Program Sessions


The orientation event is held prior to the first class session. It provides the class with an opportunity to meet and greet each other as well as members of the Board and program coordinators prior to the start of the program. It is also where the expectations for the class are set forth and the mission statement of the program is reinforced.

Leadership Skills

The activities formulated for this session should:

  • Nurture relationship building and help form group bonds
  • Allow each participant to determine his /her own leadership style
  • Identify the various leadership style of others
  • Determine the impact of different leadership styles on day to day operations
  • Illustrate how the practical application of the knowledge gained during this session can be applied to conflict resolution
  • Demonstrate how to apply learned leadership styles when making difficult decisions; and how understanding leadership styles can affect the art of negotiation
  • Discuss how Ethics applies to Leadership
  • Illustrate the impact of Emotional intelligence
  • Illustrate how you act/interact with other leaders
  • Introduce the Making an Impact Project

Lead Coordinators: Ryan O’Gorman, Director of Residential Life, Dominican College.

Historical Rockland

This session provides participants with a comprehensive historical overview of the rich history of Rockland County and lays the foundation for the sessions to come. The activities created for this day should:

  • Take participants on a tour of selected Rockland’s famous sites
  • Address the Revolutionary War history of Rockland
  • Address the significance of the building of the Tappan Zee Bridge and the impact of the end of WWII on the county
  • Illustrate the development of the county over time, the history of the settlement of different communities, and the development of roadways, industry and transportation systems

Lead Coordinators: Bob Baird, Writer/Editor and Craig Long, Rockland County Historian.

Environmental Impact

This session provides participants with an understanding of the key environmental issues in Rockland. Activities planned for this session should:

  • Include today’s environmental challenges
  • Explore the growth rate and the impact on the environment
  • Address the implications of the limited amount of land currently available for use
  • Address the environmental impact of land, water, sewer and recycling issues
  • Demonstrate the link between the environment, community development, economic development, tourism and public policy
  • Identify what planning is being done for the future and the implication of insufficient planning

Lead Coordinators: Janet Burnet, Senior Program Assistant, Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority and Jennifer Sheridan, Assistant Waste Educator, Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority.

Multicultural Communities

This day provides participants with an overview of issues that result from having such a culturally diverse society and lays the groundwork for sessions to come. The activities prepared for this day should:

  • Address the cultural demographics of Rockland County
  • Demonstrate how and when different cultures came to the county, starting with native inhabitants
  • Explore what diversity brings to different aspects of life in the county
  • Explore the myths and the realities of cultural diversity
  • Identify the challenges that arise from having such a diverse community pertaining to education, economic development, public policy and community development

Lead Coordinators: Dustin Hausner, Trustee, The Historical Society of Rockland County and Shiela Keenan, Manager, Quality Assurance, Pfizer.

Education and Developing Human Capital

This session provides a balanced socioeconomic overview of education in Rockland County today and its role in developing the future workforce. Activities devised for this session should:

  • Address the impact of the growth rate on the school system
  • Include challenges to schools, i.e. balancing education and parental expectation, drop-out rate, non-college bound students, educational funding, and issues surrounding English as a second language
  • Discuss what schools are doing to prepare our youth to handle existing and emerging issues in our community and the restrictions they face when doing so, i.e. time, funding, administrative regulations, community prejudices
  • Explore how schools are addressing workforce development and work readiness, as well as what we as a community can be doing to better prepare our youth for the work force
  • Explore the impact of our culturally diverse population on the education system as well as the interconnectivity between education and economic development, public safety, public policy, community development and employment issues

Lead Coordinators: Debra Thomas, Executive Director, Rockland Teacher’s Center and Anne Byrne, Former President, Nanuet School Board and National School Boards Association.

Economic Impact & Development

This session provides an overview of the issues and challenges in Economic Development in Rockland County today. Activities formulated for this session should:

  • Include information on Making an Impact, Smart Growth, zoning laws and strategies of business attraction
  • Include the tourism industry in Rockland County, tourism as an economic engine, the marketing of Rockland County
  • Explore the relationship between economic development and transportation, the school system, public policy, tourism, the cultural diversity of the County and the impact of development on the environment
  • Address public transportation; pros, cons and improvements, both inter and intra county
  • Include the non profit sectors as employers and revenue drivers as well as service providers
  • Describe upcoming challenges and trends in fundraising and allocations for not for profits

Lead Coordinators: Al Samuels, President/CEO, Rockland Business Association; Diane Serratore, Executive Director, People to People, Inc., Matt Rand, Managing Partner, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty & Gerri Zabusky, Director, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Rockland County.

Criminal Justice & Public Safety

This session provides an overview of the Criminal Justice System and Public Safety issues in Rockland County today. Activities prepared for this session should:

  • Address how law enforcement has evolved to address the changing needs and demographics of the county
  • Explore emergency planning and precautions taken
  • Illustrate how county agencies interact in the event of an emergency
  • Demonstrate the interconnectivity between our criminal justice system, education system, culturally diverse population, economic development, tourism, community development, public policy and employment issues

Lead Coordinators: Dan Weisberg, Administrative Lieutenant (Ret.), Clarkstown Police Department and Jim McCormick, Sergeant, Clarkstown Police Department.

Healthcare & Emergency Services

This full day session provides an overview of the issues on the forefront of the healthcare industry and emergency services. Activities developed for this session should:

  • Discuss the economics of healthcare and the impact of the new healthcare system
  • Address the emergency services provided by the county and how they are administered
  • Address how the services offered by the healthcare systems and emergency services are evolving to meet the needs of the changing make-up of Rockland County
  • Describe how healthcare within the county integrates with county services and non-profits, the continuum of services, and the Department of Health
  • Explore the variety of services the county provides that may not be readily apparent as human or emergency services (DSS, ME for example)

Lead Coordinators: Cecilia Halverson, Executive Director, Home Aides of Rockland, Inc., Kathy Hopkins, Assistant Professor, SUNY Rockland Community College & Claudette Clarke, Chief Clinical Dietician, Nyack Hospital.

Arts, Culture, Media & Communications

This full day session provides participants with an overview of the art and cultural activities and organizations within Rockland County. The media portion of the day should address the issues/challenges facing Rockland media. Activities planned for this session should:

  • Address challenges that all the arts face throughout Rockland
  • Identify resources within the county
  • Demonstrate why the arts are such an important part of our lives and our community
  • Discuss the impact of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools
  • Address how we access our media (print, online, etc.)
  • Discuss how we communicate to all cultures and economic strata in our community
  • Show the relationship between today’s topic and economic development, public policy, education and employment

Lead Coordinators: Bob Baird, Writer/Editor; Ann Byne, Principal/Creative Director, The Byne Group & Julie Ramos, Executive Director, Rockland Center for the Arts.

Politics & Public Policy

This full day session provides the participant with an understanding of the workings of County government and current public policy issues. Activities developed for this session should:

  • Provide an overview of the structure of county government
  • Demonstrate the relationship between branches of county government
  • Illustrate how county, town and village governments interact today
  • Discuss how we develop policies across town and village boundaries
  • Address countywide challenges to both government and public policy
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the autonomy of Town Supervisors and Village Mayors and how they interface with the County Executive
  • Have elected officials discuss how public policy effects commercial development and constituent services – short and long term

Lead Coordinators: Frank Borelli, The Ducey Agency and Town of Clarkstown Councilman.

Making an Impact

A culminating, 6 hour session focused on leadership that guides class members in creating personal development plans and helps them to identify individual opportunities to be a better leader not only in their professional lives, but a leader that utilizes their talents for the betterment of the community.

Small groups formed on Leadership Day around big ideas that emerged during a brainstorming exercise centered on a focusing question, “How do we as leaders take Rockland County from good to great?” These breakout groups will use the year-long Leadership Rockland experience to explore the idea they gravitated toward, speak to the leaders and subject matter experts they will encounter throughout the program, and meet intermittently with their breakout group to discuss the feasibility of their original idea, how that idea might evolve and be implemented and what true value it would bring to the County. Each group will be asked to present their findings at the “Making an Impact” session.

Lead Coordinator: Jan Degenshein, Principal, Degenshein Architects.