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Human Services LIFE Armstrong County October 2017

Human Services Session hosted by LIFE Armstrong

Blog by Wesley P. Kuchta

At our session on Thursday, October 12th  the LAKV class XXVI learned Human Services organizations in the AK Valley and the populations that they serve.  The session was held at LIFE Armstrong, who not only spoke to us regarding their services but also gave us a tour of the wonderful facility.  Julie Pella, their enrollment manager discussed all the efforts and services they have to keep the elderly in their homes as long as possible delaying nursing home care until it is needed.

The group then heard from Jodi Beers, the Executive Director of “The Community Foundation: whose mission is Serving the Heart of Western Pennsylvania”  Mrs. Beers showcased the many philanthropic efforts and support he Community Foundation serves in Armstrong County.

Following Mrs. Beers, Laurie Johns, Assistant Executive Director from HAVIN addressed the group all the resources, efforts, and support they provide in Armstrong County to domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and violent relationships victim’s.  One area that was beneficial with the group was she provided the names of the these same types of services in surrounding counties for those members who live and work outside of Armstrong County.

Following HAVIN, the group was given a powerful presentation by Cindy McCrea and Fred, one of her counselor’s at ARC Manor.  ARC Manor provides substance abuse rehab services not only Armstrong, but surrounding counties as well.  I know the group was very moved by Fred’s story and we all greatly appreciated him sharing it with our class.

Following lunch, Michele Pastrick, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Consultant, presented her “Powerful Presentations – The OCD Method” to the group.  This entertaining presentation gave tips and tricks whether presenting in a small group or large audience.

The session finished with Lisa going over Leadership Basics, including styles, types of leadership, and ways to be an effective leader that we will be revisiting throughout the year.

A big thank you to LIFE for hosting, and the all individuals for taking time out of their very busy schedule to speak with us, regarding all the important work and services they provide!




Class XXVI Retreat September 2017


by Erica Kozen

Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley Class XXVI kicked-off the 2017-2018 program with a two-day retreat at Ligonier Camp and Conference Center held in September 2017.  This year’s program is led by Lisa Slongo and includes nine class members:

  • Hillary Butts, Quality Life Services – Apollo
  • Kimberly Greene, Apollo Trust
  • Lisa Hyland, Mary Queen of Apostles School
  • Eileen Kenzevich, Alcoa Corp.
  • Margie Kovach, NexTier Bank
  • Erica Kozen, Arconic
  • Wes Kuchta, Lenape Technical School
  • Ernest Ngirimana, Allegheny Valley Hospital
  • Lynda Pozzuto, Alle Kiski Strong Chamber

The retreat began with class members “jumping” right into the first Leadership Challenge experience – ziplining!  We enjoyed several more Leadership Challenges (see us attempting the “helium pole” below!) and spent time getting to know one another and discussing plans for the year.  This year, the class will organize a fundraising event of our choice, and each class member will observe a Board within the Alle-Kiski community by attending at least two Board or subcommittee meetings.  The class reconvenes monthly to meet professionals within the community and to acquire new leadership and business skills.

LAKV Class XXVI Retreat Pic


We closed out the retreat around the beautiful campfire while enjoying s’mores and a visit from LAKV Board Chairman, Chad McCutcheon.

LAKV Class XXVI Retreat Campfire


Please look for future blogs describing our activities throughout the year!



Buy your ticket today! $10/ticket. Each ticket contains two possible numbers for the drawings.
Buy your ticket today! $10/ticket. Each ticket contains two possible numbers for the drawings.

That’s right! LAKV and Oklahoma Volunteer Fire Department are having a Cash Bash on October 7th at Oklahoma School House Hall. Proceed benefit both organizations.

We’ll provide the food & the adult beverages. You provide the company by bringing all your friends and neighbors. 

This is your chance to win cold, hard cash and nice prizes. Join us for the evening. Must be 21 to purchase tickets and attend.

Tickets are available from LAKV board members, Oklahoma VFD members, and you can purchase them at McCutcheon Enterprises, Inc. location on Park Road in Allegheny Township.

$10 buys you a night of entertainment and two chances to win in each of the night’s drawings. You must have ID to enter and to win.

If you can’t attend, buy a ticket anyway. If we call your number, and you’re not there, you still win. You win less $$, but you’re still a winner.

Get your tickets today! 

We hope to see you there.

Are you ready to become a Leader?

Are you in a rut at work? Do you see yourself wanting to take the lead on a project? How about changing your community for the better? If you’re interested in these things, look no further, LAKV Class XXVI is the place for you!

We are now accepting applications for Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley’s 26th consecutive class of future leaders. Submit your application today along with a copy of your most recent resume. We’re looking for the go-getters, the motivators, those who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, get hands on, and accomplish great things for their employers and our region.

If that’s you, you fit the bill. There are no specific requirements to participate in LAKV Class XXVI. The Board of Directors and our Program Manager, Lisa Slongo will use your application to build a program around our class. We want to know your strengths, weaknesses, and even your fears. LAKV can help hone the strenths, turn the weaknesses into positives, and force those leadership fears away. It’s what we do. LAKV creates tomorrow’s leaders today.

So come on, fill out an application and join the ranks of thousands of Alle-Kiski Valley alumni who have changed our region for the better!

We can’t wait to hear from you!


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!

Celebration, Change and a Fundraising Campaign

Greetings everyone! We at LAKV hope you all enjoyed your Summers. It sure has been a busy Summer of recruitment and program updates on our end. We wrapped up LAKV Class XXIV in May and wish that class the best of luck in their future endeavors.

June dawned bright & beautiful for LAKV as our Board & Program Manager began the process of recruiting a very special class. What’s so special about it? It’s Class XXV! That’s right, LAKV is ready to begin it’s 25th class of “growing tomorrow’s leaders today” this October. 

In the midst of all our recruiting, change, and opportunity came knocking at LAKV’s door. Change came when Diane Chabal, our Program Manager of 11 years decided to accept a position with the University of Pittsburgh. Diane’s tenure at LAKV was one of activity, growth, and strengthening the program. We thank her for her many years of service.

Opportunity knocked with the ability to hire a new Program Manager and use that new leader to brush off some of the cobwebs and dust that had been festering and lurking in the unseen areas of LAKV.

We’re excited to announce that we answered opportunity’s knock and hired Michele Pastrick, SPHR, SHRM-SCP as LAKV’s new Program Manager. Michele comes to us with over two decades of experience in Human Resources and consulting. She brings a breath of fresh air, raw enthusiasm and great ideas to expand LAKV’s program and tailor it to keep us focused on “growing tomorrow’s leaders today.”

It’s a new LAKV, celebrating a milestone anniversary and ready to usher in the newest leaders to the Alle-Kiski Valley. Join us for the ride and Apply Today for Class XXV. We’re accepting applications until September 15, 2016. 

Announcing the $25 for Class XXV Drive

This year, we are asking for our alumni, sponsors, prospective students, supporters, and followers to help us celebrate 25 LAKV classes with a $25 donation. How do you donate?

Simple. Send a check payable to:

Leadership Alle-Kiski Valley

P.O. Box 2841

Lower Burrell, PA 15068.

In addition to this announcement, we have several new sponsorship tiers to roll out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to LAKV’s Blog for the latest program updates. Beginning in October, Class XXV will take over the blog and be providing you with updates on their monthly sessions.

We’re excited to kick off Class XXV and hope you’ll join us in the celebration by donating or sending us a class participant. Now’s the time to act, class space is limited!

It’s been a pleasure updating you all. Have a great day.

Kind wishes,

Chad McCutcheon, LAKV Vice-Chair & Alumnus

Economic Development hosted by Alcoa Technical Center

Stephanie Laurenza’s Blog Post: Economic Development Session

Hosted at Alcoa Technical Center on April 14th, 2016

LAKV_3982 - Copy

The Alcoa Technical Center (ATC) located in New Kensington was Class XXIV’s home for the day on Thursday, April 14th. As an ATC employee, I was honored and excited to have double duty as a host/presenter and class member. In addition to ATC-specific presentations, we were treated to interactions with and presentations from local businesses.


The local organizations and businesses represented throughout this session exposed us, as a class, to the current economic environment of the AKValley. This session, perhaps more than others, helped shed light on what local organizations provide to the community.


One of the aspects I enjoy most about the LAKV experience is learning more about the goings on and conditions in the valley. Even though I live in the city of Pittsburgh, much of my time is spent in this area due to work as well as other community/civic commitments. I think it is important to be aware of the climate of this setting, both for the business sense as well as for interpersonal relations. Whether the organization’s sole focus is the (re)development of the community or to provide a service, commodity or item to the community, each established represented in the day provided us with a greater understanding of the AKValley.


The knowledge from this session will help us define ourselves as leaders in terms of how we can represent both our companies and ourselves as individuals as forces within the community.