By Brent Cooper
Whether you know it or not, Leadership Northern Kentucky (LNK) is a critical ingredient in the long-term success of our community.
The contributions by LNK classes over the years are wide ranging.
LNK classes have done everything from installing handicap doors at Redwood, to creating a Healthy newborn site for Transitions that serves mother’s going through addiction recovery.
Without LNK, there wouldn’t be a Maker space in Boone County, a Hope Box Derby to support Health Point, or an upcoming 2nd Annual River Cities Relay (August 26th) that will provide charitable spending for multiple nonprofits in the region.
The latest LNK class of 2017 is taking on “Unlock the Block”, July 22nd in Latonia. This music fest was created to activate community vibrancy and potential in Northern Kentucky.
As you can see, LNK has been going strong since the very first class of 1979, ten years after the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was founded. The program now boasts over 1,500 graduates!
Although it has changed over time, the core strategy remains – to use the community as a classroom to develop leaders who will effectively serve the region.
For many, their first exposure to the hidden challenges of poverty and law enforcement came through the LNK program. For others, the first time they even heard of the Welcome House in Covington, learned how important pre-school is for kids, or heard from a holocaust survivor, came through LNK.
It was shocking for me to discover some LNK participants had never even tasted bourbon before. Now that was a Kentucky tragedy that had to be remedied!
Thanks to LNK, their world has changed, and they are ready to be “change makers!”
Involving the community in this way “kills two birds” as it not only educates those going through the class, it also provides a mechanism for community organizations to recruit future board members, promote projects, and communicate strategies.
85% of LNK students still contribute charitably to non-profit organizations they met while going through the program.
The early LNK classes produced graduates that are now corporate Presidents, board members & elected officials.
Because those early graduates made such an impact on the community, (the previous “best classes ever”), the program is now widely viewed as a rite of passage for future leaders, and a key ingredient for developing future talent.
There are many reasons why the program is successful, but the secret sauce in my opinion is the diverse makeup of each class, and the fact that it is primarily driven by LNK Alumni.
People from various backgrounds and industries, that reside in different geographic areas, come together to learn from each other and form a lasting bond.
During a recent meeting at the NKY Chamber of Commerce, folks were asked to raise their hand if they were a graduate of LNK. Nearly the entire room had their hands in the air. It was a wonderful endorsement of the program, and another reason why you should support this incredible legacy of leadership.
As we head toward the 40th Anniversary of LNK in 2019, I hope you’ll encourage friends & colleagues to apply for future LNK classes, support LNK initiatives, and financially support scholarship funding for non-profit partners and entrepreneurs.
The LNK tradition is strong. Be a part of it. It is a gem for the region, and continues to have a positive impact on the state we are in.
Leadership NKY Class of 2018
Kristen Baldini, First Financial Bank
Kristin Baldwin, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Kristin Baldwin, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Jeffrey Beach, Visa
Angel Beets, Scooter Media
Brent Boden, BB&T Wealth
Jacob Brooks, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
Casey Burns, Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office
Conrad Culbertson, Roeding Insurance
Raymond Dabbelt, Kenton County Airport Board
Tracy Decker, Furlong Building Enterprises
Sean Dempsey, Robert W. Baird
Whitney Dickerson, Answers in Genesis/Ark Encounter/Creation Museum
Melissa Doss, Melissa Doss Law, LLC
Wendy Ferrell-Smith, St. Elizabeth Physicians
Kate Ferrer, Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed
Fernando Figueroa, Gateway Community and Technical College
Thomas Grace, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Rick Hall, Fidelity Investments
Monisha Hatfield, St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Samuel Jacobs, General Cable Corporation
Tamara Johnson, Clark Schaefer Hackett
Patrick Keal, Duke Energy
Jason Kidd, Jolly Property Rescue
Katie Jo Kirkpatrick, Northern Kentucky Area Development Center
Catherine Koop, FTJ FundChoice, LLC
Mark Krummen, Walton-Verona Board of Education
Joshua Langdon, Wood + Lamping, LLP
Brent Linn, Chick-fil-A Fort Wright
Matthew Mattone, City of Park Hills
Darrin McMillen, Gateway Community and Technical College
Mark Noel, Graydon Head & Ritchey, LLP
Emi Randall, Planning and Development Services
Lisa Riccardi, VonLehman & Company
Alyson Roeding, St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Ryan Salzman, Northern Kentucky University
Andrew Schierberg, City of Fort Mitchell
Amy Schworer, KY Department of Criminal Justice
Lisa Sensale Yazdian, Boone County Public Library
Mark Shields, Messer Construction
John Sieg, Fifth Third Bank
Thomas Simendinger, Adams, Stepner, Woltermann and Dusing, PLLC
Larisa Sims, City of Newport
Shannon Smith, Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith
Samantha Steenken, Citi
Julia Tarvin, Taft Stettinius & Hollister
Thomas Tilmes, Republic Bank
Benjamin Virost, C-Forward
Kelly Wathen, PNC Bank
Kyle Waymeyer, KLH Engineers
Bobbie Webster, Family Nurturing Center
Robert Williams, Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission
Jonathan Woodruff, UpTech
Regional Youth Leadership Class of 2018
Amy Bushman, Anderson High School
Jacklyn Tierney, Beechwood High School
Kylie Hicks, Bellevue High School
Mark Saunders, Bellevue High School
Austin Alwell, Bishop Brossart High School
Yazan Orabi, Boone County High School
Hannah Beaven, Calvary Christian High School
Natalie Sampson, Campbell County High School
Madelyn Vezdos, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Katherine Wells, Conner High School
Timothy Belton, Covington Catholic High School
Lucas Kuhlman, Covington Catholic High School
Phillip Bright, Covington Latin School
Mary Jacqueline Cain, Covington Latin School
Elizabeth Lukens, Dayton High School
Catherine Kremer, Dixie Heights High School
Sydney Cooper, Highlands High School
Demetrius Sarakatsannis, Highlands High School
Evan Wells, Holy Cross High School
Emilie Hatton, Homeschool
Karina Masih, Homeschool
Cole Werbrich, Indian Hill High School
Hannah Herrmann, Lloyd High School
Morgan Lantry, Ludlow High School
Cameron Finke, Madeira High School
Holly Byers, Mariemont High School
Emily English, Mount Notre Dame
Luke Grothaus, Newport Central Catholic High School
Joseph Whelan, Newport Central Catholic High School
Cody Baynori, Newport High School
Elise Piatt, Notre Dame Academy
Morgan Weltzer, Notre Dame Academy
Camden Schierenbeck, Randall K. Cooper High School
Emma Poole, Scott High School
Elayne Harrington, Simon Kenton High School
Harrison Vaughn, Simon Kenton High School
Grace Mullikin, St. Henry District High School
Amy Poffenberger, Summit Country Day School
Jeessica Lu, Sycamore High School
Jessica Rocha Torres, Taylor High School
Giovanni Falcone, Villa Madonna High School
Gabriel Powell, Villa Madonna High School
Megan Wells, Walton-Verona High School
Braden Mulcahy, Walton-Verona High School