Fifth class graduates from Leadership Orleans program

Posted 12 December 2022 at 4:40 pm

123 people have now completed program highlighting strengths and challenges in community

Provided photos: Members of the 2022 Class of Leadership Orleans celebrate their graduation last Thursday at the White Birch in Lyndonville. Pictured include front row, from left: Faye Conley, Miranda Bennett, Marlene Seielstad, Jennifer Hill-Young, Patricia Neuman and Becki Gibson. Back row: Susan Howard, Natasha Wasuck, Cyndi Stumer, Jerry Pasnik, Michele Chatfield, Tim Elliott, Benjamin Jones, Jim Doyle, Gloria Brent, Matt Holland, David Warren, Katie Leach, Jennifer Ashbery, Katrina Chaffee, Dawn Borchert and Wayne Wadhams. Missing from photo include Mindy Frasier and Christopher Cappetta.

Press Release, Leadership Orleans

LYNDONVILLE – The Leadership Orleans program held its 5th annual graduation ceremony on Thursday at the White Birch Golf Course.

Leadership Orleans is a year-long education program focused on building leadership skills while exposing participants to the necessary knowledge, experiences and people that make Orleans County work.

Its mission is to create the nucleus for investment in the community through continuing education, volunteerism, and networking to enhance leadership potential throughout our region.

The 2022 Leadership Orleans Class included 24 individuals from a wide array of sectors in our communities, from agriculture to manufacturing, education to government, small business owners to nonprofit service providers.

With this class, the number of those who have completed the program since its inception in 2018 and become LO alumni totals 123.

This year’s graduates include:

  • Jennifer Ashbery, Principal, Albion High School
  • Miranda Bennett, Bookkeeper, Town of Shelby
  • Dawn Borchert, Director, Orleans County Tourism
  • Gloria Brent, President, MDS Consultants
  • Christopher Cappetta, CFO, Harris Seeds, Garden Trends, Inc.
  • Katrina Chaffee, Director of Community Services, Community Action of Orleans & Genesee
  • Michelle Chatfield, Quality Supervisor, Baxter Healthcare
  • Faye Conley, Event Manager, Bent’s Opera House
  • Jim Doyle, Guitar Teacher, Jim’s Guitar Studio
  • Tim Elliott, 810 Meadworks, Village of Medina Trustee
  • Mindy Frasier, Operations Manager, CRFS
  • Becki Gibson, Senior Client Relations Manager, CRFS
  • Jennifer Hill-Young, President, Art Hill Excavating
  • Matt Holland, Grant Writer, United Way of Orleans County
  • Susan Howard, 1st District Attorney, Orleans County
  • Benjamin Jones, Asst. Winemaker, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery
  • Katie Leach, Digital Literacy Prog. Coord., OC Cornell Coop. Ext.
  • Patricia Neuman, Administrative Assistant, Millennium Roads
  • Jerry Pasnik, Supported Employment Manager, Arc GLOW
  • Marlene Seielstad, Associate Broker, Snell Realtors
  • Cyndi Stumer, Deputy Commissioner, Orleans County DSS
  • Wayne Wadhams, Board Member of O/N BOCES and President of Albion Board of Education
  • David Warren, Board Member, Kendall Central School District
  • Natasha Wasuck, Owner, The Lockstone & Tinsel

(Left) Renee Hungerford, executive director of Community Action, accepts the award for alumna of the year. (Right) Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee and Orleans counties, was recognized by Leadership Orleans with the “distinguished leader” award.

In addition to honoring the LO2022 graduates, the evening’s agenda involved several special awards:

  • First Impression (voted by class) – Torrey Dairy Farm
  • Presenter of the Year (voted by class) – Elissa Smith (LO21)
  • Alumna of the Year – Renee Hungerford (LO21)
  • Distinguished Leader of the Year – Paul Pettit

The program was kicked off with a welcome by former NYS Assemblyman Charlie Nesbitt, comments by Orleans County Legislature Chair Lynne M. Johnson, followed by LO Steering Committee Chair Kelly Kiebala and LO Program Director Skip Helfrich. 2022 LO Class Comments were presented by Miranda Bennett and Susan Howard.

The Leadership Orleans program is thankful for the support of its sponsors: Orleans County, Talis Equity, Barre Stone Products, Baxter Healthcare, Bentley Brothers, Brigden Memorials, Brighton Securities, Brian Bourgraf, Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes, Claims Recovery Financial Services, Friends of Steve Hawley, Holley Rotary Club, Kast Farms, Medina Area Partnership, Medina Sandstone Society, Orleans County EDA, Orleans Ford, Takeform Architectural Graphics, Watson Enterprises, and Western New York Energy.

Skip Helfrich, director of Leadership Orleans, welcomes the class and guests to the graduation program.

In addition, the program sincerely benefits from the leadership of its director, Skip Helfrich, and its Steering Committee: Kelly Kiebala-Chair, Delano Alvarez (LO19), Jackie Dunham (LO20), Ellen Eaton (LO19), Nadine Hanlon (LO18), Jerod Thurber (LO19), Kathleen “Kitty” Maerten, Charlie Nesbitt, Laura Olinger, Paul Pettit, Barbara Shine, Lisa Tombari (LO18) and Patrick Weissend (LO18).

During her acceptance speech as presenter of the year, Elissa Smith (principal of Lyndonville Elementary School) challenged audience members to “…imagine an issue or problem plaguing your work or community. Really think of something difficult.”

She then paused to allow all to have time to think, and then followed up with, “The answer to solve that issue is in this room. Collaborate with those outside your sphere; join forces with the alumni network for Leadership Orleans to find and leverage resources; or lobby to change policies and procedures.”

Congratulations to all the graduates of the Leadership Orleans Class of 2022!