Chautauqua Leadership Network Announces New Officers, Board of Directors Members At Annual Meeting

 L to R – Sarah Kahn, Secretary; Cynde Johnson, President; Donna Flinchbaugh, Co-Treasurer; Tim Piazza, Craig Garaas-Johnson, Trenton Lutes, Christopher Taverna – Board of Directors; Brian LeBarron, Vice-President


MAYVILLE [Dec. 12, 2022] – The Chautauqua Leadership Network (CLN) held its Annual Meeting, Monday, Dec. 12 at Webb’s Captain Table in Mayville. CLN members gathered to review the year, elect Officers and Board of Directors, and celebrate in holiday cheer.


The keynote, presented by outgoing President, Craig Garaas-Johnson reflected on the organization’s inspiring mission. “CLN belongs to these future leaders here of Chautauqua County. If CLN matters it is because of the leaders we produce and what they do in the community. We’ll be judged by what we build today, the legacy that we leave, and not simply by the traditions that we held.”


In 2022, CLN graduated 33 leaders through a year-long leadership development program. Each participant grew and developed competencies in self-awareness, creative leadership, team building, communications, and many other in-demand leadership skills. The class cohort format also builds lasting network relationships. Founded in 1993, alumni can be found all-across business, education, government and non-profit sectors in Chautauqua County collaborating together on civic projects.


2023 Officers

Membership passed a motion to appoint President, and new formed Vice President, positions to a two year term to foster stability.


Elected to Officer positions for 2023 are President, Cynde Johnson; Vice President, Brian LeBarron; Co-Treasurers, Donna Finchbaugh and Jennifer Peters; Secretary, Sarah Kahn


President, Cynde Johnson (2019) rose as Chair, Branding and Marketing Committee, then Board of Directors member, and President-Elect. Her unwavering spirit, entrepreneurial talent, and team building leadership helped CLN rise through the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years. Cynde is Owner/Professional Photographer of Cynde B Photography and Office Manager/Executive Assistant at Owl Homes of Fredonia. She has broad industry experience as Director of Marketing and Business Development in REIT, and Resource Development for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.


Vice President, Brian LeBarron (2019) followed Johnson as Chair, Branding and Marketing Committee in 2021. In addition, he has served on task teams for Board of Directors recruitment and Class recruitment. Professionally, LeBarron is a Business Development Manager for SUNY Jamestown Community College – Workforce Development. His experience extends as a former Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) national council member in the automotive industry.


Veteran members Donna Finchbaugh, Jennifer Peters, and Sarah Kahn are re-elected from their 2022 term.


2023 Board of Directors

CLN expands the Board of Directors to 8 seats, from 6. The 2 additional seats are allocated for non-CLN alumni to broaden the organization’s knowledge base from other strategic sources. New Board of Director members include Mindy McCarthy, Katie Castro, Victoria Eckert, and Craig Garaas-Johnson (Past CLN President).


2023 CLN Board Members

Mindy McCarthy, Rand Machine Products

Katie Castro, Ally Co.

Victoria Eckert, Youth MOVE National

Craig Garaas-Johnson, Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care

Christopher Taverna, SUNY Fredonia

Valerie Weber, Monofrax

Trenton Lutes, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities

Tim Piazza, SUNY Jamestown Community College


Leading Forward Into 2023

The Class of 2023 program sold out in advance of the November 15 deadline. An unprecedented 39 applications were received. It’s scheduled to begin with the popular Class Retreat on Feb 17-18, 2023 at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.


Regular Board of Director and Committee meetings for future planning are scheduled to begin early 2023.


To learn more about the Chautauqua Leadership Network, visit or call (716) 338-1555.