Regional professionals complete 2023-24 Leadership Northwest Indiana program

May 21, 2024
Graduates of the 2023-24 Leadership Northwest Indiana cohort pose together.

The Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest (PNW) proudly announces the graduates of the Leadership Northwest Indiana (LNI) program.

Thirty-nine professionals representing various industries and organizations from Northwest Indiana completed the Leadership Northwest Indiana program, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest.

This premium leadership program, facilitated by a team that includes faculty members from PNW’s College of Business, as well as leadership practitioners, meets once a month for 8 months. A 360 assessment and custom coaching are program highlights. The facilitation team provides research-based leadership content and skill-building for effective leadership in the workplace and in life.

“We are thrilled with such a great turnout this year. Thirty-nine willing participants started and completed the program with excellence,” said Mekisha Richardson, assistant director of the Leadership Institute at Purdue University Northwest.

“Watching our LNI participants grow during our eight months together is really inspiring,” said Sheila Matias, executive director of the Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest. “These regional business leaders come from a wide array of economic sectors, from finance to health care. Participants strengthened their ‘leadership muscle’ while challenging themselves to add useful skills to their toolbox. We are proud to see that they are more confident leaders after the time and effort they have put in on their personal and professional development.”

Members of the 2023-24 LNI cohort received certificates on May 9. The graduates include:

  • Ehab Atwa, Pratt Industries, Engineering & Maintenance Manager
  • Deja Bailey, HealthVisions Midwest, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Angie Barber, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana, Director of Education
  • Freddie Batchelor, Enterprise of Destiny and TEAM Enterprise, Owner/CEO
  • Grace Black, HealthLinc, Outreach and Enrollment Representative
  • Juanita Boland, HealthVisions Midwest, Inc., Director
  • Stephen Bolanowski, Hammond Group, Inc., Director, Business Development
  • Richard Botts, Hammond Group Inc., Maintenance Manager
  • Jennifer Bussey, Hammond Development Corporation, Executive Director
  • Dion Campbell, La Porte County Juvenile Services Center, Executive Director
  • Shana Caruthers, Conscious Discipline, LLC., Controller
  • Lourdes Chavez, Geminus, Bilingual Family Engagement Specialist
  • Angela Comsa, Regional Health Systems Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer
  • Airiel Crenshaw, Sojourner Truth House, Volunteer Coordinator
  • Jonathan Davis, Lake County Public Library, Branch Head
  • Chanda Dixon, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Director of Community Impact
  • Anthony Escobedo, Dunes Learning Center, Onsite Program and Fellowship Manager
  • Liliana Franco Lopez, Michigan City Economic Development Corporation, Operations Director
  • Anna Gromer, La Porte County Public Library, Public Services Assistant Manager
  • Katie R. Holderby, Purdue University Northwest, Director of Alumni Engagement
  • Jennifer Homan, Franciscan Health Crown Point, Manager Trauma Services
  • Nicholas Kaoukis, Hammond Group Inc. / Hammond Expanders, Production Manager
  • Carl Kurek, Lakeshore Public Media, Vice President of Development
  • Rosemary Lopez-Malagon, Ivy Tech Community College -Lake County Campus, Executive Director of K-14 Initiatives
  • Christina Maldonado, Purdue University Northwest, Parent, Community, and Early Education Liaison
  • Wendy McLaurin, City of Gary, Deputy Director Human Resources
  • Juan Moreno, City of Hammond, Economic Development Director
  • Barbara Mossman, General Insurance Services, Human Resources Manager
  • Ashley Nguyen, NorthShore Health Centers, Senior Director of Health Center Operations
  • Christopher Place, Emergency Medical Technician Trainee
  • Tony Rodriguez, Tonn and Blank Construction, Director Business Development
  • Anita Ross, La Porte County Juvenile Services Center, Assistant Director
  • Quinn Samuelson, General Insurance Services, Employee Benefits Service Manager
  • Dhirien Shah, Karma Cigar Bar, President
  • Colleen Thomiszer, Hammond Group, Inc., Director of Finance
  • Austin Traxler, Tonn and Blank Construction, Estimator
  • Jennifer Tucker, U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, Supervisory Diversion Investigator
  • Lauren Varga, Unity Foundation of La Porte County, Marketing & Program Manager
  • Jacqueline Walton, AMST- Kentucky Trailer, Human Resources Manager

Applications are now open for the 2024-25 Leadership Northwest Indiana program. The program begins in September 2024 and runs through May 2025. Participants will meet for eight monthly, in-person sessions. The program is being offered on both Purdue Northwest’s Westville and Hammond campuses.

More information can be found online at or by reaching out to the Leadership Institute at