Earlier this month, United Way celebrated the participants of two of our leadership development programs, Blueprint for Leadership (BFL) and Leadership Berks (LB), by hosting the first joint graduation. With nearly 150 individuals in attendance, there was a sense of accomplishment in the air in the DoubleTree ballroom. The nearly 30 participants had experienced a lot during the two programs, both personally and professionally: weddings, elopements, babies being born, personal growth and career changes. One participant even mentioned this event would be the first time they ever walked across a stage to graduate. Everyone worked hard and deserved to be celebrated.
The program kicked off with a welcome from United Way of Berks County Board Chair, Scott Rehr, and a message about how these programs are beneficial to both the participants and to the community. Jean Morrow and Mary Jimenez extended their thanks to the countless individuals, organizations, and businesses who supported both programs by either hosting a session, serving on a panel, or providing a tour of their facility.
Morrow and Jimenez honored Sharon Mast for her involvement with both programs. Morrow shared how Mast immediately, “jumped in and provided her guidance and expertise” when it came to the planning of the LB program, and how she incorporated the importance of Servant Leadership Essentials to all the LB sessions. The BFL program is grateful for Sharon as well, as Jimenez stated, “Our participants always rate your training as one of the highlights of the entire program.”
Roberto Sanchez, the BFL class of 2018 President and the current BFL Committee Chair, provided his congratulations for all the amazing work BFL has done. As the final graduate crossed the stage, Jonathan Tinocco, this year’s BFL Class President, shared an encouraging message about the importance of being different and the importance of making a difference in our community.
Once the final graduate crossed the stage, Bethany Bower, a LB graduate, provided comments about the impact of this program on behalf of the LB class.
The event was a day filled with celebration. As all of the participants announced their plans to serve on local non-profit Boards and Committees, it was evident that each graduate has a passion for the community and is committed to make a difference in Berks County. Morrow concluded the event with a hope-filled message of, “While today’s graduation signifies the conclusion of this year’s programs and a celebration of the group’s achievements, it also marks a beginning.” She then concluded with, “We know great things happen when we all LIVE UNITED.”
Blueprint for Leadership is a half day program, that meets for 6 weeks, and is designed to prepare individuals from under-represented groups for leadership on diverse nonprofit boards.
Leadership Berks is an all-day 9-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.