Valley County Introduces Dynamic Leadership Development Academy

SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy (SVLA) is a new, dynamic leadership development program that will go far beyond the basic civic engagement and leadership awareness topics.  SVLA combines three grand strategies to help participants become a change agent for themselves, their families, and their community:

INSPIRE. SVLA brings new knowledge, ideas, and networking opportunities to inspire new perspectives.

CREATE. SVLA introduces new relationships and strategies that will build confidences, direction, aspirations, and skills that ignite your leadership passion.

INNOVATE. SVLA fosters and transforms new behaviors and skills to positively impact your life and community.

SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy committee members, consisting of representatives from local project partners, wanted to create a name for the program that would reflect the concept of synergy, the interaction and collaboration of multiple groups, and innovation, the process of creating something new. The name SynoVation, not only describes the academy itself, but the results the academy will have for the county-wide community.  Kristina Foth, Business Development and Marketing Specialist for the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce and Valley County Economic Development, states “The goal of the new academy is for participants to discover their hidden talents and their desire to positively impact our community.  The knowledge and inspiration participants gain will not only benefit their personal lives but their work environment and civic leadership roles as well.” SVLA Logo

The 2012 business visitation program, conducted by Valley County Economic Development, ignited the development of SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy. Dahn Hagge, HomeTown Competitiveness Coordinator for the Valley County Community Foundation Fund and Valley County Economic Development, states “After visiting with our business community, leadership development was cited as the highest priority for the continued prosperity of Valley County.  SVLA is a direct investment in the great people of Valley County.”

Members of the leadership development committee were introduced to Denise “Dee” Trudeau Poskas, a leadership coach and Professor of Leadership at the University of Minnesota, through local UNL Extension Educator, Kayla Hinrichs. Dee has been involved with the pre-design process for developing Valley County’s new leadership academy and has also been working with teachers and administrators from Valley County school districts to develop a leadership curriculum to implement in junior high coursework with the opportunity to expand to developing high school curriculum. Dee’s coaching techniques and passion for developing leadership capabilities in her students will be invaluable for Valley County’s Leadership Academy.


Sessions for the 2013-2014 SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy will consist of eight, two-day coaching workshops beginning in September.  Session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.  All sessions will take place at the Central Community College – Ord Learning Center.  Topics for the eight sessions include: Beginning the Journey, The Practice of Emotional Intelligence, The Happiness Advantage, Finding Your Purpose, Investigating Leadership and Followership, Becoming a Change Agent, The Balanced Leader, and Striving for Personal Mastery.  The Academy will also consist of online discussion boards and six online sessions with great resources, activities, and action steps.

This customized leadership development program is valued at over $1,600.  However, due to grants and sponsorships provided by funding partners, SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy is able to offer reduced registration prices for all participants.  Individuals living and/or working in Valley County can take advantage of the early bird registration fee of $350 (if registered on or before July 15, 2013).  Registration will then increase to $450 (if registered after July 15, 2013).  The cost of registration for individuals not living or working in Valley County is $600.  Participant fees are subject to change in future years. Additional scholarship opportunities are also available for the 2013-2014 Academy.  The class size is limited to 30 adults; people interested in the program are encouraged to apply early.

The new SVLA program is funded and/or coordinated by the following partners: Valley County Community Foundation Fund, Valley County Economic Development, UNL Extension in Valley County, Ord Area Chamber of Commerce, Ord Public Schools, Arcadia Public Schools, Blue Egg Leadership Institute, LLC, Sherwood Foundation, and the Don & Artice Fells Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation.

Visit for more information on the academy and to download an application. You can also contact any of the following program coordinators: Dahn Hagge or Kristina Foth at (308) 728-7875 or Kayla Hinrichs at (308) 728-5071. Applications will soon be available at the Ord Area Chamber office, Valley County banks, and the Ord Township Library.  The final application deadline is August 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. You can also follow the SVLA Facebook page at for updates and other information.


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