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Leadership Mohawk Valley program expands staff, offerings

MARCY — Over the past several years, Leadership Mohawk Valley (LMV) has grown its class sizes, its staff size, and now, it hopes to expand the scope of services it provides to the area’s community and business leaders.

In September, LMV hired Kit Pang as program assistant — the first time the leadership-development program has had a staff member besides the executive director.

“The reality is, as we continue to grow the program and look for other opportunities … we realized having only one person was limiting us,” LMV Executive Director Ann Rushlo says. On her own, Rushlo was handling administrative duties as well as overseeing LMV’s annual classes of leadership trainees. Those numbers have grown over the years from class sizes ranging in the 20s to an average of 36 participants each year, she says. 


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As a result, the organization had the financial capacity to grow, but not the human resources it needed to do so, Rushlo says.

That’s where Pang, a 2010 graduate of Hamilton College, comes into the picture. His arrival now frees Rushlo to focus on community outreach and growing the LMV program in new directions.

Pang is a good fit, she says, because he not only knows about LMV, but also brings some great ideas.

“We just felt like there was an energy fit as well as a skills fit,” she says.

In his role, Pang tackles the day-to-day administrative duties, but also helps in other areas, Rushlo says. “We also wanted someone who could take some of the pressure off the marketing and events committee,” she notes.

Pang is excited to join LMV at a time when the organization is growing and, hopefully, expanding its role in the community.

“We can do more things with the program, and I hope I can bring that along,” Pang says.

Rushlo is considering adding new services and resources for LMV alumni, board members of area organizations, and others who
want to brush up on leadership skills.

The goal is to diversify the organization’s offerings enough to balance things out if class sizes start to dwindle, Rushlo says. LMV’s program spans 10 months with participants attending monthly day-long training and education sessions that focus on leadership development and community awareness. Participants also work throughout the year on a project for a local nonprofit entity. Typically, area businesses and organizations send employees to the program, covering the $1,900 tuition. 

Rushlo took over as executive director in 2008 and has seen the program evolve under her leadership. “The core program is always the same,” she says. “It’s about leadership development.”

What has changed, she says, is the way LMV delivers the leadership curriculum. “We try to be very intentional about that leadership-development piece and expanding upon it throughout the day,” Rushlo says.

The hope, she says, is that program participants walk away with not only a heightened awareness of the area, but also a strong sense of who they are as leaders. That’s something they take back to their place of employment as well as their community, Rushlo notes.

The Herkimer, Mohawk Valley, and Rome chambers of commerce formed Leadership Mohawk Valley ( in 1990 to develop future leaders in the community. Since its inception, LMV has graduated more than 500 people.

LMV has offices on the campus of SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome (SUNYIT), which has managed the program under contract since 2007. According to its 2011 Form 990 on file at, LMV generated revenue of $79,339 and expenses of $64,616. Rushlo is employed by the continuing education department at SUNYIT, and serves under contract as LMV’s executive director.             



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