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Tag Archives: Melissa Reade

Nationally Recognized Education Reformer, Geoffrey Canada to Speak to Cedar Valley Business Leaders & Educators

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium, invites business leaders and educators to an opportunity to synergize as author and children’s advocate Geoffrey Canada brings a keynote address on education reform. Mr. Canada’s speech is the keynote presentation of the FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium.

The presentation will take place on April 24, 2015, at 2:30PM in Lang Hall Auditorium on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.  The cost for the event is $25.00. Registrations for the keynote event are being taken through the Alliance & Chamber website, cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

The opportunity to hear Canada’s presentation is made possible through Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley’s primary focus is implementation of Leader in Me across school districts in the Cedar Valley. The Leader in Me, based on the Steven CCovey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is creating leadership cultures in schools and instilling 21st Century soft skills of effectiveness in Cedar Valley students. The unprecedented scope and success of the Cedar Valley initiative has drawn attention from FranklinCovey who chose this area for one of 18 regional symposiums. Symposiums are traditionally held in larger cities. Cedar Valley Leader in Me schools will be showcased to educators from around the Midwest during the three day event at the University of Northern Iowa with tours and demonstrations across the Cedar Valley April 22-24.

For more information about the Leader in Me Symposium, visit www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium. You can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling (319)232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The Alliance & Chamber is taking registration for Geoffrey Canada’s keynote session only. Registration to this session does not provide access to any other portions of the Leader in Me Symposium. To register for the Iowa Symposium, please visit http://www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium.




About Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

Since 1990, Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In October 2005, Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News and World Report.

The work of Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS This Morning, The Charlie Rose Show, and NPR’s On Point, as well in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today, and Newsday. Most recently, Canada can be seen prominently featured in the Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for Superman.

Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard School of Education. After graduating from Harvard, Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.





Alliance & Chamber Launches New Website to Showcase Leadership in Cedar Valley Schools

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, leadervalley.org. This new resource features the Leader in Me initiative that is transforming leadership cultures in Cedar Valley schools.  The Leader in Me is a whole school education transformation process that teaches leadership principles to students in K-12 schools and embeds leadership as a core within their school culture. Leader in Me was developed by corporate and personal leadership trainer Franklin-Covey.

The site and a series of new videos, created in partnership with Mudd Advertising, highlight Cedar Valley students, business leaders, and educators and the impact of Leader in Me in Cedar Valley schools.

Business leaders will see how Leader in Me is investing in tomorrow’s workforce and helping to build a stronger pool of talent.  Examples of how 21st century soft skills are being infused into the school culture are detailed on the site, as well as demonstrations of how authentic leadership opportunities are preparing students to be effective in college, career, and citizenship.

Statistics demonstrating the impact Leader in Me is having in the Cedar Valley is an important component of the site, along with an events calendar, latest news, and testimonials from educators and community leaders. There are also valuable resources for educators, information for parents and community members, and pages that include student leadership projects and stories.

“This new website really is a showcase of the Leader the Me in the Cedar Valley. It is the one place you can see all the exciting things taking place in all of our schools. The amazing student leaders are really the highlight of the site,” says Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director. “We believe that once you go to the site, you will understand the significant role Leader in Me has in the future of the Cedar Valley.”

The Leader Valley talent initiative, born out of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s priority to develop a strong workforce has been formed to expand the reach of leadership and 21st Century skill and leadership development opportunities to all students in the Cedar Valley. The Leader in Me is the primary focus of Leader Valley. For more information, visit the new website at www.leadervalley.org or contact Melissa Reade at (319)232-1156 or mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Hoover Middle School Students Showcase Leadership Knowledge and Skills to Business Professionals at CUNA Mutual

Hoover Middle School students will be showcasing their knowledge of the 7 Habits to CUNA Mutual employees at a 7 Habits Lunch & Learn, Thursday, June 5 in Waverly. The student led presentation will complete a seven part series of luncheons based on the leadership principles outlined in Steven Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In January 2014, a group of CUNA Mutual employees attended a 7 Habits workshop hosted by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Impressed by the 7 Habits experience, those employees returned to the office to share their knowledge with other CUNA employees. The result was a series of lunch and learns based on the 7 Habits.

“We talk about a habit, then challenge participants to live the habit, and do a simple activity relating to that habit during the week.  We start the next week by discussing how last week went,” says

Mary Driscoll, Team Leader, Consumer Service Contact Center at CUNA Mutual Group.

The CUNA organizers inquired of Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade, about having students from a Leader in Me school share their insights and expertise about the 7 Habits and Leader in Me in the final session of the series. Leader in Me is a K-12 initiative to infuse the 7 Habits into school culture in order to better equip students with soft skill for life long success. Leader in Me has been adopted in schools across the Cedar Valley.


“We are so pleased to have this unique opportunity for a few of our many talented students to share in a business setting what they have gained from being part of a leadership focused school. We know Hoover students are our future neighbors, friends, employees, leaders, and community members who will shape the Cedar Valley.  At Hoover, we strive to create a leadership culture that instills the necessary essential skills that prepare student for what life has to offer, both professionally and personally,” says Mike Fisher, Principal at Hoover Middle School, “We couldn’t be happier to be presenting and sharing with our CUNA friends.”

CUNA Mutual staff will have the opportunity to interact directly with students as they showcase their leadership displays. The students will then give a presentation on the 7 Habits and lead hands on activities for the CUNA Mutual staff, followed by Q&A and a luncheon.

About the Leader Valley and Leader in Me

The Leader Valley Talent Initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is an effort to make the Cedar Valley a better place for students to excel and become well prepared for citizenship and their future careers. This is achieved through high levels of community collaboration.  Through Leader Valley, strong partnerships among Cedar Valley businesses, school district administrators and school boards, parents, and the community are being built. Leader in Me is offered to Cedar Valley K-12 schools through Leader Valley, which incorporates leadership into all facets of the school culture.

Hoover Middle School is wrapping up their first year of Leader in Me implementation. The Hoover team has spent a year embedding leadership into all facets of their school culture- from curriculum and instruction to their environment, operational systems, and traditions.

Student leaders at Hoover have ample opportunities to learn about and apply the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as use and refine their gifts and talents in authentic leadership opportunities ranging from classroom and school-wide leadership roles, leadership committees, clubs, and event planning.

Two highlights for Hoover this year include their Leader in Me Ribbon Cutting, a ceremony commemorating the shift to a leadership culture, as well as their Leadership Day, which allowed community leaders that chance to see Hoover student leaders in action.

CUNA Mutual has been a long-time champion of Leader Valley. In 2013, CUNA Mutual Foundation sponsored Leader in Me implementation at George Washington Carver Academy by providing a $75,000 gift over three years. The foundation plans to make similar gifts for implementing the Leader in Me in additional schools the near future.

For more information contact Program Director, Melissa Reade, at Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling (319)232-1156 or by email mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Leader Valley and the University of Northern Iowa to Cosponsor 2015 Franklin Covey Leader in Me Symposium

WATERLOO & CEDAR FALLS, IOWA –The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Leader Valley, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa, announce that the Cedar Valley has been selected as a 2015 Leader in Me Symposium Series site by FranklinCovey. The Leader in Me Symposium will be held April 22-24, 2015 on the UNI Campus. An estimated 400 people are expected at this regional professional learning conference. Attendees will be introduced to the advancements of Cedar Valley schools implementing Leader in Me, FranklinCovey’s whole school education transformation process, which teaches leadership principles to students in K-12 schools and embeds leadership as a core within their school culture.
Leader Valley Director, Melissa Reade, is particularly excited about this opportunity. “We’ve gone through an extensive vetting process to be selected as a Symposium site and we are thrilled for many reasons. This professional learning conference is world class. To be able to host it here in the Cedar Valley is a unique opportunity and honor.”

Symposium participants will learn in a high-powered environment that hosts an impressive lineup of inspirational thought leaders on education leadership topics. Participants will observe students demonstrating their leadership mind-set and skill-set through public speaking, practitioner sessions, talent presentations, and assigned leadership roles. Participants will also visit Leader in Me schools throughout the Cedar Valley to learn first-hand how leadership is infused into all facets of school life, including relationships, environment, curriculum, instruction, systems, and traditions of each school. Lastly, participants will engage in dynamic breakout sessions on developing leadership cultures and building family and community partnerships, as well as providing students with authentic and meaningful leadership opportunities.
CBE Companies CEO and current Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Board Chair Tom Penaluna accepted a congratulatory call from FranklinCovey’s Sean Covey, during which Penaluna was informed of the Cedar Valley’s selection as a Symposium site. Covey reiterated the significance of the work that Leader Valley is doing to collectively support all of the students and schools in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Dustin Odham, Leader Valley’s assigned FranklinCovey Education Practice Leader went on to say, “Leader Valley is creating a community unlike any other. The school and community leaders involved in this leadership work are doing it for the right reasons and have the heart and desire to do this well. I leave more inspired every time I visit and I want many more people to have the same opportunity. That is why I fought to ensure this community hosted a Leader in Me Symposium.”
UNI College of Education Dean Dr. Dwight Watson expressed his excitement about the announcement by saying, “It is an honor to host the 2015 Leader in Me Symposium. I have been a fan of Covey’s work since the beginning of my professional career.  I celebrate the fact The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been transferred into K-12 practices for children and youth because these habits are important elements in their leadership and character development.  Our hope is that the Symposium will showcase how engaged the Cedar Valley is in the work of Leader in Me and that we can perfect what we do by learning from others.”
Reade says, “It is reflection of the great leadership work being done collectively in our Cedar Valley schools. When you consider that the Symposiums are typically held in larger cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, and Brooklyn, FranklinCovey believes we are doing something right. The Symposium provides an opportunity to not only showcase student leadership from the Cedar Falls Schools, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools, and Waterloo Schools, but also highlight our higher-education partnership in this leadership work, as well as bring attention to the Cedar Valley.”

“As we learn more about the preparation process for the Symposium, we are confident there will be ample opportunities for Leader Valley and UNI to synergize with other education and community organizations, as well as Iowa Leader in Me schools outside the Cedar Valley and businesses to make this Symposium one of the best,” said Reade. Hawkeye Community College and CBE Companies have already committed as awareness partners for the upcoming promotions of the Symposium.
Leader in Me has been adopted as a core operating system in 1,500 schools in more than 35 countries, with more than 600,000 students and 50,000 staff having been trained worldwide. Across the Cedar Valley, there are 14 Leader in Me schools, with 6,075 students and 842 educators already trained and embarking on their leadership journey. Within the Waterloo Community School District, Dr. Walter Cunningham Elementary, Fred Becker Elementary, Kittrell Elementary, Orange Elementary, Poyner Elementary, George Washington Carver Academy, and Hoover Middle School are implementing Leader in Me. Cedar Falls Community Schools implementing Leader in Me include North Cedar Elementary, Orchard Hill Elementary, Southdale Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary. Cedar Valley Catholic Schools infusing Leader in Me include Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School and St. Edwards Elementary.
For more information on the Leader in Me Symposium, visit http://www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium or http://cedarvalleyalliance.com/cms/220/Leader_Valley.You can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at (319) 232-1156 or at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Public Leaders Host 7 Habits Session in Step Toward Collaborative Service Cedar Valley

The Alliance & Chamber presented a 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE ® Local Government Informational Session On Thursday, February 13. The session was Hosted by Mayor Crews, Mayor Clark, and Board of Supervisors Chair White at the Cedar Falls Utilities headquarters.

The hosts and other public leaders initiated the informational session to take the next step in collaboration to better serve Cedar Valley residents. It also served as an opportunity to learn how the principles that are positively impacting our schools and businesses across the area can also be applied to the public’s service.

Covey facilitator Gary McGuey along with Leader Valley Program Directory Melissa Reade gave brief presentations about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Leader in Me, ways in which the utilization of The 7 Habits might enhance personal effectiveness, and encouraged the group to consider how these tools can assist our local governments to collaborate even more in service to Cedar Valley residents.

Approximately 50 representatives from the area governments and agencies were in attendance.

Transformational 7 Habits training offered by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, is offering 7 Habits Cedar Valley leadership training to their investor/member organizations and the Cedar Valley area. Two separate, 2- day sessions will be held, one session for Cedar Valley businesses and the other for nonprofit organizations.

7 Habits Cedar Valley  is based on the work of Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Incorporating the techniques taught at the 7 Habits Cedar Valley helps organizations achieve and sustain superior results by increasing the effectiveness of its individual employees. Participants gain hands-on experience, applying sound principles that yield greater productivity, improved communication, strengthened relationships, increased influence, and laser-like focus on critical priorities.  At the request of the Alliance & Chamber, the sessions will be lead by the talented and highly regarded Franklin Covey facilitator, Gary McGuey.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Business will take place on January 21-22, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Windridge, Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. The cost is $450 per person for Alliance & Chamber investors and $550 for others. A 10% discount is being offered to businesses who register by December 15, 2013.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Nonprofits will take place on January 23-24, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Allen College – Unity Point, Waterloo. The special nonprofit rate is $225 for Alliance & Chamber investors and Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association members. The cost for other nonprofits is $300.  No other discounts apply.

Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade of the Alliance & Chamber points out what a unique opportunity this is for the Cedar Valley as the training has not been offered  locally. She stresses the huge savings available to Cedar Valley employers planning on sending their employees to the sessions. The cost for similar sessions is typically is between $1,700 -$2,200 per person, plus travel expenses to the training location.


“The 7 Habits are transforming Cedar Valley schools and building our business leaders of tomorrow through The Leader in Me. We have the opportunity to create stronger leadership cultures by applying these same principles in the workplace today,” offers Melissa Reade.  She adds, “This training can have the same dramatic impact on organizations and move the needle for employers. We encourage every business and nonprofit to take advantage of this rare opportunity and tremendous value.”

Registration can be made through the end of December on the Alliance & Chamber website at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/7habitscedarvalley  or by calling 319-232-1156.

Sponsors include Advanced Systems, Allen College – Unity Point, CUNA Mutual Foundation, and Western Home Communities.

7 Habits Cedar Valley is brought to this area by the Leader Valley initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley is a conduit for business and education to collaborate and provide leadership and soft skill development opportunities, enhancing our workforce, and moving the Cedar Valley economy forward.

More information on 7 Habits Cedar Valley and other ways Leader Valley is impacting the Cedar Valley can be found on the Alliance & Chamber website or by contacting Program Director, Melissa Reade by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.



Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees