PENDLETON — A dozen Umatilla County employees recently completed the inaugural year of the Umatilla County Leadership Academy.

The program was developed and led by Susan Bower of Eastern Oregon Business Source as a part of the Umatilla County Professional Development Program. The group met regularly throughout the year and gave those taking part the opportunity to learn about themselves as leaders.

Participants included Rachael Reynolds, Tax and Assessment; Bettina Enright, Tax & Assessment; Jenni Galloway, CARE Program; Kim Weissenfluh, Community Developmental Disabilities Program; Mark Tanner, Administrative Services; Digna Moreno, Youth Services; Bonnie Kessell, Community Corrections; Tammy Sundin, Community Corrections; Teddy Orr, Noxious Weed Department; Karen Primmer, Sheriff’s Office; Kathleen Davidson, District Attorney’s Office; and Melvalee Carter, Human Services.

“The work that we did in the Leadership Academy helped me see my strengths as a leader, but also allowed me to better recognize my weakness and to develop strategies to work on them,” Moreno said.

Leadership Academy participants also learned about such topics as attracting and retaining the best employees, team development, and leading a multi-generational workforce.

A capstone project for the leadership academy was the May 22-23 Regional Workforce Summit. It featured national workforce development speaker Josh Davies, who provided training to professionals from five counties.

“Having all of the things we learned result in an event that will shape the workforce discussion in Eastern Oregon is exciting, and extremely humbling,” Weissenfluh said.

County commissioner George Murdock led the effort to create a staff training program with Bower. He envisioned it as a valuable investment for the county.

“We wanted to provide a specialized training program for up-and-coming leaders who will very likely be our managers of the future as they take on more and more responsibility,” Murdock said when the program was launched last summer.

For more information about the Leadership Academy, contact Murdock at

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