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Wrench: Legacy of Leadership Cayuga speaks for itself

Wrench: Legacy of Leadership Cayuga speaks for itself

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The Leadership Cayuga Class of 2021 poses, socially distanced, for a photo during a break in their orientation session at the Emerson Park Pavilion in September.

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” — Colin Powell

Some would accuse me of looking through rose-colored glasses when it comes to talking about Auburn and Cayuga County. I can’t help it though, there is so much good going on here I can’t help but talk about it with unbridled optimism.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one. Our Leadership Cayuga graduates get access to the leaders in and around our community that make the magic happen. They get to see, firsthand, those who are making a difference, creating opportunities and bringing change to Auburn and Cayuga County, allowing them to see the progress that’s been made and the vision for tomorrow.

Over the course of nine months, Leadership Cayuga participants are invited into the inner fabric of what makes our county and community tick. They are given the opportunity to meet with community leaders, learn hands-on with human service agencies, and get behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses and landmarks. All with the intent that when they see how things run and how hard people work in all industries to make this a great place to live and work, our participants can’t help but want to participate, too.

In a Leadership Cayuga first (to my knowledge) we have three current class members running for public office and two alumni who are also running. While we don’t make endorsements, I think that this is a testament to Leadership Cayuga producing people who are willing to step out and lead. Well done and good luck!

Jessica Wrench

Jessica Wrench

We’ve seen our almost 700 graduates from the program do amazing things like run for local offices, pioneer economic development projects, start businesses, coach children's sports, be promoted to positions of leadership, volunteer their time for causes they believe in, and lend their voice and experience to countless boards of directors, guiding them into the future. Our graduates have more than lived up to the accolade of being leaders in our community and their careers.

It’s my hope that our graduates come out of this program as cheerleaders for our region, ready to lead with a newfound optimism.

Participants in each year’s program come from all geographic areas of Cayuga County and represent business, industry, education, government and nonprofit organizations, as well as citizens from the community at large.

Each of the nine monthly sessions goes into detail about a particular aspect of our community and/or leadership skill. Session topics include economic development, history, government, community service/nonprofits, human services, health and wellness, emotional intelligence and so much more! In addition to that, as a member of the class, you have behind-the-scenes access to a number of sites throughout the community, as well as an exciting countywide tour.

I would love for you to be able to experience this, too. We are currently looking for high school seniors and adults new to the area, new to their position or interested in becoming a community leader to apply for this year’s class.

Leadership Cayuga is for you if:

• You have a strong interest in and commitment to your community;

• You are committed to your personal leadership development;

• You anticipate an active role in business and community activities;

• You wish to gain access to a network of business, government and community leaders and resources

• You believe change can be anticipated, managed and directed for the betterment of Cayuga County.

Applications for the Leadership Cayuga Class of 2022 are now being accepted online and by mail. Leadership Cayuga includes one session day per month from September through May, plus additional optional tours and networking opportunities. The cost is $1,100 for Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce members and $1,200 for non-chamber members. There is also a $100 discount if the application is received by Aug. 13! A limited number of partial scholarships are available. For more information, please contact Jessica Wrench at (315) 252-a7291 or Applications are available at

Jessica Wrench is the education and resource coordinator for the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit or call (315) 252-7291.


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