Community Foundation, Jackson Center host area leaders

JAMESTOWN – A series of changes in several area leadership positions this year has resulted in a sizable, centralized meeting of community and county leaders.

On Tuesday, dozens of people converged on the Robert H. Jackson Center to socialize with and learn more about leaders who are new additions to the area and/or their positions.

The meeting was hosted by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation from 4-6 p.m., and took place in the form of a reception called “Meeting of the Minds.” According to Randy Sweeney, executive director of the Community Foundation, the concept of the first-time reception was formulated after the number of leadership changes throughout the area became apparent.

“Over the past few months, we realized that we’ve had a lot of change in leadership,” Sweeney said. “We’ve had some new individuals move to our area and accept some new leadership positions, and we’ve had some individuals go from one position to another. And as we were talking about it at the (Community) Foundation, we realized that a lot has happened in the last few months, and we had a lot of individuals that are in new places.”

Sweeney said, as a result of these changes, he received several requests from these individuals to meet with each other, as well as recommendations for a meet-and-greet. He said the Community Foundation then resolved to host an open-invite reception in order to establish a more connected and efficient community at the leadership level.

“That’s sort of the key in all this,” Sweeney said. “These are the people that are involved with some of the top organizations in the community, organizations that make this the kind of place that we call Jamestown and the Chautauqua region. So we wanted to make sure as many people as possible could shake hands, exchange business cards and say ‘hello’ to these individuals.”

Following an hourlong social session, attendees were invited into the auditorium where nine of the most recently appointed area leaders in their respective positions were offered an opportunity to introduce themselves and their goals.

The speakers included: Dr. Virginia Horvath, president of SUNY Fredonia; Dr. Cory Duckworth, president of Jamestown Community College; Tim Mains, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent; Greg Edwards, chief executive officer of the Gebbie Foundation; Greg Lindquist, executive director of Jamestown Renaissance Corporation; Benjamin Lindquist, executive director of Chautauqua Striders; Michael Abbate, Cummins’ Jamestown Engine Plant manager; Andrew Robson, financial controller of Cummins’ JEP; and Jim Johnson, president of the RHJC.

“I’m excited about what I’ve heard here today, this is what makes a community and a region special,” Sweeney said in his concluding remarks. “I’ve been asked what I think about change. And I know change can be a little scary for us at times, but these changes that we’re seeing here today are certainly going to make this place a lot stronger.”