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Year-End Reflections and Plans for the New Year

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As 2019 comes to a close, the Extension Community Development team wishes you a new year filled with health, happiness and spectacular success. Enjoy reading our team’s reflections on the past year and their professional plans for the new year.

Jose Valtierra, Lake County educator As 2019 is winding down, the spirit of cooperation, collaboration and just plain family in the world of Purdue Extension has fostered in me a strong feeling of optimism and enthusiasm for the potential to continually impact our state as relationships are enhanced, partnerships are built, communities are strengthened, and leadership capacity is increased. With 2020 right around the corner, I am encouraged by our willingness to address local issues and our commitment to help improve all that is around us.

Krista Pullen, Cass County educator 2019 was an exciting year for Purdue Extension and the Community Development Team.  I was able to really dive into the Work Ready curriculum as I taught it to over 200 seniors preparing to graduate and start their next phase of life.  These students gave me so much energy and excitement about what our future holds as they actively engaged in the activities and discussion.  In 2020, I am looking forward to gaining more connections, building relationships and bringing exciting new programs to meet the needs of my community.

Kris Parker, regional educator Wow! As we wrap up another full year of programs and trainings to build community capacity to improve people’s lives, I am mindful of the many hands it takes to accomplish all that we do. Many of our workshops rely on educators and partners beyond our Community Development team, who are excited by the work that we do and step up to do it together. This year, we educated record numbers of Indiana residents through the Navigating Difference—Cultural Awareness workshop (800+) and the Facilitative Leadership workshop. I am looking ahead to new opportunities with Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing in 2020.

Janet Reed, Lake County educator 2019 was a year filled with personal and professional growth. I was excited to deliver the Digital Ready program to a group of business owners who seemed to really appreciate learning how to promote their business. I truly enjoyed serving on the Plan Commission for a full year in absence of an ANR Educator. It was a year filled with challenges and opportunities. I look forward to the year ahead and doing a better job with my own assigned responsibilities.

John Hawley, Dearborn County educator This year, I was provided many opportunities to showcase the impact of Purdue Extension. Most notably, my continued involvement in the On-Local Government program allowed me to work alongside state experts to share important resources and data with community leaders across Indiana. I am grateful for the collaboration of the Purdue Extension Community Development Team and I look forward to a productive 2020.

Heather Strohm regional educator As 2019 concludes, it is a moment of quiet reflection. Reflect on the year gone by; of the happy gains and missed opportunities. Recount the good and bad of the past year. Introspect on your personal growth, and learn from the experience. As 2020 embraces each of us, the New Year is the time to ensure that we bring balance to our life with positive influences overriding the negative ones.

Steve Yoder regional educator Last year, at this time, I mentioned that I wanted to connect with my out-of-state colleagues to broaden my knowledge of CD programming taking place throughout the country.  I’m happy to say that in the past year I was able to do so, and plan on leveraging those connections in 2020 while I work alongside my Purdue colleagues to develop and deliver new programs to better meet the needs of Indiana’s communities.

Nicholas Held Spencer County educator After nearly two years of planning a transition, 2019 brought the launch of the revamped Leadership Spencer County program, which included the incorporation of the Purdue Community Leadership curriculum.  It was very fun and rewarding to get to work alongside this group of aspiring leaders each month and experience their enthusiasm for, and dedication to, their community.  The addition of the new curriculum, along with a few minor format changes, has helped ensure Leadership Spencer County will continue its 20-plus year tradition of growing leaders.

Tamara Ogle regional educator After settling into Schowe House this fall, I’m looking forward to closer collaborations across campus as well as connecting with new CD Educators as we add new appointments in our program area and refill positions in 2020.

Tanya Hall regional educator This past year has been a year full of learning, facilitating, teaching and brainstorming of new opportunities for Purdue Extension and our communities! Likewise, 2019 brought forth many opportunities for growth – both professionally and personally. As we look into 2020, I foresee opportunities to work with our stakeholders in innovative ways related to workforce development, economic development strategies and leadership development. It’ll be another exciting year and I look forward to continued and new collaborations to best serve our Indiana communities.

Patty Keating Porter County educator Reflecting on 2019, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to make a difference in my county and through statewide programs as well. I feel supported by administration and my colleagues to continually improve and increase my impact. One particular highlight this year was my involvement in the Governor’s Coaching Corps, which allowed me to acquire new skills in coaching, high-performing teams, and workforce development. It was a great year and I look forward to more Community Development fun in 2020!

Mary Foell LaPorte County educator As I look back to 2019, I realize how much this program has grown and prospered.  This past year has also brought me a lot of new contacts and programming opportunities.  This next year will be the best yet.

Cindy Barber Daviess County educator As I reflect on 2019, I am grateful to work for Purdue Extension, where our accomplishments are celebrated & work-life balance is a priority. I look forward to 2020 & continued opportunities to build vibrant communities throughout Indiana. I wish all of my colleagues & our stakeholders a wonderful holiday season!

Kristi Whitacre Vigo County educator 2019 taught me a lot about overcoming challenges, gaining patience, and perseverance. I’m hoping for continued growth, opportunities, and lots of collaboration in 2020!

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