Leadership Lake County honors community involvement and effective leadership
Leadership Lake County is pleased to announce the hiring of three key staff members to its organization.
Leadership Lake County is in its 38th year of operation and a high-performing and diversely talented staff is needed to be sustainable and to help the organization grow, said Jessie Baginski, Leadership Lake County CEO.
“Like many organizations, the pandemic presented opportunities for prior professional staff that advanced their careers significantly. We were blessed to have experienced alumni step in to assist us in sustaining our four key programs for a few months, so that we had the time to attract and hire exceptional individuals who can have a long ten ure with our organization,” Baginski said. “Attracting a pool of diverse individuals and talents positions us to continue our growth trajectory into the next chapter of Leadership Lake County’s social, civic, and economic impact.”
Juliana Petti is the Director of Professional Programs, Gina Fletcher serves as Youth Programs Manager, and James Gaydos is the organization’s Communication Specialist.
Petti of Perry Township is a former executive director of the AWT Foundation and is a recipient of Lake County’s 4 Under 40 Award by the Emerging Leaders of United Way Lake County and Crain’s 20 in Their Twenties Award.
She has a master’s degree in adult learning and education, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and bioethics from Cleveland State University. Petti also mentors students through Torchlight Youth Mentoring Alliance.
She is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Lake County’s Community Builders program and began her role with Leadership Lake County in May. Petti is inspired by being around people who are finding new ways to lead and affect the community in a positive way.
“I’m really excited for the Community Builders class to grow and really tap into our up-and-coming talent. Our community, as people, is getting older and retiring and there are a lot of opportunities for new leaders to come in,” Petti said. “It’s a very challenging time to be a leader coming off the pandemic. So many organizations are struggling with turnover and people retiring.”
Fletcher, a Lyndhurst resident, grew up in Willowick and earned her associate degree in sports and exercise science from Cuyahoga Community College. While at Tri-C, she was accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10KSB Fellowship program and matched with Leadership Lake County. Once again accepted for the program this past spring, Fletcher continued the fellowship and was offered a permanent role with Leadership Lake County upon completion of the program.
It was through time spent in the fellowship that she realized that her passion to make a difference was not limited to health and wellness. She saw first-hand how the Youth Programs changed the lives of these students and how they would positively contribute to their community because of their time spent with Leadership Lake County.
“I would love to show the students that leadership through gratitude and taking time for yourself and your own personal well-being emotionally and physically will allow you to be successful,” Fletcher said. “These students are living in a very heavy time right now. I feel like they don’t always have the proper tools and outlets to take care of themselves.”
Gaydos, is a Mayfield Heights resident and spent his youth in the Willoughby, Madison, and Mayfield Heights areas, and attended Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland.
After 15 years in Buffalo, Gaydos returned to the Lake County area with the desire to utilize his skill set to grow leaders and the community, making the position of Communications Specialist a perfect fit.
“One of the big things that has me excited is it work with a purpose,” Gaydos said. “Not even just in the sense of we get to say the word leaders, but everyone from our staff and board is very invested in what the future of our area looks like. Not in a conceptual sense, but they are out there on the ground and making sure whatever resources we have, we pull them together and have an impact.”
A major project he will shepherd is the historical cataloging of Leadership Lake County’s past.
“We’ll be trying to lock down a concise notion of what Leadership Lake County has been able to achieve for the community,” Gaydos said. “We also have a lot of national recognition and we’re trying to see where we fit in this growing notion of what does local leadership look like and how we’ve been able to lead.”
Leadership Lake County is a private educational nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization established in 1986 and has become a highly-respected partner in the community. Our goal is to develop and engage existing and future leaders within highly interactive leadership development programs in community-based settings while in pursuit of civic and economic excellence in Lake County and surrounding communities.