Leadership Northwest Missouri recently held its 2018 graduation ceremony in St. Joseph at the Remington Nature Center. The celebration began with a welcome by Master of Ceremonies, Robert Jandorf, Board President Elect and 2017 LNWMO graduate from Savannah. Arnie Kreek, Class of 2012, blessed the group with an invocation prior to dinner. Phillip Ray, member of the Class of 2018, reflected on their class year sharing memorable moments, followed by a video presentation created by Becky Cleveland, Class of 2018. Dr. Tim Crowley, Leadership Coach from St. Joseph, shared some leadership thoughts. Deb Powers, Executive Director, presented a token of appreciation to sponsors: Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Farmers State Bank, Mosaic Life Care, Northwest Missouri State University, Commerce Bank, Hedrick Medical Center, Missouri Western State University, Northwest Health Services, St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Thrivent Financial-Cody Vaughn, BTC Bank, Industrial Development Authority of the City of Marceline, Missouri Star Quilt Co., Mozingo Lake Recreation Park and William Coy’s Farm to Table Restaurant, and Tara Industries. Robert Jandorf recognized retiring board members: Malinda Grant, St. Joseph; Mark Quick, St. Joseph; and Ben White, Chillicothe.


Jackie Soptic, General Board Member and Class of 2004 alum, presented the Leadership Northwest Missouri Citizenship Award for 2018 to Arnie Kreek of Oregon, MO. Arnie Kreek has had impact on Northwest Missouri through his support and involvement in many regional organizations and because of his commitment to serving and empowering others. Recently retired from the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments in Maryville, Arnie served as Economic Development Planner since 2005 where his duties included economic development and economic facilitation for a five-county area. Arnie is also an alum of LNWMO, Class of 2012.


Robert Jandorf and Ben White presented each of the 22 graduating class members a plaque for completing the program. Graduates from the 2018 class, INNOV18, represented 15 Northwest Missouri counties: Andrew County – Brendon Clark and Coby Keyes; Atchison County – Ashlee Driskell and Heather Olson; Buchanan County – Chad Neff, Seth Rector, and Darci Shuster; Caldwell County – Kari Corbin and Austin Hibler; Clay County – Laura McFadden; Clinton County – Nathan Jones; Daviess County – Alicia Endicott; DeKalb County – Laura Bray; Gentry County – Lori Bishop and Tammy Green; Grundy County – Lindsay Oram and Phillip Ray; Harrison County – Ashley Bugbee; Linn County – Becky Cleveland; Livingston County – Jessica Trussell; Mercer County – Tamara Campbell; and Nodaway County – Monica McCollough.


A special thank you to the Graduation Planning Committee from the Class of 2017: Jeff Gates, Jan Glenn, Janice Neumann, Clay Rich and Kris Umbarger.


Leadership Northwest Missouri is a leadership development program designed to bring together participants from throughout a 19-county region to build, strengthen and inspire leaders through training and networking experiences. The class began in January and continued through July with monthly sessions in various Northwest Missouri communities. Classes during the 2018 class year were held at Conception Abbey, in Hamilton, Albany, Osborn, Carrollton, Maryville and Marceline. Each session contained instruction on various leadership skills, in-depth examination of various issues facing the region and hands-on exercises. In addition to entrepreneurship, other regional issues that were addressed included healthcare, agriculture, regional awareness, regional vitality and team empowerment.


New LNWMO Board Members joining in July: Ashlee Driskell – Atchison County; Lindsay Oram, Grundy County; and Ashley Bugbee – Harrison County. An application for the 2019 class will soon be available on the website www.leadership northwestmissouri.org. For additional information, please contact Deb Powers, Executive Director, debdpowers@gmail.com.