We work hard to build a strong bond within each class, making it possible for each class to share opinions and personal experiences in a non-judgmental space. For this reason we do not allow visitors. However, we suggest you explore one or more of our other opportunities to learn more about this experience:
Attend an information session during our recruiting season (Sept.-Oct.), where you will have an opportunity to speak directly with alumni and current program fellows, in addition to program staff. Dates, times, and registration links are on the Information Sessions page.
We expect our program fellows to be able to commit the time required to make this a successful experience for all involved. Employer approval is required.
Attendance at the first session in January is mandatory to continue in the program.
In addition to some small group projects, each class is required to complete one major project that benefits the community.
In addition to your desire to learn more about Somerset County and meet great leaders, we expect that you will want to stretch your comfort zone while also having fun and making new friends along the way.
What is expected of me when I finish the program?
Leadership Somerset does not have a requirement for community service or volunteerism after completion of the program. We're confident that with the awareness you've gained throughout our year together, you will be more involved in your community when the time is right for you. We encourage all graduates to discover what they are passionate about and get involved, wherever that may be.
You choose when, how and where you will lead. We think the list of options is nearly endless but here are a few examples:
join a nonprofit as a board member
run for elected office in your municipality or board of education
participate on a committee or commission of local government
volunteer with a nonprofit agency
increase your community engagement by voting and attending public meetings
volunteer to lead a committee or special project at work
attend more community events
share information about community resources within your network of family, friends, and coworkers.
What is Leadership Somerset and why should I participate?
Leadership Somerset is a year-long adult community leadership program for adults who want to be informed, engaged, connected leaders in Somerset County, NJ.
This program provides you with
a knowledge of formal and informal decision-making channels in Somerset County
a broader view of critical community issues
an introduction to key community leaders and an opportunity to network
an opportunity to practice and refine critical leadership skills and competencies
When does Leadership Somerset take place and what will I learn?
The program year runs from January to December and sessions (classes) take place one weekday a month (typically a Wednesday) during regular business hours.
Most sessions are held in Somerville (when in-person) with convenient and easy free parking. Sessions may also be virtual. Each session focuses on a specific topic.
Sessions also include learning about leadership capacities. We use a leadership skills curriculum that is suitable for persons from any background and can be applied to any part of life – personal, work, and community.
Who can apply to Leadership Somerset?
Applications are accepted from adults who live or work in Somerset County, NJ.
We are looking for energetic people who reflect a cross-section of ages, cultures, races, interests, viewpoints, professions, and experiences.
Who leads the program?
Leadership Somerset sessions are planned and led by two full-time county employees who have other responsibilities in addition to working with this program. They both love meeting a new group of Leadership Somerset class members each year and do their best to make the experience both informative and fun.
Denise Katula serves as the Leadership Somerset Program Director, planning and facilitating the monthly sessions. Employed by Somerset County since 1990, Denise currently works in the Administrator's Office as the Manager of Leadership and Talent Development, responsible for leading Somerset County's efforts in leadership development for its 1,200+ public employees. She began working with the Leadership Somerset program in 2000 and has enjoyed every minute of it. Denise grew up in Somerset County and currently lives in Branchburg with her family. While her professional achievements and volunteer service are detailed on her LinkedIn profile, what you won't find there is information about her love of gardening, antiquing, reading, and spending time with her dogs.
Lisa Krueger Close serves as the Leadership Somerset Assistant Program Director. a.k.a. zany sidekick to Denise Katula. ‘By night,’ Lisa is responsible for digitally recording the Leadership Somerset class year, posting on social media, helping to keep the class on track, actively listening and contributing to class discussion. But by day, with over 16 years’ experience as a Public Information Specialist for Somerset County, Lisa serves a population of approx. 333,750 residents. She is responsible for communications, media relations, website content, social media, special projects and events. In addition to public service, she also has a diverse background in corporate and nonprofit experience.
Who sponsors Leadership Somerset and is there a fee to participate?
Leadership Somerset was created in 2000 by the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Somerset County Business Partnership, Raritan Valley Community College, and the United Way of Northern New Jersey, Somerset County. Well into our second decade, the Leadership Somerset program is still sponsored by Somerset County.
The current program fee is $375 (subject to change in future program years) and covers participation in all sessions, materials, and meals.
Limited financial assistance based on need is typically available and is described further in the application.