Oct. 2—PLAINS TWP. — Leadership Wilkes-Barre celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday night — or should we say "Leadership Northeast?"
That's right, the longtime area nonprofit officially announced its rebranding on the night of its 40th anniversary, reflecting that while it might be based in Wilkes-Barre, its work extends through Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Executive director Lori Nocito made the announcement.
"Over the last year, we collaborated with a marketing agency, and we planned for the bright future of this organization," she said. "After many meetings and input from everyone, we finally reached consensus.
"At Leadership Wilkes-Barre, we empower leaders, we strengthen our community and we drive change," she went on. "Since Leadership Wilkes-Barre's work is so much broader than its name suggests, it is with great pride I announce that we are changing our name to align with the expansive footprint that we have left and will continue to leave across this region."
And so, Leadership Northeast officially rang in the change. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, since this announcement came at the end of the night.
The event, called "40 Years of Impact," got started off with cocktails and dinner, before getting a welcome address from the ever-entertaining Rabbi Larry Kaplin, who praised the nonprofit for its ongoing efforts to provide leadership training for the past 40 years.
"The scriptural reading for this week, for tomorrow morning happens to be the very first chapter of the Bible, the very first words of Genesis," he said. "I have a hunch that new things are on the horizon as we enter this new year for Leadership Wilkes-Barre."
The night also featured a send-off of Lissa Bryan-Smith, outgoing board chair, who was praised by her successor, Jim Brogna.
"Leadership is action, not a position," Brogna said. "And in Lissa's case, she embodied this for the years she was part of the leadership program."
Bryan-Smith that her involvement with Leadership Wilkes-Barre was one of the most valuable times of her life.
"I thought I was pretty connected in my life before I came here, but I didn't understand what being a servant leader was until I got to this valley," she said. "And I learned that if you live in this valley, you give back. That's what this place does."