Leadership La Porte County graduates 36th class


Leadership La Porte County honored its 36th Adult Class at a recent event held at Kesling Park.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this event was held outdoors with social distancing measures in place.

For the 36th year, a group of La Porte County citizens have spent the past 9 months engaging in leadership skill-building, gaining information about La Porte County, and networking with local leaders.

“The annual graduation celebrates and recognizes the leadership class as they prepare to use their knowledge and information to make a positive change in the community,” Monica Komasinski, executive director, said. “This year looked a bit different as we made some modifications to keep everyone safe. We are proud of the commitment this group has made to developing leadership skills and getting involved in their community. Many thanks to Jim Jessup, who once again volunteered his time to serve as co-facilitator of the class. ”

Thirty-six individuals from throughout La Porte County participated in this year’s course.

At the event, the Outstanding Leadership Alumni Award was also presented to Lisa Pierzakowski.

Each year the board of directors chooses a past graduate of the program to receive the Robert J. Hiler, Jr. Outstanding Alumni Award. The award recognizes one alumnus who has demonstrated ongoing commitment to his/her profession and to the La Porte County community. The award is named in honor of the late Robert J. Hiler, Jr., who served as a board member, benefactor, and was an inspiration for many in the community.

“Bob Hiler was a true community leader who gave time, talent, and treasure to our organization and many others,” Komasinski said. “We are proud to honor Bob’s spirit in recognizing outstanding community leadership.”

Board President Carrie Campbell with Outstanding Award Recipient Lisa Pierzakowski

Pierzakowski, a member of the 34th Leadership class, received the award in recognition of her outstanding service to the community as the Center Township trustee. “She has consistently gone ‘above and beyond’ in her daily activities assisting those in need of support. Her significant effort to promote food security, financial independence and housing for those in need is unparalleled,” Komasinski said.

“Lisa has worked for many years on the issue of homelessness. This past year, she worked on a homeless/overnight shelter for the community. In its first year (January 2020–March 15th, 2020) 38 clients went through the shelter. Thirty of those were able to get into housing, rehab, back with family or on to the next journey.”

Pierzakowski has been recognized with many other awards and accomplishments, including:
• Indiana Trustee of the Year Award in 2018
• Circle of Corydon Award from Governor, awarded on October 13, 2018
• Northwest Indiana Township Director (among 166 townships)
• Board member of the Indiana Township Association
• President, La Porte County Township Association
• Treasurer of the Republican Women’s Group for La Porte
• Former President and Secretary, Maple City Lions Club

The event concluded with the formal recognition of the 36th class members for completing the program, which included monthly sessions on a variety of community leadership topics, a county bus tour, a trip to the State Legislature, and team projects. Board President Carrie Campbell, Vice President Cathy Homan and Board Member Kim Peffley distributed commemorative plaques to each graduate. Komasinski challenged class members to stay connected to each other, to find their passions, and to continue giving back to the community. Several friends and colleagues of the graduates did a drive-by parade to celebrate the culmination of the program.

Leadership La Porte County, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, develop, cultivate and connect emerging and existing leaders to serve their diverse communities. The organization is committed to providing a forum for the development of community leaders. For more information, or to nominate an individual for the 37th Adult Program beginning in September, visit www.leadershiplaportecounty.com/applynow; contact Leadership La Porte County at 325-8223, or email: info@leadershiplaportecounty.com.

Here is the list of this year’s graduating class:

Gail Beal, Insurance Agent – Producer La Porte Insurance Agency; Brett Binversie, Director La Porte Civic Auditorium; Andrew Brown, Assistant Manager Kabelin Ace Hardware; Curt Cipares, Director of Business Development Tonn and Blank Construction; Janelle Elwood, Administration & Program Support Manager, Michigan City Chamber of Commerce; Brittany Fisher, Director, Marketing & Communication, CompressAir; Sean Fitzpatrick, Treasurer La Porte County Democratic Central Committee; Hillary Fogarty, Clinic Manager La Porte Physician Network; Maggie Fritzen, Executive Assistant Family Advocates; Tracey Gaddy, Practice Manager III Franciscan Physician Network.

Also, Stacey Garcelon, Executive Director Anam, Cara Stables, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; Julia Harris, Assistant Branch Manager Horizon Bank; Lindsay Jongkind, Marketing & Membership Director La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership; Nick Kimmel, Principal South Central Elementary School; Adam Koronka, Process Owner/Engineering Arconic; Joseph Kotulski, Pastor, Liberty Bible Church-LP; Emily Kribs, Recruiting Specialist, Kabelin Ace Hardware; James Lear, Detective, La Porte County Sheriff Office; Aimee Meier, User Experience/Trainer, La Porte County Public Library; Chelsea Miller, Visitor Information Associate Distributor, La Porte County Convention & Visitors Bureau; John Noble, Supply Chain Manager, La Porte Hospital; Aly Olson, Assistant Executive Director, Reins of Life.

Also, Tina Orr, Respite Manager, Paladin, Inc.; Elizabeth Penfold, Senior Account Administrator, Horizon Trust & Investment Management; Jenilee Haynes-Peterson, Economic Development Manager, Economic Dev. Corp. MC; Angela Rose, Downtown Director La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership; Michael Rosenbaum, CPA Hartwell & Company; Courtney Schoof, Account Coordinator American Licorice; Tina Sherrod, LPN Practice Manager Franciscan Physician Network; Heather Stevens, Co-Director La Porte County Voters Registration; Stephen Swihart, Director of Finance La Porte Hospital; Jennifer Whitenack, Clinic Manager, La Porte Physician Network; Sandra Wood, Superintendent MSD of New Durham Twp.; Lisa Woodson, Office Manager, La Porte Co. Solid Waste District; Nicolette Worek, Manager, Caterer, Florist Duneland Falls & Kaber Floral Co.; Jeff Wright ,Sgt./Police Officer La Porte County Sheriff Office.

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