Cohort chosen for regional leadership development program

Sarah Aukes, program manager at Sekisui Aerospace, talks with fellow cohort members during the 2022-23 Accelerate Siouxland program.

Leaders from throughout northwest Iowa have been selected as participants in Accelerate Siouxland, a regional leadership development program offered by Northwestern College’s Center for Innovation & Leadership. The cohort represents a wide spectrum of the region, including business, industry, nonprofits and social services.

“We have a great mix of individuals and organizations participating in the program this year,” says Stephen Stiles, brewmaster at Late Harvest Brewery in Sioux Center and lead facilitator for the program. “We’re looking forward to coming together as a group of industry leaders and learning new ways of making a difference in our communities.”

Stiles will co-lead the program with Jorge Arreola, a recent graduate of Accelerate Siouxland, and Laura Jeltema, owner of KinderZone in Orange City.

“Accelerate Siouxland helped increase my confidence as a leader in a new managerial role,” says Arreola. “I learned to develop a win-win culture with open communication, while also understanding how to balance life and work with a busy schedule.” 

This year’s cohort will begin meeting on Sept. 14 and will continue to meet on the second Thursday of each month in various locations throughout Siouxland. Participants will engage materials such as Franklin Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team” and “Unconscious Bias.” Along with this award-winning training material, participants will also hear from area leaders about what makes Siouxland special and how to lead change in their communities. Topics will include government, community development, business/industry, health care, education, agriculture, nonprofits and faith/values.

“We are grateful to the businesses and organizations that support their employees’ participation in this program,” says Stiles. “We are confident that Accelerate Siouxland will positively impact the participants’ lives, their workplaces and their communities.” 

Participants include:

Ashley Ackerman – Worthington, Minnesota, Sibley (Iowa) Chamber of Commerce
Andrew Bloemendaal – Orange City, EZ Liner
Kendra Gort – Sioux Center, Pat’s Jewelry Centre
Jason Hansen – Orange City, Pizza Ranch
Martina Hoogland – Sioux Center, Woudstra Meat Market
Ashley Merley – Melvin, Village Northwest Unlimited
Jessica Mulder – Sioux Center, Perspective Insurance
Dustin Rodger – George, ATLAS of Lyon County
Matt Schiebout – Orange City, Schiebout Window and Door
Susan Sembach – Everly, City of Sibley
Taylor Struve – Hinton, Orange City Area Health System
Ashley Van Roekel – Alton, American Investment and Trust
Josh Van Schouwen – Sioux Center, Sekisui Aerospace