Vital Communities celebrated its Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2017 on June 14, in a commencement ceremony at Harpoon Brewery. Thirty of the region’s emerging local leaders graduated from the 10-month professional and personal development program that builds knowledge and networks to help local leaders succeed in and serve the Upper Valley.

“Leadership Upper Valley has been opening minds and hearts to the region’s challenges and inspiring innovative solutions from emerging local leaders for more than a decade,” said Leadership Upper Valley Manager Stacey Glazer. “This year’s class included 30 participants from some of the area’s largest employers, small businesses, local nonprofit organizations, schools, and municipalities who came together to explore regional issues through their range of perspectives and build the kinds of connections that weave the fabric of the Upper Valley community. We’re thrilled to expand our ranks of alumni to nearly 250 with the members of the Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2017.”

To develop a deeper understanding of the Upper Valley, this year’s class of 30 participants spent a day at the Southern State Correctional Facility to learn more about the inner workings of our justice system; rode Advance Transit to downtown Lebanon, where they walked the city discussing community design with a city planner; learned to identify native trees on the nature trails at VINS; went behind the scenes during Northern Stage’s production of A Christmas Carol; toured the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center; met with more than a dozen Upper Valley nonprofit service providers at The Woodlands; toured the mill buildings in Claremont to see firsthand the adaptive reuse of historic buildings; and learned how to run their own campaign to effect positive change in their communities. They also completed two service projects supporting the Mascoma River Greenway and Claremont Soup Kitchen.

This year’s Leadership Upper Valley graduates include:

Alice Ely of Grantham – Mascoma Valley Health Initiative

Beatriz Cantada, formerly of West Lebanon – formerly of Dartmouth College

Brett Mayfield of White River Junction – Spark! Community Center

Chris Kennedy of Hanover – UK Architects

David Urso of Quechee – Kendal at Hanover

Elizabeth McShinsky of Sharon – River Valley Community College

Erin Gooch of Lebanon – Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Evan Leary of Enfield – Family Financial Strategies

Heidi Postupack of Hanover – Second Growth

Jeff Roosevelt of Sunapee – Kendal at Hanover

Jennifer Fontaine of Haverhill – Upper Valley Haven

Jennifer Riccio of Etna – Hypertherm

Jessica Walker of Claremont – Claremont Savings Bank

Reese Madden of Norwich – Hypertherm

Julie Martin of Charlestown – Claremont Savings Bank

Katie Kobe of Hanover – Granite United Way

Kelly Crate of Enfield – City of Lebanon

Kimberly Quirk of Enfield – Energy Emporium

Kim Vacca of Brownsville – Red River Computer Company

Leah Romano of Norwich – MedU

Linda Lanteigne Magoon of West Lebanon – Thetford Academy

Marie McCormick of Lebanon – Upper Valley Educators Institute

Mark Bradley of Lebanon – Lebanon Opera House

Nelly Palmer of Cornish – Mascoma Savings Bank

Patrick Christie of Lebanon – Advance Transit

Paul Coats of Lebanon – City of Lebanon

Peggy Allen of White River Junction – Consultant

Sadie Simpson of Norwich – The Simpson Companies

Sarah Sincerbeaux of South Pomfret – VINS

Susan Jacobs of West Lebanon – Co-op Food Stores