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 to find out more.


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

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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

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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Charlie Moore – Truckee Meadows Fire Department Leader


“This is a significant improvement in the medical services which we can provide to the residents of Washoe County. We can now initiate advanced life support interventions in the outlying areas of the region’s core, where ambulance response times are often extended. The actions that the Board took today will inevitably save lives and positively impact everyone in need of emergency medical services.” – Charlie Moore

Fire Chief for Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, Charlies Moore, is the leader inspiring all the employees to achieve greatness for the department.  Not only did Charlie Moore contribute to the successful transition and stand up of Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (consolidation from City of Reno and merging with Sierra Fire) the department achieved a huge milestone when the Fire Commissioners approved turning all fire stations into ALS.  Which means each station will now be able to provide paramedic level care to the injured.

As the department prepares for the next fiscal year, Chief Moore has high hopes.  The department remains financially sound and the new budget includes allocations for further improvements within the district.  Within the next few months, the remaining seven stations will be transferred over to ALS.  The Mogul station will break ground sometime this fiscal year which will provide better response times to the Caughlin Ranch area.  All in all the department is doing its best to provide the best possible care to its citizens.

Interested in finding more about Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District?  Please visit

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Arthur Reitz – Spring Forward for Autism

ReitzFamilyJUSTin HOPE was founded by a group of dedicated individuals who believe that “a little bit of help gives a lot of hope.”

Arthur Reitz is one of the many individuals who helped make Spring Forward for Autism a success.  The local firefighters for both Truckee Meadows Fire Department and City of Reno Fire Department participated in the event. As a City of Reno Fire Department Firefighter, Arthur organized both unions participation and fundraising to benefit Justin Hope.  Spring Forward for Autism is a 5k walk put on by the Justin Hope Foundation.  The walk benefits families in Northern Nevada who have children with Autism or other neuro development disorders.

The Justin Hope Foundation is giving hope to the children and families in Northern Nevada affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neuro development disorders by providing medical equipment, supplies, and/or  opportunities otherwise not available that will have a meaningful impact on the family as a whole.  The foundation was inspired by Justin Reitz who was diagnosed with the disease at age two. Their goal is to help individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neuro-developmental disorders by bridging the gap between what they can afford and what they need to live their lives to the fullest potential as individuals and as a family.

This years’ walk was the best year ever! The organization had the greatest event turn out and money raised.  The Reno community truly came together for a great event.  But the event couldn’t be accomplished without all the volunteers and sponsors for the event.  Great job!

Interested in donating to Justin Hope?  Please visit for more information on how you can help.

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Mike Maddox – Soon to be Rotary Club President

Mike Maddox As July 1, 2013 quickly approached the new Rotary Club President of Fair Oaks, Mike Maddox, is excited about the possibilities.  Rotary is the largest and oldest service club in the world with 1.2 million members and 33,000 clubs around the world. Their goal is simple: make the world a better place.  The club contributes to a ton of projects, but one of the primary goals is to eradicate Polio worldwide.  As of 2013, cases of Polio are down to three countries.

Rotary is divided into three levels – Rotary International, which is divided into Districts, which is divided into clubs.  The Sacramento District has around forty clubs.  Here is the cool part: money raised by the club is matched by the District and then matched by Rotary International.  So a $3,000 dollar project becomes $6,000 which becomes $12,000.

Mike Maddox is excited about this years’ possibilities.  Giving back to his community and participating in charity work are Mikes number one reasons for joining the organization.  So he would like to ensure the club does the most good in their community.  The club is involved in numerous projects to give back but the one with the most impact recently was giving back to the library in order to remodel the Children’s section. Which involved donating over 150 hours of labor (mostly moving books) and with the help of their friends at the library raising $16,000.

The Fair Oaks Club also participates in numerous annual projects such as eight gifts of $1,000 to the local high school graduating students, food baskets for about eighty families at Christmas time, serving dinner monthly at the St. James Shelter for Women, sponsoring exchange students, annual crab feed fundraiser, and sponsoring two to four high school students to go to a week long Rotary Leadership Camp.

As Mike Maddox takes the reigns on July 1, 2013 he hopes to inspire more greatness with in the community.  The leadership he has displayed over the years with in the Rotary Club will help the transition to President come July. His goal for the coming years is to continue inspiring others to take charge and give back to the communities.

Interested in giving back to your community and being part of the Rotary Club?  Please visit for more information.

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Gordon Graham – Risk Management and the Fire Service


Gordon Graham is one of those individuals whose strong passion for improving his industry creates a group of followers.  In 1973, Gordon Graham started his career as a Police Officer for the State Patrol in California. After putting himself through law school, he opened the Law Offices of Gordan Graham in 1982.  As his career developed, he became aware of the lack of training systems and programs implemented in the Police Service.

So with his passion for risk management, law, and keeping our police officers safe, he developed a programed called 6 Minutes for Safety. The program required each officer at the beginning of their shift to spend 6 minutes on safety to an item that pertained to their duties that day.  Each day the safety bulletin would reflect a job task which would be completed that day.   As the program took off, Graham received recognition for reducing injuries and deaths on the job.

The leadership Graham displayed didn’t just stop with the police service, in 2000 Gordan Graham co-founded which provides safety bulletins, discussion on close calls, and various other training and safety topics.  The website now receives over seven million hits a month.  Departments across the United States are implementing 6 minutes of safety for their police and fire personnel.  The departments who have implemented safety bulletins and standardized policies are seeing exponential decreases in on the job injuries and deaths.

Through his leadership and passion for the cause, Gordon Graham is changing the world and helping individuals on the line of duty stay safe.   Interested in risk management and what steps you can take to improve your processes? Contact Gordon Graham for consulting or conferences close to you.

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