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Inspiring people to Challenge the Norm


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Mary Groves – Improving Business Communications

grovesMary Groves is a professor in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her class, Effective Business Writing is designed to give students a greater appreciation of, and real-world practice with, the many forms of business communications.  Throughout the class, students will be asked to write letters, memos, e-mails, cases, reports, proposals, give presentations and much more.
But Mary Groves is teaching more than just effective business writing, she is teaching students how to communicate in the real world.  The skills students are learning are imperative to success in the business world.  And the best part of the whole class, is she makes sure students do each assignment with little to no errors if they want to pass.  Mary Groves is challenging the students in the College of Business to ensure each and every one of them can communicate effectively in the business world.  Her leadership and passion for communication is truly inspiring.
Interested in learning more on her class?  Please visit www.unr.edu/business to find out more.


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Nancy Leuenhagen – Highlighting the Success of Washoe County

nancy“I am extremely proud to be working for Washoe County as the next Community Relations Manager. As a former member of the media, I look forward to continuing the relationships I’ve built with the journalists in Northern Nevada and relaying the great work of the employees at Washoe County.” – Nancy Leuenhagen

Nancy Leuenhagen is making a difference in Washoe County.  As the Community Relations Manager for Washoe County  she is responsible for public relations among the county.  She serves at the Public Information Officer and continues to improve the working relationships with the media in Northern Nevada.   Her passion for her career is evident.  Nancy strives to push out information from the county to keep its constituents informed.

As Washoe County continues to strengthen its involvement in the community, Nancy works hard to highlight all the recent achievements.  For the constituents who can not attend board meetings but are interested in whats going on in the County, Nancy sends out a press release which highlights sections from the agenda.  What I find to be the most inspirational is Nancy’s eagerness to help others.  She is constantly going above and beyond to help others with information requests or the media with current events.

Nancy Leuenhagen is challenging the norm and inspiring those around her.  Want to see what great things are going on at Washoe County? Visit www.washoecounty.us

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Dana Searcy – Making the Reno Air Races a Success

danaSince 2005, Dana Searcy has been making the  Reno Air Races a success.  As the Pilot Coordinator for the Reno Air Racing Association, Dana is responsible for ensuring the races go off without a hitch in regards to the pilots involved in the races.  As a non profit organization, Dana is part of the eight member team who work so hard each year to make the event possible.  Along side with about 2,500 volunteers, the air races run for three days.

The Reno Air Races are held every September just north of Reno, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. For one week, the high desert north of Reno becomes home to hundreds of aircraft, their pilots and crews. In the past ten years, the event has attracted more than 200,000 spectators and generated more than $80 million a year for the region’s economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations.

Dana Searcy’s leadership is helping improve the event every year.  Not only is the event a huge contributor to the regions economy, but the foundation has continued to educate the public, especially Reno’s youth, about the world of aviation, emphasizing the role that air racing has had on the evolution of the aviation industry.  The Foundation has provided funding for Flight Rallies in northern Nevada in conjunction with the EAA Young Eagles program, which gives youth the opportunity to take flight with a qualified pilot as an exciting introduction to the world of aviation.  Help make this years’ Reno Air Races a success by attending the races September 11-13, 2013 or find out more on how you can help by visiting www.airrace.org.

Have you experienced the Reno Air Races?  Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

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Justus Wendland – Helping Nevada Implement HAVA

justusJustus Wendland, the HAVA Administrator for the State of Nevada, is driving change in the voter arena. His position was created as a result of the deficiencies identified in the federal election system during the 2000 presidential election. As a result, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 which brought the most sweeping reform to the nation’s voting process.  The law provided funding to help state’s meet these new standards, replacing voting systems, and improving election administration.

Justus is in charge of ensuring Nevada is compliant with HAVA and other federal election laws.  In addition to, being responsible for ensuring the security and integrity of the State’s voting systems through certification, testing, and security procedures.  Justus also seeks to improve access to the election system through voter education and improved ADA access at physical polling locations.

The State of Nevada is seeing a huge impact from Justus’s hard work.  Nevada was the nation’s highest increase in voter turnout in the 2012 General Election, statewide availability of online voter registration (12th of 13 states), and the 2nd state to provide online registration through Facebook.  The Secretary of State and the Legislature have introduced legislation to modernize voting and voter registration, some of which are first of their kind in the country.

Justus Wendland is making instrumental improvements in the voting system in the State of Nevada.  His passion for his career is driving change and improving the voter turnout.  Did you vote in the last election?  Please share your comments below.

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Nikole Nichols – Community Program Manager

Nikole Nichols is the leader driving the growth at the Nevada Humane Society.  As the Community Program Manager she is responsible for managing the volunteer nichol3-copyand foster programs at the animal shelter.  But her excellent recruitment skills and passion for the cause is leading the non profit organization to statewide recognition.  The animal shelter became no kill 2007, the volunteer and foster program have been instrumental to the organizations success.

The volunteers help provide the necessary man power to not only care for the homeless animals at the shelter, but they provide essential administrative functions which allow the full time staff to focus on improving the processes and daily objectives.  In addition to the volunteers animal care and administrative support, the volunteers are essential in providing foster care to homeless pets.  The foster care program allows volunteers to care for homeless pets who are too young to be spayed and neutered or are sick and can not be adopted until they recover.  By having the animals in foster homes the shelter is able to take in more animals with their limited space.

Nikole is a huge player in the Nevada Humane Society’s success.  Ask any volunteer and they would accredit their commitment not only to give the animals a better life, but they believe Nikole is key in keeping volunteers engaged. She is taking her passion for providing the best possible care to homeless animals to the next level.  Her leadership has created a network of followers who believe what she does and want to be a part of it.

Nikole Nichols has challenged the norm and is setting the No Kill standard across the States.  Have you adopted from an Animal Shelter in your community?

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Nivea Castaneda -A Counselor Improving the Lives of Children

nivea Nivea Castaneda is a Counselor for North Valleys High School making a difference.  Her job helps prepare kids academically, socially, and emotionally for the real world and the next steps in their lives.  Shes the advocate for both students and teachers.  Helping bringing the two together.  Even with a case load of 300 to 350 students per year, she has an open door policy to ensure her students prepare for the future.  To many of her students, shes not only a life mentor but a friend.

For freshman, she focuses on building the emotional and social skills of her students.  For upper-class men she works on college and career readiness.  As a master graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno Nivea Castaneda knows just how important education is.  Which is why she is so passionate for what she does.  Nivea understands the importance of high school students building their emotional and social skills to prepare for their future.  Whether it be refining these skills or helping students with homework, Nivea is available to help her students succeed.

What is truly inspirational is the relationship she builds with her students.  They look up to her and look to her for guidance as they navigate hard decisions for the future.  She is truly a everyday leader making a huge impact on hundreds of lives everyday.

Do you know a high school counselor who is making a difference?  Please share in a comment below.

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