This post is part of an occasional series focusing on Leadership Development Academy graduates and what they have done, personally and professionally, in the years following their LDA experience. Please contact us if you would like to be profiled here, or would like to recommend a graduate for us to feature.
Name & LDA graduation year
Lori Stottler, Class of 2008
What are you doing now?
I’m the Clerk-Treasurer in the City of Beloit. My primary responsibilities include election administration, permitting and licensing, council support, record retention and processing, tax bill production and collection of city utilities and general billings.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think a writer or a social worker. Communication has been important to me since I was very young. Helping people feel good also mattered deeply to me. If there was such a job as an animal advocate, the young Lori would have made sure animals had the best possible living conditions humans could offer them.
How did LDA help you on your journey?
My children were reaching an age where I could spread my wings professionally some. LDA gave me a foundation to plug into my community and meet people of like mindedness, who just wanted to serve and represent their community. If not for LDA, I would not have thrown my hat in the ring to succeed as the next Rock County Clerk, where I served for 8 years, leading to the career I have today.
What piece of advice would you give a new LDA participant?
Don’t worry about fitting in or being accepted – you do you! This is really an opportunity to find out who YOU are, and where you fit in to this diverse and exciting community.
Favorite Rock County event?
I can’t pick just one. The Beloit Farmer’s Market, the Tallman Arts Festival, Rock County 4-H Fair – anywhere I can bump into great people and tasty food or sparkly objects!
Where do you volunteer?
Leadership Development Academy Recruitment Committee, CASA of Rock County, Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, United Way Blackhawk Region Cabinet member, Council member and chair of Board for Life Together at First Lutheran Church.
When you reflect on your LDA experience, what is your fondest memory?
Dr. Tom Evert and his wife, Bette, were so encouraging and honest about their leadership experiences. The high ropes course day was my favorite day. I battled 101 reasons to miss that day and I’m so happy I pushed through. That day I learned that I am my biggest obstacle on my journey. The support of my classmates forever gave me courage to trust as they often encouraged me that day to “just try – we’ve got you.” And they did!
Nothing big – no misspelled tattoos or overnight stays with our local law enforcement! I suppose there are many little regrets, but the key is to not dwell on them. When you know better, you do better. I’ll always want to be a better mom, wife, friend and professional … and I know I’ll make mistakes along the journey. But I’d rather show up and make mistakes than play it safe and miss out on the rewards and lessons of the journey.
Why have you stayed involved with LDA?
I have tried to stay engaged – mostly as a cheerleader for folks looking to apply to the program. You completely understand your community and discover how to best plug in to maximize the difference you can make in the lives of your neighbors and family. It’s really a blessing and an experience you won’t regret.
What was your LDA project?
We created a website titled “Rock Responds” – an online billboard for community members to match needs to resources. I love that WI 2-1-1 and other universal resource outlets have since come to fruition since 2008!
If you could choose a community project or need to help out with today, what would it be and why?
Rock County Wellness is so important and our health rankings are some of the lowest in the state. Obesity, smoking, diet, mental health and substance-abuse education and programming would be on the list. I’ve learned you don’t get better alone – so creating a community approach to meet the needs of these individuals through partnership would be awesome.
Who do you look up to as a community leader/mentor?
Here is another place I can’t pick just one person. My short list is Deb Kolste, Kelli Cameron, Sue Conley, Linda Ross and Pastor Mae Jean Zelle. All of these women practice kindness and serve with such humility in big and little ways.
Do you know of any new non-profits that might need community support now?
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Rock County works on behalf of abused children; recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. The organization celebrated independence this year after years of falling under the Family Services umbrella. The organization needs financial support, volunteers and certain resources.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate, call the office at (608) 305-0187 or apply on their website.