Reflections from the Class of 2017

Class of 2017 Address

The mission of the Leadership Tri-County program is to sustain community participation and involvement by training and providing new and emerging leaders with the expertise to serve on non-profit boards.

Excellence, determination, compassion, adventurous, persistence, and always willing to go the extra mile are all qualities I consider emerging leaders having. Howard Brown, Craig Colistra, Dinell Smith, Natalee Sassaman, Jill Vincent, Tina Weller, Jen Gilbert, Liz Peters, Melissa Shainline, Nicole Martinez, Laura Justiniano, Wendy Gaynor, Andie Graham, Joyce Weand, and Kitty Papp are people, in my mind, who exemplify these qualities and have proven that over the past 10 months.

Also, qualities I consider emerging leaders exhibiting would be going through rotator cuff repair surgery, like our own Andie Graham managed to do, while continuing with the class without skipping a beat. Or knowing your limitations, like Howard Brown found out while going through the waste water treatment facility. Or, knowing how to pick up right where you left off and finishing strong like Nicole Martinez managed to do while having a child right in the middle of the class. No, she didn’t give birth during the class…that would have been epic. Or, the most admirable quality I can think of was from our fearless leader, Kitty. While, what was happening in her personal life could have very easily kept her from leading our class, she exhibited dedication. She has dedicated the last 10 months to seeing us get through this class, and from the bottom of each of our hearts, we are very grateful to have had her at the helm.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Leadership Tri-County class of 2017, what a past 10 months it has been. We have been on one heck of an adventure together, and I couldn’t think of 15 other individuals I would have enjoyed spending my time with, then all of you. I can still remember those first team building activities we accomplished, together. Like, having to get all of our team members over a pit of lava via a rope swing. What a site that was just getting the rope in the first place. A big shout out to Nicole, who pregnant at the time, knew her limitations, and said hell with all of you and jumped across the lava anyway. I don’t think I ever saw Kitty’s face as pale as that moment. Or how about leading the blind through an obstacle course using NO vocal instructions. Wait, didn’t someone lead their teammate directly into a branch? Glad to see we’ve gotten over that one. We went to court together, to jail together, we got to see the inner workings of a large scale newspaper producer together. We went through non-profit boot camp together. We learned how to grow vegetation indoor by way of using fish waste as the food source for plants and learned about how up-to-date Pottstown is on sustainability for the future. We got to see how to control the cameras on I-76 together, and we witnessed live SWAT operations together. We heard inspirational words from a great leader of our local hospital, Rich Newel together. We viewed international companies from the inside that are not widely known to the common person when we went through Sealstrip Corporation and Gateway Ticketing together. We went deep inside a stone quarry on a bus together. And how about that time we were able to create joy for children at Christmas time when we pulled together resources to provide toys for the less fortunate in Pottstown when we volunteered at the Salvation Army.

I hope this talk has served the class well in bringing back some of the memories we all shared together, as well as reminded us all of the hard work we accomplished, together. I have used the word together quite a lot in this talk, and it is not by accident. For, a leader is only as strong as the team he or she works with. It is our leadership qualities and styles that will mold the teams we lead going forward. Take note, all of the non-profits in the room, you are looking at the future leaders that will be serving on your boards. I can say, you should be very excited. There is a hell of a lot of talent in this room.

In closing, I would like to state that through our lifetime, we will all experience millions of memories. Only a select few will stick with us to the end. I know for me, this is one that will stick for sure. We came into this program, most of us strangers, but we will all exit now friends. Good luck to each and every one of you going forward and congratulations. Thank you.


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