Center for Leadership Excellence to present annual Follow the Leader awards


The Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE) is hosting an evening reception to present its annual Follow the Leader community leadership awards Thursday, April 25, at Hart’s Hill Inn, 135 Clinton St., Whitesboro.

The Follow the Leader awards celebrate emerging and established community leaders and businesses who have positively impacted the quality of life in the Mohawk Valley. This year’s awardees include:

Rudy D’Amico: Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired;

Eric DeCarlis: Fierce Foundations;

Steven Gassner: Mohawk Valley Water Authority;

David Jones: Rotary Club of Utica, Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program;

Michelle Truett: 484 Design, Inc., Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Levitt AMP Utica;

Taryn Rackmyer: Student, Mohawk Valley Community College; and

M&T Bank.

The CLE was launched in 2018 as a partnership between Leadership Mohawk Valley and Mohawk Valley Community College, blending their expertise, programs, and resources into an innovative and high-impact center to address the region’s need for effective, equipped, and engaged community leaders.

To develop a robust community reservoir of talent and expertise that can effectively address public challenges, the CLE will equip local residents, professionals, doers, and dreamers with the skills and professional abilities to take the lead in navigating the region through complex new challenges and opportunities of the future, according to an organization announcement.

Existing leadership programs in the region have shown outstanding results — but the CLE believes there is still tremendous potential waiting to be unlocked in the community’s women, minorities, small business managers, refugees, youth, and other groups that are under-represented in local leadership positions.

For information about the award reception or CLE’s programs, visit


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