Friday, March 19, 2010

Twenty-One Leaders Graduate

The 2010 R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy concluded with a graduation banquet on March 18th at Pekin Country Club. The 21 graduates completed the 10-week program featuring 10 classroom sessions, 10 field trip opportunities, and various leadership and community assignments.

Jeff Schwarzentraub, founder and president of One Heartbeat Ministries, was the keynote speaker at the banquet. He gave the audience three things to consider as they pursue their dreams. First, remember who went before you. Second, loose your baggage. And third, re-frame your failures into opportunities.

One of the traditions at the banquet is for class representatives to speak about their experiences during the academy. Sherry Thompson spoke of four items she learned: knowledge of the community; the pride displayed by community leaders; networking can and does develop into friendships; and, the opportunities to make a difference in the community.

Rev. Lloyd Brock recognized the value the organizers of the academy saw in the program. He also spoke of making new friends, learning new things about the Pekin area, and the opportunity he and his classmates now have to be a person of influence in the community.

This was the 12th year the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce coordinated a community leadership academy for current and future leaders. A total of 216 participants have now completed the program.

The purpose of the Academy is "To identify, inform and educate existing and emerging leaders of the local community, and to motivate them toward leadership responsibilities by exposing them to the realities, opportunities and challenges of the local community."

The graduates are:
  • Courtney Antonini, Tazewell County Courthouse
  • Bill Bishop, Pekin Hospital
  • Rev. Lloyd Brock, Pekin First Church of the Nazarene
  • Gerald Carter, Pekin Welding
  • Lyle Chism, County Market / Niemann Foods
  • Brian Cox, City of Pekin
  • Ryan Davis, Unland Companies
  • Dennis Franks, City of Pekin
  • Chad Gambetti, Pekin Trophy House & Engraved Gifts
  • Patti Kohaus, Herget Bank
  • Scott Kriegsman, Elliff, Keyser, Oberle & Dancey, PC
  • Brent Morgan, Timbercreek Rehab & Health Care
  • Chris Spanos, Hinshaw & Culbertson
  • Beth Suddeth, Leman Property Management Co.
  • Tiffany Tebben, Congressman Aaron Schock
  • Chris Teurele, Pekin Hospital
  • Sherry Thompson, Pekin Hospital
  • Victoria Udry, Udry Jewelers
  • Mark VanderLinden, Pekin Hospital
  • David Vaupel, Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes, LLC
  • Leslie Weyhrich, Wolf, Tesar & Company, P.C.
A committee of chamber members plans the academy in the Fall of each year. The academy usually starts on the first Thursday in January. All of the committee members are graduates of a leadership academy and bring with them their own personal experience. The committee was chaired by Marilyn Strickfaden from Herget Bank and also included:
  • Pamela Anderson, City of Pekin
  • Jamie Di Donato, Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Jill Douglas, SJB Promotions
  • Crystal Elliott, Pekin Hospital
  • Bill Fleming, Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Sally Kuhn, Commerce Bank
  • Justin Reeise, Farnsworth Group
  • Stephanie Stoneking, Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes, LLC
  • Kay Sutton, Illinois Central College
  • Amy Whiting, SBSi Semonis Insurance Group
Jamie Di Donato, the chamber’s Events Manager, played a large staff support role for the committee and with the academy. Pamela Anderson served as the facilitator of the Thursday morning sessions.

The Thursday morning class sessions included:
  • Welcome to Leadership ~ Bill Fleming, Executive Director of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and Pamela Anderson, Academy Facilitator
  • Pekin Municipal Government ~ Pekin City Manager Dennis Kief and Pekin Mayor Rusty Dunn, plus a tour of the Pekin Public Library by Alissa Williams
  • What is Leadership ~ Dr. Frances B. Karanovich
  • The Courts ~ Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz and Judge Richard McCoy
  • Pekin Park District ~ Terri Gambetti, Superintendent of Recreation
  • The Media ~ Rusty Dunn and Shelly Dankoff
  • Tazewell County Government ~ County Administrator David Jones and County Sheriff Bob Huston, plus a tour of the Tazewell County Justice Center
  • Education ~ Pekin Community High School District 303 Superintendent, Paula Davis
  • Pekin Coalition for Equality, YWCA of Pekin Executive Director Melinda Figge
  • Presidential Leadership ~ Frank Mackaman, Executive Director of the Dirksen Congressional Center
The students also had the opportunity to attend 10 field trips to area businesses and organizations. The field trips included: Excalibur Seasoning Company, Preston Hanley Funeral Homes, Pekin Hospital, Midwest Generation Powerton Station, a bus tour of Pekin, Illinois Central College South, Excel Foundry and Machine, Peoria Air National Guard, Legislative Field Trip to Springfield, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

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