Some organizations really know how to leave an indelible mark in the communities in which they live.

Or, in the case of the Leadership Carbon graduating class of 2013, a 'footprint' to make tomorrow better than today.

A program of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Carbon hosted a dinner event Wednesday at the Mahoning Valley Country Club to celebrate the graduating class of 2013.

Marlyn Kissner, Regional Chambers, Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Kissner, who lives in Carbon County, told the class it was a wonderful group.

Elissa Garofalo, co-chair of the Leadership Carbon Steering Committee, gave the welcoming address.

Garofalo said it's important to sustain and be good stewards for the county.

Carbon County Commissioners' Chairman Wayne Nothstein, of the Leadership Carbon Steering Committee, gave the invocation.

Dawn Ferrante, Director of Carbon County Economic Development Corporation, and a 2009 alumnus of Leadership Carbon, served as keynote speaker.

Ferrante focused her speech on what is leadership.

"I don't think of myself as a leader," Ferrante said. "I think of myself as a change agent."

Ferrante then spoke of persistence, and added "it just comes down to showing up."

Kissner then recognized the sponsors, alumni, and steering committee members.

Maureen Donovan, Assistant Director, Workforce & Community Services, Lehigh Carbon Community College, offered remarks.

"I remember the first day I met all of you," Donovan said. "We talked about what leadership is, and about the program."

Donovan told the class they now have the tools to be a leader, and to take those leadership skills they've received and pay it forward.

State Rep. Doyle Heffley told the class "persistence would be what I think about when I think about leadership."

Heffley then complimented Ferrante on her role in the merger between the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation into the Carbon County Chamber and Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC).

"Look at what she's done," Heffley said. "This consolidation is a huge opportunity."

The class then unveiled its group project, "Carbon County Footprint".

Andrea Strohl, a member of this year's class, then gave a presentation that detailed the group's project.

Strohl said one trait all the members of the class shared was their love of the outdoors.

She said the group wanted to establish a way to protect the beauty of the county's landscape by educating the public.

In essence, Strohl said the group wanted to create awareness to keep the county beautiful by leaving only footprints.

As a result, she said the organization reached out to the community for sponsorship to obtain funds so that it could purchase clings as a way to raise money.

The group, Strohl said, was able to sell 198 clings. Later on in the program, the organization presented a check in the amount of $1,879 to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

Susan Gallagher, Chief Naturalist for the CCEEC, proudly accepted the donation.

The graduates were then presented with certificates, awards, and pins.

Leadership Carbon Steering Committee co-chairs Garofalo and Carleen Ladden then gave closing remarks.

Garofalo praised the class, and Strohl, whom she said "your presentation was great. I loved your energy."

Members of the Class of 2013 are: Tami L. Hinkle, Elk Lighting; Jeremy J. Klotz, J&R Slaw, Inc., Karen A. Kupres, Jim Thorpe National Bank; Donna L. Martino, Mauch Chunk Trust Company; Aaron M. McAnulty, Seitz Brothers; Brian W. Reph, Ampal, Inc., Joseph M. Russo, PenTeleData; Schawn Schoch, Ampal, Inc., Mary Ellen C. Stephens, St. Luke's Hospital, Miner's Campus; and Andrea J. Strohl, KME/Kovatch, Inc.

In order to graduate, class members completed a nine month program about all things Carbon County. They attended monthly sessions since September. Each morning was dedicated to local topics such as government, economic development, education, culture/ diversity, health care, business, environment and recreation. The afternoon sessions were dedicated to specific leadership skills and team building. Participation in the group project is also a requirement.

The application period is now open to new participants for the next Leadership Carbon Class. The application deadline is June 30.

Visit www.LeadershipCarbon.com to learn more about the program, call Sandy at (610) 377-4063, or email leadershipcarbon@carboncountychamber.org.

The Leadership Carbon Program was created by the Carbon County Partners for Progress to help develop a new class of local leaders for the future. To date, participants have included government officials, interested community leaders and individuals who live or work in Carbon County. More than 80 individuals have completed the program which is now in its eighth year.