TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT - Tobyhanna Army Depot employees have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills - and their community - by participating in the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program.

Established in 1982, Leadership Lackawanna has graduated more than 2,200 community leaders and completed over 150 community service projects in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA).

Leadership Lackawanna is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to community leadership and professional development. Its curriculum and service projects help enhance the skills, connections and knowledge of emerging and established leaders, enabling them to better serve in their communities and in the workplace.

"I firmly believe that anyone can influence people without having a formal leadership title," said Management Analyst Lisa Wesneski, Resource Management Directorate, Process Improvement Division. "We can all inspire and motivate people around us." She is a student in the current Leadership Lackawanna class. Wesneski was inspired to apply in order to further develop her own leadership abilities.

Students participating in each 10-month Leadership Lackawanna class get an opportunity to examine leadership in action by visiting businesses in NEPA and discussing how leaders can serve as ambassadors for their organizations and communities. The program also focuses on the function of leadership in the areas of community and economic development, government, health care, law, education, quality of life, sustainability, and history and media, with sessions featuring established subject matter experts.

Tobyhanna Army Depot hosted the March session of Leadership Lackawanna. A number of presentations and a tour of the installation demonstrated the connection between the depot's mission and warfighter readiness, as well as Tobyhanna's impact on surrounding communities.

In addition to the monthly sessions, students must complete a project that serves the community of Lackawanna County. This year, the class split into groups to organize and execute four projects that support the St. Joseph's Center, Ritz Theater, Scranton Cultural Center and NEPA Youth Shelter -- all located in Scranton. When not in session, the groups work on their own to coordinate their projects; each has its own timeline and scope of work. Teams establish roles and responsibilities amongst themselves using the leadership skills learned in class. Alumni of Leadership Lackawanna serve as advisers on the service projects.

One Leadership Lackawanna alumnus said he learned a great deal about himself while participating in the program.

"I learned that the challenges and opportunities we might face at Tobyhanna are similar to those in the community at large, and there is a huge pool of resources, knowledge and experience out there to learn from," said Jim Wisnewski, Safety Office chief.

In June, four depot employees will join their classmates in a ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of the program's 36th graduating class.

Public Affairs Assistant, Erica Carrescia gives the program a rave review.

"I'm very lucky to be a part of this great leadership program. It has enhanced my knowledge of the local community, opened my eyes to all of the things Lackawanna County has to offer, and I've created new relationships with my teammates and everyone in program."