Category Archives: Class Blogs

LAKV Class XXV Government Session

February 2, 2017

LAKV class was hosted by Pittsburgh Mills Mall in Tarentum, PA. The class started the day off with local Pittsburgh figure Jon Delano, Political Analyst for KDKA News. Jon gave the class a bit of background on himself to start his presentation. He explained that he started out as a lawyer and then spent 14 years on Capitol Hill in Washington. In 1994 he was hired by KDKA as a political analyst. The news station then offered Jon a full time position in 2001 as Money & Politics Editor. Jon also started teaching in 1995 at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz College of Public Policy & Management. Mr. Delano currently hosts the KDKA Sunday Business Page, a weekly public affairs program, and writes a monthly column called “Government Busters”. The LAKV class was very fortunate to have Jon speak with us on “How the Media Shapes Public Opinion of Government”. He is a great source of information having government and private business experience and really makes the issues he is addressing understandable for any audience.

Our second session for the day was “Pennsylvania Politics” with members of staff from Representative Dermody’s office and Senator Don White’s office. We engaged in a Q/A session and talked about the opioid epidemic that is effecting so many people. The class received education about what types of programs are available in Pennsylvania to help fight this epidemic. We also got a bit of insight on legislation that would eliminate school property taxes and shift to an increased personal income tax and an increased and expanded sales and use tax. They explained that this is not the first time that the legislation was brought up and that the bill was defeated in a prior session.

The LAKV class had an opportunity to talk “Hot Topics in Pennsylvania” with Representative Jeff Pyle. Again the opioid epidemic was discussed, which really shows the impact this problem is having in our local community, as well as in Pennsylvania, and the country. Jeff was able to explain more in depth about the programs available in Pennsylvania to get help. He spoke of Narcan and how it brings a person back from an overdose and also spoke of Naltrexone that actually blocks the effects of opioids. He explained the work of trying to get a person to enroll in these programs to get the help they need, but that it is all voluntary when a person is arrested or taken to a hospital. Representative Pyle also elaborated on the school tax-elimination bill that is back and a “Hot Topic in Pennsylvania”.

Our fourth session was titled “Local Government” in which the Allegheny Township Supervisors Kathy Starr, Joe Ferguson, and Ren Steele came to speak with us. It was really interesting that all three run successful local businesses in the area and still have time to serve in local government. They explained the responsibilities of Township Supervisors in the area. I liked how they were very proud of what they had accomplished and that they really put the interest of their constituents in front of any other political views or agendas. They explained how they have never raised taxes in the area and how they were able to accomplish this. My class gained valuable knowledge by interacting with these three impressive individuals who are serving the community they live in.

The final speaker of the day was Chad McCutcheon from McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc., and he gave a presentation on “How to be an Engaged Citizen”. His advice was to identify your beliefs, identify your party, and to be informed. He then explained more about the party system so that we could figure out which party best represents our beliefs. One of the best ways to be informed is to get involved. You could serve as a volunteer, community opinion leader, local candidate, or an elected official. You can donate your time to support local candidates running for the school board or supervisor. Gaining support in your community is the first step to getting involved and being informed. This may lead to you running for office yourself to fight for the things that you believe in. The main take away of this presentation for me was that leaders are involved, engaged, active members of society.

-Blog submitted by Chris Gary of LAKV Class XXV & Apollo Trust

Class XXV Healthcare Session & A Taste of Spring…

On Thursday, January 12, 2017, LAKV Class XXV was hosted by Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, PA. The topic of the day was local health care. The day began with a welcome session presented by William Englert, President and CEO of Allegheny Valley Hospital. His presentation described the importance of our health care providers in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the difficulties that those providers face when trying to provide the best care for patients.


The second session was presented by Michelle Bond, Executive Director of the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center. The Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center’s mission is the elimination of of domestic violence through intervention, prevention, and collaboration. This was the second time that LAKV Class 25 was fortunate to hear from the HOPE Center. This session discussed teen dating violence and the resources available in the Alle-Kiski Valley for teenagers.


The third session discussed Medical Marijuana in the workplace. Since the Pennsylvania House passed SB3, legalizing Medical Marijuana, the “do’s” and “don’ts” for supervisors in the workplace have been very unclear. Attorney Kate Coop Irwin from Tucker Arensburg provided us with insights pertaining to SB3 and how it can be interpreted in the workplace.


The fourth, and final, session of the day was presented by our fearless leader, Michele Pastrick. Michele presented “Preventing Co-Worker Violence in the Workplace”. Unfortunately, in today’s world, workplace violence is not uncommon. In this session, we were presented with warning signs and scenarios where violence may be imminent and how we can prevent that violence from occurring.

Outside of these sessions, another major focus of LAKV Class XXV throughout our day at Allegheny Valley Hospital was our upcoming fundraiser event to be held at Edgewood Winery on Monday, April 24, 2016 from 5 – 8:30 PM. LAKV Class 25 is excited to host “A Taste of Spring”.  Lori Shumaker from Edgewood Winery joined us throughout the day to help us with planning. We thank Lori and Edgewood Winery for all of their assistance and all that they are willing to provide for our event.

Class Fundraiser Flyer

Mark your calendars, save the date… For $25 a person, “A Taste of Spring” will include wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, live music, auctions, raffles, and door prizes. For tickets, reach out to a one us in LAKV Class 25, an LAKV board member, or Edgewood Winery. We look forward to seeing you there to support Leadership Alle-Kiske Valley.

LAKV XXV Human Services Session LIFE Armstrong

Our session on Thursday, November 10th, familiarized us with the Human Services available in the Alle-Kiski Valley.  LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) Armstrong County was our host for the day. LIFE Armstrong County offers comprehensive medical care, adult day services and homecare to help participants remain in their homes.

Staff from the following organizations also presented to the group:

Armstrong County Area Agency on Aging

The Community Foundation

ARC Manor


Habitat for Humanity


The day was very informative and provided the group an opportunity to interact with these community leaders.  It was amazing to learn of the number of services available in the Valley and to meet those who are so passionate about what they do!

Human Services Session (November 2016)

LAKV Class XXV Kickoff Retreat

We’re here!

The Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley class XXV has arrived and with a flourish!

Members of the class represent a variety of Alle-Kiski Valley organizations.

Following is Class XXV:

  • Janine Brill, Mary Queen of Apostles School
  • Chirs Gary, Apollo Trust Company
  • Jenee Jackson, Alcoa Technical Center
  • Teri Thomas, Nextier Bank
  • Susan Fertig, Quality Life Services
  • Donna Hamilton, Allegheny Valley Hospital
  • Aaron Salyards, Qualify Life Services

Kickoff was in October at the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center.  I must say the team came together and conquered fears and phobias while having a swinging good time.  Did I mention the zipline??!!

Ideas started sprouting almost immediately from this enthusiastic group regarding projects including a wine testing fund raising event.  Watch here for more exciting updates as the class moves forward!

LAKV Government Session Sparks Great Discussions

Our session on government, held in the Harmar Township Municipal Building, began with KDKA’s John Delano informing Class XXIV that 75% of PA voters do not vote. He explained to us how stories make it onto the news and encouraged us to send our story ideas to him. John even shared his prediction for how PA will vote in the 2016 election!

KDKA's Jon Delano
KDKA’s Jon Delano

Jim Roddey, Allegheny County Republican Party Chairman and Jim Burn, former Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party spoke with us about the art of politics versus the business of government. They also shared their thoughts on the upcoming presidential primary elections and what is currently happening in Harrisburg.

Jim Roddey and Jim Burn
Jim Roddey and Jim Burn

Next we were treated to a panel discussion which included Representative Jeff Pyle plus senior staffers from the offices of Senator Don White, Representatives Frank Dermody and Representative Eli Evankovich. They shed light on what is happening with the state budget and entertained questions from our class on health care, education and budget issues.

Legislative Panel
Legislative Panel

In the afternoon, Allegheny Township Supervisor, Kathy Starr shared with us what working in local government is like. She outlined some of the challenges faced by municipalities and how her township has approached its difficulties and some of the creative ideas used by the township to positively impact the community.

Kathy Starr, Allegheny Twp. Supervisor
Kathy Starr, Allegheny Twp. Supervisor

Chad McCutcheon of McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc.  closed out our session by walking us through ways to become a more engaged citizen, including encouraging us to consider running for local office.

Chad McCutcheon
Chad McCutcheon, McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc.

Could an LAKV Class XXIV member be on the ballot soon? Keep checking the LAKV website to find out.

Michelle Farrell, Mary Queen of Apostles School

Our January Government session was a great one. With all of the different speakers, it was definitely an eye opener. Especially if you are like me and know next to nothing about politics. One thing, among many, that I took away from this meeting is that it is not about being a Republican or a Democrat, but how to find a middle ground and work together to get what needs to be done, done. It was very interesting to see how the representatives of the two parties interacted. Quite funny at times, very friendly and respectful of the other. The passion that was brought out was captivating.

Burn and Roddey
Jim Burn & Jim Roddey

Another take-away from this session was that my vote really does count. The fact that the age group of 18 to 60 year olds that vote does not out number the age group of 60 to death that vote is really troubling. We need to show that we too care about the issues that are facing our country today, and become more active. We need to better educate and inform ourselves so as to not be ignorant to what is going on in the world of politics and government.

Legislative Panel
Legislative Panel

The January session was very informative and we loved every minute of it! We are excited to see what is in store for us next month for our February Law and Justice session. And a special thank you to all of our guest speakers that came.

Andrea Ramirez, Apollo Trust Company



Healthcare Session Hosted by Allegheny Valley Hospital December 2015


            LAKV Class XXIV’s December 2015 session was hosted by Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) and centered around the topic of Healthcare.  AVH’s recently appointed CEO, Bill Englert kicked off the day with a session on “Health Care Today.” Mr. Englert’s presentation focused on the ever-changing dynamics of health care, and how they affect the hospital environment and the role of insurance providers.

AVH President & CEO Bill Englert addresses the class.
AVH President & CEO Bill Englert addresses the class.

               Mr. Englert was followed by health care Attorney Laurel Hartshorn who spoke on the “Issues Facing the Elderly” which touched on most aspects of caring for the elderly, including, but not limited to, the many important documents that all seniors should have in good order to prepare for the next stages of life.   Our morning session concluded with a presentation from Janice Wirth, Vice President of Operations at Allegheny Valley Hospital, and LAKV Class XXIII alumnus. Ms. Wirth’s presentation focused on how a hospital is structured and highlighted many of the changes that have affected Allegheny Valley Hospital and its organizational structure over the past 5 years.

Hospital Operations Presentation
Janice Wirth, VP of Operations at AVH addresses the class.

                  A scrumptious lunch was provided compliments of Allegheny Valley Hospital. The afternoon kicked off with a presentation from Manda Sanders, Director of Health Policy, at Highmark.  Manda spoke in detail on the many layers of the Affordable Care Act, and how those layers continue to change in the current political climate. Manda concluded by highlighting the importance of next year’s presidential election to health care laws.

             The day concluded with a presentation on “Long Term Care” conducted by David Ferraro, COO of Quality Life Services and Suzi Fertig, Clinical Liaison, for Quality Life Services.   David and Suzi focused on the many facets of the long term care environment including admission processes, services provided at skilled nursing facilities, and the role of the clinical liaison in the hospital as a bridge for the patient between settings.  Overall, the day was filled with a multitude of interesting topics that the class thoroughly enjoyed.

The class is looking forward to next month’s session at the Harmar Township Municipal Building on the topic of Government. This session promises to be filled with engaging presenters and public officials! Stay tuned for that update!

Jeremy Huth & Michele Moses

Marketing and Fundraising Session-Hosted by IUP Northpointe


Diane Chabal, LAKV Program Manager, leads a presentation on personal branding during the November 2015 Session.
Diane Chabal, LAKV Program Manager, leads a presentation on personal branding during the November 2015 Session.

LAKV Class XXIV continued its educational journey on Thursday, November 12, 2015, with a Marketing and Fundraising Session.  This session, which was held at the beautiful IUP Northpointe campus in Freeport, PA, covered a myriad of topics.  Kicking off the day was a very informative lecture on non-profit fundraising by John Pastorek, President and CEO of the Allegheny Kiski Health Foundation.   Mr. Pastorek brought over 30 years of fundraising experience to the table and the informative information he provided included insight into basic fundraising components, giving trends and more.   The next topic on Social Networking and On-line Marketing was presented by Chad McCutcheon from McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc.  This talk addressed many different aspects of social media and on-line marketing that are very prevalent in today’s business world and also included some broader discussion on the topic of communication as a whole.  Jim Busch, Sales Trainer for Trib Total Media, utilized a mix of humor and a large depth of knowledge and experience in sales and marketing to speak to the class.   Our next topic of Personal Branding for Career Growth was handled by our fearless leader, Diane Chabal, and focused on teaching the class to look at themselves a little closer and develop our “brand” and branding statement that we could use in a variety of situations including a job search, seeking a promotion at our current job, etc.  The day was rounded out by Rich Muth, director of IUP Northpointe and Monroeville addressing the class.  Mr. Muth was able to share a wealth of knowledge about the IUP campuses as well as provide an in-depth overview of all of the services and classes offered by the school.   LAKV Class XXIV will gather for our next session on December 10th at Allegheny Valley Hospital where the topic of Health Care will be addressed.

Jeremy & Colleen

(Jeremy Huth & Colleen Felentzer)

Class XXIV Nov 2015
Class XXIV is ready for the Marketing & Fundraising Session to begin.

Human Services Session – hosted by LIFE Armstrong

LAKV Class XXIV – Human Services Session – October 2015


Another informative meeting with LAKV was held on October 8, 2015. The session was hosted by LIFE Armstrong in Kittanning (next to ACMH Hospital). Speakers presented information on their Human Service organizations throughout the day. They included LIFE Armstrong, Armstrong County Area Agency on Aging, Armstrong County Memorial Hospital Foundation, ARC Manor, HAVIN, and Habitat for Humanity. The day ended with a wonderful tour of the Habitat for Humanity house project in process in Kittanning. Networking with other professionals is not only educational and informative; it’s also a rewarding experience. The Human Services session made all of us see how important Human Services are in our community and opened our eyes to some of the issues facing our communities today.

Jessica & AletaIMG_8010


An Ice-breaking Journey


Leadership retreat
LAKV Class XXIV on their retreat 9/10-9/11.

Twelve people from all aspects of the workforce – from education to healthcare – embarked on a two day journey. Nestled in the hills of Ligonier, PA, with a breathtaking view, we find ourselves gathered on a large open air porch in oversized rocking chairs facing one another and wondering: what’s next? Who are we? At the end of two hours, we have a comfortable knowledge of where we are coming from and some primary tools to take us where we want to go.

Leadership retreat
Colleen Felentzer zip lining in Ligonier

During the time spent together that first day, it was particularly interesting to realize how we all relate to one another. It’s safe to say that some basic knowledge of each profession exists, but the aspects of each that we all inhabit are so varied that it was easy to see how much we would really learn throughout the upcoming eight months. At the same time, similar issues exist: how do we present ourselves professionally? How do we properly wade through the waters of familiarity, of interpersonal relationships? How do we manage and delegate others?

Leadership team building
Class XXIV working together to “sink the ball”

Through conversation and adventure- and I do mean legitimate adventure – we grow even a little bit further. This particular retreat helped us realize a little bit about our roles, in professional and personal settings, and when it’s appropriate to take a step: a step outside of our comfort zone, a step back to observe, a step sideways to encourage and support, a step forward to face the next challenge, adventure, obstacle.


Here’s to the next eight months: to learning, to gaining knowledge, to the understanding of obstacles, to discovering personal and professional successes, to networking and to sharing lots of laughs.

Signing off,

Stephanie & Callie


Zip line retreat
Michelle & Stephanie after the zip line


Leadership retreat
Jeremy, Roger, Kelly and Colleen









And so it begins…

Welcome to the LAKV Blog! Here you will find monthly updates from our current leadership class, XXIV. Blogs will be written by class members to showcase the highlights of each monthly class Session. Prepare yourselves for updates from a class retreat at Ligonier Camp and Conference Center.

We intend for the blog to be your source for all LAKV news including class session updates, agendas, fundraising event information, and tons of other exciting LAKV News. Stick around and pay attention-you never know when the first blog from Class XXIV will drop!

Our goal with the new website is to make the LAKV experience an engaging one for the Board, for class members, for alumni, for the chambers, and for our communities. After all, at LAKV, we’re creating tomorrow’s leaders, today!

We hope you’ll join us here soon for the first blog from Class XXIV. All we can say is….it’s coming!

Kind wishes,

-The LAKV Board of Directors