Media day marks finale for Leadership Auburn class

Chamber of Commerce hosts graduation Friday
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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The 18-member Leadership Auburn class of 2010 graduates Friday, having gotten a peek into the inner workings of the community. They’re also leaving their own special contribution — an Auburn Chamber of Commerce monument sign. For nearly a year, they’ve spent one day a month learning about local law enforcement, city and county government, education, health care, community development, arts and culture, history and media relations. Now in its 10th year, the program is rewarding for both the participants and the presenters, Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Cosgrove said this week. “It’s a very interesting and dynamic process to be in a position to watch each class evolve over time,” Cosgrove said. “Every year we see class members expressing regret that it’s over and wishing it could continue. That says so much about the program. It engages you in the community.” Participants form long-lasting friendships and they finish the program feeling more empowered to do more in the community, he said. Class member Mindy Danovaro, executive director of the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation, agrees. “One of the things I thought was very beneficial was the change and development of participants over time,” Danovaro said. “It was a combination of all the different sessions, getting to know each other better, working together and interacting. It was really a touching experience.” That interaction also struck a chord with fellow classmate Jeff Ambrosia of Yamasaki Landscape Architecture. “I enjoyed the overall camaraderie between our class and the presenters at every session,” Ambrosia said. “There was not a particular class that stood out. Wayne Manning’s involvement in every session was always a great way to kick off the morning. The constant support of (former City Councilman) Bob Snyder was always appreciated throughout the program. And of course Bruce Cosgrove — he’s a tremendous advocate for the city of Auburn and its business community.” The experience exceeded expectations for Auburn Recreation District employee Manouch Shirvanioun. “A couple of highlights were just getting to know about the local government and how it works and coming together for that big (sign) project,” he said. “When we first started talking about the project, I knew it could be done. But part of me wasn’t sure we could, though, because of the money (needed for it). But then the fundraising came down and we knew we could do it.” To raise money for the chamber sign, the class held a Dice, Dinner and Dance fundraiser May 21 and also sold commemorative bricks. The sign, which is nearly completed, is located in front of the chamber on Lincoln Way. Ambrosia was one of the leaders of the project. “It couldn’t have gone more smoothly,” he said. “We had great volunteer support and great community support. The money raised at our fundraiser picked up everything we didn’t get donated. So we as a class are very pleased with the project, and the chamber will receive the due recognition it deserves.” The class projects, which only started in the past few years, have become one of the most popular aspects of the program, Cosgrove said, adding that he was especially pleased with this year’s choice. “It’s something I’ve been waiting to see happen for three years,” he said. “It’s something that’s been needed.” In addition to Danovaro, Ambrosia and Shirvanioun, members of this year’s Leadership Auburn class included Shawn Batsel, Foothill Community Mediation; Reese Browning, Old Town Pizza and Old Town Dessert Café; Adam Cline, Auburn Police Department; Suzanne Gazzaniga, Placer County District Attorney’s Office; Jack Knight, Jack Knight Electrical Contractor; Seth King, Campaign for Liberty; Steven Lease, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company; Ron Lichau, Lichau & Associates, Architects; Linda Lobue, retired; Becki McGinnis, Autovantage Service Center; Kelly Post, Placer County Children’s System of Care; Dave Johnson, Keller Williams Realty; Lindalee Talso, Placer County Probation Department; Laura Wayman, Seniors First and Teresa Kenworthy, Kenworthy Court Reporting. The graduation ceremony will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 601 Lincoln Way. Reach Gloria Young at