Cedar Valley Leadership Institute


The 2017/2018 Cedar Valley Leadership Institute class has been filled.

To be placed on a waiting list, email Cary Darrah or call 319-232-1156.


The Cedar Valley Leadership Institute (CVLI) is a professional development series designed to foster community awareness while developing individual leadership skills. The program gives leaders a broader view of civic leadership responsibilities and opportunities through direct contact with people who shape the Cedar Valley.
Participants in CVLI will listen to presentations, discuss issues, participate in class activities, visit with Cedar Valley business leaders, and tour facilities. Class members will also complete a service project of their choosing.

“The leadership aspects of the course were definitely relevant and transferable to my role as a claim manager. Just as important, however, was the community awareness gained.  The course strengthened my knowledge of the diversity and economic topics impacting our great Cedar Valley… my eyes were open to a whole new world.  Thank you, CVLI!” 

Amy Derifield, CUNA Mutual Group, CVLI 2016

"I found every session of my CVLI experience enjoyable and enlightening. However, I believe the day we spent visiting different locations in the Cedar Valley which are representative of the diversity in the community stands out as my most memorable day. Even though I grew up here, I met new people and learned of cultures within our community of whom I had no previous awareness. I came away from that day with an increased understanding of how there is so much to be learned from cultures that have become part of our community. It was an experience that reminds us that we all came to our country and community from other places at one point in our history and how important and productive it is to embrace those who are now joining our community today."

Dave Hansen, ACES, CVLI 2016

“The program far exceeded my expectations. As a transplant to Iowa and the Cedar Valley, I gained a valuable professional network and made a whole host of new friends. The sessions provided an outstanding look at the varied facets that make up the Cedar Valley–education to inclusion; politics to health policy and all topics in between.”

Jeff Dow, CUNA Mutual Group, CVLI 2015

For someone who has worked in the Cedar Valley for several years but commutes in, the Cedar Valley Leadership Institute was a great way for me to learn about the history of the Cedar Valley as well as the inner workings of projects and organizations that I wasn't familiar with. It was also a terrific opportunity to meet people outside my industry and help me connect with them to expand my leadership potential. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to further their knowledge of the civic and economic sectors of the Cedar Valley while having the opportunity to meet many of the Cedar Valley's top leaders. 

Rochelle Kane, Western Home Communities, CVLI 2016

Previous Cedar Valley Leadership Institute Classes



Nick Aarsen
Hogan-Hansen P.C.

Angie Baish

Collin Brecher

Kyle Baker
Community Bank & Trust

Kyle Brown
VGM Group

Lisa Chamberlin
InVision Architectur

Laura Chapin
Covenant Clinic

Chase Felchle
Financial Decisions Group

Josh Gates
Kryton Engineering

Shane Graham
City of Cedar Falls

Torie Greenwood
Lincoln Savings Bank

Ben Griffen
Peters Construction

Emily Hacker

Katie Hillyer
UNI - College of Business

Kelsey Hinton

Jacob Hlas
Advanced Systems

John Huff

Kirsten Jegsen
Chris.Bro Hospitality

Brandon Kammeyer
John Deere Power Systems

Heather Labonte
Wells Fargo Bank

Jeffrey Lappe
John Deere

Eric Lewis
John Deere

Steve Lewis
Western Home Communities

Stephanie Mangrich

Jeffrey McGill
John Deere Engine Works

Cassie Means

Amel Muhamedagic
John Deere

Nick Podhaski
Kryton Engineering

Heather Reicherts
CUNA Mutual

Jennifer Reuther
Goodwill Industries

Samantha Roder

April Schrage
CUNA Mutual

Abby Sears
Farmers State Bank

Jennifer Smith
Wells Fargo Bank

Lanie Spence
Denver Savings Bank

David Steege
CUNA Mutual

Jordan Talsma
Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson P.C.

Crystal Thiele
Advanced Systems

Sarah Thompson
Lincoln Savings Bank

Adam Vargason

Ethan Wiechmann
Cedar Falls Schools



Lisa Balzaretti
Kaplan University

Joe Benter
Bergan KDV

Gabe Berger
Peters Construction

Katie Corson
Western Home Communities

Alexander Demkiw
Community Bank & Trust

Nicole Dietz
CUNA Mutual Group

Kyle Durant

Marina Henriksen

Heidi Larson

Lane LeBahn
Advanced Systems

Barb Leistad

Amanda Lynch
Western Home Communities

Matthew Matthias
CBE Companies

Anna McGee
UNI Career Services

Rhonda McRina
Hawkeye Community College

Diane Meggers
MidWestOne Bank

Nathan Miller
Beecher Law Firm

Shane Moreland

Aaron Morris
CUNA Mutual Group

Matt Nolte
CUNA Mutual Group

Tera O’Hare
VGM Homelink

Brandon Paine
John Deere

Jessica Parker

Katelyn Pedersen
Junior Achievement

Erich Priebe
Dutton, Braun, Staack, Hellman

Lisa Reilly
CUNA Mutual Group

Jessie Schunk
Lincoln Savings Bank

Sandi Sommerfelt
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Bruce Swanson
John Deere

Kenton Swartley
Cedar Falls Community Schools

Gokhan Tazegul
John Deere

Amy Timmins
CUNA Mutual Group

Roberto Verastegui
John Deere

Jason Walters
Lincoln Savings Bank

Eric Webb
John Deere

Laura Yeats
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa



Emsad Begic

Nathan Behrendsen

Bruce Bockenstedt

Kindra Christensen

Amy Derifield

Staci Duffy

Grant Gubbrud

Scott Hampton

Carl Hartson

Tim Hill

Chris Hurley

Joey Jones

Rochelle Kane

Matthew Kluesner

Jesse Knight

Iris Lehmann

Patrick Luensmann

Jesse Meehan

Jake Muszynski

Brian O’Hair

Ryan Pautsch

Billie Payne

Megan Redmond

Debbie Roth

Jay Schmitz

Brandon Schoborg

Tara Seible

Laura Sires

Kyle Soldwisch

Erica St. John

Mena Tazegul

Joseph Tripp-Rieks

Kay Wenzel

Chris Wildeboer



Hillary Anniss

Edita Begic

Shawna Buckley

Adis Cejvanovic

Janelle Darst

Jeffrey Dow

Sarah Eisenman

Nicole Ericson

Adam Gallmeyer

Joshua Graves

Melissa Griffin

Shawn Harrington

Bethany Heiter

Jennifer Heller

Stephanie Houk Sheetz

Janine Knapp

Jennifer Lakin

Michael Mangin

Jason Mehmen

Lisa Meier

Jim Miller

Phillip Nash

Paige Nieman

Kimberly Recker

Dan Rohrs

Grant Rothweiler

Sharina Sallis

Kim Schilling

Morgan Schmitt

Nathan Schroeder

Michael Soppe

Aaron Steinmann

Brandon Taylor

Mark VanCleave

Serena Zwanziger