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Lessons in community and business leadership

FOLLOW THE LEADERS — Graduating members of the Leadership Weirton Class of 2018 include, from left, Brandon Gillespie, Ernie Nicholas, Laken Higgs, Joyia Lytle, Danica Rasicci, Jake Young and John Puorro. Stephanie Fryer also completed the program. Leadership Weirton is organized each year through the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — A new batch of graduates has completed their journey into community and business leadership.

The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce held a graduation dinner Wednesday to celebrate the completion of this year’s Leadership Weirton program, with eight participants completing their requirements.

Chamber President Brenda Mull welcomed the class and guests, offering her congratulations on their work to learn about becoming better leaders in the community.

“As a class, you really took that step forward,” Mull said, calling the class hands-on, original and inventive.

Mull noted there initially had been 15 participants set to be part of this year’s class, but through various circumstances, eight completed the program.

This year’s graduating class, along with their sponsors, included Stephanie Fryer, Hancock County Commission; Brandon Gillespie, D’Anniballe & Company; Laken Higgs, Serra Village; Joyia Lytle, Lytle & Associates; Ernie Nicholas, Steel & Wolfe Funeral Home; John Puorro, WMC Physician Practices; Danica Rasicci, Wyngate Senior Living; and Jake Young, Mobilize 360.

Among the challenges for the class was organizing their group service project, which Mull noted, involved assisting with improvements to the J.C. Williams Soccer Complex. The class, with help from family, friends and other volunteers, was able to obtain and paint 75 rail ties to deliniate the complex’s parking lot.

“Part of leadership is being able to handle obstacles when they’re in the way,” Mull said. “Looking at what you’ve done, the results were outstanding.”

The class also heard from Thomas Michaud, dean of the School of Professional Studies at West Liberty University, who relayed what he considered to be six essential traits for leadership.

“They aren’t necessarily inborn traits,” he said.

Among those traits are: leadership is more than management; strive to be a steward of the organization; develop a habit of enterprise; base actions on the attitude of being self-employed; view each problem or mistake as if it were significant; and be a model of decorum.

In addition to the service project, Leadership Weirton features a series of monthly sessions focusing on aspects of the community, including government; health and human services; education; history and culture; and business and economic development. The class is tasked with planning each of the sessions.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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