PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Eleven Aroostook County professionals recently completed the inaugural Leadership Aroostook program. Participants and organizers praised the program and are looking forward to a new class.
Leadership Aroostook was created by the Aroostook Partnership in conjunction with Husson University’s College of Business. The objective is to develop current high potential managers and/or leaders for advanced organizational responsibility, impact and effectiveness in leading the teams and departments they oversee.
“The results exceeded expectations,” said Matt McHatten, who serves on the Aroostook Partnership board and was one of the driving forces to bring this type of training to the region. “The combination of a very engaged inaugural group, utilization of Husson University’s high-quality resources, and complementing it with interaction with current County leaders, produced the result we intended. In addition, the ideas created by the final class presentations are creating important initiatives to move the County ahead.”
The program officially began in September 2021 with nine in-person meetings. Participants work included readings, written discussions and team project work. The culminating graduation on Aug. 11 included the participants and their team members turning in written papers and presenting two unique and creative plans to help workforce and economic development in Aroostook County.
“Professional development programs like Leadership Aroostook benefit both the employees and the employers,” said Dr. Marie Hansen, dean of Husson University’s College of Business. “Employees gain new skills, knowledge and expand their capacity beyond what they’ve previously attained in the workplace. This inspires them to become lifelong learners through new work experiences and expand their knowledge by earning higher degrees and certifications. This commitment by employers is a great tool for employee retention and engagement.”
As for the professionals who completed Leadership Aroostook, the experience has been positive.
“In addition to increased skills and knowledge on what it takes to be a strong, effective leader, I built connections with people throughout The County with a variety of experiences in different positions and industries, and unique perspectives and passions,” said Clara Collins of S.W. Collins.
“I think that these connections and friendships will be so valuable as we work together to support and grow our communities.”
“As a lifelong learner, I view professional development as important for any employee at any stage of their career,” added Dustin Graham of The County Federal Credit Union (CFCU). “I have already implemented some of the skills I’ve gained from Leadership Aroostook and look forward to continuing to add what I’ve learned as I continue my progress of employment with CFCU.”
The nine other graduates of Leadership Aroostook are Shawn Babin, Twin Rivers; Ginger Buck, MMG Insurance; Caleb Buck, Maine Malt House; Tim Goff, Machias Savings Bank; Casey Gove, Katahdin Trust; Jacquie Martin, Northern Maine Community College; Jacob Pelkey, Northern Maine Development Commission; Holly Vining, MSAD 1; and Jodi Young, United Insurance.
“With our Alpha Class in the record books, we have learned, we will adapt and recruit the Beta Class very soon,” said Todd Saucier, who chairs the Aroostook Partnership Education to Industry working group. “Our County’s future depends on our businesses’ viability, which makes Leadership Aroostook much more necessary than any time in our past. That is why the Partnership cares about this kind of professional development.”
Recruiting for the next Leadership Aroostook will begin soon. For more information on being a participant or how your company can be involved, contact Aroostook Partnership President and CEO Paul Towle at email@example.com.