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Q&A with Theresa Kiernan: New leader will join Leadership Morgan Hill

Theresa Kiernan taking over as program facilitator starting next month

Published in the Sept. 18 issue of Morgan Hill Life:

By Staff Report

Theresa Kiernan

Theresa Kiernan

A new leader is coming to Leadership Morgan Hill as Theresa Kiernan comes on board Oct. 1 as the program facilitator. A 2007 graduate of the program, Kiernan is replacing David Gerard who is stepping down after seven years as the program facilitator.

Kiernan will also take on coordination duties for Leadership Morgan Hill as long-time coordinator Cricket Rubino retires from that role. Morgan Hill Life recently asked Kiernan about her involvement in Leadership Morgan Hill and how it helps the community.

Leadership Morgan Hill has had a significant impact on the quality of leaders in the South Valley over the years. How would you describe the program?

It is a wonderfully integrated program between learning the key sectors of the Morgan Hill community and who you are as a leader — exploring your unique style and your strengths and areas for improvement as a leader. Studying the community sectors includes meeting the key players and hearing about the challenges that exist. The hope is that at the end of the program, each participant learned what it is they are passionate about and he or she is then committed to pursuing opportunities to donate their time, talent and/or treasure to a cause where they live.

As Leadership Morgan Hill’s new program facilitator, describe your role and your involvement with the Leadership class.

The best way to describe my role with the class is to describe myself as the glue that keeps it together. Every class day is a different sector focus and a specific component of leadership study. It is my job to connect the dots each program day between the sector and the leadership skill, and then to connect each program day with the next.

I’ll be the one person the participants will see every class. I’ll be the one person they can contact with questions and concerns. In addition, in the past we had another individual who would coordinate travel plans, enrollment, billing, etc and this year we are combining the roles. And guess what? That is me too. I will be a jack-of-all trades, but my primary and most important focus is the participants and their experience and learning.

You are a graduate of the 2007 class. How has being involved in Leadership Morgan Hill benefited you personally and professionally?

Being an alum of this program early on when I moved to Morgan Hill absolutely helped me get established both personally and professionally. I was made very close friends with my fellow colleagues in 2007. And I know that I only have to pick up the phone and they would be there to help with whatever I needed. Professionally, the interesting thing about the composition of the class is we select the participants as a cross section of Morgan Hill. For instance, in my class, we had a representative from the education sector, then Barrett Elementary School Principal Lisa Atlas. If I had a question or concern with what was going on with our schools, I’d just call Lisa and she’d either help me or point me in the right direction.

How would you describe the benefit of Leadership Morgan Hill to the overall community and South Valley region?

The connections you make with your fellow participants and the key players of each sector is simply something that would take you years to develop on your own. And no one ever forgets to ask when meeting someone in the community, “Are you an alum of Leadership Morgan Hill?” It is a badge of honor. Once an alum, always an alum. And your family of friends includes members of earlier classes and the class alums to follow.

If someone is interested in learning about Leadership Morgan Hill, what would you suggest they do to find out more?

Graduation for the class of 2013 is fast approaching, so come and celebrate as they end their year. You’ll get a real sense about the program and its value. The reception and graduation at Guglielmo Winery (1480 E. Main St. in Morgan Hill) starts at 6 p.m. Monday Sept. 23. Or, visit www.leadershipmorganhill.org and explore the content so you can make an informed decision about joining the class of 2014.