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Doniphan Institute Graduates New Leaders

The Doniphan Leadership Institute graduated its 26th cohort Wednesday, Feb. 6. Enjoying the celebration were new Doniphan Fellows and representatives of the Clay County Economic Development Council and the Pryor Center for Leadership Development at William Jewell College.

Fifteen area executives took a major step toward advanced leadership with the Feb. 5 graduation ceremony for the Doniphan Leadership Institute.

The executive leadership program is a partnership of the Clay County Economic Development Council and the Pryor Center for Leadership Development at William Jewell College.

The new graduates reported that the intense, six-month program was dramatic.

“I knew it would be transformative,’ noted Erin Davies of Mid-Continent Public Library and a Platte County resident. “But I didn’t know how much it would affect me, both inside and outside of work.”

Employed with Ingredion, Steven Lehning said the experience was revealing. “I learned a lot about myself,” he said. “And I found everyone has a different leadership style and you can borrow pieces from everyone.”

A laboratory manager with Haldex in St. Joseph, Cody Norton cited the diverse lessons offered by the program. “I learned a lot,” he noted. “I learned some things that I can apply every day at work and in life.”

Kelly Saluri with the Liberty School District noted a focus on motivation. “All of you pushed me,” he said. “We really pushed to do a better job.”

Also with Ingredion, Curtis Zornes said the program’s reach is not limited to certain fields. “We all face similar issues in our different industries,” he noted. “But one of the benefits is that everyone brings something unique you can learn from.”

Held on the William Jewell College campus, the event also featured comments by Kevin Shaffstall, director of the Pryor Center; Tom Vansaghi, Jewell’s professor of Business and Leadership; Joe Millas, guest instructor; and Jim Hampton, former executive director of the Clay County Economic Development Council.

A complete list of those who graduated and their organizations were Karrie (Pence) Bowers, North Kansas City Hospital; Erin Davies, Mid-Continent Public Library; Brad Garrett, Clay County; Sheila Hale, First Missouri Bank; Tonya Howes, Kearney Trust Company; Kelly Kommers, Children's Mercy Hospital; Steven Lehning, lngredion; Ashlee Lopez, Norterre; Monique R. Lucas, Hallmark; Cody Norton, Haldex; Kelly Saluri, Liberty Public Schools; Elisa Shields, Children's Mercy Hospital; Carrie Shropshire, Mid-Continent Public Library; Jennifer Stone, Liberty Hospital; and Curtis Zornes, lngredion.

Entering its 14th year, the institute features an integrated personal development program tailored to individuals who want to be the future leaders of their organizations and the community. The program consists of six one-day classes that are held over a six-month period. There are over 100 hours of classroom instruction and out-of-class project work.

Doniphan Institute spring classes are now under way. The fall 2020 sessions will begin Sept. 11. To enroll in the Doniphan Leadership Institute, please email Sandra Watson at or call directly at 816-415-5052.

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