Established in 1994, Leadership Blair County cultivates, develops, and nurtures the potential leaders within our community. The program identifies, educates, and motivates the area's promising leaders and prepares them for service to our community in a variety of important roles. Through a series of sessions, often using the community itself for its classroom, the program allows class participants to exchange ideas and information with established leaders and experts from many fields. Future leaders gain first-hand experience about critical issues as they develop the skills necessary to become an effective community leader.
Sponsored by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Blair County boasts 527 graduates.
In 1991, The Chamber adopted a Long Range Plan, which contained a goal to develop a leadership program that would train policy makers for area organizations and non-profit groups.
During the winter of 1992, Tim Sissler and John Schraff, who was the Executive Director
of The Chamber at that time, recruited a diverse group of 12 volunteers from the community to begin putting together the Leadership Blair County Program. These committee members represented non-profit groups, businesses, health care, government, social service agencies, etc.
For the next 18 months, they reviewed existing leadership programs in other communities and worked hard to capture the best aspects of each program they visited or read about and began to set the objectives.
During 1994-95, the first class went through this new program. They too had an orientation, overnight retreat, 8 full day sessions and graduation in June.
Each class develops a great working relationship with each other, and has the opportunity to meet and network with established leaders from all corners of Blair County as they learn about topics like regional appreciation and tourism, business and transportation, government, education, health care, human services and housing.
In 1995 we were able to hire Chuck Kormanski, formerly of Penn State Altoona. Chuck facilitated our monthly sessions and worked with the adult committee to design the sessions. Chuck retired in 2007. The new facilitator for the Adult program is Maureen Dodson, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Baker, Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP.
Be assured that the program is ever changing making us one of the best programs in Pennsylvania. As a testament to that we have been copied by several organizations throughout the state that want to begin a leadership program and have heard that we are the best.