As part of her mission to get more involved with the Worcester community, Ladybugz Interactive Agency’s COO Billie Kenyon chose to participate in this year’s Leadership Worcester Class of ‘23.
Leadership Worcester offers an immersive program for the next generation of leaders in Worcester who are thinkers and doers, moving the region and each other forward. Participants connect with key stakeholders, learn from influential leaders, and forge relationships that help them take the next step in their leadership during the program. Following the retreat, participants meet one Thursday a month from 8:00-4:30 from October – June.
“Billie approached me with the idea to participate in Leadership Worcester Class of ‘23. Leadership in the community is very important to me and to Ladybugz, and I was more than excited to support and celebrate it,” says Lysa Miler, Ladybugz Interactive’s Founder and CEO.
“I truly enjoyed hearing about her experiences, the people she was meeting, and new things she was learning about the community where she lives.”
Leadership Worcester Program Overview
The program kicks off with an overnight retreat where participants have the opportunity to get to know one another and learn more about the program. Activities include a tour of the Worcester Historical Museum, Q&A with City Manager Eric Batista who is a Leadership Worcester Alum, followed by networking with prominent leaders throughout Worcester, including Timothy Murray, President & CEO at Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, former Lt. Governor of MA, and former Mayor of Worcester. After the retreat, participants learn about the city of Worcester by exploring the Worcester Public School system, public safety, local government, economic development, arts and culture, health, and urban sustainability.
To learn more about the public health systems in place throughout the city, participants visit the Worcester County Jail, Community Healthlinks, which is the designated Community Behavioral Health Center for Worcester, Worcester Emergency Management, and the nonprofit LIFT which is committed to ending the sex trade.
The class visits Legendary Legacies, a gang rehabilitation and re-entry program, the Worcester Police Department, the City Manager’s Office, Elliot Community Human Services, which is committed to serving the most vulnerable populations throughout Worcester, and the Collaborative for Youth and Community Justice.
Class tours include visits to Worcester Technical High School, the Worcester Education Collaborative, Worcester Public Schools, including Worcester East Middle School, and the Education Trust.
Participants visit the Regional Environmental Council, Worcester County Food Bank, Family Resource Center, and Worcester Community Action Council to gain a deeper look into food access and security throughout Worcester.
Participants experience the BrickBox Theatre, including Queer on the Scene, the Creative Hub, Brujathevillian, and El Salon, and have the chance to visit the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, and the City of Worcester Office of Economic Development.
A tour of the Courthouse Lofts, Trinity Financial, Worcester Common Ground, Worcester Housing Authority, Table Talk Pies, Bo Menkiti, Mercantile Center, and the Major Taylor Museum provides a view of the economic development throughout Worcester.
To learn more about urban sustainability, the class tours the City of Worcester Drinking Water Filtration Plant, City of Worcester DPW and Parks, Worcester Department of Sustainability and Resilience, Worcester Municipal Solar Farm, the Ecotarium, the Greater Worcester Land Trust, Mass Audubon, Galaxy Life Sciences, and the Worcester Business Development Corporation.
Participants visit City Hall, and the City Clerk, including meet and greets with Mike O’Brien and Harriette Chandler.
Of the many exciting and informative opportunities and experiences Billie was afforded throughout the duration of the program, she enjoyed the creative community portion the most. She enjoyed getting to meet local artists to get a look behind the scenes at the grassroots art initiatives happening in Worcester alongside the more prominent art institutions. Having Senator Robyn Kennedy speak at graduation was an amazing moment, too!
Billie remains deeply grateful for Leadership Worcester in helping to prepare her for a big step in her career and community engagement leadership in Worcester.
Leadership Worcester is by far not Billie’s first accomplishment during her tenure at Ladybugz Interactive. In 2022 Billie was named a 40 Under 40 Honoree by the Worcester Business Journal.
Just a few weeks after graduating from Leadership Worcester, Ladybugz COO, Billie Kenyon, was appointed President of the Board for Worcester’s beloved Jewish Community Center (JCC).
“Leadership Worcester gave me the skills I needed to feel confident stepping into my role as the next Worcester JCC President,” says Billie. “I feel connected to the city and to my 27 classmates who work for nonprofit organizations, companies, and city government across Worcester. This was an incredible experience and while I felt connected to Worcester before, my roots have grown deeper and my leadership skills stronger.”
To learn more about Leadership Worcester visit https://leadershipworcester.com/.