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PACF holds Civic Leaders meeting

PARKERSBURG – Students in the Civic Leaders Fellowship program with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation participated in a “speed dating” program Friday, giving them a chance to meet with a variety of community and business leaders.

Foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt said 18 members of the PACF Civic Leaders Fellowship gathered Friday in Parkersburg for the event

“We have 29 Civic Leaders this year” representing three years worth of program studies, she said. The 18 college-age students participating Friday were all in their first year.

Sjostedt said the students have all been paired with a business this past week, and received a presentation on community engagement. The Civic Leaders were then paired with 18 community and business leaders hailing from throughout Parkersburg and the surrounding area, each pairing allowing for a 4-minute interview.

“It gave them the chance to meet with many people from many professions, including those representing civic groups and government agencies,” she said. “A lot of the participants also are members of service organizations, such as the Lions Club or Kiwanis, so that gave them the opportunity to talk to the Civic Leaders about those opportunities as well.”

Each of the students had a chance to meet each of the professionals during the exercise.

“By the time we were all done, all 18 students had a chance to meet all 18 of the business and community leaders,” Sjostedt said. “All the participants seemed to enjoy it and the energy level in the room was almost palpable.”

Nici Rea, who last year finished her third year as a Civic Leader and who this summer will work as a legal intern for the PACF, was one of the community leaders to meet with the students.

“It was really interesting to be able to talk to them and tell them my experience with the Civic Leaders program, because I had such a great experience,” she said. “It was nice to meet with so many people in such a short amount of time. I connected with people on so many different topics.”

Rea said the Civic Leaders program gave her a headstart on her career by helping her polish her skills and to connect with other professionals in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“I feel much more confidant going out into the real work and looking for a job, more confident in my professional abilities because of the program,” she said. “It’s been a life-changing experience for me professionally.”

For more information on the Civic Leaders Fellowship program, visit pacfwv.com/.