|LVC & Leadership Lebanon Valley: 25 Years of Working Together to Develop Leaders and Strengthen Community
Lebanon Valley College is dedicated to working alongside community members to make sure that Lebanon County is a great place to live – a mantra that is shared by the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce. For the past 25 years, LVC has been a key partner to the Chamber’s community leadership program – Leadership Lebanon Valley (LLV).
Leadership Lebanon Valley's mission is to educate and develop a diverse group of leaders devoted to improving the community. Graduates are equipped with knowledge of issues and contacts necessary to build a network of ideas and involvement that will build and strengthen the community.
“We’re proud and appreciative of the strong relationship that has existed between Leadership Lebanon Valley and Lebanon Valley College since the launch of this program 25 years ago,” said Larry Bowman ’70, president and CEO at the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce. “LVC’s support for this program, through the enrollment of so many of its key departmental staff members in the Leadership program over the years and through many of the Leadership graduates from LVC subsequently going on to serve on the Leadership Lebanon Valley Board of Trustees, has clearly added to the strength of this program.”
Over the past 25 years, LVC has sponsored program participation for 20 employees, and eight employees volunteered to serve on Leadership Lebanon Valley’s Board of Directors. Three additional LVC employees completed the program prior to coming to the College.
The 11-month program begins with an overnight retreat and subsequent sessions covering leadership, justice, education, health and human services, agriculture, heritage and culture, business, government, and military.
“Each Leadership Lebanon Valley class includes 15-20 people representing nonprofits, big corporations, and major businesses in Lebanon County across all industries and career levels,” said David Shapiro '99, director of IT services and current vice-chair of the LLV board. “The sessions grant participants access to key decision makers in our community – access that you wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise. How many times do you have the chance to ask a judge or senator really big questions about leadership?”
Shapiro was part of the LLV Class of 2009 and joined the board in 2010. A New Jersey transplant, Shapiro said LLV provided him with an understanding of the County at a level he would have never experienced without the program.
“LLV participants learn things you never knew about Lebanon – even if you grew up here. You learn about the County from behind the scenes,” he said.
Class of 2012 graduate, new board member, and LVC associate director of alumni programs Michelle Krall M'11 agreed with Shapiro’s assessment, adding, “I knew I wanted to get involved in the community in a bigger way but I didn’t know how. I was charged to volunteer as an LLV participant. We were asked to consider a community service project or spending time on a nonprofit board of directors.”
Krall helped to organize “Cuts for Class” at the Lebanon Valley YMCA, where local parents brought their children for free haircuts prior to the beginning of the school year.
“One mother had five kids’ hair cut in 20 minutes – at no charge,” she said. “I finally found a way to be involved in the community in a way that made an impact. Now I want to get more involved.”
Peggy Kreiser ’70 is community and workforce development director for the Chamber of Commerce and responsible for administrating LLV. “We look to Lebanon Valley College for emerging leaders who are interested in involving themselves in the operations of our agencies, organizations, and community and who work together with LVC to cultivate effective community leaders,” she said.
This year, Jen Teisher '08 (middle row, far left), assistant director of admission, and Todd Gamble '98 (top row, far right), senior PC support specialist, are learning about Lebanon County through LLV. Neither was familiar with the program but looked forward to the opportunity.
“I grew up in Middletown, attended LVC, and stayed in the area after graduation,” Teisher said. “I recently bought a home in Cleona and would like to get more involved in Lebanon County.”
Gamble grew up in Lebanon County but said he wants “to see the other side of operations of the various agencies and industries within the region.” He was recommended to the program by Shapiro, who sees a real opportunity in LLV for leadership development for LVC employees.
“LLV makes you grow as a leader and become something better,” Shapiro said. “It will build you up and grant you access to people who you don’t typically get to know or meet. Because it’s specific to Lebanon County, you really grow with knowledge about the Lebanon Valley and that’s invaluable if you live or work within its borders.”
As LVC and LLV celebrate a 25-year partnership, Bowman is looking toward the future.
“Leadership Lebanon Valley has gained a reputation over the years as the preeminent program available in this community for the development of our area’s future leaders, and we want to ensure that the program continues to fulfill that role. The continued involvement and support of the College, given its prominent and important position in the Lebanon Valley, will make the attainment of that goal far easier.”
The following LVC employees have graduated from Leadership Lebanon Valley or have served on the LLV Board of Directors:
Harold “Chip” Schwalm Jr.