Leadership Beaver County IV
Lyndsie McPadden, Penn State Beaver
Lyndsie is an Alumni Relations and Stewardship Officer at Penn State Beaver, where she works with alumni and friends of the University to create opportunities for networking and raise funds for students. She graduated from the College of Communications at The Pennsylvania State University in 2009. After graduation she dedicated her first professional chapter to non-profit development. As a Beaver County native, Lyndsie is excited to connect with fellow leaders of the Beaver County community through the Leadership Beaver County program.
Jamie Connelly, Beaver County Educational Trust
Jamie Connelly, an executive Director for the Beaver County Educational Trust and a Director of Religious Education for Our Lady of the Valley Parish, grew up in Beaver County. Jamie and her husband, Bill, a manager at Hubbell Incorporated, currently reside in Beaver.
Jamie has four children. Madison graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and works for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Will attends the University of Pittsburgh. Beckett attends Washington and Jefferson University. Emerson is a freshman at Beaver High School.
After graduating from Beaver High School, Jamie went on to attain a Bachelor’s degree in English from Duquesne University. She then acquired a secondary teaching certificate from Robert Morris University.
Jamie has been in her dual director roles for the last ten years.
Christine Hampe, Styropek
I have lived in Beaver County for over 30 years. Born and raised in Finleyville, I am a graduate of Ringgold High School and have a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh. After living in New Jersey for 3 years, Beaver County is where my husband and I chose to live and have our family. Currently divorced, I have 3 daughters (and 2 grandchildren with another due soon) who also have chosen to buy homes and raise their families in Potter, Center, and Hopewell, respectively.
I worked at Bayer Material Science (now Covestro) for over 25 years and have been with NOVA Chemicals (now Styropek) on Route 18 for over 5 years. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to live and work in the same community.
Katie Schneider, St.Barnabas Beaver Meadows
Katie Schneider is a Personal Care Home Administrator with over twelve years of experience working with the elderly. Inspired by her grandmother, Katie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Gerontology from Kent State University. Katie is resident-focused and uses her compassion and empathy to encourage others to care for the residents as if they were a member of their own family. In her free time, Katie likes to participate in group fitness, read, and play with her daughter.
Kenya Johns, Children's Institute
Kenya Johns is a lifelong resident of Beaver Falls. Kenya is active in community engagement and a diehard Tiger. Kenya is a licensed professional counselor and full-time faculty member at Geneva College in the Master of Counseling program where she serves as the School Counselor program coordinator. Kenya is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC), and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP). Kenya is a graduate of Slippery Rock University, Geneva College and is currently a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University.
Kenya also serves on several boards and in various leadership roles as a personal consultant working in the areas of project management, program development, community engagement, training, education, mentoring and diversity, equity & inclusion. Kenya’s favorite pastimes include spending time with family, traveling, watching movies, researching and baking.
Harry Angelo, Job Training for Beaver County
My name is Harry Angelo. With my teaching degree from Robert Morris University and my experience as Youth Program Manager for Job Training for Beaver County (JTBC), I have dedicated myself to improving the opportunities for the youth of Beaver County. Our goal is engaging youth in job readiness activities, educational development, and career pipeline opportunities that will prepare them for future success.
The JTBC Youth Program works with youth ages 14-24 to overcomes barriers and expose them to educational opportunities and careers. My goal is to continue to expand the outreach to as many youth in Beaver County as are interested in participating in our services and benefiting from all we have to offer.
Angela Brown, Job Training for Beaver County
My name is Angela Brown, I grew up in beaver county. Currently employed as a case manager at Job Training for Beaver county where I assist beaver County residents in transitioning from public assistance to school, training or into a rewarding career. I am Community College of Beaver county Alumni where I obtained my associates degree in administration. I am a divorced mother of three beautifully intelligent girls. As an active participant on my church’s leadership ministry I enjoy serving and lending my time in the choir, finance committee and biblical counseling team. Some of my favorite past times are singing with the praise team, reading, spending time with family, sketching and watching documentaries. A few of my goals are to show my daughters how to be courageous, kind and full of light. With Leadership Beaver county I look forward to bringing life where it may be lacking in our community.
Amanda Laichak, Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA)
Amanda J. Laichak, Ph.D. is the Regional Vice President for Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA). CCA is Pennsylvania’s largest K-12 public cyber charter school, currently serving over 19,000 students across the Commonwealth. In this role, Dr. Laichak will be supporting CCA’s long-term success by building partnerships with industry, higher education, local government, media, nonprofits, and community organizations. These partnerships will offer support to CCAs Family Service Centers in Pittsburgh and Johnstown, College in the High School program and vocational education efforts. Greater partnerships with industry and higher education will position CCA as a solution provider to our region’s need for a skilled workforce. CCA’s Family Service Center in Pittsburgh is housed at the Waterfront and contains TechWorks at CCA. This facility will provide a hands-on learning approach for students in K-12 to explore various aspects of the technology sector.
Prior to CCA, Dr. Laichak was the Vice President of Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania (2010- 2020). In her role at Junior Achievement (JA) she oversaw partnerships between corporate partners and school districts in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and its six bordering counties. She and her team recruited approximately 3,000 volunteers to teach JA’s curriculum on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and workforce readiness in the classroom to over 40,000 local youth in grades Pre-K-12 each school year. Through this role she continuously highlighted the abilities of diverse and low-income youth to the Pittsburgh business community by engaging them as student speakers at board meetings, fundraising galas and other special events. She also initiated a refugee and immigrant workforce development initiative which led to hundreds of local refugee and immigrant youth being exposed to in- school JA programming, specialized job shadow events, increased media attention and scholarships.
Prior to JA, Dr. Laichak graduated with a BA (Pre-Medicine/Anthropology) from the University of Pittsburgh. She was a news anchor for Pitt’s WPTS 92.1 FM, a Pitt Pathfinder and participated in the Semester at Sea program. She began her professional career as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor to adults and children in Poland and later at Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 in Pittsburgh (2002-2007). She has traveled to nearly 25 countries worldwide. She worked extensively in refugee resettlement at the federal and local levels. She holds a Master of International Development degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Laichak completed her Ph.D. in 2018 in the field of Social and Comparative Analysis from the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She has published work on immigrant entrepreneurship in Poland and its ultimate use as remittances for small business development in Ukraine (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), as well as published research on developing pre-service teachers’ ability to build relationships with diverse learners and their capacity to develop cultural responsiveness through an international field experience (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018). Dr. Laichak was recognized by A.W. Beattie Career Center for her contributing work in vocational education with honorary membership into the National Technical Honor Society (2014). She has also been recognized for her work in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in education by Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2016) and by the American Association of University Women with the Gateway to Equity Award (2018). Originating from Johnstown, PA, Dr. Laichak owns and manages several rental properties in the City of Pittsburgh for international and domestic University of Pittsburgh graduate students. In her spare time she enjoys visiting her family in Johnstown, biking, hiking, yoga, cooking, gardening and swing dancing.
Zabriawn Smith, Realtor
Zabriawn Eugene Smith is a realtor and a co-founder of Aliquippa Green Inc., a nonprofit with the vision to restore the Aliquippa community by giving members tools necessary to invest and build sustainable change. He graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in Politics in 2014. Since graduating, his fields of study have expanded to education, real estate development, entrepreneurship and economic development.
Jennifer Leis, Aflac
Jennifer Leis is a University of Pittsburgh Alumni with career knowledge in sales and marketing. She is an experienced independent agent with Aflac. Driven by her passion to help people she takes pride in working with businesses owners by helping them to attract and retain great employees and navigate the health care landscape. As a member of the Fallston Borough Council her goals include fund raising for the municipal park and promoting positive change in her community. She is a member of the Beaver County Chapter of AmSpirit Business Connections and enjoys her roles as Vice President and Social Chair. She loves spending time in nature with her husband, two children, and extended family.
Lisa Purk, Lisa Purk Life Coaching LLC
Lisa Purk is the owner of Lisa Purk Life Coaching. She coaches individuals in learning how to overcome fears, self-doubts, and other sabotaging inner chatter so they can achieve clarity, strengthen relationships, and live with confidence. In her coaching, Lisa utilizes two proven systems including the Core Communication curriculum and the Everything DiSC Behavior Style profile. By applying the strategies she offers, her clients are able to reduce their stress, make more confident decisions, increase their productivity, and have the satisfying life and relationships they desire.
Lisa publishes a weekly newsletter, Inner Chatter Matters, that offers weekly tips and inspiration. Learn more about Lisa at www.LisaPurkLifeCoaching.com. You can follow her on Linked In and Facebook or join her FB group, Purk Up Your Life. Contact Lisa directly by emailing Lisa@LisaPurkLifeCoaching.com.
Sam Gill, City of Aliquippa
Sam Gill has spent his life using his personal and professional career experiences to help his management organizations overcome poor management program design and provide them with the support they need for best practice in organizational management design, fiscal and financial controls, and improve policies, practice and procedures. As a son of a single parent and as volunteer worker at a distress community nonprofit, organization doing his early career, he knows how fiscal management and organizational structural can affect every facet of running a successful business.
After spending over 30 years of consulting various business organization structures from government, nonprofits and for-profit agencies, and private businesses in counties and municipalities throughout 45 states, from communities in the hollers of West Virginia, ghettos of Chicago, Low country South Carolina and sovereign Native American Nations; he has observed numerous bad business practices and characteristics in communities. He knows there is no single approach that works for government or community organization, so he continues to educate himself on emerging leadership principles, communities, and economic trends to provide the most comprehensive initiatives that works for each of his community individual needs.
He received his education at the Robert Morris University with a Master’s in Business Management with specialization in nonprofit management and government policy. He also holds a Bachelor’s in Accounting and Management for California University of Pennsylvania. He is an avid reader and co-authored a grant to review an assess the Juvenile Justice Services along with Disproportion Minority Contact in Beaver County, “Our Youth, Our Future,” for the office Juvenule Justice Delinquent Prevention.
Connect with Samuel L. Gill, City Administrator, City of Aliquippa
Darla DeFrancesco, Keller Williams Realty
Darla DeFrancesco moved from Houston, TX to Beaver County in the summer of 2018 with her family and has enjoyed becoming a part of the community. She has volunteerd with the Junior League of Pittsburgh, the Beaver County Humane Society, Beaver Area Soccer Booster Club and is always looking for new ways to serve.
Darla is a full-time real estate agent and actively seeking ways to improve quality of life and property values for the people of Beaver County. Her real estate career has revealed housing needs and concerns in Beaver County, and she is seeking ways to partner with other like- minded people in the community to solve them.
Darla resides in Downtown Beaver with her husband and son. They enjoy hiking, biking, walking to dinner, shopping, and events downtown.
Elizabeth McCoy, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
Beth McCoy is the Regional Representative at the Warrendale Office for The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a bachelor’s degree in business education.
Beth’s position is to represent and promote PA Cyber within the region. Her responsibility is for the growth, vision, and enrichment programming in the Warrendale Office. With Beth’s management experience, her growth spans for more than 10 years.
She is incredibly creatively talented individual. By her hardworking dedication, she has shown excellent leadership skills with people surrounding her. With the people she works with, she has served a visible presence in the communities around the office. She also has working relationships with education reform organizations, professional organizations, and with local government officials.
Another part of Beth’s position is that she established partnerships with local colleges, universities, trade schools & centers, etc. to offer college and career readiness opportunities.
April Barns, WesBancoApril Barns is an AVP Banking Center Manager of WesBanco Bank Inc. She works with local businesses and consumers to help them achieve financial success and support them in growing their financial confidence. She loves learning the stories of the “whys” behind our local business owners and what the local community is passionate about. April has recently moved to Beaver County with her Husband and Daughter and they have quickly planted roots thanks to the warm welcome of the community. When she is not working, she loves to go on new adventures with her family, bake, and tackle new home improvement projects. She looks forward to growing both personally and professionally with Leadership Beaver County.
Craig Conforti, Penn State Extension
Craig Conforti is a Client Relationship Manager for Penn State Extension, an outreach of the College of Agriculture. He grew up on a farm in Darlington, Pennsylvania and attended Blackhawk High School. Then attended Saint Vincent College and graduated with a degree in Political Science, with a minor in History. Conforti’srole with Extension is to be the ambassador and face of the organization. His goal is to create long lasting relationships across each of his counties and expand the reach of extension. Throughout his career, Conforti has found ways to engage and serve his community in serving as a founding member and current board president of Crop and Kettle and as a board member of the Beaver-Lawrence Farm Bureau. He resides in Chippewa, PA.
Brian Pruitt Jr., Community College of Beaver County
I was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio. I graduated with my bachelor and master degrees from Robert Morris University. I played football at Robert Morris while getting my undergrad, for the late great Joe Walton. I became a guidance counselor and football coach at Steubenville High School for eight years. I moved into higher education, beginning at CCAC, in which I was a Student Services Coordinator. CCAC provided many opportunities and lead me to CCBC in which I have become a the Enrollment Team Lead Institutional Concierge.