Left to right (back row): Hans Sandholm, Jordan Boon; (front row): Aly Brine, Michael Hartman, Callie Sandholm, Andrew Siekmann, Michael Masternak. Not pictured: Brad Trentman and Brian Stoner.
As the Canton, Ohio, Regional Chamber of Commerce seeks to inform, inspire and involve professionals in their 20s and early 30s, Canton refinery employees have answered the call. The Chamber’s Spotlight for Young Professionals program, run by Leadership Stark County, gives people a chance to enhance their careers and community involvement by cultivating their leadership potential.
The Spotlight program uses a mixture of education, networking, self-assessment and hands-on learning to help professionals tap into their strengths and their passions. “The classes focused on Stark County, both the good and the bad,” said Refining Engineer Callie Sandholm, a participant from the fall 2017 class. “We learned about the volunteer opportunities, exciting events, and the expanding art scene downtown, but we also learned about the opioid epidemic, high infant mortality rates and homelessness that affect us here.”
The speakers during the program ranged from health care professionals and government officials to executives in the private sector. The self-assessment portion of the program was the Gallup StrengthsFinder, a proprietary professional assessment tool, which was administered by trained facilitators. The StrengthsFinder helps people identify their “unique set of 34 natural talents and how to use them to maximize your potential,” according to Gallup. “It was interesting guessing what each of our strengths would be based on our personalities,” said Sandholm. “All of them fit us to a tee.”
To complete the Spotlight program, each participant volunteered at a community-oriented event of their choosing. The options included philanthropic activities like interviewing clients who were seeking Christmas assistance, serving food or sorting clothes at a homeless shelter, or painting a donated home, among others.
“The Leadership Stark County Spotlight Program taught us a lot about the county we live in, as well as a lot about ourselves,” said HR Consultant Aly Brine, a participant in the spring 2018 class. “It was great to make a deeper connection with the community where we work and live.”
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