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SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) recently welcomed LaTonia Naylor of Springfield College and Gregory Thomas of UMass Amherst to its board of directors.

Naylor is a dedicated Springfield native and LPV class of 2016 alumna who has been serving the region for years through her work at nonprofit organizations and the Springfield School Committee, where she serves as an elected member. Thomas, director of the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship Management at UMass, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in positions across corporate America in both advising and coaching leaders and entrepreneurs.

“LaTonia and Gregory bring great skill sets to our board as we envision our future as an organization. Their perspectives as an alumna and entrepreneurial advisor are invaluable to the organization,” said Lora Wondolowski, executive director of LPV.

The board also elected its officers, including Annamarie Golden of Baystate Health as chair, Tony Maroulis of W.D. Cowls as vice chair, Calvin Hill of Springfield College as clerk, Callie Niezgoda of Common Capital as treasurer, and Russell Peotter, retired from WGBY, as immediate past chair.

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SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is now accepting applications for enrollment in its LEAP class of 2021. This year’s class will be a little different under COVID-19 protocols. LPV has condensed the curriculum to six months and will mainly operate remotely.

LEAP, LPV’s regional leadership-development program, engages the Pioneer Valley’s most promising emerging leaders through learning and exploration. Participants are trained in applied leadership skills by experts. They also explore critical community issues by connecting with local leaders and visiting businesses and towns across the region. This year’s program runs from January through June.

In its nine years running, more than 300 individuals representing more than 100 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated. The program has filled a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region. Fifty-three percent of alumni have a new leadership role at work, 64% have joined a new board of directors, and 99% made new meaningful connections.

“This year will be a little different,” said Lora Wondolowski, executive director of LPV. “We are using best practices from other programs around the country to adapt our curriculum to meet our current challenges.”

LPV is seeking applicants from all over the Pioneer Valley, including Hampden County, Hampshire County, and Franklin County, in different sectors. The program is designed for those in nonprofits, businesses, and government who are eager to increase their leadership skills and take action to better the region.

Applicants are considered in a competitive application process that prioritizes diversity by employment sector, geography, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley should consider applying. The deadline for class of 2021 applications is Nov. 20. Applications and further information can be found at www.leadershippv.org.

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SPRINGFIELD — Last month, Leadership Pioneer Valley’s (LPV) board of directors approved a plan for the next six months. The plan creates new leadership-development options aimed at addressing the needs of the wider community.

Because leadership in a pandemic necessitates both a statewide and national perspective, LPV will continue to collaborate with programs across the Commonwealth and participate in the National Leadership Alumni Network — a first of its kind. It will also continue offering sessions exploring creating more equitable workplaces and communities. These programs and others in the works are designed to address the needs of LPV alumni and the wider community.

LPV’s signature LEAP program, a nine-month regional leadership-development program for emerging leaders, will be pushed back to January 2021, and will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person programming that prioritizes safety while building engaging connections. This fall, LPV will offer a number of new opportunities including small Leadership Luncheons, a Leader Roundtable series, and a new Adaptive Leadership series. All sessions will begin virtually and transition to in-person when feasible.

“Like almost every organization and family, the pandemic and its consequences have required that LPV reconsider how we fulfill our mission and continue to serve our region,” said Russell Peotter, board chair of Leadership Pioneer Valley. “The board and executive director have had numerous conversations with our supporters, employers, alumni, and each other to create this path forward, which we feel will do just that.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) recently welcomed Lidya Rivera-Early of Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to its board of directors. Rivera-Early has a demonstrated history of serving on various boards and committees within the community. As an LPV LEAP alumna, she also brings a passion for both the mission of the organization and the continued success of the Pioneer Valley.

“We are delighted to have Lidya join us,” said Lora Wondolowski, Leadership Pioneer Valley executive director. “Lidya understands firsthand the value of LPV. She will bring her voice, skills, and experiences to the board and will help LPV to fulfill its mission of building and connecting more diverse, committed, and effective leadership for the Pioneer Valley.”

The Board also announced that Russell Peotter and Annamarie Golden will continue for an additional year in their current roles as chair and vice chair, respectively. Francia Wisnewski will continue as clerk, and Callie Niezgoda as treasurer.

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HOLYOKE — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) hosted a graduation ceremony for its nine-month regional leadership-development program, called LEAP, a little differently this year. This year’s group of 33 professionals from area businesses, nonprofits, and the public sector lined up in a parking lot at Holyoke Community College to hear video congratulations from employers and elected officials before receiving certificates. The program was also livestreamed on Facebook.

“This class has risen to new challenges that weren’t anticipated by anyone and gotten closer as a result,” said Lora Wondolowski, executive director of LPV. “As a result, they have applied crisis-leadership techniques in real time and are well-positioned to lead their teams and communities.”

Participants are trained in leadership skills by experts in a classroom setting. They also attend in-depth field experiences across the region, where they met with local leaders to explore the region’s economy, arts, and key issues. The program conducted the final three months virtually.

“Leadership Pioneer Valley is intentional is its efforts, inviting diverse participants to self-reflect personally and professionally,” said Taniesha Burton of Baystate Health, class of 2020 speaker. “It provided the opportunity to obtain invaluable concepts through observations and experiences, using insightful materials to explore the process. It helped me uncover areas to improve, while challenging me to press into strengths, honing them for the better.”

Leadership Pioneer Valley LEAP graduates worked in teams during the program with area nonprofits. Projects included creating a business plan for Greenfield Community College’s Food Pantry, organizing a signature fundraiser for Each Moment We Are Alive, organizing public support for an affordable-housing unit with One Holyoke, creating planning and promotion tools for the Springfield Central Cultural District, and diversifying the constituencies and offerings of MassAudubon’s Arcadia Sanctuary. The projects are designed to be in-depth, hands-on experiences that put the LPV curriculum into action for the benefit of communities in the Pioneer Valley. The majority of teams changed their projects to meet the changing needs of organizations in light of COVID-19.

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SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced a virtual discussion with local leaders from different sectors about how they are leading during COVID-19, what is needed, and what we can expect. The event will be held on Tuesday, May 5 from noon to 1 p.m. on Zoom.

Speakers for “Letting Leadership Shine” include Jessica Collins, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts; Justin Hurst, Springfield city councilor; Joanne Marqusee, president of Cooley Dickinson Hospital; Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College; and Katie Allan Zobel, executive director of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Other speakers will be announced.

“These unprecedented times are putting a real strain on everyone, but especially leaders,” said Lora Wondolowski, Leadership Pioneer Valley’s executive director. “We are excited to hear from local leaders on how they are leading and their forecasts for their sectors.”

To register or for more information on sessions, visit www.leadershippv.org.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced a new collaboration with LEAD Boston and Leadership South Coast to offer a series of free leadership webinars for their respective alumni over the next few weeks. The first training, “Well-being: Putting On Your Own Oxygen Mask While Leading Others,” is being led by Carol Roby, David Garten, and Paul Sherman, authors of Ask What Matters?!

“These unprecedented times are putting a real strain on everyone, but especially leaders. We are excited to join with several other Massachusetts-based community leadership programs to provide practical tools for leaders in the Valley,” said Lora Wondolowski, Leadership Pioneer Valley’s executive director.

Future sessions will draw upon LPV’s Positive Leadership curriculum to provide adaptive approaches to leading under crisis. For more information on sessions, visit www.leadershippv.org.

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