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MAMNSFIELD ─ To keep leadership development going during the pandemic, Mansfield-Richland Area Education Foundation will start a virtual program with sessions featuring local and national professionals.

The program is called The Learning Lab. Chamber Foundation manager Nikki Lewis said it's composed of microlearning series and development series. The former is a group of hour-long sessions with local leaders and experts, including Duana Patton, CEO of Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. The sessions are scheduled on Dec.10, Jan.14, March 11, April 8 and June 3.

The development series, Lewis said, will be longer and feature more nationally recognized names. The first event is on Nov. 23 with Vitale Buford, author of the book Addicted to Perfect: A Journey Out of the Grips of Adderall. She will provide insights into how striving for perfection is holding leaders back.

Other sessions of this series will take place on Feb. 11 and May 13. The speaker for the February event is Chris McAlister, founder of SightShift. He will help participants discover the actions they need to take to get unstuck and grow to the next level.

Lewis said the Chamber Foundation had to cancel this year’s Leadership Unlimited program because the pandemic has caused many businesses to close. The change would stop members from visiting business leaders, a significant part of the program.

“We understand in the middle of a global pandemic, leadership is still needed, wanted, craved,” Lewis said of creating The Learning Lab.

The online sessions will allow the foundation to engage with a broader audience in a safer space, she said, and provide some leadership development for smaller businesses that don’t have the ability to offer the same training for the staff.

The foundation provides individual and corporate club membership. The price varies with different extent of access to the series.

For further information about the program, email Nikki Lewis at

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