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Leadership Portage County Celebrates New Graduates

By Portage County Business Council

24 Area Professionals Honored at Drive-thru Graduation

Photo Caption: Julie Nielsen, Consulting & Support Team Manager at Skyward, Inc, receives her commemorative graduation plaque and gift from Kayla Rombalski, Director of Talent Development at Portage County Business Council.

Additional photos:

Stevens Point, Wis. – A line of vehicles could be seen entering the Portage County Business Council parking lot. Noisemakers and party hats were donned by those in the line while supporters cheered with handmade signs from the sides of the parking lot.

This drive-thru graduation for Leadership Portage County participants put finality on what has been an interesting year. Participants began the program in August 2019, meeting monthly until March 2020. The group’s last session together was Thursday, March 12, just a few days before Governor Evers’ first Executive Covid-19 Order the following Monday. Participants met virtually in April and May, and should have celebrated with a graduation program the last week of that month.

These graduates join the ranks of nearly 500 program alumni county-wide. Leadership Portage County (LPC) has been in existence since 1994. LPC is a 10-month intensive leadership development program designed to give all leaders the skills, knowledge, and on-going support they need to succeed. Participants in LPC grow professionally and personally from the variety of leadership, team-building, communication and self-awareness exercises that are part of the curriculum.

The Class of 2020 participants and businesses they represented at time of application are below:

  • Kathy Brandl, Loan Operations Manager at Simplicity Credit Union
  • Paul Cibaric, Social Studies Teacher at Stevens Point Area Public Schools – SPASH
  • Jennifer Dombrowski, Personal Banker at Investors Community Bank
  • Barb Evans, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Manager at Aging and Disability Resource Center of Portage County
  • Marla Habeck, Quality Assurance Team Manager at Skyward, Inc
  • Angela Hintz, Teacher and Instructional Leader at Stevens Point Area Public Schools – McDill Elementary
  • Jessica Isherwood, Operations Officer at The Pineries Bank
  • Sharon Johnson, CEO at Stevens Point Area YMCA
  • Sarah Kaetterhenry, Realtor at KPR Brokers
  • Christie Keen, Senior Mortgage Officer at Simplicity Credit Union
  • Mikayla Kleifgen, Director of Events & Marketing at Boys & Girls Club of Portage County
  • Madeline Konopacki, Relationship Banker at Paper City Savings
  • Tonya Kowalski, Director of Business Engagement at Portage County Business Council
  • Michelle Larson, Executive Assistant at Community First Bank
  • Nathan Lucht, Owner at Spotless Co.
  • Caitlin Lutz, AVP, Loan Servicing Supervisor II at Associated Bank
  • Julie Nielsen, Consulting & Support Team Manager at Skyward, Inc
  • Larry Oathout, Director at Portage County Public Library
  • Mitchell Pierce, Borrower Services Supervisor II at Great Lakes Educational Loan Services
  • Kevin Schleicher, Sales Account Specialist at RPE (Wysocki Family of Companies)
  • Mary St. John, Supervision, Account Management at Delta Dental of WI
  • Terrie Tauferner, Director, Financial Accounting at Delta Dental of WI
  • Steven Thompson, Associate Attorney at Andersen O’Brien Law Firm
  • Casey Thompson, Digital Media Team Manager at Skyward, Inc

Portage County Business Council staff are in the planning stages for 2021 programming, which was delayed due to Covid-19. For more information about Leadership Portage County please visit, or contact Kayla Rombalski, Director of Talent Development, at or 715-344-1940.


About Portage County Business CouncilWhere Economic Vitality Meets Quality of Life

The Portage County Business Council is the preeminent leader in economic development and community growth.  The priorities for our members and the community are retention and attraction of businesses and employees.  That is accomplished through engagement, growth, innovation, leadership, network development and partnerships.