Reflections on Leadership Lancaster – Part Two

February 11, 2016

Lancaster Law BlogAs a proud member of the Leadership Lancaster Core Class of 2016, I will be posting periodic updates of my experiences in the program. Learn more about Leadership Lancaster at or feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have.

The program for the Core Class of 2016 is flying by. Since my last update, so much has happened. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

As a part of Leadership Lancaster, you are assigned to a small group called a Community Action Team (CAT). Our team was tasked with coming up with a project to benefit the community in the area of employment training and workforce readiness. Over the past months, we have met regularly, conducted research on our topic as it relates to Lancaster County and attended several community events, including a What In The World? Career Fair at Martin Luther King Elementary School hosted by the North Museum of Nature and Science.

In addition to working on our CAT project, we’ve had a few “homework assignments.” First, in preparation for the Arts and Culture session, we were asked to attend a local arts and culture performance, event or exhibit. I chose to attend the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin and Marshall College. It was amazing to see such a remarkable collection of works here in Lancaster. Typically, I only visit art museums when I’m traveling in major cities, but this experience opened my eyes to the arts and cultural opportunities that are available right in our backyards.

Our second homework assignment was to attend a city or county government meeting. A small group of us attended a Lancaster City Council meeting. I was impressed with the time and care that the City Council members took to educate and explain the actions they were taking to the city residents in attendance.

Finally, here are some brief comments on the latest sessions that I’ve attended:

Health and Human Services – this was an eye-opening, non-traditional session, with a goal of identifying and recognizing the needs of the delivery systems which respond to health care and human needs. We participated in a community problem solving simulation which forced us out of our comfort zones and made us explore the resources that Lancaster County has to offer for health and human services.

 Arts and Culture – this may be my favorite session to date. As I mentioned above, I was excited for this session because the homework assignment whetted my appetite for some local arts and culture experiences. The session did not disappoint – we were hosted by Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, went on a Lancaster Arts Scavenger Hunt which took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, and finished up with a tour of the Fulton Theatre.

 Public Policy and Economic Development – we were hosted at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center, which is an impressive facility designed to bring together key stakeholders in public safety, including EMS, fire, and police. The overall theme of the day was the exploration of the Lancaster County’s past, present and future with respect to local politics and the economy.

In the morning we enjoyed a panel discussion on governance and Lancaster County featuring various public officials, including:

Mayor Richard Gray, Lancaster City

Commissioner Craig Lehman, Lancaster County

Mayor Leo Lutz, Columbia

Borough Manager Roni Ryan, Elizabethtown

Councilwoman Barbara Wilson, Lancaster City

We then had a presentation from Tom Baldridge, President of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the state of the economy in Lancaster County. In a process that was near and dear to my heart, we broke into small groups to participate in an exercise regarding land use planning before a simulated planning commission.

 Leadership Advantage – in this session, we participated in a variety of short seminars on topics of our choosing. I chose Strategic Planning, Presentations Beyond Powerpoint, and Social Media. While the Leadership Advantage Program focused primarily on nonprofit organizations, I chose the above topics because they could easily be applied to for-profit entities as well as nonprofits.

The Strategic Planning session, hosted by Kate Gallagher of coLAB and Anne Gingerich of PANO provided an excellent framework for strategic planning to help make sure your organization implements a strategic plan and gets the most out of it.

Dr. Kristen Albert of Turning Points, LLC gave a wonderful presentation on…presentations! Aside from many outstanding takeaways on how to give a great presentation, this quote from the presentation really resonated with me: “We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting upon experience.”

Finally, Kris Bradley of MIND Development & Design and Kelly Alice Robinson of katopa LLC gave a dynamic presentation on social media, social media marketing strategies and some tools to make your life easier when promoting your work online.

Wow, that was a lot and I didn’t even come close to covering everything!

If you’re interested in applying for a spot as a member in the Core Class of 2017, applications are available now and can be found here. Just remember, the Core Class of 2016 is the best class ever.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University and works regularly with business owners and entrepreneurs.