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St. Lawrence Leadership Institute Celebrates Class of 2018 Graduates

June 29, 2018

Members of the St. Lawrence Leadership Institute Class of 2018 gathered for a photo before the group’s first class last fall. SLLI is now accepting applications for next year’s class.

The St. Lawrence Leadership Institute at SUNY Potsdam recognized the graduates of its Class of 2018 in a special ceremony earlier this month. The successful cohort of students spent the past year gaining leadership experience, learning about pressing issues facing the North Country, and preparing final presentations relevant to their interests.

 “I was able to take away a deeper understanding of the issues facing our county, and I feel more prepared to start helping to face those issues with positive energy,” said Craig Chevalier, who is NBT Bank’s Ogdensburg branch manager. “The introspective work on my own leadership journey was very eye-opening and valuable.”

The St. Lawrence Leadership Institute is a partnership between SUNY Potsdam and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

“SLLI was an amazing experience. When I applied, I was concerned about the time commitment, but each month, I looked forward to the presentations and interacting with my classmates. I would recommend SLLI to anyone who is interested in learning about St. Lawrence County and being involved in helping the community,” said Felicia Dumas, who is the new executive director of the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.

The mission of the St. Lawrence Leadership Institute is to provide a venue for those committed to the county’s growth and quality of life, where professionals can develop an awareness of the issues facing the county, and dedicate themselves to personal self-discovery and developing leadership skills.

“The St. Lawrence Leadership Institute helped me to grow as a leader and also helped me to better understand the vast county that we live in. Our county may have unique challenges, especially as a large rural county; however, we have a lot to celebrate, too,” said Nicole Conant, who is executive assistant to the president at SUNY Potsdam. “During the leadership institute, I had the opportunity to cross paths with many leaders, and it has helped me to think about how we can create innovative partnerships to positively shape our future.”

The SLLI Class of 2018 graduates included:

  • Craig Chevalier of Massena, N.Y.
  • Nicole Conant of Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Amy Dona of Norfolk, N.Y.
  • Felicia Dumas of Pierrepont, N.Y.
  • Jeff Gerrish of Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Bruce Green of Lisbon, N.Y.
  • Aubree Keese of Brasher Falls, N.Y.
  • Lianne Knight of Colton, N.Y.
  • Tanya Krise of Parishville, N.Y.
  • Andrea Smith of Potsdam, N.Y.
  • Nate Smith of Potsdam, N.Y.

SLLI is still seeking applications from rising leaders with a passion for serving the region to join its next cohort of students in the fall. Classes will begin in September 2018, and will continue through June 2019.

The St. Lawrence Leadership Institute program runs from September to June, with sessions held once a month from 4 to 8 p.m. Each class is held in a different location across the county. The program includes curriculum developed and taught by experienced SUNY Potsdam faculty, with invited talks and panel discussions featuring community leaders.

Every session focuses on a different professional growth and leadership development topic, as seen through the lens of an issue facing the county, including government, media, business, education, healthcare, justice, agriculture, environment and quality of life.

SLLI participants complete a 360-degree feedback on their strengths and areas for growth, as well as completing exercises on the crucibles of leadership, emotional intelligence, team-building, strategic planning, organizational change, conflict resolution, negotiation, ethical leadership, inclusion and civic engagement, among other areas.

There are still openings for the class beginning in Fall 2018, and applications are now being accepted. To apply, visit to download the application, and mail all completed materials to: St. Lawrence Leadership Institute at SUNY Potsdam, Attn: Admissions Committee, 44 Pierrepont Ave., Raymond Hall 204, Potsdam, NY 13676.

The cost of attendance is $550, which includes all course materials, meals and a graduation dinner. Scholarships are available. Full tuition may also be paid by a student’s employer or sponsoring organization.

For more information about the St. Lawrence Leadership Institute, please contact SUNY Potsdam’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, at (315) 267-4722 or You can also visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

For Media Inquiries

Jason Hunter, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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