Earlier this month, we celebrated the participants of two of our leadership development programs, Blueprint for Leadership (BFL) and Leadership Berks (LB), by hosting the second joint graduation with nearly 200 individuals in attendance at the DoubleTree ballroom. The unofficial theme of the event was hope. Cassandra Weidner, a participant of Leadership Berks, shared, “One thing I learned from my participation in Leadership Berks is hope. I see hope through the agencies and the hope they provide to our community, and the hope that my voice is going to be heard through the skills I have learned.”
The ceremony began with a welcome from Scott Rehr, the Board Chair of United Way of Berks County, followed by words of gratitude from Jean Morrow and Mary Jimenez. They thanked the individuals, organizations, and businesses that supported both programs by hosting sessions, serving on panels, or providing tours of their facilities. They also extended thanks to Sharon Mast for her involvement with both programs.
Roberto Sanchez, the BFL class of 2018 President and the current BFL Committee Chair, offered his congratulations for all the amazing work the BFL class has done. As the final graduate crossed the stage, Adonis Fleming, this year’s BFL Class President, shared his favorite quote from BFL, “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” He then challenged the community by saying, “Get ready to pass the plates and the butter, because we are ready to sit at the table.” Adonis concluded his speech by calling out each of his classmates and challenging them individually to “be the change they want to see.”
Once the final Leadership Berks graduate crossed the stage, Cassandra Weidner and Ann Marie Haus, both LB graduates, provided comments about the impact this program has had on them. Along with Weidner being inspired by her experiences of hope, Haus shared, ”Leadership Berks has been everything I hoped it would be and has prepared me to be a changemaker.” She continued, ”Being a part of this program has opened my eyes and my heart.”
The event left a sense of hope in the hearts of those in attendance as they heard about the participants’ plans to serve on local nonprofit boards and committees. It was evident that each graduate is deeply committed to making a positive difference in Berks County.
Blueprint for Leadership is a half day program, that meets for six weeks, and is designed to prepare individuals from under-represented groups for leadership on diverse nonprofit boards. Recruitment for BFL begins in the fall. Learn more on the website.
Leadership Berks is an all-day nine-month program that meets monthly and is dedicated to giving local professionals the tools they need to serve in key volunteer leadership positions with local nonprofits. Recruitment for the LB program is currently underway. Learn more on the website.