Submitted: Leadership Portage County celebrates largest graduating class yet

Leadership Portage County’s Class of 2024 celebrated its successful completion of the program with graduation on May 2.

Graduation day was hosted by board member Shirley Mars and her husband, Bill, at their beautiful hall in Brimfield.

One of the largest classes in the program’s 32 year history, with 36 participants, wrapped up the class year with a dynamic immersion in leadership philosophies followed by the graduation ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Many alumni, friends, family and employers shared in the graduation ceremony and reception.

The Class of 2024 made a huge impact in Portage County with their generous spirits and hearts as they chose three community service projects in April. They painted three rooms at the Place of Peace, landscaped and gardened at the Portage County group home and raised nearly $2,000 to create “go bags” for abused and neglected children in the CASA program. The class nominated and voted LaJoyce Harris as Class President and Amanda Cole as Vice President.

“The Class of 2024 was very empathic and dedicated to helping improve the lives of those in need in Portage County. They are a diverse class with a myriad of skills, passions and backgrounds. It was a delight to have such a caring group of leaders in my inaugural class as Executive Director. Thank you to all the employers who sponsored participants and to the Portage County community for all of your support and encouragement,” said Andra Polasky.

The Leadership Portage County program is intended to enhance and grow leadership skills, build an incredible network full of new connections, immerse participants in the uniqueness of Portage County and offer new volunteer and service opportunities.

The Class of 2024:

Barbara Griffin — Williams, Kratcoski, Griffin & Can, LLC
Lajoyce Harris — Family & Community Services
Marquice Seward — Family & Community Services
John Mohorcic — Delta Systems
Holly Stoneberg — Portage Park District
Kevin Nietert — Portage Park District
Amanda Cole — PLEXUS LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce
Todd Nicolas — Hometown Bank
Andrew Rome — Haymaker Farmers’ Market
Robert Naymik — UH Portage Medical Center
Doug Foster — ACE Laboratories
Margaret Werren — Portage Development Board
Melanie Knowles — Kent State University
Leah Graham — Kent State University
Julie Morris — Kent State University & City of Kent
Wesley Buchanan — Wesley Buchanan, ESQ
Matthew Cola — Kent State University
Nicole Corll — Kent State University
Barbara Cooper — Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Laura Fechter — Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities
George DeBord — Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County
Jessica Bell — Portage Community Bank
Kim Brown — City of Kent
Rachel Reight — Baasten, McKinley & Co., LPA
Cindy Blevins — Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority
Kelley Pesicek — Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority
Rosie Love — Habitat for Humanity of Portage County
Cowan Stevens — AxessPointe Community Health Centers Inc.
Shannon Kautzman — Portage County
Phil Smith — Coleman Health Services
Marina Babkina — AMETEK, Inc.
Eric Helmstedter — City of Kent
Darcie Flower — NEOMED
Katie Trook — The Church in Aurora
Jaclyn Petty — Portage County
Melissa Foster — Aurora City Schools

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