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Leadership Pioneer Valley Recruiting for Class of 2017

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is now accepting applications for enrollment in its class of 2017. The regional leadership-development program begins in September.

LPV utilizes a 10-month, topically relevant, ever-changing curriculum designed to challenge and engage emerging leaders from all sectors of the community within the Pioneer Valley region. The curriculum consists of both classroom and hands-on, experiential learning through retreats, day-long seminars, field experiences, and team projects. To date, more than 180 individuals representing more than 82 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated.

LPV is seeking applicants from nonprofits, businesses, and government who are eager to increase their leadership skills and take action to better the region. Applicants are considered in a competitive application process that prioritizes diversity by employment sector, geography, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley should consider applying.

In its five years running, the program has filled a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region. Fifty-three percent of alumni have a new leadership role at work, 64% have joined a new board of directors, and 99% made new, meaningful connections.

The deadline for LPV class of 2017 applications is July 1. Applications and further information can be found

Challenge Day 3: Creativity

challenge day 3 collage

“Creativity isn’t just doing art, it’s a mindset,” executive director Lora Wondolowski told the Leadership Pioneer Valley Class of 2016 on February 12th.

That was the theme of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s most recent session: Creativity. The Class of 2016 spent the day at Holyoke Community College, exploring the interconnected role creativity plays in leadership through hands on activities, physical exercises and group collaborative work. The trainer, Izzy Gesell, used improv as a vehicle throughout the day for connecting leadership to creativity. He utilized volunteers from the groups to demonstrate techniques and practices, and then had the groups make use of the terms, approaches and techniques they had learned.

Leadership and creativity may not seem like an obvious connection. But creativity and leadership, the class learned, go hand in hand. Creative leadership is characterized by a few specific traits: fluency, flexibility and uniqueness. Fluency is the ability to come up with lots of ideas instead of getting hung up on the first one that comes by. Flexibility is the ability to create ideas from multiple perspectives, and uniqueness is the key trait of being able to generate ideas that are uncommon. Combined, these traits are key to innovation and problem-solving. They help leaders get out of rigid thinking and allow them to approach ideas in a way they haven’t before. Today’s leaders need to be creative.

Gesell said, “For most folks, the stuck is the stop” and encouraged the participants to persevere and find creative approaches to discussions and problems when they get stuck on a project instead of shutting down.

They were eager to try to do so, and they successfully did, exercise after exercise. The mood was light and full of curiosity as the class laughed, smiled and engaged. It was clear by the end of the day that for the class, creativity no longer had the same meaning. Creativity wasn’t to be dreaded, and definitely wasn’t something that had no place in leadership or business. Creativity was a tool they had been given and now knew fully how to use.

The next Challenge Day is May 20th, and will focus on Skillful Negotiations. Meanwhile, the class of 2016 will be participating in two Field Experience Days, one in March and one in April. The former will focus on Holyoke and Chicopee, and the latter will concentrate on Franklin County.

LPV to host first Leadership 2.0 Event of the year

Leadership Pioneer Valley Kicks Off 2016 Leadership 2.0 with Networking Expert

SPRINGFIELD, MA— Leadership Pioneer Valley will host the first installment of their Leadership 2.0 series on Tues. March 29th from 5:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M at Valley Venture Mentors, located in Tower Square. The session, entitled Art of the Schmooze, will be led by networking expert Robbie Samuels. This workshop will focus on strengthening networking skills and helping both introverts and extroverts alike get better at communicating with donors, peers and collaborators.

Art of the Schmooze is part of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s 2016 Leadership 2.0 series. The Leadership 2.0 series sessions are stand-alone leadership and community development trainings for LPV alumni and other emerging and established professionals. This is an opportunity for folks who are unable to participate in our 10-month program to attend a 3-4 hour workshop or the entire series. The series features three workshops in the winter/spring and two next fall with top-notch trainers. The program was launched last year and received rave-reviews from attendees. Our sessions include: Make a Bigger Difference, Be a Better Board Member, Create an Engaging Workplace Environment, Meetings That Matter, and the Three Hour Personal Brand.

Robbie Samuels has been recognized as a networking expert by Inc. and Lifehacker, and profiled in Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. Since 2009, his engaging and fun presentations have helped a wide array of audiences increase their confidence when it comes to relationship-building – whether through networking, fundraising, or sales. Attendees will have the opportunity to hone their understanding of how to better communicate with peers and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes in their professional interactions.

Dinner will be included in the event, which costs $99 for general admission, or $50 for Leadership Pioneer Valley members. Tickets can be purchased by searching “Leadership 2.0” on

Leadership Pioneer Valley is a non-profit that works to identify, develop, and connect diverse leaders to strengthen the region.

Congrats to Yezenia making it onto Masslive’s People in Business page!

Follow the link here to see the post: LPV Intern Announcement Masslive

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces New Intern

IMG_20160215_3Media Contact: Lora Wondolowski, Executive Director [email protected]
413/737-3876 or c:413/695-2038

American International College’s Yezenia Rodriguez Joins Leadership Pioneer Valley as Social Media Intern

SPRINGFIELD, MA-Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced Yezenia Rodriguez as an intern for the spring 2016 semester. Rodriguez’s primary responsibilities will entail communications and marketing via LPV’s social media platforms. Rodriguez will be working to expand the outreach of LPV while building a greater online audience.

A senior Communications major and Sociology minor at American International College, Rodriguez is a staff writer for The Yellow Jacket, American International College’s monthly campus newspaper. She is also a member of her school’s chapter of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). Concurrent to her internship with Leadership Pioneer Valley, Rodriguez is also an employee of the City of Springfield, with the cities’ library system. Rodriguez is proudly from Springfield.