Justin Wenner, project designer in our Williamsport energy department, graduated from Leadership Lycoming on June 23rd. Leadership Lycoming operates under the sponsorship of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. It’s a specialized training program designed to understand the needs of the community it serves and develop and motivate effective leaders committed to utilizing their skills and talents for the betterment of their community.
Leadership Lycoming entails a one-and-a-half day retreat in September, followed by eight full-day programs from October to June. Here are Justin’s thoughts on the program.
What’s the most valuable leadership lesson you received from Leadership Lycoming?
The importance of leader awareness. I was most impressed, specifically when we toured factories, with how aware the supervisors were of every task being carried out on that floor. While they may not have been specialists at any given station, they knew what happened at every stop and understood the exact role that job played in the grand scheme of the line.
The idea of leader awareness translates itself easily to our company. Even before a project begins, being aware of the effort involved with individual tasks will improve the quality and accuracy of proposals, being aware of client needs and expectations will paint a clear picture of project deliverables and deadlines, being aware of team members’ skill sets will assist when it’s time to divide work, etc. Constant awareness is incredibly valuable at all stages. However, it’s the individual’s responsibility to utilize effective team communication while gathering, organizing, and tracking required information to guarantee that awareness.
What’s something you learned about your community that you didn’t know before LL?
I learned many things about my community; a lot of times, the new information was a complete bummer. We have homelessness, addiction, crime, and people who are struggling. The silver lining though, is that every time I learned of something troubling, I heard about a program or service that’s in place to address it. I learned that there are over a dozen men currently calling the American Rescue Workers home and there’s an overnight housing option for men and women with children at Saving Grace Shelter. I learned of non-violent opiate addicts that aren’t in prison, but instead were given a chance at treatment through the initiatives of Project Bald Eagle.
I learned that our police officers are compassionate and patient public servants to our community, constantly working to resolve issues before anything else. I also learned that there are numerous programs out there to assist people who don’t outwardly need help. There are programs like The Learning Center at James V Brown Library, which helps adults wanting to better themselves through obtaining their GED, and grandmothers who simply want to be literate so they can read stories to their grandkids. It might surprise you, but adult literacy is a real issue, not only in our community, but everywhere. Then there are programs offered by North Central Sight Services, helping to identify eye disease in children and assisting people who have recently lost their vision acclimate to life without sight.
Overall, this experience highlighted the importance of the United Way. I urge everyone reading this to educate themselves on the programs that United Way dollars fund, and to donate. Chances are that you know someone who benefited/benefits/would benefit from one of these programs. In fact, you, yourself may rely on one of them someday. Those United Way dollars truly help communities.
Would you recommend the program to others? If so, why?
Absolutely. The program will take you behind the scenes of the community you live in, expose you to the problems it faces, introduce you to the people working to address them, and encourage you to get involved. I mentioned human services a lot, but it opens your eyes to much more—education, public works, history, the arts, etc. There are so many moving parts in a community that it’s easy for them to fade into the background, but once pointed out, they’ll never again go unnoticed. This program has changed my perspective and will have a lasting effect on the way I see my area.