Our team includes proud alum of the LLC Signature Class Program, the Classes of 2016 and 2017.
Julie Cruz Blair '17Executive Director
My passion for giving individuals the resources and initiatives necessary to meet their goals stems from the fact that I was born and raised in Lorain County. We are rich with people full of energy, desire and compassion for others. I was fortunate to be raised in a household who valued discipline and community service. With every goal you meet in your own life, you find a way to give back to others. As a young girl, I participated in Girl Scouts, as a parent I had three troops and as of today I am still active with GSNEO. As a graduate of the LCCC’s partnership through Cleveland State University, I was introduced to even more avenues to be an active community member. Currently I am on the Board for the Elyria YWCA and an active member of Sunrise Rotary. When you find your passion, you find the time. Proud to be a part of Leadership Lorain County. Working with alumni, supporters and community members has given me the opportunity to give back to the community and added true meaning to the words “Giving Back”. Each day, I witness the connection between people and community through outreach and could not imagine myself doing anything else.
Jennifer Gercak '16Director of Programs, Marketing & Communications
Originally a transplant to Lorain County in fifth grade, I never dreamed I would have chosen to stay, and been so in love, with this community and its people. Every new connection I’ve made has reminded me of the rich culture and history of Lorain County, and how blessed I am to be part of an organization dedicated to building up the leaders of our community and helping them grow. Raised in a family that valued hard work, and never giving up, I bounced around, unsure where my future would take me, before landing firmly in the arts field and graduating from Cleveland State University with honors. My passions extend to continuing the arts in the community and I have been a proud participant of Mighty Goliath Productions (MGP), both on stage and off, for over 20 years, currently serving on their Board. MGP is a non-profit community theater group, based in Avon Lake, that has a 59-year history of supporting the performing arts in the AL school district. Leadership Lorain County has given me the chance to experience the best that Lorain County has to offer, and to help ensure that future generations will continue to love this community. Working with the wide spectrum of individuals, seeing the connections, the difference they are making, and the personal and professional growth of our alumni and community is amazing. My favorite part of any day is when I get to hear someone say “I had no idea this was here! I’m definitely going to bring my family back and explore.”
Candice PettigrewAlumni Relations & Community Outreach
My service for Lorain County started over 10 years ago as a student at Lorain County Community College. I was elected to the Student Senate as the Event Coordinator and quickly also took on the position as Chair of the campus Program Board. During my tenure with LCCC Student Senate, I went through extensive leadership development programs that introduced me to the value of serving my community. This is where my passion for helping others was developed.
After college I continued to use my event planning skills working in convention services and, as my career progressed, catering and hotel sales. I never lost my passion to serve others and have continued to use my planning and organization skills to benefit the community. Over the years, I have served on the board for North Coast Young Professionals and the International Special Event Society. I have assisted the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association by serving on their gala committees. And coordinated several fundraisers for the Swim for Diabetes program.
My experiences have lead me all over Northeast Ohio. However, I am excited to start a new chapter in my life by returning to where my career began, Lorain County. Moving forward in my journey with Leadership Lorain County, I will have the opportunity to go through the Signature Program. This opportunity will allow me gain new experiences in Lorain County and teach me more about the 9th largest county in Ohio. I am grateful to have an opportunity to serve a community that means so much to me.