Tag: First Community Credit Union

Linda Ross,
Executive Director


Editor’s note: As a Leadership Development Academy alum (Class of 2013-14), Linda Ross is passionate about the mission of the organization and enjoys working as  Executive Director/Program Facilitator. Wisdom acquired at LDA empowers her to continue her success in business.  She is excited to work with others to obtain their leadership goals.

Congratulations LDA Class of 2017

Congratulations to the Leadership Development Academy Class of 2017!  Five team projects, 28 graduating LDA participants and ten really great sessions; resulting in changed lives and a better community.  I couldn’t be more proud of the participants and the effort they put forth this year.  

Project Presentations and Graduation

We decided to combine project presentations and graduation into a one day event.  I believe it was the perfect culmination of a great year.  Taking place at the Venue in Janesville, and it suited our day perfectly.  If you have not been in the Venue, you really need to stop by.  It is historic and beautiful.  Megan O’Leary Photography captured our day on her camera.  She does an outstanding job.

5 Project Teams

This year the LDA had 5 project teams.  They all had amazing projects to present to those who were listening.  The projects were:  “Take Action, Create Awareness, Advocate!” for Project 16:49.  Feeding Our Future for the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville. First Light for first responders.  Diaper Bank for Caritas.  Planting the Seeds of Change for the GIFTS’ Homeless Shelter for Men.  Each project  makes a difference for residents of our communities.  

Take Action, Create Awareness, Advocate!

“Take Action, Create Awareness, Advocate!” for Project 16:49 is from the Team Rockin’ Top Shelfers.  They are partnering with Project 16:49 to create an Advocacy Committee.  This committee focuses on any needs or struggles of the organization.  It will establish a financial basis for unaccompanied youth, initiate and establish a network of credible landlords and  support changes to state statutes.  The Top Shelfers participated in the Lip Sync Battle for Project 16:49 and raised more than $3,500 for the program.

Tammy Eliszewski, Ashley Rosenbaum, Joe Rose,  Bobbie Kedrowski, Alex Hanson, and Kelly Willoughby

Feeding Our Future

Feeding Our Future provides daily snacks to Boys & Girls Club of Janesville members during the school year. It results in an estimated 12,000 free, nutritious snacks per year to youth in the Janesville area.  Feeding Our Future helps supply children with the nutrients they may not be receiving at home due to income or lack of information on healthy eating.  It strives to have a lasting impact by introducing members to new, healthy foods. Hopefully they will continue to incorporate them into their diets into adulthood.  Snacks meet the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction food standards.

Wendy Bumgarner, Lily Lux,  Josh Andersen, Michael Warren and Angie Hoium

First Light

First Light is a project modeled on the idea of providing emergency shelter in the midst of a crisis. Dire situations, such as no heat on the coldest night of the year, are made all the more challenging due to the fact that help isn’t available 24 hours per day or on weekends from other resources. 

In such situations, people often turn to first responders for aid. Many of these agencies are ill-equipped to help in these situations.  It is not uncommon for first responders to take money out of their own pockets to meet these needs, especially when it comes to finding food and shelter. Such generosity is beyond the call of duty, and is unsustainable.

First Light aims to fill this resource gap. It will equip first responders throughout Rock County with a series of shelter vouchers to help with short-term shelter needs in a very real way. Working with hotels in Rock County, the project aims to combine both temporary relief and long-term education. Along with vouchers, a guide will be given out to help link them up with various resources to help meet their long-term needs.

Bryan Hasse, Stephanie Bailey,  Jenny Ryan, Julie Gietzel and Nate Fuller

Diaper Bank

Another team is assisting Caritas in the creation of a diaper bank to serve all of Rock County.  Caritas, a Rock County community resource center, is currently in the process of a building expansion.  It is also transitioning from a clothing bank to a diaper bank.  One in three families struggle with a lack of adequate diaper supply at some point.  These families are often times struggling with additional basic needs such as food and financial security.  

This lack of resources can result in economic, mental and physical stress.  A lack of clean and adequate diapers can result in sickness for the child and denial of child care.  As a result, parents have to miss work.  When unable to meet basic needs, parents are less likely to be as involved in the child’s development.  Collecting more than 10,000 diapers, students at the Janesville School District helped to “Stuff a Bus” with diapers.  

Shawn Kane, LeAnn Jones, Jenny McCarthy and Kathryn Scott    Not pictured:  Katie Wheelock

Planting the Seeds of Change

The fifth team is Planting the Seeds of Change for the  Gifts’ Homeless Shelter for Men.  Their project is to provide landscaping and gardens at the new Gifts’ Homeless Shelter for Men in Janesville.  The team is working with K & W Greenery to realize the organization’s vision for the exterior grounds of its new facility.  In addition to decorative landscaping around the front and sides of the building, they are installing a useful and beautiful outdoor area.  In this area, Gifts’ guests can garden, socialize, and engage in healthy recreational activities.  This project will be completed this summer.  If you are looking to volunteer, there is much work to be done.

Joel Chappelle, Darnisha Wisdom, Sally Pope, Holly Bultman, Theresa Gunderson and Gene Wright

A Time of Celebration

Graduation was a time of celebration!  We heard from speakers who were alum, sponsors and class participants. Graduation certificates and photos were given out to each one who completed the LDA class.  We had 104 people in attendance!

Board Chair

LDA Board Chair, Katrina Bird, welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.

Project Presentation and Graduation Sponsor

First Community Credit Union was our Project Presentation and Graduation Day sponsor.  Jack Gill offered congratulations to the class.

Class of 2017 Speakers

Representing the Class of 2017 was Joel Chappelle and Kelly Willoughby.  Both were grateful for the eye-opening sessions that helped create awareness of Rock County and of themselves.  

Platinum Sponsor

The Platinum Sponsor for LDA is ANGI Energy Systems.  Jason Lund shared how the LDA is making a difference in their organization through their 5 graduates.

Keynote Speaker

Brian Anderson, LDA Class of 2008 from Johnson Bank, shared about leadership.  He also shared how LDA has made a difference in his life and in the lives of others in our community.


The Moment They Have Been Waiting For

Katrina and I had the privilege of giving the graduation certificates to the class.  As each one was approaching, memories of this past year flooded my mind, as well as my heart.

A Cob of Corn

As a wrap up, I used a cob of corn to remind each participant to take the seeds/tools that they have and to continue to plant others from their growth.  Each one in the LDA class was given many tools.  With them, they will give back and serve our community.

Do Great Things

I believe they will all do great things.  I believe they will keep the momentum going and they will be the best they can be.

Fantastic Board of Directors

Some of the LDA Board of Directors were able to join us for the events.  This board is fantastic to work with!

Congratulations Class of 2017!

Congratulations to the Leadership Development Academy Class of 2017!  Have some fun.  You earned it!








Linda Ross, Executive Director

Linda Ross, Executive Director

Editor’s note: As a Leadership Development Academy alum (Class of 2013-14), Linda Ross is passionate about the mission of the organization and enjoys working as  Executive Director/Program Facilitator. Wisdom acquired at LDA empowers her to continue her success in business.  She is excited to work with others to obtain their leadership goals.

Marketing and Branding

Marketing and branding.  Most people think they don’t need to know about them to do their jobs and to get by in life.  The Leadership Development Academy participants found out how wrong they are with this thinking.  Marketing and branding surrounds us everyday and affects many decisions we make.  Knowing about them can help us make better decisions and influence others.  Meeting at ANGI Energy Systems for our February session was outstanding.

Brand Building with Social Media

What brand do you think of when you think of stopping for a good cup of coffee?  A quick bite on the run?  Watching a movie?  Eric Kuznacic, from Why the Fuss? Technical Solutions presents, “Brand Building with Social Media.”  This session helps the class have a better understanding of what branding is and how to use it.  Several in the class were thinking of Starbucks for a cup of coffee.  Creating a strong brand, Starbucks does a great job of presenting the same cup of coffee at each of their locations.  Branding, used in each one of the team projects, is important to understand if you want to use it correctly.  

Guiding the class through developing a set of core values, Eric explains how they are part of the organization’s/project’s DNA. It defines what you stand for.  He also shares 10 rules of building a strong brand on social media.  The rules are:  consistency, a strong logo, colors, voice and style, be a human, limit plugs, tell stories, transparency, be relevant and use visuals.  If you are missing any of these, your brand will not be as strong as it needs to be.

Work Shouldn’t Suck!

Tim Storm shared that he was looking for something he could do, that served a need he saw, that he could fulfill.  He started an online user community for coupons and shopping deals, Fat Wallet, in a spare bedroom in 1999.  Ten months later, he quit his “real” job to follow his dream.  Learning the power of the third power endorsement, Tim used it to his advantage.  When hiring employees, he was convinced you can train job skills, but it is very hard to train integrity.  From this he created the core values of Fat Wallet.  They are integrity, commitment, change, passion, balance, respect and fun.   Carrying these values into their culture, the slogan, “Work shouldn’t suck!”, was created.

Tim believes no one should ever use work as an excuse to miss a life event, such as your child’s kindergarten graduation.  Staff was taught to walk the walk, and talk the talk.  Fat Wallet was voted one of the best places to work in the United States while Tim was at the helm (#20 in 2010 and #13 in 2011).  He sold the company in 2011.

Recommending his top four books, Tim’s new favorite is, Anything you Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers.  The next is, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.   The third and fourth, Purple Cow and What to do When It’s Your Turn: (and It’s Always Your Turn), both by Seth Godin.  He encouraged the class to keep reading and learning each day.

ANGI Energy Systems

Welcoming the class and giving a brief overview of the great things they are working on was Jason Lund, President of ANGI Energy Systems.  ANGI is a premier supplier of gas station equipment for alternative energy, namely compressed natural gas.   

The group took a tour of ANGI’s plant, led by some great tour guides.  The facility is extremely clean and everyone is very friendly.  We saw CNG components that were being built to ship to many places in the world.  It was an amazing tour and we are grateful to have experienced it.  Following the tour, ANGI provided the class with a delicious lunch from Qdoba.


ANGI Energy Systems is a Platinum Sponsor of the Leadership Development Academy.  We are thankful for their support and partnership.  

Marketing Experts

In the afternoon, participants worked on the marketing and branding of their projects. Helping with marketing advice were experts, Katrina Bird from First Community Credit Union, Erin Clausen from Hendricks Commercial Properties, Jen DeGarmo from FIDO, and Helen DeMuth and Kristin Zeilinger from Fetch Graphics.

Team Projects

Team Rockin’ Top Shelfers are working on a project to support Project 16:49, financially and through legislation.

Working on a project to provide a new snack program for the Janesville Boys & Girls Club, is Team BLAWH.

Team R C R S is working on a project called First Light. This project will support first responders, who need to help those who are in critical situations, find a place to spend the night.

Filling a school bus with diapers to donate to Caritas and renovating a room for a diaper bank is Team 5 4 Community. 

Team Rock Strong is landscaping and building a community garden for the new GIFTS Men’s Shelter.

Important, Influential and Effective

Each Leadership Development Academy project team is equipped to have a strong, effective branding and marketing plan.  Participants have an understanding of how core values make a huge difference in their organizations and projects.  Using the tools they have acquired, they can go back to their companies and generate success.  Marketing and branding…Important, influential and effective.


If you enjoyed this, please spread the word!