MANSFIELD – Over one thousand 7th and 8th-grade female students participated in the 2018 LeaderRichland event at The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College campus during the month of May.

During the three-days of the event, students met with area professionals in multiple career fields including skilled trades, finance, services, healthcare, education, non-profits, and manufacturing. LeaderRIchland encourages young girls to pursue careers and educational goals available locally.

The connection provides the girls with strong role models, encouraging accomplishments in the academic and personal lives of the students, while demonstrating the possibilities that exist in the professional work available in Richland and its surrounding counties. 

The schools that participated in the 7th annual LeaderRichland were Galion, Plymouth-Shiloh, Foundation Academy, Madison, St. Peter’s High School, Lexington, Mansfield, Lucas, Clear Fork and Crestline. This year, the program theme was Sharing Your Pathways. LeaderRichland gives the students the opportunity to expand their awareness by showcasing a multitude of educational options including trade and career schools, two or four-year degrees, and postgraduate work.

One of the featured speakers was Colonel Allison Miller, commander of the 179th Airlift Wing. She knows a lot about being an empowered woman; Miller is the first female commander in the state of Ohio.

“We all have a story. We all have a path. Embrace your story,” Commander Miller said. “Dream big. However, before you do that, dream small. With each step you take you will enjoy the journey along the way.”

The 20-year veteran began her military career in 1996 when she joined the Alabama Air National Guard. Through hard work and dedication, she is now a strong military leader in our community. 

Another speaker, Ohio State Mansfield Admission Counselor Kayla Garrabrant, encouraged all of the students to be their own superhero. Her discussion entitled “Being a Wonder Woman of Richland County,” helped the students focus on the many possibilities in their own future here at home.

“I want the students to realize what type of leadership qualities they each have and can use to go out into the world, continue their education, succeed, and also bring their skills back to the Richland County area,” Garrabrant explained.

Founded by Commissioner Marilyn John, LeaderRichland is an annual event of Richland Community Development Group, The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College.