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The original item was published from 2/8/2021 2:02:37 PM to 3/2/2021 12:00:06 AM.

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Posted on: February 8, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Virginia Tech, James City County and York County Conclude Collaborative Program

Emerging Leaders Academy Virginia Tech James City County York County logos

Virginia Tech Outreach and International Affairs (OIA), James City County and York County collaborated to bring Emerging Leaders Academy to the Hampton Roads region in January 2020. Twelve participants and mentors were selected from each municipality to attend. The program concluded this month.

“This collaborative effort showcased not only local regionalism within the Hampton Roads are, but extended its reach with the various keynote speakers and instructors, and with the support leveraged by the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center,” said Mallory Tuttle, associate director, Virginia Tech Newport News Center. “We are grateful to our colleagues at the Roanoke Center for their facilitation and execution of this inaugural program and look forward to building on the relationship that was formed with both James City County and York County during Emerging Leaders.”

The Academy - designed for employees who have the desire to succeed and grow professionally – is unique to the region and specifically addressed the topic of workforce development through investment in continuing education. The partnership between James City County and York County showcases the strides both communities have made in working together to take a regional approach to addressing their workforce development needs.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with James City and York counties to provide a powerful, fun and interactive training experience for their existing and emerging leadership,” said David Conners, regional outreach and program manager, Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. “Although the program had to make the pivot to virtual amid the pandemic, our instructors did such a great job encouraging rich discussion and providing valuable tools for all the participants to take to their workplaces. The lessons learned go well beyond the classroom. The participants from each locality were dedicated, hard-working and a pleasure to work with.”

Participants of the Academy attended monthly half-day sessions on topics including: leadership basics and self-reflection, communication for development, role of organizational culture, cultural and generational diversity, strategic management, and creative and critical thinking.

In addition to the educational aspect, employees also complete a capstone project. These projects helped to uncover solutions to real-time opportunities within the participants’ respective municipalities.

“The Emerging Leaders Academy was developed out of a vision to build on key areas of leadership that were addressed in each session of the academy,” said Amy Etheridge, Acting Director of Human Resources, York County. “One goal of our program design was to include mentor support, and another was to encourage collaboration with our neighbors in James City County. We are thrilled about the feedback we have received from our Academy graduates and we will continue to build on the County’s relationship with Virginia Tech in the area of continued education.”

The mentoring program highlighted by Ms. Etheridge was designed to connect leadership in a different reporting line to Academy participants.

“We are excited about the partnership between our county, York County and Virginia Tech on this program,” said Stephanie Burton, Training & Development Coordinator, James City County. “The Emerging Leaders Academy is an important component for developing high-quality candidates for critical positions.”

For additional information about the program or to learn how to bring this opportunity to your organization, please contact David Conners at

James City County Participants
Benjamin Goodill, Transit Planner with WATA
Kenny Lamm, Fire Marshal with the James City County Fire Department
James Canning, Civil Engineer with James City Service Authority
Deborah Foster, Emergency Communication Supervisor with James City County Fire/911
Cherilyn Stephani, Senior Accounting Technician with the James City County Treasurer Office
Katrina York, Program Coordinator with James City County Parks & Recreation
Laura Messer, Tourism and Marketing Coordinator with James City County’s Office of Economic Development
Gregory White, Police Sergeant with James City County Police
Christin Burwell, Technical Services Librarian with the Williamsburg Regional Library
Tonya Champion, Senior Probation Officer with Colonial Community Corrections
Monique Myers Perry, Lieutenant with James City County Police
Deirdre P. Wells, Chief Civil Engineer with James City County’s General Services Department

About Virginia Tech: Inspired by our land-grant identity and guided by our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech is an inclusive community of knowledge, discovery, and creativity dedicated to improving the quality of life and the human condition within the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world.

About James City County: As the site of the first permanent English settlement in America, we are place of special significance, not only for our residents, but for the citizens across the Commonwealth and the nation. The quality of life in James City County is preserved through wise planning, policy-making and legislation. We manage growth and balance the needs of development with infrastructure, transportation, the quality of our schools and the availability of water. We continue the tradition of first-class education, medical care, public safety, recreation and entertainment that have already been woven into the fabric of our community.

About York County: Our seat of government – historic Yorktown – is well-known as the site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War that secured our nation’s independence on October 19, 1781. As we remember and honor our past, we look to safeguard the future through our excellent school division that consistently ranks in the top ten of schools in Virginia; a sound approach to fiscal management that provides excellent services to the community while keeping taxes low; the inclusion of state-of-the-art equipment and technology to enhance our commitment to superior customer service; and an award-winning waterfront destination featuring shops, restaurants, piers, live entertainment, and a family-oriented beach – all under the oversight of our five-member elected Board of Supervisors and its guiding strategic priorities. York County – America’s Future Since 1781

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