Engaging, equipping, and connecting citizens
By Debbie Eisele
This year marks the second successful year for Leadership Fauquier, a program that educates future leaders in the community. Executive Director Sandra Roszel develops a curriculum with various individuals and entities throughout the county to provide an experience to transform the overall knowledge base of each participant in regards to what is available here in the county. Sandra said, “The layers of diversity in the class of 2017 are numerous. Within hours of the opening retreat the class participants began to open up to a new perspective regarding themselves and their role within a group. The level of personal, inter-personal and professional development over the course of the past nine months has been a source of enormous satisfaction and pride for me personally. Watch for great things to come out of the class of 2017.”
Graduates of the 2016-2017 class were all tasked with providing information to share with the community regarding their personal journey through the training. They were asked about their favorite part of the program, the most difficult part of the program, their biggest takeaway, how they envision this program serving the community, and about one memory from their experience they were deeply impacted by. Here is the list of graduates for the 2017 class, and their responses. All names are listed alphabetically.
Drew Fioranelli, GISP, is a graduate of Delta State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He has been involved with GIS for local governments for over 10 years, spending six years building and managing the GIS department for the City of Asheboro, NC. Drew is currently the GIS Director for Fauquier County.
“The interactions and connections obtained by being a part of Leadership Fauquier has to be my favorite part of the program. I have had the opportunity to meet and have at-length discussions with local leaders who I may not otherwise have met. This program provides an introduction to these current and future leaders, allowing old thoughts and new to meld together and assist in making a better Fauquier for today and tomorrow. It was insightful to listen to currently incarcerated people and learning first-hand about their struggles. Each story shared was emotional, and a call for help. The community should be aware that the law enforcement community lacks many resources that may be able to help curb addiction, reduce repeat offenses, and build towards a more connected community. The most difficult part of the program for me has been learning self-assessment and internal reflection, and this challenge has helped me identify these areas of my life which I really need to focus on and address.”
Dr. Greg Hackett became the Lead Pastor of The Bridge Community Church in April 2013. He utilizes his consulting and coaching skills with church planters, church leaders, and business leaders locally, regionally, and nationally. Over the years, his heart for missions and leadership development has taken him to over 20 countries.
“The best part of the Leadership Fauquier program for me was the ability to network with people from other parts of the community who shared the same concerns and desires for Fauquier that I have. Without this class, I may have never developed these meaningful relationships. My biggest takeaway was to see the individual contributions that make up a healthy community. There are some amazing people here who don’t make the headlines. This program really helps new people discover the community quickly and effectively in a strategic way and settle in for the long-term. A good memory I have is the conversation we had in our last class, as compared to the first class. The connectivity between all the participants was just amazing. The experiences (both in and out of class) over the last nine months have been incredible.”
Harris, Denise M.
Denise M. Harris works for the Town of Warrenton in the Planning and Community Development Department. She has resided in Warrenton since 1998 and has over twenty years experience in land use planning around the country.
“No question—the people in my class were my favorite part of Leadership. The opportunity to get to know these amazing individuals is a gift both professionally and personally. A close second would be the professional development and coaching Leadership Fauquier provides its participants. CEOs pay thousands of dollars to go through the workshops we had the benefit of experiencing. The most difficult part of Leadership Fauquier was granting myself the time, as well as permission, to fully take advantage of the opportunities being offered. Many people struggle to find balance in the demands of their lives. Leadership Fauquier is a unique experience which requires one to be present and fully engaged and the rewards are immense.
My biggest takeaway is that something I knew on a surface level was reinforced deeply: the community of Fauquier is truly extraordinary. People who live here are extremely committed to each other and share fascinating life stories. The experience of Leadership Fauquier made me feel so blessed to live here. Leadership is building an army of committed citizens who can work together to facilitate solutions to meet community needs. There was one powerful memory: our class met with two of the inmates at the county jail, both of whom were suffering from addiction. They shared their journeys of how they ended up in jail. A sincere comment led to a group moment of overwhelming compassion, understanding, and heartbreak. There was not a dry eye in the room.”
Heaney Jr., Stan
Stanley Heaney Jr. is a George Mason graduate who works as a realtor with Century 21 New Millennium. Stanley prides himself of being a Fauquier native and is the membership chair for SFBOA.
“My favorite part about Leadership Fauquier has been learning about all the great work being done to improve our county. For me, the challenge has been learning to look at local issues that we may have preconceived notions about, and learning to look at all the issues in the county subjectively. The biggest takeaway for me is to understand the best way to fix a situation is to make sure you’re not in the way. Learning to allow others (if need be) to be the ones to accomplish something is important. Along with the projects that come from this program, I believe having more active citizens well versed in not only the issues but also the best avenues for success, will have a lasting effect on the surrounding areas. I won’t forget the retreat and our first problem-solving exercise as it was empowering, and took a range of talents to complete. For my class mates I hope you caught the joke.”
A native of Fauquier County, Rebecca holds a degree in Administration of Justice from George Mason University and has worked for Fauquier Office of Adult Court Services since 2007. Currently she is the Senior Court Services Officer for the Pretrial Program and works to preserve the criminal justice system while upholding a defendant’s constitutional rights.
“Networking, meeting new faces and leaders in our community was my favorite part of the Leadership Fauquier program. I was able to branch out and see what Fauquier has to offer. The county truly is a gem. This program has provided me with the resources and knowledge in order to thrive and be a successful leader. The difficult part for me was building confidence in myself as a leader. Our private coaching sessions helped me with this as well. Developing friendships, coming together and supporting everyone was a big part of the experience. We all come from different backgrounds and have a variety of perspectives and ideas. But we are all respectful and mindful of one another. Communication, openness and team building is key. Leadership serves our community by building networks and connecting organizations and businesses, as well as equipping leaders to better serve the community. Engaging and thought provoking sessions prepared us to give back to Fauquier and help our society grow. The memory that stands out for me is the two-day retreat. I enjoyed this so much as it jump-started our learning experience and provided truly valuable lessons. I have learned how to self-reflect as a leader and discern what I truly wanted to gain and take away from this program.”
Kim Jenkins is a Business Insurance Agent with Puffenbarger Insurance & Financial in Warrenton and owns Genesis Home Improvement with her husband, Mark. Kim enjoys educating individuals on their risks and offers solutions to protect them in the event of a loss. She resides in Southern Fauquier and has four children.
“The relationships were my favorite part of Leadership Fauquier. I was able to meet individuals in the area on a deeper level, and walking through the personal growth with them allowed close relationships to develop. I learned to appreciate everyone’s individual challenges and goals, which put many of mine in perspective. It was interesting and difficult to be in a room full of ambitious people who were just as competent, some more so, to lead as I am. During the class project, instead of being a leader I provided feedback and took on tasks assigned by others. This was hard for me but was very rewarding at the same time. Listening proved to be my biggest takeaway. I consistently provide feedback and input. This program is developing leaders and equipping them with valuable skills to use within the community. Fauquier County is a large county with residents who often do not understand the depth of resources and opportunities the county has to offer, this program exposes them to this information. My favorite memory is of Sandra having to ring the bell after breaks to rein everyone back in. The first few classes it worked pretty well. However, once we all became a big family, she needed a horn to quiet us all down.”
Andy Johnston is a Program Officer with the PATH Foundation. He has a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Prior to joining the PATH Foundation, Andy was a not-for-profit consultant and the founding Executive Director of Loudoun Cares. He has over 25 years of experience in the health and human service realm.
“There are too many ‘favorite’ parts of this program to list. One of the most difficult parts for me was also one of the best parts. Meeting two felons, in their jail surroundings, who openly shared their battles with opioid addiction brought tears to many in our group, but we all left more inspired to do our part to tackle this issue in our community. Additionally, the reminder of the power of groups to learn from each other in ways that make us all better community partners and team players. Ongoing education in leadership and community building produces more than a ripple effect; it creates a wave effect. By educating citizens in this manner, they become better equipped to give back to the community. I will never forget the kind jailer at the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center as she comforted the two heroin addicts, in prison stripes, who shared their tragic circumstances with our group. If the jailer won’t give up on them, then how can I? How can our community?”
Jenny Knox is a wife and mother of 2 who resides in Fauquier County. She is very involved within the community and has a big heart for serving others. She is employed by a non-profit, community action agency, People Incorporated as a Business Development Manager.
“Besides all the wonderful people I have met, I’d have to say my favorite part of the program was getting to see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes in each sector of our community to keep everything running smoothly. It was very eye-opening. I think the most difficult part was the end of the program. I was not ready for it to end. It has exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I think my biggest takeaway from this program is finally realizing, accepting, and embracing that I am a leader. The knowledge that I have received throughout this program has strengthened me as a leader and has given me the confidence needed to help make a bigger impact on my community. I feel as each cohort goes through this program, their eyes will be opened so wide that they will decide to stay together even after the program is over to help create or recommend solutions to better our community even more. A memory that I will never forget is when I went for a ride along with the Sheriff’s Office. It was a thrilling experience, and I was amazed at their day-to-day responsibilities. New challenges are thrown at them all the time, and they have to react within seconds while trying to make the best decision possible for each unique situation. I highly respect and commend our law enforcement for risking their lives each and every day to keep our community safe – thank you.”
Margie was born and raised in Stafford County. She has been in the banking industry for over 30 years and began working in the Warrenton community in 2003. She is currently the Commercial Loan Officer for Summit Community Bank. Margie is also a member and chair-elect of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“My favorite part about the program is the relationships within the class that have been built. I probably would have never had the opportunity to meet several of my classmates in any other setting. Seeing the willingness for everyone to open up to each other, and getting to know these individuals has been a joy. I would have to say the first day of the retreat was the most difficult part. You start the day knowing a few people in the room, but most are strangers and one of the first tasks is talking about yourself and your personal strengths, which can be a little intimidating. My biggest takeaway is definitely the relationships as well as the knowledge I obtained from the program. I have developed an even larger pool of resources to tap into for support in my career and to benefit the community. This program brings leaders together and makes them more knowledgeable about the community they live and work in. It gives us the tools to open doors for all of us to have a lasting impact on this community. The most impactful day was the ‘safety day’ when we were able to see how the police department operates, and appreciate the passion and drive the staff has for servicing our community.”
A native of Manassas, Joe holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Averett University where he met his wife of 31 years, Kathy. Joe is the President and CEO of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce and is a co-founder of the Leadership Fauquier program.
“Probably my favorite part of the program is the connection of the diverse members of this year’s class. We have folks from all different areas of our community that I would never had met if not for Leadership Fauquier. For me the most challenging component was managing my time to attend the classes while running a chamber of commerce. My biggest takeaway is the connection with all the different leaders within our community AND looking forward to continuing what our class has begun through the alumni group. The leaders that we are creating through each class each year will add to the ever growing group of qualified and needed leaders for all different aspects of our community. One memory I will not forget was the the opening retreat. We learned so much about our fellow classmates and ourselves in a day and a half—it was amazing. This led the way to quite a bonding process.”
Robert Moon’s has resided in the Fauquier County area since 2003. His multiphase career includes being a senior pastor for nearly 20 years and in executive management for healthcare and not-for-profit agencies. He is a partner with Heritage Financial, LLC, He is married to Fauquier teacher Mariann Lynch.
“My favorite part of attending Leadership was learning the depth of expertise and compassion of those currently leading our community in both government and business. Sitting for long periods in a classroom setting proved to be the most challenging aspect of the program. Through Leadership, I have a better understanding and appreciation for different opinions and competing values that provide a check and balance for a healthy, vibrant, and beautiful community. This program included insight into key issues and how they get resolved over time and through collaboration. I have been intrigued by the changes I have observed in myself and fellow participants. We have learned to listen to each other, hear and see our individual gifts, and observe how we are continuing to grow as individuals and as a community. There are several things that come to mind illustrating how I or my classmates have evolved. Examples include how we process new information or perspectives that are outside our usual frame of reference, or take on the courage to speak publicly in a group.”
Aimée O’Grady has lived in Warrenton since 2004, currently on a hobby farm in Warrenton with her family. Aimée’s writing can be found each month in the Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines. This June, she will join the board of directors for Leadership Fauquier.
“I really enjoyed getting to know the class participants and those in my subcommittee. I also appreciated meeting so many people from the community whose names are familiar but I had never had the opportunity to meet prior to class. The class itineraries were often intimidating, but once on site, the days went quickly. The content was always engaging. I am always amazed at how thoughtful our community is in every aspect. It’s easy to form opinions when you don’t know the facts. This program lifted the veil of ignorance. Now it will be very difficult for me to not speak up when I hear people talking disparagingly about our community. It was touching to see how many Leadership Fauquier participants joined together and became friends and offered support to other class members in a time of need. This class brings together 20 people who have a lot in common. We love our community and its residents; we want to see it thrive.”
Jacquelin Pinilla is a county resident who is a mother, retired Navy wife, and volunteer. She is someone who was looking for ways to contribute more to the community.
“This program has been an amazing blessing to me and I would love to share that with others. My favorite part of the Leadership Fauquier Program was the chance to get to know all the incredible people in our class. We learned and grew together as citizens and leaders while forming new friendships. I wouldn’t call the program ‘difficult,’ instead I would say it was challenging and motivating. My biggest takeaway is twofold. I had the opportunity to get to know so much more about Fauquier County than I would have been able to anywhere else. In addition, I had the chance to learn more about leadership skills, and dig into who I am and what I want to bring to organizations I’m involved with. Our community is well served by this program because it gives people who want to learn more and do more in Fauquier County the information and expanded opportunities to do so. In our world of ‘busy,’ having this option in a structured, effective setting is invaluable. My favorite memory is of this group bonding together and supporting each other as life unfolded with both celebratory and tragic moments in our individual lives. People do care and support each other; it’s beautiful to not only see that in action, but to have been a part of it.”
Jay is the founder of The Green Bow Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to give youth interested in conservation the education, mentorship, and advocacy opportunities to mature into natural resource sustainability leaders within our community.
“First and foremost, it is an honor and privilege to be able to associate myself with the outstanding people who are not just in Leadership Fauquier, but help run it and support it. My favorite part of being a member of this community is the exposure to the diverse and multitalented people we have all across our region. The different kinds of educational experiences and opportunities I have because of Leadership Fauquier cannot be accurately measured or even qualified in a few words. The immense information, leadership, mentorship, and diversity of Leadership Fauquier also comes at a cost and that is time. Finding and making time for such important and compelling dialogue, activity, and influence was a lot harder than I realized – that’s even after several sessions of time management coaching. It’s tough to narrow down my biggest takeaway thus far because so many things have had a profound impact in my life, but I think the individualized coaching has been the most helpful to me. It has allowed me to explore the rest of the program with a much sharper focus and far greater perspective. I feel this program is serving our community well and its influence will grow in nonlinear ways as more people are immersed in the teachings and networks offered. It’s tough to narrow down one memory I won’t forget about my experience, but I think I was most impressed with Lou Emerson’s candid review of the media in today’s society. This left a profound impact on me because his intellect, insight, and analysis was so evenhanded in a world overcome by extreme bias on all sides. His leadership as a journalist urges me to remain faithful that good journalists can and do exist in today’s communities.”
Pam is an employee of the Fauquier County Public Schools. She is the Science Health and Physical Education Supervisor for the county. Pam has also been involved in the Outdoor Lab at the Fauquier High School.
“Leadership Fauquier has been an enlightening experience for me. The favorite part for me is the fellowship that this diverse group of individuals has fostered–very heartening in this day and time. The most difficult part for me has been the time commitment and trying to get to meetings. My biggest takeaway is that a community cannot function in a vacuum. All parts need to be working in sync. The community is then served because these diverse groups come together with a common goal, and work toward community success. My favorite memory is how we all respond to others in the group’s needs. Whether it be grief, happiness or success, we respond.”
Elizabeth grew up in Fauquier and her passion is to develop a brighter future for our community’s youth. She is the Resource Development and Mentor Specialist for the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier, helping boys and girls of all backgrounds build confidence, develop character, and acquire the skills needed to become productive, civic-minded, responsible adults.
“My favorite part about the Leadership Fauquier program is how much it developed my leadership skills. The coaching provided from day one throughout the entire program helped me recognize and develop skills I didn’t know I had. One of the most difficult things about this program was staying awake after our delicious lunches. Achieving an extended family has been my biggest takeaway from this program – my classmates became that. We assist and connect with one another, and engage in networking by connecting each other to external resources. Everyone in class was there to better not only themselves, but each other and the community as a whole. This program brings together a tight network of people from all backgrounds and educates them on all aspects of the community. This helps individuals understand each other’s passions, as well as connect them to ways they can serve their community together and independently. I experienced a major tragedy halfway through our class year. My classmates rallied to my side, and supported me through this difficult time. The love they displayed is a memory I will always treasure.”
Amelia J. Stansell is Vice President, Community Executive, and Commercial Relationship Manager at Middleburg Bank. She is a member and membership director of the Rotary Club of Warrenton, board member of Bluemont Concert Series, and active in many other local organizations. She most recently served on the Experience Old Town Warrenton re-boot committee.
“My favorite part of Leadership Fauquier is the relationships I’ve forged with both our peers and the presenters we’ve had the pleasure of associating with. I feel blessed to be a part of this dynamic, diverse group; we’ve bonded deeply throughout the year and will miss our monthly classes. The program helped me see our community’s resources and needs differently, and helped me connect the dots with stakeholders and those in need. Leadership has given me connections that I can carry forward to make things happen now and in the future. The Leadership Fauquier alumni group will be a driving force in Fauquier County as we are a diverse group both demographically and geographically. As a well trained and equipped group, we can identify holes in the community, develop projects, collaborate with key stakeholders and execute to get results. This will be big for Fauquier’s future!”
Dawn Sowers, Public Services Manager at Fauquier County Public Library since 1998, holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science. She has two daughters, three grandchildren, and another grandchild on the way. Dawn’s hobbies include reading, singing, gardening, and motorcycling with her husband of 31 years.
“I have two favorite things about this program. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about the community and meeting the movers and shakers in Fauquier. Also, getting to know my classmates has been wonderful. They are a special group of people. For me, the most difficult part will be not meeting monthly with my classmates once the program ends. I learned a tremendous amount about the community, its citizens, and myself with this talented group of individuals. I am making it a goal to keep in touch after we graduate. Part of serving a community is knowing where the needs are and finding the need that your talents can help fill. Leadership Fauquier presents the opportunity for you to find an interest or a passion and make connections with others in the community who share that interest. I believe the community will see a great positive impact from all the graduates. One memory that stands out is the jail visit. I will never forget the experience of standing in a cell block speaking with two inmates whose lives have been impacted and forever changed by grief and addiction. It was more than just the inmates; seeing how the officers work with the inmates and care for the long term welfare of these people has stayed with me.”
Frederique Vincent is a graduate of the Sorbonne who spent most of her career working in the field of translation and editing until the birth of a child with Down Syndrome motivated her to shift her interest towards advocacy. She is a Medicaid Waiver Service Facilitator and has held various volunteer positions within her community.
“Although visiting the Fauquier County jail was a highlight (with all that it entailed, it was an eye opener and an emotional experience), my favorite part of the program was the coaching session we enjoyed during the startup retreat, notably how to internally monitor our thoughts and words. This was invaluable material, and harder to process than I thought. I am just starting to be able to implement the information eight months later. Mentally and physically ‘making room’ for all the material presented during each training day was a challenge. The sessions were chockful of information, site visits and contacts; all so valuable they deserve to be fully enjoyed, processed and revisited. Through this program I discovered we truly are a ‘village’ in which anyone with a sound vision can have a positive impact and become a leader. I believe all of us will come out of the program with a much deeper sense of our community, an expanded network, a heightened sense of needs unmet in the community, and leadership tools to come up with solutions. The unconditional acceptance that I read in the class members’ eyes each time I addressed them during our Leadership Moment is something I will not forget.”
Rob Walton has lived in Fauquier for 11 years and is the Assistant Chief of Zoning & Development Services with Fauquier County’s Department of Community Development. He assists with the department reviews of site plans and subdivision applications for new development in the County.
“My favorite part of Leadership Fauquier was my classmates. Even though I just met them nine months ago, we have bonded in a way that typically takes years to form. The most difficult part of the program, for me, was during the monthly class day. Each class had multiple speakers, and trying to absorb all the information during the day was very draining. All of the presenters throughout program were great and informative. I feel the Leadership is in place to provide an overview of the different parts of the county that make it such a great place. It builds relationships between the private sector, non-private sector, citizens, and county government, which fosters a more collaborative approach to decision making by seeing first-hand what different organizations are doing to help the community thrive. Having a class full of people with different backgrounds helped everyone understand the different issues organizations face today. Also, having a different topic each month helps put into perspective the hard work that goes into running programs and government agencies each day. I feel there are many memories I will take with me, but one special one was the beginning of the program where I formed relationships with classmates—people I know will make a difference in our county.”
Congratulations to all of this year’s Leadership Fauquier Graduates. The community is excited to embrace your new skills and all the positive impacts you will make in our county.
Leadership Fauquier is a 501(c) 3 and is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 program. If you are interested, please visit the website at leadershipfauquier.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.