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Local leaders learn, collaborate at R5 Summit

STAPLES—Over 120 leaders from Region 5 cities, counties, and schools return to their offices this week with a better understanding of their organization's most important assets: people.

"Training for the Ages: Creating an Effective Multi-Generation Team," was the title of the keynote address, delivered by Lori A. Hoffner of Supporting CommUnity, at National Joint Powers Alliance's fifth annual R5 Summit, held on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Hoffner, an expert in positive youth development, community networking, and organization relationship development, noted that for the first time in history, we have four generations working alongside one another: Silent or Traditionalists (b. 1930-1945), Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964), Generation X (b. 1965-1979), and Millennials/Gen Y (b. 1980-1996). Because of this, Hoffner says it's important for each generation to have a high-level understanding of the others' outlook, work ethic, view of authority, and preferences for leadership style. She walked through each during her address, often drawing on audience participation, real-life examples, and shared experiences.

Courtney Roatch, who's in her first year as a school counselor at Bertha-Hewitt School District found Hoffner's message helpful.

"Her talk gave us an awareness of how your generation affects a team and how it relates to authority and work ethic," Roatch said in a news release. "You can see the differences in the workplace and they can cause conflict. With this awareness and knowledge, we can better understand each other and reach resolutions."

Following the keynote address, R5 Summit attendees dove into specifics with breakout sessions on topics in education and community leadership, plus updates from the State Capitol delivered by Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls; lobbyist Sam Walseth; and Dan Listug, NJPA Government Relations Associate.

The goal of the mini, one-day conference is to serve Region 5 communities by providing professional development and educational opportunities.