If it’s been more than a few months since you’ve been in the Leadership Akron office, chances are you’ll be getting acquainted with some new faces and names the next time you stop by. Together they reflect a concerted effort that has occurred over the last year. Having added to the range and intensity of our activities without adding to our staff capacity, the board determined it was time to realign and incrementally grow our staff to sustain our larger scope. The team today reflects a lot of hard work by our board and staff leadership, who spent the better part of a year with a national consultant to arrive at recommendations for the present and future. Along the way, we bid farewell to staff members who have grown into new opportunities or adventures, and carefully added new team members for newly defined roles. This month, we are thrilled that Sheri Myricks becomes our latest addition as Operations Coordinator, having joined our team after stints with the Akron Urban League, Nashville Sports Council, and other civic groups.
Someone once described the work of leading change as “reinventing the plane while it’s in the air” and we certainly resemble that remark. As we anticipate the launch of Diversity on Board and the Civic Lab, we are glad that the growth of opportunities and impact has continued even as we’ve retooled. That said, we are taking a pause on any additional new program initiatives in 2016 while we focus on settling in together as a team and optimizing our teamwork and performance. Or, as one board member put it, after years of focusing outward on opportunities to extend our mission and impact, this will be the “year of us”.
Speaking of us, here is a cheat sheet for you to help you get acquainted with these great people and the niche they fill on their team:
· Susan Kosco, VP/Learning Experiences: Susan has been a rock solid source of stability and leadership on our team, now nearing eight years with the organization. She has advanced into a leadership role and has her hand in designing or delivering most of the learning experiences that we offer. And as Class 32 can appreciate this year, she is the steady heartbeat for our foremost leadership experience.
· Sheri Myricks, Operations Coordinator: Sheri joined our team this month, but she already knows us well as a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 28. Sheri will focus on systems and processes, making sure the office is “humming” all the time. Chances are, you’ll connect with Sheri as you’re signing up for an alumni or program activity, as she will often be the first point of contact for graduates and applicants.
· Shelley Koch, Graduate Engagement Coordinator: Shelley stepped in on an interim basis as an events coordinator over the summer, and seamlessly took on the coordination of alumni activities and events. As graduate engagement coordinator Shelley will also be working with alumni ambassadors and related efforts that heighten the connectedness and involvement of our alumni. When you attend LAAA activities, you’ll notice Shelley making sure everything’s running smoothly.
· Shelley Sprang, Marketing Communications Coordinator: Shelley also began on an interim basis and has transitioned into an ongoing role. She is focused on spreading the word about our mission and work to current and future alumni and participants in our programs. From the weekly Leaderline to social media posts, she is more often than not the one shaping the message.
· Heather Flohr, Assistant to the President: Heather has what some might describe as the most challenging role in the organization – keeping me organized. A Marine Corps veteran, Heather began her post-military career in a similar position before moving up to Northeast Ohio. In addition to freeing me up to focus more time on fundraising and strategic initiatives, she will be organizing the lion’s share of meetings, committees, etc.
· Arica Leonard, Program Coordinator: Arica has stepped into one of two program coordinator positions to support the success of all the learning experiences we deliver. You might find her making sure our Jr. Leadership Akron students know where to go, photographing a Community Leadership Institute, or making sure all the materials are in place for the signature program.
· Colleen Fitzpatrick, Program Coordinator: In similar fashion, Colleen quickly jumped into program support last fall during our peak season, and helped them run like clockwork. She adds a spark to Leadership Akron N.E.X.T., Intern Edge, and other program efforts. Colleen is currently on leave and we are looking forward to her return in April.
· Marcia Holcomb, Finance Manager: When she participated in Class 19, Marcia was CFO at Keep Akron Beautiful. These days, she works contractually on a part-time basis, helping us track every penny when she’s not having fun with her grandkids.
· Field Coordinators: These part-time contractual teammates deliver our work to the audiences we serve. From consultants to retired nonprofit executives, they bring a wealth of experience and top-notch talent to organizing learning experiences for Leadership Akron.
What’s above represents a mix of full-time and part-time staff on a team that is as strong as ever in fulfilling our mission. You’ll enjoy connecting with them as you take part in events or learning experiences with Leadership Akron. And next time you’re downtown, feel free to stop in and say hello![p