Bay Aging Leadership Institute Class of 2022. Seated, from left: Abigail Grewell, Fiscal Assistant; Janice Burse, Housing Program Support Specialist; Michelle Seldon, Community Action Program Manager; Jessica Gardner, Options Counselor. Standing, from left: Kari Russell, Fiscal Assistant; Frances Thurston, Community Health Coordinator; Alex Baughan, Budget, Invoices & Timesheet Specialist; Brianna Noel, Enrollment Specialist; Kenisha Martin, Housing Case Manager for Older Adults; Randolph Logan III, Weatherization Housing Program Manager; Joshua Gemerek, Senior Vice President, Housing. Not pictured: Saidah Israel, Community Action Program Manager; Ivony Kennedy, Americorps VISTA, Community Housing Strategist; Darlene Watson, Housing Navigator.
Fourteen Bay Aging employees recently graduated from the third session of the Bay Aging Leadership Institute, a six-month training program based on leadership principles developed by author Dr. John C. Maxwell. John Skirven, principal of Skirven Consulting and former CEO of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, delivered the commencement address. Skirven’s uplifting remarks quoted Winston Churchill and Buddha and reminded the new graduates that “leadership is living out your values.”
The Bay Aging Leadership Institute is the brainchild of Kathy Vesley, President & CEO. MaDena DuChemin, Human Resource Manager, helps facilitate the sessions. The curriculum centers on Maxwell’s 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. The course also includes guest speakers, participant-led assignments, opportunities to practice public speaking, and a group presentation. Feedback from program participants has been overwhelmingly positive. 2022 graduate Kenisha Martin, Housing Case Manager for Older Adults, remarked, “I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Institute, it was an amazing journey. This course has taught me not only the qualities of a leader, but has tremendously improved my self-confidence and social skills, which are key aspects of leadership.”
Since the Leadership Institute’s creation in 2020, 48 Bay Aging staff have completed the course. Eighteen of those employees have already earned promotions, with six additional graduates taking on expanded roles. Participants represent a broad cross-section of Bay Aging’s services, with employees from Bay Aging’s finance, home care, community action, multifamily and single-family housing, transportation, adult day care, and veteran directed care programs. Joshua Gemerek, Senior Vice President, Housing, observed, “As a member of Bay Aging’s Leadership Team and a department director, I understand the value of the Leadership Institute for all employees working in my area of operations. I enthusiastically completed the curriculum in order to enhance my professional skills and better understand the concepts being taught to those I supervise. This course is a must-have for employees working at any management level: front line, supervisory, or executive.”
DuChemin is proud of the Leadership Institute graduates. “We are excited to offer this special professional development opportunity,” she explained. “We believe investing in leadership training for our workforce is key to our continued growth and success in the community.”