollar spent locally remaining in the community. The message was that “what is spent local, stays local.”

Visits were made by class members to more than 25 local businesses. The passion and forward-thinking of these entrepreneurs were impactful. Answering hard questions like ‘Should we expand? How much will it cost? Can my son/daughter take it over? and How can I compete with “big box” stores?’ is something that all small business owners face.

Rob Credi of Pub Coffee Pub revealed that what drives him includes the color scheme of his business which he chose to memorialize his sister, and his love of the show “Friends” which he uses to name some menu items. His vision led him to start the Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary which provides opportunities for starter businesses to explore their space in the culinary field for take-out meals and food items. 

Other issues encountered by local business owners were competing products and keeping up with market trends. 

Guy Pellegrino, the owner of Pellegrino Auto Sales, an independent used car dealer, positioned his business to be a “new car store experience with no new cars”. To date, his business is the #1 rated used car business in Genesee County. He spends time and money on Internet access to apps and sites that let him stay ahead of price changes.

Tina Lambert, of Lambert’s Jeweler’s, mentioned that the current trends of lab-grown diamonds and fewer marriages have impacted their business. 

Lee Winters, owner of Genesee Feeds, said his biggest competition now is the internet. Loyal customers, a tribute to great customer service, have kept both their businesses successful.

The day ended at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena where Matt Gray LG ’11 spoke about how his experience in LG sparked the idea of the Eli Fish Brewing Company in which he is a part owner. Matt is also the owner of Alex’s and in 2022 he stepped up to take over the management of the ice arena. 

The economic impact of this venture is apparent when there are 5 to 15 teams from outside of the area coming to Batavia to play each week. The players and their families and supporters stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, and shop here in Genesee County which helps everyone.

February’s session was hosted by Liberty Pumps and the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena. Meals were sponsored by Lawley and Gavin M. Townsend, Lic. RE Salesperson at HUNT ERA Batavia.

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Submitted photo of Scott Holmes, LandPro Store Manager, shares their business model with members of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2024.

Leadership Genesee announces class of 2024

By Press Release
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Members of the Class of 2024 and their sponsoring organizations are (from left to right): 
1st row: Katy Hobbs, GC Chamber of Commerce; Arvind Sridharan, Liberty Pumps; Heather Tabor, Lawley  
2nd row: Abby Ball, Batavia Housing Authority; Missy Blum, Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union; Carla Aceto, GC Health Department; Raylyn Kingdon, Town of Batavia; Karen Vallese, DelPlato Casey Law Firm, LLC; Melanie Rhodes, WNY Rural Area Health Education Center
3rd row: Jamie Lindsley, Oakfield Betterment Committee; Mark Wheeler, WNY Tech Academy/ GV BOCES; Sheila Harding, UConnectCare Behavioral Health Services; Krista Galdun, City of Batavia; Jill Mapes, GC Department of Social Services; Peter Mittiga, GC Mental Health Service; Jessica Riley, GC Office for the Aging; Jennifer Waldron, GC Department of Social Services; Kelly Starchok, Genesee Community College; Lauren Casey, GC Economic Development Center
4th row: Dave Hetrick, RRH United Memorial Medical Center; Branden Riggs, Clark Patterson Lee; Adam Doktor, GC Information Technology; Mark Williams, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; Tim Hagen, Town of Alexander; Bill Bogan II, GC Probation; Dave Bell, GC Health Department; Destin Danser, LeRoy Ambulance Service, Inc.; Craig Wagner, Alleghany Farm Services; Jodi Fisher, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council

Press Release:

Leadership Genesee welcomed 29 individuals from all walks of life representing our community’s public and private organizations, on January 24 and 25 for the 2-day Opening Retreat.  

First time organizations include LeRoy Ambulance Service, Oakfield Betterment Committee Inc., WNY Rural Area Health Education Center, and DelPlato Casey Law Firm, LLP. The class represents a broad cross-section of the community, including education, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, service industry, not-for-profits and the public sector.

Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone said, “Leadership Genesee believes we owe it to future generations to provide a community with people who are knowledgeable, able to have civil conversations about both sides of an issue, and create trusting and respectful relationships!” 

She continues, “There is a lot going on in our world, we must have leaders who embrace inclusion, listen generously, and understand that it takes little or no effort to allow others to have their feelings and opinions. This kind of respect is missing in many conversations, it’s up to each of us to bring that respect back to our relationships.”

The retreat was sponsored by Leadership Genesee Alumni and was facilitated by Skip Helfrich of Human Energies. Leadership Genesee is a program of CCE Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and individuals with Disabilities, and providing equal program and employment opportunities.

For more information, visit LG’s website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee; “like” LG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leadershipgenesee; or contact Director Peggy Marone at (585) 343-3040, ext. 118 or mem77@cornell.edu.  Up next for the Class of 2024: Our Business, Our Economics on February 28.

Leadership Genesee graduates 26 in Class of 2023

By Press Release
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Photo of Leadership Genesee Class of 2023 courtesy of Laurie Pfaff LG 2009.
1st row (left to right): Morgan Hoffman, Carol Hunt, Gabrielle Lanich, Chelsea Peyman, Melissa Stein, Barbara O’Rourke, Daniel Calkins, Jaden Ohlson, Lauren Becht 
2nd row: Gail Tenney, Roger Caldwell, Jessica Patnode, Staci Williams, Jacob Cone, Sarah Jarkiewicz, John Jondle, Melissa Kasmarek, Kaitlyn Krna, Josh Dykstra, Doug Curella Jr., Kathy Riggs-Allen 
3rd row: Josh Graham, Terry Thompson, Levi Olsen, Laurie Watson, Kyle Sentiff

Press Release:

Leadership Genesee (LG) presented awards honoring the 26 members of the Class of 2023 at the Annual Graduation Celebration at Terry Hills on Nov. 30. 

Class members from the private sector include Alleghany Farm Services, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Co., Hunt Real Estate ERA, Lizzie’s Ice Cream Camper, RRH United Memorial Hospital, Liberty Pumps, Porter Farms, Tompkins Financial, Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, Freed, Maxick CPAs, P.C., Tonawanda Valley Federal Union and UConnectCare (GCASA).

Also included from the public sector were members from Batavia Housing Authority, Byron Bergen Central School, City of Batavia Fire Department, Genesee County Department of Social Services, Health Department, and Office for the Aging, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee Community College, Mercy Flight/ Mercy EMS, and NYS Unified Court
System. 

Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone said at graduation, “As a group, you have shared so much quiet courage for what life throws your way, it’s the kind of courage that’s inspiring to everyone you meet, whether they know about it or not. It’s the way you hold yourselves and show the world the grit and backbone you have and without even knowing it, you
become a lesson for someone who might not know they need it, but they do… we all do. You have a collective character that will stay with me for a long time.”

Leadership Genesee is a year-long community education committed to exploring Genesee County and encouraging the leader within all of us. We aim to provide well-prepared servant leaders for Genesee County ready to accept responsibility for our community’s shared concerns.

One participant said, “The experience exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I have gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the community I work in. I gained a better understanding of my leadership style and how to adjust to others’ styles to better serve and support them.”

The Class of 2024 will begin their journey in January. Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities, and provides equal program and employment opportunities. For more information about Leadership Genesee, please visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee.

Leadership Genesee names Holly Sharpe ’04 outstanding alumnus 2023

By Press Release

Press Release: 

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Submitted photo of Holly Sharpe, courtesy of Laurie Pfaff LG’09.

We are pleased to announce that Holly Sharpe, a graduate of the LG Class of 2004, has been named Outstanding Alumnus 2023. Chris White ’06 and Jocelyn Sikorski ’07 nominated Holly sharing, “Holly has been a cheerleader and ambassador for Leadership Genesee in many capacities over the past 19 years and has volunteered for LG even before she was a member, helping with the group’s Outdoor Leadership Challenge.”

Holly shares, “As a lifelong community member, I thought I knew much of what happens in Genesee County and was surprised to see and hear there is much more than most people know or realize. I want to help others learn and experience this amazing program.” 

Holly served on LG’s Steering Committee for two terms, 2016-2022, serving as Co-Chair from 2020-2021. Leadership Genesee director, Peggy Marone LG ’02 shares, “Holly has been a close friend and advocate for all things community and Leadership Genesee. She has taught me a great deal about being an effective facilitator to find ways to help others grow in their abilities and confidence. That’s what leadership is all about and that is who Holly is.” She continues to facilitate LG’s Outdoor Leadership Challenge each year, one of the most impactful sessions in the year-long curriculum.

Holly has been a very active alumnus volunteering for LG, attending events and continued educational opportunities, as well as financially supporting the organization through alumni dues and donations. “I have not only learned and become more educated and aware of our community, but I have also made new connections and lifelong friendships,” said Holly.

Holly served on the CCE Board of Directors and the MHA Board of Directors, co-chairing their golf tournament. She served as a United Way Campaign Loan Executive and a City of Batavia School District volunteer. Professionally, Holly worked for the Genesee County YMCA as a fitness director and Associate Executive Director. During her tenure with the YMCA, she was recognized as a trainer of trainers for the YUSA.

Holly has her own training studio, Sharpe Training, LLC. She is a recognized and respected trainer traveling internationally for FitBodies, Inc. Group Exercise. 

When asked what Leadership Genesee means to her and what she’d say to someone interested in the program, her answer was simple, “Leadership Genesee means community, collaboration, connection, learning, and a valuable resource. Run, don’t walk, and apply, you will have zero regrets!” 

LG Director Marone is thrilled that she is being given the Outstanding Alumnus Award. “This award signifies someone who has worked not only to strengthen Leadership Genesee but who serves Genesee County generously as a true servant leader, a wonderful mentor for all of us.” 

Holly will be honored at the LG graduation on Thursday, Nov. 30 at Terry Hills. 

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is sponsored by Skip Helfrich of Human Energies.  Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities. For more information about Leadership Genesee, please visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee.

CCE and LG will close early Thursday Nov. 9

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Genesee and Leadership Genesee (LG) offices will close for the day at 12 p.m. on Nov. 9. The offices will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 13.

Leadership Genesee announces 2022 graduates

By Press Release

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Press release:

Leadership Genesee presented awards honoring the 19 members of the Class of 2022 at the Annual Graduation Celebration at Terry Hills on December 1.

The class includes members from the private sector including M&T Bank, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Co., Clark Patterson Lee, RRH United Memorial Hospital, Alleghany Farm Services, Liberty Pumps, Tompkins Financial, Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, Freed, Maxick CPAs, P.C., and Warrior House of WNY. Also included from the public sector were members from Genesee County Department of Social Services, Highway and Health Departments, Genesee County Economic Development Center, BEST Center GCC, City of Batavia and Richmond Memorial Library.

Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone shared at graduation, “What I think about this class and why I love LG is that after everything this world has been through, you have shown the greatness of the human spirit, the best of yourselves and each other. Leadership Genesee is the unique opportunity and platform to practice and experiment with various subject matters, it’s a community education that encourages open dialogue where information builds on what came before, creating a new universe of community knowledge and the possibilities that could be. It’s a place where the fears from 11 months ago have become the collective confidence of LG 2022.”

The Class of 2023 is forming and will begin their journey in January. Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities. For more information about Leadership Genesee, please visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee.

Photo by Laurie Pfaff, class of 2009 First row: Steph Parmenter, Christina Fetzer, Becky Prefontaine, Felicia Cecere, Stephanie Merkley; second row: Sheri Faggiano, Susan Zeliff, Justin Gerace, Wesley Bedford, Penny Kennett; third row:  Angelina Miconi, Jennifer Sweet, Christopher Camp, Jennifer Wakefield, Patrick Carr, Kaitlyn Pettine, Jeremy DeLyser, Nicholas Sperrazza, Jessica Zaremski

Leadership Genesee names Paul Osborn 'Alumnus of the Year'

By Press Release

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Press release:

Leadership Genesee will present awards honoring the 19 members of the Class of 2022 along with the 2022 Outstanding Alumnus Award at the Annual Graduation Celebration at Terry Hills on Dec. 1.

Paul Osborn, a graduate of the Class of 2005, has been named the Leadership Genesee Alumnus of the Year. The award is presented annually to an alumnus who works to fulfill the program’s mission displaying exceptional achievements and contributions to the community and Leadership Genesee.

When Paul was asked what Leadership Genesee meant to him, he said, “Leadership Genesee was an opportunity for me to learn more in-depth details regarding our community and focus on how I could become a better leader. The program provides tools and activities that make you more self-aware of the bigger picture, to think before you react, and ways to understand people to communicate more effectively.”

Tim Hens LG 2001 nominated Paul, sharing, “Paul is involved in every organization that you can imagine. He spends literally his entire time making life better for the residents and youth of his village, town, and county.”

Paul’s community involvement includes active participation and leadership roles with the following organizations: Oakfield Lions Club, Oakfield Betterment Committee, Alabama-Oakfield Dollars for Scholars, Oakfield Recreation Committee, BEA Camp Hard Hat for students providing experience in a building trades environment, GLOW Corporate Cup, Green Genesee/Smart Genesee, Genesee County Youth Board, Genesee County Parks Advisory Committee, Genesee County Job Development Youth Employment Program and the Association for the Conservation of Natural Spaces (ACORNS), to name some of the organizations Paul helps steward.

Paul shared that it’s been difficult to stay directly active with Leadership Genesee as his professional responsibilities as the Deputy Highway Superintendent for Genesee County include overseeing the Genesee County Jail Project, which takes much of his time. However, Paul continues to help Leadership Genesee because he gained tremendous insights and opportunities for engagement with many Genesee County agencies that are the backbone of our community. Paul shares, “Leadership Genesee is a catalyst for motivating graduates to get out and get involved. Doing what I can is my way of giving back to LG.”  

Leadership Genesee director, Peggy Marone LG ’02 shares, “Paul has always been an advocate for Leadership Genesee, concentrating his efforts in the community, which is a goal of our program. When we knew we were losing the opportunity to hold Outdoor Leadership Challenge at Camp Hough, we talked with Paul about relocating the session to the Genesee County Park. He worked to ensure the elements he built were done to specifications allowing LG classes to experience teambuilding activities at the County Park.” 

Paul is a Landscape Architect by training and has volunteered his love of natural beauty with so many organizations, including helping in the design of the International Peace Garden. Paul has led the transformation of the Genesee County Park system and has turned things like the DeWitt Recreation Area and the Ellicott Trail into regional award-winning community assets. Paul received the 2020 American Public Works Association Western Region award for involvement in the design and construction of the 9.8-mile Ellicott Trail project and the 2022 American Planning Association Upstate Chapter Award for Excellence in Comprehensive Planning for involvement in the 2050 Comprehensive Plan for Genesee County.

Paul’s advice to anyone who is thinking about applying for LG is, “Go…don’t hesitate!  There is so much more to the program than meets the eye.  This program will provide you an opportunity to engage, learn, network, share your story, and most of all…be open to different ways of thinking.” Paul enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and learning about other places, especially Europe.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is sponsored by Skip Helfrich of Human Energies.  Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities. For more information about Leadership Genesee, please visit our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee.

Photo: File photo of Paul Osborn, 2012, by Howard Owens.

Cornell introduces newest class of Leadership Genesee

By Howard B. Owens

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Press release:

Leadership Genesee welcomed 19 individuals from all walks of life representing our community’s public and private organizations, on January 26 and 27 for the 2-day Opening Retreat, held at Terry Hills. 

First-time organizations include M & T Bank and Warrior House of WNY. The class represents a broad cross-section of the community, including education, finance, manufacturing, healthcare, service industry, not for profits and the public sector. 

Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone said, “Today’s world must have leaders who embrace inclusion, listen generously and understand that it takes little or no effort to allow others to have their feelings and opinions. This kind of respect is missing in many conversations, it’s up to each of us to bring that respect back to our relationships.”  She continues, “Leadership Genesee believes we owe it to future generations to provide a community with people who are knowledgeable, able to have civil conversations about both sides of an issue and create trusting and respectful relationships!”  

The retreat was sponsored by Leadership Genesee Alumni and Terry Hills and was facilitated by Skip Helfrich of Human Energies. Leadership Genesee is a program of CCE Genesee County, an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, protecting veterans, and individuals with disabilities, and providing equal program and employment opportunities.

For more information, visit LG’s website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee; “like” LG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leadershipgenesee; or contact Director Peggy Marone at (585) 343-3040, ext. 118 or mem77@cornell.edu.  Up next for the Class of 2022: Our Business, Our Economics on February 23.

Leadership Genesee graduates 29 people in its Class of 2019

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

Leadership Genesee graduated its 19th class of community members on Dec. 5that Terry Hills during a ceremony honoring their accomplishment and recognizing Eric Wies, LG 2019 Outstanding Alumnus.

Mark Beehler, athletic director, Elba Central School, spoke for the 29 members of the class, sharing perspectives of the year.

“This journey is really about relationships, building relationships between each other, with the community and strengthening the relationships we already had before this began," Beehler said. 

Servant leadership is at the heart of Leadership Genesee, with a focus of enhancing the confidence and network for LG alumni to effectively serve our community.

“I figured a good leader got people to agree with them, follow them, and work towards a common goal," Beehler said. "But what I’ve learned through this program is that being a servant leader is much different.  It is leading with the idea of serving others, not having them serve you.

Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone told the 150 in attendance: “Leadership is not rocket science. There’s no secret handshake, there’s no secret society, there’s no one better than you, there’s no one worse than you. Everyone has the capacity to lead.” 

She continued, “Leadership is truly service, putting others first, not worrying about who takes the credit and growing the health and well being of the community so everyone can participate in a deserved quality of life. Leadership is one person at a time, one moment at a time.” 

With a mission of “Exploring the Community & Encouraging the Leader Within,” Leadership Genesee is a yearlong program designed to raise awareness of the needs and challenges that affect Genesee County and to enhance individual leadership skills with a focus on giving back to the community.  

The Leadership Genesee Class of 2019 includes: Mark Beehler, Marie Bell, Joshua P. Bernard, Joel M. Boyer, Anita Cleveland, Ben Dennis, Jenna M. DiFilippo, David G. Diegelman, Steven Falitico, Lezlie A. Farrell, Rachel A. Hale, Betsy Halvorsen, Shawn Heubusch, Courtney Iburi, Daniel G. Insinna, John J. Maloney Jr., Emily L. Marling, Kimberly M. Mills, Martin Moore, Gregory Muench, Tonya Phillips, Robert Riggi, Nicole L. Salmonds, Jaylene E. Smith-Kilner, Kelly Jo Stein, Christian A. Townes, Matthew Walther, Kaitlyn Warren and Sarah Welker.

The graduation of the Class of 2019 brings the LG Alumni total to 514 since the program’s inception in 2001.

Planning Committee members were Stacey Anderson ’03, Amy Barone ’13, Michelle Dills ’05, Mickey Hyde ’06, Lisa Ormsbee ’12, Danielle Rotondo ’08, Ann Marie Suttell ’12 and Thad Thompson ’13.

The evening’s sponsors were Human Energies, Terry Hills Restaurant, Whitman Printing and Laurie Pfaff, LG Class of 2009.

To learn more about the Leadership Genesee experience, contact Program Director Peggy Marone at (585)353-3040, ext. 118.  You may also contact Marone via e-mail at mem77@cornell.edu or visit Leadership Genesee’s website

Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee County.

Bergen's Eric Wies is Leadership Genesee Alumnus of the Year

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

Leadership Genesee will present awards honoring the 29 members of the Class of 2019 along with the 2019 Outstanding Alumnus Award at the annual Graduation Celebration on Dec. 5th at Terry Hills

Eric Wies, a graduate of the Class of 2006, has been named the Leadership Genesee Alumnus of the Year. The award is presented annually to an alumnus who works to fulfill the program’s mission displaying exceptional achievements and contributions to the community and Leadership Genesee.

Wies is the immediate past chair of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the current president of the Bergen Fire Department.

“My primary volunteer effort is tied to helping people in times of emergency," Wies said. "I joined the Bergen Fire Department in 1992, where I have served as lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, and deputy chief. In 2015, I decided to focus my efforts on a business role with the Fire Department and was elected president, a role I continue today. While I have debated about scaling back my efforts so that I could focus on my career and other potential volunteer efforts, I have come to realize that I will always be a volunteer fireman.” 

As a member of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Wies found his involvement to be very rewarding. The Chamber plays an important role in business and tourism throughout Genesee County and he is happy to be part of their community presence.

“Eric has been an active participant in Leadership Genesee since he graduated in 2006 because he feels that Leadership Genesee has given so much to him that he wanted to give back to the program," said Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone. "He served on the LG Steering Committee from 2009 to 2014 and was chair of the Recruiting Committee for five years.

"He obtained sponsorships for our bowling and golf tournaments ensuring his team was ‘dressed’ for the event. Eric’s support and involvement in Leadership Genesee’s curriculum has helped the program grow and become a shining example of servant leadership.”  

Wies said he feels that LG he has been a primary building block in his growth professionally and personally. His philosophy is there should always be time to participate in a program that helps you grow, introduces you to other leaders in the County, and gives you a sense of satisfaction in belonging to a group of people that consider themselves servant leaders.

“An employer that does not support your efforts to better yourself, does not truly understand that the time and money for the program will also result in a better person and employee," Wies said. "I grew up in Bergen, New York and thought I knew everything about the County but, boy, was I wrong.

"The program opened my eyes to agribusiness, gave me a better understanding of the health care issues in the County, and the challenges that local government must face every day."

When asked about previous awards and achievements, Wies said, “For me, the most important awards don’t come with a plaque or trophy, but they do come with a sense of accomplishment or being part of something bigger than you are.

"Helping a friend when his business burned down, helping a single mom at Christmas with presents for her kids, saving a young lady from her burning car, hearing my daughter tell me she loves me, and being part of a group of individuals that make up a team that puts community first.”  

Marone said “This is exactly why Eric is an outstanding selection for this year’s Alumnus Award.”

“He is a true leader," said his nominator Michele Smith, LG Class of 2016 and Bergen Town Clerk. "I witnessed his cool and calm demeanor with the passing of Barry Miller LG ’08 in 2015. Eric was the president of the Bergen Fire Department, I observed several incidences that I don’t know how Eric made it through. I know inside he was a wreck, but as a leader for everyone else who was hurting, he was unwavering.”  

Wies is a principal for Clark Patterson Lee, a multidiscipline architecture, engineering and planning firm. He lives in Bergen with his wife, Carrie, daughter, Hannah, and dog, Casper.

Although he hopes to retire one day, he and his family enjoy getting away for a cruise and more recently trips to remote locations in Vermont to fish and have high stakes games of family Monopoly. Wies is an avid golfer and enjoys spending weekends working on their house.   

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is sponsored by Skip Helfrich of Human Energies.

Leadership Genesee is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County. For more information about Leadership Genesee, please visit  their website.

Erik Fix named Leadership Genesee’s 2017 Outstanding Alumnus

By Howard B. Owens

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Press release:

Leadership Genesee is thrilled to announce that this year’s recipient of the Leadership Genesee Outstanding Alumnus Award is Erik James Fix, LG Class of 2009. The award is presented annually to a Leadership Genesee Alumnus who works to fulfill the mission of Leadership Genesee.

Nominees are program graduates who promote and market the mission of Leadership Genesee, are active in community leadership activities to promote the well-being of Genesee County, and who actively participate in Leadership Genesee initiatives. Erik will receive his award Nov. 30 at the Leadership Genesee 2017 Graduation Celebration at Terry Hills.

Erik, the regional director for the United Way of Genesee County, was nominated for the award by Jocelyn Sikorski (’07), who noted that “Erik is that person that you seek out for advice and foresight on endeavors. He is always actively listening to what is going on, addressing issues with others to fix things or change them for the better. He is well respected for being the caring individual that he is.”

Even before experiencing LG as a participant in 2009, Erik has been active in the program since 2002. At the time, Erik was the camp director for YMCA Camp Hough, and helped in facilitating LG’s Outdoor Leadership Challenge day each year. Since taking part in the program, Erik has served on numerous design teams and committees, and continues to champion the Outdoor Leadership Challenge day session. He has been a part of the Curriculum Committee, Alumni Day Committee, Our Business Our Economics day session and the Encouraging the Leader Within Day session. Additionally, Erik co-presents Facilitation Skills Training, a free alumni enrichment opportunity offered by LG.

“I believe in the mission of the organization of encouraging the leader within,” Erik shared. “I believe there are many talented people in our community who have the ability to lead and I enjoy working with them to grow their leadership skills.”

Erik was hesitant about taking part in the program for nearly 10 years.

“I didn’t feel I would find value in the program. Every month I learned something new about my community. I gained a better sense of how I could contribute to my community’s success and made long-standing friendships. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make our community better and grow their own leadership skills.”

Personally and professionally, Erik strives to make a difference in our community. Jocelyn says the community has benefitted “tenfold” since Erik took the helm at the United Way, with increased partnerships, new programming and continued investment in youth.

Erik also volunteers in many capacities, including the Rotary Club of Le Roy (REA Milne Board Member), the BEA Board of Directors, Junior Achievement, Le Roy Youth Football board member, and Le Roy Little League volunteer manager. Erik also coaches the swim team at GCC and was named Region 3 Coach of the Year for three straight years.

Leadership Genesee Program Director Peggy Marone said, “I have witnessed a lot of growth in Erik since he began working with Leadership Genesee. I always thought he’d be a great candidate for the program but whenever I’d mention it to him he’d do the ‘I’m already a leader in the community’ thing that many people do.

"Working with Erik over the years at Camp Hough, I began to see him become more philosophically involved with Leadership Genesee. His network was growing and he was getting to know more people because of LG. When he applied to participate in 2009, I was thrilled and we’ve had a great working relationship ever since.

"He has helped the LG organization grow especially when it comes to our curriculum. He is one of the few people that I seek out for advice and conversation regarding facilitating groups effectively. Erik is very deserving of this award, I couldn’t be more pleased for him.”

In addition to his many activities in the community, Erik enjoys running, golfing and family vacations with his wife, Susan, and three sons, Brady, Jackson and Carter.

Leadership Genesee develops new retiree program

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Leadership Genesee will launch a new program in April called “Passport to Retirement.” The program is focused on retired or soon-to-retire community members who live, work or previously worked in Genesee County before retirement.

“This program is designed to help transition and enrich the lives of community retirees through continued lifelong learning, social networking and meaningful involvement,” said Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone.

Topics will include: Economic Realities, Healthy Retirement, Leisure Options and Lifelong Learning. A series of 6 sessions beginning April 7 will be offered one day every other week from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Program participants will meet in various locations around Genesee County.

Cost is $300 per person, which includes all costs associated with the program.

“The Passport to Retirement Program offers an effective vehicle for building the resiliency of our retiree population," Marone said. "The wealth of experience and knowledge they possess is needed in our society, we need to learn from the best."

An informational meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 at Terry Hills. Register by Feb. 5  by contacting Samantha Stryker at 585-343-3040, ext. 123, or sls428@cornell.edu.

Additional information and an application form may be found on the Leadership Genesee Web site: http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/leadership-genesee

Leadership Genesee president receives Woman of Distinction Award from Senate

By Howard B. Owens

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Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has honored Leadership Genesee Director Peggy Marone as a Woman of Distinction at the 18th annual ceremony in the State Capitol, recognizing her outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life for the community and beyond.
 
“Peggy inspires participants of Leadership Genesee to enhance their capacity to lead, and every graduate of the one-year program can tell you how her philosophy has improved their personal and professional lives,” Ranzenhofer said. “Our community is lucky to have such a thoughtful, genuine leader.” 
 
“I have worked with so many people over the past 30 years, and one of the constant takeaways is leaders are people who understand the needs of others. Leadership isn’t about being first or most powerful; real power comes from ensuring those you serve are better because of your efforts. I appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer’s recognition of this philosophy, and I will continue to instill it in every Leadership Genesee participant,” Marone said. 
 
As a 2002 graduate of Leadership Genesee, Peggy is passionate about her community. She is an annual volunteer for the United Way’s Day of Caring. She also serves as a judge for Operation Graduation at Batavia High School, and she is a former member of the Genesee County Arts Advisory Committee. 
 
In addition to her community involvement, Peggy is a strong advocate for theater productions in Genesee County. For more than 25 years, she has held every theatrical role possible, including actress, director and stage manager. In 2010, she received an Excellence in Ensemble Acting from the Theatre Association of New York State.

Leadership Genesee Golf & Bocce Tournament

By Lisa Fickel

Wednesday, June 12 at Terry Hills Golf Course.

4 Person Scramble-includes lunch, green fee, cart & buffet dinner.  

$100 pp Individual Golf by May 24th, $50 pp Invidual Bocce by May 24th.

Contact:  sls428@cornell.edu or 343-3040 x 107 

 

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