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WVU Extension Community Leadership Academy focuses on ‘power of partnerships’

Two smiling women and a man listen to a speaker.

West Virginia communities are built on collaboration, innovative ideas and hard work. The past year has challenged our small towns and cities, and now, more than ever, the power of partnerships will be critical to ensuring future success.

In an effort help drive collaboration and provide critical resources for our communities, WVU Extension Service will host the 2021 Community Leadership Academy for community leaders, non-profit organizations, educators, business owners and entrepreneurs. This year’s conference will feature three full-day, virtual sessions over the course of three weeks (April 15, 22 and 29). 

Each day will focus on specific topics, including innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership for community health, and emerging leadership. Keynote speakers include Carrie White, executive director of WVU Launch Lab; Malissa Sanon, assistant director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Indiana University; and Valeria Wanza, chief School Performance and Accountability officer, Broward County Schools. Keynote speakers will discuss partnerships in innovation, healthy equity, and strategies for connecting youth through school communities. Participants also can take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions for in-depth exploration of topics. 

“This year’s conference theme is ‘The Power of Partnerships.’ The pandemic has created a number of challenges for our state. But with challenges also comes opportunity, and we know that collaboration, innovation and hard work will help us take advantage of those unique opportunities for West Virginia,” said Lauren Prinzo, assistant professor and WVU Extension Service community development specialist. “We want to encourage partnerships, networking and ideas that will help us create prosperity and drive success for our state. We hope this conference will provide resources that participants can take back to their communities to help us achieve those goals.”

This year’s conference registration is free and is open to the public. The schedule, registration information and other information is available online.

The Community Leadership Academy is organized by WVU Extension Service’s Family and Community Development unit, which strives to provide educational programs and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of citizens and organizations throughout the state of West Virginia.

To learn more about WVU Extension Service programs, visit, or contact your local WVU Extension Service office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension Service news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @WVUExtension. 



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Tara Curtis 
WVU Extension Service