They are our visionaries, our elected officials, our mentors. They lead capital campaigns, advocate for the underserved, serve on our boards and speak out against injustice. They are leaders who have served our community in countless ways, large and small, for 30 years. And much of the legacy they have created is thanks in part to Leadership Stark County.

Starting in January and continuing through the May issue, we are celebrating Leadership Stark County’s milestone anniversary by recognizing 30 of Leadership’s graduates in the pages of About. These “30 Faces of Leadership” typify all of the 1,200 Leadership Stark County graduates who are living the mission of commitment to our community. Read on for first-person accounts of how Leadership Stark County has helped this second collection of graduates prosper through the personal and professional development the program offers.

Cynthia Ann Kerchner

President and owner of Kerchner’s Kards Kandy and Kollectibles
Signature Program, 9th Class
Leadership Stark County strengthened my conviction of the importance of volunteerism. In my opinion, it’s necessary to reach out beyond one’s own needs to help others. It encouraged me to step up, get involved and reach out. It helped me to see how making a difference can be rewarding.

William Bryan

Executive Vice President, Supply Chain and Information Technology, TimkenSteel
Signature Program, 5th Class
Even though I lived and worked in the area for much of my life, the program really opened my eyes to the good things we have as well the aspects which need attention. This helped motivate me to continually dedicate a portion of my time and resources to the community.

Barb Ewing Cockroft

Consultant, State Support Team Region 9 and Co-manager, Young Entrepreneurs Consortium grant (SCESC)
Signature Program, 6th Class
Having been born into a family who understood the “why” of community trusteeship, I knew at an early age that I wanted to live a purpose-driven life. Leadership Stark County empowered me to learn the “what” and the “how” of servant leadership, equipping me with the knowledge and skills to step into leadership roles both in my career and in the community.

Nancy Varian

Malone University
Signature Program, 2nd Class
My Leadership Stark County experience has done much to help my career and community service growth, but probably foremost is the wonderful networking. Since I was a member of the 2nd class, I have had 28 years of working with incredible Leadership Stark County people and the connections made through those friends and colleagues.

Lori Stokes

METRO RTA, Human Resources Supervisor
Signature Program, 20th Class
This experience has given me a greater sense of personal identity and moral development as I gained an even greater ability to work well with others while building upon my leadership and communication skills. It also has improved my social responsibility and citizenship skills as I have the aspiration to serve my community in different capacities than I had before.

MJ Albacete

The Canton Museum of Art
Signature Program, 1st Class
Thanks to the Leadership Stark County experience, my expanded communications network with community leaders was substantially increased; I had many resources I could turn to for help, encouragement and advice, and could be called upon to do the same for others. Each new class over the years has enlarged that network!

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