(FLINT, Mich., Dec. 14, 2018) – Leadership NOW’s fourth cohort today celebrated their completion of the intensive leadership development program, offered through the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Genesee County.

“Today, Leadership NOW welcomes nine exceptional professionals to its alumni group,” said Steven Elkins, director of member services at the Flint & Genesee Chamber. “They join a network of leaders who are prepared to work together to address challenges and pursue opportunities in Flint and Genesee County.”

Over the last year, the cohort has participated in more than 100 hours of training and one-on-one coaching, focused on honing personal leadership styles and developing effective partnerships. Additionally, to fulfill a key requirement of the program, participants must team up to spearhead a sustainable, collaborative community project.

Specifically, the cohort decided to focus on working toward bridging gaps in local youth programming. As highlighted during today’s celebration ceremony, held this afternoon at Brick Street of Grand Blanc, the participants compiled survey data identifying some of the different challenges faced by local youth organizations.

Their findings will be shared during “Challenge by Choice” at Diplomat on Jan. 18. The community event will encourage attendees representing youth organizations to build relationships, identify resources and find ways to collaborate with each other.

“There are so many people and organizations doing great work around our community,” said Ashnee Young, assistant director of Neighborhood Services Center for Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD) and Flint resident. “By bringing the necessary players together and encouraging some powerful conversation, we believe we can help them identify ways to work together and better serve our local youth.”

In addition to Young, the graduating cohort includes the following nonprofit and business professionals who work and/or live in Genesee County:

  • Katie Curnow, Grand Blanc, is marketing manager at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.
  • Ebonie Gipson, Flint, is president and CEO of I’m Building Something Consulting, LLC.
  • Doug Hartwell, Fenton, is director of operations at Sorensen Gross Construction Services.
  • Shay Newell, Grand Blanc, is program manager for Children’s Protective Services at the Michigan Department of Health & Human Resources.
  • Valerie Popelier, Clarkston, is organizational development manager at Diplomat.
  • Jason Rogers, Flint, is restorative practices and school climate specialist at Genesee Intermediate School District.
  • Nicholas Sievers, Clarkston, is quality systems manager at Domico Med Device.
  • Tenesa Thompson, Burton, is administrator at Church Without Walls Ministries.

In addition to learning how to develop partnerships and their personal leadership styles, participants also benefit from building their networks, according to Popelier.

“Our cohort couldn’t have been more diverse in industry, experience or personality, but we all learned from each other and held each other accountable,” Popelier said. “It’s been great to build those connections.”

To learn more about "Challenge by Choice: Flint and Genesee Youth Edition," click here.

For more information about Leadership NOW, which will launch its fifth cohort in January, visit flintandgenesee.org or call (810) 600-1404.