(Warren, August 31, 2017) – After a competitive application process, the Emerging Leaders Selection Committee has chosen 15 engaged residents from Warren and Youngstown for the 2017 Emerging Leaders program at The Raymond John Wean Foundation.


This group of grassroots leaders will take part in a nine-week series of comprehensive workshops designed to cultivate fundamental leadership skills, as well as connect individuals to key community peers and stakeholders.


“The Emerging Leaders program exemplifies the Foundation’s belief that meaningful resident engagement is essential for authentic, lasting change to occur,” said Corrie Adams, Program Officer. “Emerging Leaders, by activating their gifts and passions create a community of learning, inquiry and practice and push the needle toward a more equitable, vibrant and healthy Mahoning Valley.”


This year’s cohort includes individuals representing a wide range of organizations, including Taft Promise Neighborhood, Congressman Tim Ryan’s office, The Colony, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, and YouthBuild Trumbull County to name a few. Coming together from across the Mahoning Valley, these passionate individuals share a common goal of building their capacity for realized change.


When asked what motivated his participation in Emerging Leaders, Christopher Tennant of Youngstown

shared, “My goal is to give back to the community that made me who I am.  That requires me to develop and enhance my leadership potential and I’m excited to do so through this program.”


Tia Toles, one of this year’s participants and a current student at Kent State University, recognizes the value of learning new approaches to her leadership. “I believe this program will provide me with valuable knowledge to be an effective leader in my community,” Toles said. “Being exposed to people who have been successful in their own efforts and gleaning from their experience will help me to be successful as well.”


After a two-day retreat focused on self-awareness and team building, participants engage in immersion sessions and workshops facilitated by expert practitioners covering topics such as communication and negotiation, influence, collaborative leadership, Asset-Based Community Development, resource planning and resilience.


Since 2013, the Emerging Leaders program has developed the unique potential of nearly 50 resident leaders effecting change and influencing leadership in their communities. Past participants continue to gain and share their experience through an alumni association; additional training; civic engagement and volunteerism; public leadership appointments; job promotions; and entrepreneurial endeavors.


The Raymond John Wean Foundation is proud to announce the 2017 Emerging Leaders:


Daniel Bancroft, Youngstown

Cassandra Clevenger, Warren

Michelle Comanescu, Warren

Ira Cross, Youngstown

Mitchell Franko, Youngstown

Teresa Johnson, Youngstown

Keland Logan, Youngstown

Justin Mondok, Youngstown

Grimilda Ocasio-Santiago, Youngstown

Vincent Peterson, Warren

Rose Pixley, Youngstown

Lester Scott, Youngstown

Christopher Tennant, Youngstown

Tia Toles, Warren

Danyell York, Youngstown