Our team includes proud alums of the LLC Signature Class Program, the Classes of 2016 and 2017, plus ALUMS of the 2019 & 2023 llcip intern team.


Julie Cruz Blair ’17

President & CEO


About Julie:

Julie Cruz Blair has served with Leadership Lorain County for several years, currently as the President & CEO. Born in the city of Lorain, she has embraced her passion for providing individuals with the resources and initiatives necessary to meet goals by investing in their community. We are rich with people full of energy, desire, and compassion for others. We need to channel this energy.

As a graduate of Cleveland State University through the Lorain County Community College partnership, she was introduced to opportunities regarding being an active community member. She previously served on the Board for the Elyria YWCA, including a term as Vice-Chair. Currently, she serves on the Main Street Lorain Board, as well as their Design Committee, and is a member of the Elyria Sunrise Rotary. She is the mother of three ambitious children, who make her proud and drive her nuts all at once. They have each taught her unique lessons in life which includes being the example of your own expectations.

“When one finds their passion, they find the time.” Each day, she witnesses the connection between people and community through outreach. Leadership is genuinely about bringing people together for the better of all – leaving things better than how they were found. Improving things is not always about changing someone or something, sometimes it is about opening your mind to a better understanding of why it is.


Jennifer Gercak ’16

Marketing & Communications Manager, Intern Program Director


About Jennifer:

Originally a transplant to Lorain County in fifth grade, Jennifer never dreamed she would have chose to stay, and become so in love, with this community and its people. Every new connection she’s made has reminds her of the rich culture and history of Lorain County, and how blessed she is 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, she bounced around, unsure where her future would lead, before landing firmly in the arts field and graduating from Cleveland State University with honors.

Her passions have grown with her time at LLC and extend to continuing the arts in the community and ensuring that all children have a bed to sleep in at night. She has been a proud participant of Mighty Goliath Productions (MGP), both on stage and off, for over 20 years. 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. Jennifer has also became involved in volunteering with Good Knights of Lorain County after meeting their founder through LLC’s Signature class.

Leadership Lorain County has given her 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. Her favorite part of any day is when she gets to hear someone say “I had no idea this was here! I’m definitely going to bring my family back and explore.”

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margarita  padua llcip ’19

Community Outreach & Development Assistant


About Margarita:

Margarita Padua comes to Leadership Lorain County as a bilingual, licensed social worker and grant writer with experience in child welfare, mental health and nonprofit administration. She was raised in South Lorain where she attended Lorain City Schools through sixth grade. She is graduate from Elyria Catholic High School class of 2015. She is a passionate advocate for social justice and states, “Purpose is front and center in my career.” When considering a major in college, she knew she wanted to help people improve their quality of life. After attending Lorain County Community College and earning an Associate of Arts, she graduated from University of Akron with a Bachelor of Social Work. She subsequently earned her Ohio social work licensure.

In 2019, she was a Leadership Lorain County Intern placed at El Centro de Servicios Sociales. Her positive experience in the intern program ignites her passion therefore has her excited about joining the team at LLC. As the Community Outreach and Development Assistant, Margarita hopes to expand Leadership Lorain County’s impact through building relationships and empowering youth to use their talents to strengthen themselves and our community.

Outside of work, Margarita enjoys being in nature and gardening. She is the mother of a toddler, Australian Shepherd mix and a cat who keep her on her toes. Her hobbies include reading, painting, and watching documentaries.

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Sylvia  Lyons
llcip ’23

Program & Executive Assistant


About Sylvia:

Sylvia Lyons was born and raised in Elyria, graduating from Elyria High School in 2021. Currently a junior at Cleveland State she is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Non-Profit Administration. Previously residing at Florida State University, Sylvia participated in sociological research as an Undergraduate where she presented her research on incorporating culture in the classroom at the Presidential Symposium.  Sylvia was then a part of the 2023 LLC Summer internship program working at the Lorain County Urban League, and today she states  “I am lucky enough to be on the LLC team as the Programs and Executive Assistant”.

Sylvia has previous experience working with both youth and young adults. She taught a reading camp for k-4 during her ’23 intern position with LCUL, and was a Learning Assistant for a logical math course at Florida State University. Now, through LLC, she is working with the adults participating in the signature class and is excited at acquiring this new skillset.

Sociology, education, non-profit work, and the understanding of the communities around her are all very important factors in her academic career. Sylvia spends her credit hours studying educational attainment as well as the intersectionality of race, class, and gender and their impacts. Picking apart the complexities of society and education is a passion of hers, and she looks forward to putting that into practice both now and post-grad.

Join Our Team

Leadership Lorain County is seeking a Marketing and Communications Assistant

Basic Overview and Job Functions
Assist with leadership materials and communications for Signature Class Session Days. Assists in developing appropriate materials for events and activities for LLC. Responsible for assisting in the creative direction, creation, and implementation of all graphics and marketing materials (website, brochures, flyers, presentation support, newsletter, social media, etc.) Works closely with staff to promote new programming and events and supports Leadership Lorain County’s (LLC) staff in daily administrative tasks and activities for marketing content.

(20-25 hours – Hybrid)

This position reports directly to the Marketing & Communications Manager and the President & CEO, of LLC.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Works with the President & CEO and Program and Executive Assistant to coordinate material details for Signature Class session days, alumni activities, and events.
  • Works with the President & CEO and Community Outreach and Development Coordinator to organize material details for Youth Programming, Community Outreach, and Connections Young Professionals
  • Assists in the management of all marketing and public relations graphic communication/print collateral
  • Assists in the management of the LLC brand in the coordination and creation of internal and external marketing materials and promotional items
  • Assists in the servicing of LLC social media and website management (LinkedIn, Facebook, Snap Chat, Tik Tok etc.)
  • All other duties as assigned

Position Requirements

  • Must be highly motivated and possess a personal commitment to the success of LLC
  • Must be detail oriented and can prioritize
  • Ability to be a team player in a fast-paced environment
  • Possess outstanding written and oral communication skills including strong presentation abilities
  • Strong Computer skills including Microsoft Office Products, Canva, Mail Chimp, etc.
  • Graphic design experience a plus, as is knowledge of photography and videography.
  • Must be willing and able to work evenings and weekends if needed.


All interested candidates should submit their cover letter and resume to Julie Cruz Blair, President & CEO, via email to director@leadershiploraincounty.com.