Emerging Leaders Academy


Kristi Olsen - Employee Snapshots

Kristi Olsen, Emerging Leaders Academy Mentor          

The Virginia Tech Emerging Leaders Academy is designed for high-potential employees who wish to grow professionally.   

The Academy is a partnership between York County, James City County and Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs Division.  

In December 2019, York County selected 12 Academy attendees and 12 mentors from our team, and James City County selected 12 of each as well.


12 York County employees graduated from the Academy on January 20, 2021.

Carl Campbell, Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue, Commissioner of Revenue

Darren Williams, Waterfront Operations Supervisor, Community Services             

Amy Crotty, Juvenile Services Manager, Community Services             

Amy Santiago,  Accounting and Financial Reporting Supervisor, Finance                 

Andrew Barden, Battalion Chief, Fire and Life Safety             

Andrew Waters, Fire Captain, Fire and Life Safety             

Colleen Petrie, Human Resources Analyst III – Benefits, Human Resources             

Kenton Henkel,  Engineering Specialist II, Public Works                 

Laurie Halperin, Waste Services Manager, Public Works                     

Joshua Green, Fleet Manager, Public Works                

Nickolas Petersen, Utilities Crew Foreman, Public Works             

Stephanie Edwards,  Family Services Specialist III, Social Services

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Program Details

Qualified applicants must have at least one year (or 2080 hours) of County service and currently hold a supervisory or leadership position within the County.

The program began in January of 2020 and begans with a kick-off breakfast held at Virginia Tech’s new offices in Tech Center. The breakfast was followed by an Academy overview and a Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) was conducted for each participant.

An essential component of the Academy is the Mentoring Program which connects leadership in a different reporting line to Academy participants. Mentors were provided with a two-hour training session outlining how the Mentoring Program works, its benefits, and ideas for working with the mentees.

Academy participants attend regular half-day morning sessions which are launched with a keynote speaker who is a leader in the organization(s). The keynote speaker(s) provide the organizational vision on the topic for that session.  The participants will also spend time each month with their assigned mentor.

A highlight of the Academy is the presentation of the Capstone Project at the graduation session.  This project is an authentic, organizational-developed project that will involve the participants finding solutions to real time opportunities within their municipalities.

View the program's video overview > > >  [12 min.] 

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The topics covered during the sessions include: 

  • Leadership Basics and Self Reflection
  • Mentorship Program - Value and Expectations
  • Communication for Development
  • Role of Organizational Culture
  • Cultural and Generational Diversity
  • Strategic Management
  • Creative and Critical Thinking
  • Capstone Project Presentation and Academy Graduation

Qualified, current County employees should visit the Emerging Leaders Academy Page on our intranet, the Navigator, for more information and to apply for a spot in an upcoming Academy.

Any questions should be directed to Amy Etheridge, Director of Human Resources.  Amy can be reached at 757-890-3687.