CLI Class 2023

Emerging Leaders Graduate from Community Leadership Institut

Nineteen of the region’s up-and-coming leaders recognized for community service, engagement

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce recognized the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) Class of 2023 at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held on June 15 at Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg.

Nineteen graduates, who were identified as up-and-coming leaders in the region, completed the nine-month program which is focused on providing participants with individual leadership skills, a stronger understanding of the region, and deeper connections to business and community leaders.

“The Chamber developed CLI to inspire a new generation of community leaders to enthusiastically assume important roles in their community while motivating participants from diverse backgrounds to be influential in our region’s future,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president and CEO, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Greenwood, Ph.D., professor of business at Fitchburg State University and chairman of the CLI Steering Committee, was impressed by the caliber of this year’s class. “Each year, I continue to be amazed with the dedication, creativity and motivation of our participants,” said Dr. Greenwood. “Programs like CLI are important to our community in an effort to ensure a continuity of leadership, community engagement and service as our region’s current leaders look forward to retirement.”

The nine-month CLI program traditionally runs from October to June and includes an orientation and eight day-long sessions on various topic areas, including Personal Leadership; Non-Profit Governance/Volunteerism; History of the Region; Media & Crisis Communications; Healthcare; Law & Justice; Legislation/Public Policy; Arts & Culture; and Economic Development. In addition, the CLI participants complete a community project through the course of the nine-month program. Participants select a project, or break into smaller groups of similar interest, with a goal to positively affect the community while also managing and executing the project before the end of the program year. The program culminates with a commencement ceremony at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting where the class and their service projects are recognized.

“The service project aspect of the curriculum is my favorite part of the CLI program,” said Kat Deal, programs & events manager, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “I am always inspired and amazed by the incredible projects that come out of each CLI class. Past CLI projects have included the creation of a new non-profit organization to help with holiday gifts for families dealing with cancer to a project designed to help improve the appearance of a downtown business district in order to support future business development and community inclusion.”

This year’s class worked on two service projects, including the establishment of a “Wash it Forward” program and a non-traditional scholarship program for students.

Wash it Forward provided an opportunity for the homeless individuals in the region to wash and dry their laundry for free at area laundromats with detergent and dryer sheets provided by the generosity of CLI participants. Wash and Fold in Leominster hosted an event, with pizza donated by Papou’s Pizza, while Laundry World in Fitchburg also hosted a Wash it Forward event that also provided access to a food pantry led by the owner of Laundry World.

“Wash it Forward was a fantastic success that helped many people,” said Ryan May, head teller at Avidia Bank and 2023 CLI graduate. “I hope this inspires people to continue to do this, even if it isn’t for an event, but just to help someone who needs a hand.”

Patrick Ellis, senior branch manager, vice president, Enterprise Bank & Trust and 2023 CLI graduate said, “We were looking for a grassroots project that would have a real impact on real people. And everyone has to do laundry!”

This year’s class also developed a non-traditional scholarship program which provided seven individuals with a $2,000 scholarship each to help bridge the financial gap to attend programs in cosmetology, electrical engineering, licensed practical nursing, human services, or toward tuition to attend a community college or four-year university. The CLI Class partnered with My Turn to deliver the scholarships. My Turn is an organization that helps people develop their skills, goals and self-confidence through alternative education, post-secondary planning, career exploration and employment training. As an outgrowth of the CLI project, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation hopes to continue to provide non-traditional scholarships to students who may not qualify for traditional scholarships or other funding opportunities.

Graduates of the Community Leadership Institute Class of 2023 are as follows:

Becky Beaton, North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation
Jeanice Bulnes, AIS, Inc.
Wiley Cordone, Bemis Associates
Sabine Dupoux, Mount Wachusett Community College
Patrick Ellis, Enterprise Bank
Christian Estrella, Fitchburg State University
Rachel Graddy, Fitchburg State University
Nicole Kalloch, Rollstone Bank & Trust
Matthew Kilcoyne, IC Credit Union
Jacob Lippman, Leominster Credit Union
Ryan May, Avidia Bank
Shane McCormack, Aging Services of North Central Massachusetts
Stephen Oldfield, Montachusett Regional Transit Authority
Natalia Oliveria, City of Fitchburg
Jennifer Phelps, Fidelity Bank
William Spencer, sponsored by Fidelity Bank
Sarah Stebulis, Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority
Alexandra Welch, Making Opportunities Count
Terry Young, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce

Applications for the Community Leadership Institute Class of 2024 are currently being accepted.

To apply, or to obtain additional information about the nomination process, please visit Accepted applicants will be notified by September 25, 2023. Please contact Kat Deal at 978.353.7600 x 235 or for more information.

About Community Leadership Institute
The Community Leadership Institute began in 1988, known then as Leadership North Central. Over the last 25 years, more than 250 participants have graduated from the Institute and become leaders in their communities, with over 100 in the last five years. Participants for the Institute are sponsored by their business and are seen as leaders or potential leaders within that company. Applications for each class are available in July & August of each year, sessions held once per month from October to June.