CLN News (1/15/2022) – THANK YOU!

Chautauqua Leadership Network logo- small version

Dear CLN Community,

Each of the last few years at the CLN retreat, we have shared a quote from Marianne Williamson that includes the statement that “your playing small does not serve the world.” This statement illustrates that one powerful way to improve our communities and overcome the significant challenges we often face is through each of us stepping up and bringing our unique talents to the fore in order to make the greatest possible collective impact. Recently our network faced one of those once-in-a-generation challenges and stepped up together to address it.

The Chautauqua Leadership Network has a long and storied history. Our network consists of a community of 653 alumni that have participated in an annual program over the last 29 years. It is an organization that has been a hallmark of our county; however, this history was significantly threatened going into this year. Unfortunately, last year we were not able to host a CLN class due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this year approached, it became more and more apparent that this was the make or break year for CLN. There was a clear sense that if we were not able to put together a class for the 2022 year, it would be very difficult to regain any momentum. There was a real sense that if we weren’t able to pull a class together this year, the CLN legacy could very easily come to an end.

Our goal was to regain that momentum and get to at least 24 class members in order to pull off a successful year in 2022. As we crept nearer and nearer to the deadline, we were struggling to get anywhere close to that number…and that is when you, the amazing CLN community, kicked in. Members of our recruitment committee reached out to many of you to ask for your help. We explained the situation we were in and the fear we had of the annual class experience coming to an end, and boy did the network step up. Before long we were receiving applications on a steady beat. Today we are very excited to inform you that this year we will be welcoming the largest CLN class ever with 34 participants.

For those of us that have been tracking the numbers, it has been a truly astounding experience. The pride and satisfaction felt as we witnessed the members of the network come together and mobilize our collective resources has been tremendous.

In conclusion, the following quote from The Dead Poet’s Society helps illustrate what we’ve observed over the past few months,

To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Please forgive the slight hyperbole, but as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, our CLN family rallied together and composed a “verse” unlike anything produced throughout our history.


Cheers to the “Best Network Ever!





CLN Executive Board

Donna Flinchbaugh

Craig Garras-Johnson

Zach Agett

Jennifer Peters

Katie Young