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Presidents Day Leadership Forum focuses on services, opportunities for veterans, civilians

shenandoah universityA leadership forum at Shenandoah University will address issues, opportunities and support services available to both veterans and civilians as they transition from military service into civilian life and between careers.

The Presidents Day Leadership Forum, hosted by the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Business School’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, is being held from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Brandt Student Center’s Ferrari Room on main campus.

Speaking are John Norton, leadership consultant and East Coast director of VisionBound International, and Elana Duffy, chief executive officer and founder of Pathfinder Labs Inc. Both Norton and Duffy are Army veterans.

“We are pleased to sponsor this Presidents Day Leadership Forum,” said School of Business Dean Astrid Sheil, Ph.D. “This will provide actionable information and support for individuals in transition. Whether they are changing careers or going from military to civilian life—everyone can get some great takeaways from this event.”

At noon, Norton presents “Taking Charge of Leading Your Life.” Norton, a 23-year combat veteran, will speak about how he applied personal leadership to ensure success in his life’s various employment transitions. His talk covers his experiences working as a leadership facilitator for businesses and government, along with assisting business leaders in Kazakhstan during his stint at the World Bank. Norton will also discuss being a senior vice president for a community bank, and most recently engaging in leadership development for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them,” Norton said, citing author and businessman Stephen R. Covey.

Norton served in the Army from 1970 to 1992. After the Army, Norton was a senior consultant and facilitator for the Covey Leadership Center’s Washington, D.C., affiliate. Since 2017, Norton has been the East Coast director and senior consultant for VisionBound International, working to introduce VisionBound leadership, team building and customer loyalty programs on the East Coast. He currently serves as the chairman for Shenandoah University’s Center for Public Service and Scholarship (now the Center for Civic Engagement), president of the West Point Society of Northern Shenandoah, regional advisor at the Association Of Graduates Of The United States Military Academy, and the treasurer of the National Pathfinder Association.

At 1 p.m., Duffy presents “Finding a path: Navigating from Basic Training to a Successful Career.”

Duffy graduated from Cornell University with a Master of Engineering in operations research engineering. Duffy worked for a year in civil engineering before enlisting in the Army as an intelligence collector, interrogator and counterintelligence investigator. During her 10 years of active service, she was assigned around the world including deployments in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After a roadside bomb left her injured, she was awarded a Purple Heart and medically retired in 2012. She then returned to New York City to build, a platform using artificial intelligence to assist veterans and families reintegrating after service.

“Everyone has gone through a period of transition, be it from the military to civilian life, or student to working life, or even just moving from town to town,” Duffy said. “As we each adjust, it’s important for those of us who have reintegrated to reach back and lend a hand to others so we can make our communities stronger, more resilient and better-connected.”

The Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. Business School brings successful entrepreneurs to campus to share their experiences, lessons learned and expertise with students, faculty and the business community.

The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

To RSVP, visit, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the Presidents Day Leadership Forum blog

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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