Distinguished Leadership Alumni

Leadership Northeast’s Distinguished Leadership Alumni Award is designed to recognize exceptional Leadership Northeast graduates.  It has been presented annually, since 1986, to alumni who have made significant and notable contributions for the betterment of our communities.

2023 Distinguished Leadership Alumni Award Winner:

Catherine R. O’Donnell, Esq., ELNE ’90

Attorney Catherine R. O’Donnell leads the firm in areas of estate planning, estate administration, orphans court, and elder law.

She completed her undergraduate degree, her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating cum laude with each degree.

She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, U.S. District Court, and the Eastern District, Middle District of Pennsylvania.

She also is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, and U.S. Supreme Court. She serves as the firm’s business manager in addition to her legal work.

Attorney Cathy O’Donnell works especially hard to serve the Northeast Pennsylvania community.

She helps shape policy at Luzerne County Community College as a member and vice chair of its board of directors. She’s also past president of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association, which is the Luzerne County Bar Association.

Other volunteer board of director posts include past chair of Dress for Success Luzerne County, the Jewish Community Alliance of NEPA, and current secretary of United Way of Wyoming Valley.

In addition, she serves as a board member and current president for the Luzerne County Bar Charitable Foundation, current secretary for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, and on the board of Junior Leadership Northeast.

She served as a magisterial district judge from 2000 to 2002 and also as the Wilkes-Barre Redevelopment Authority’s solicitor from 1996 to 2000.

Before joining O’Donnell Law Offices, she worked at Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP in Philadelphia and as a shareholder of Elliott, Reihner Siedzikowski & Egan PC.

Past Recipients

Stacey Kile, sales operations manager for Geisinger Health Plan, believes her personal community servant leadership is as important as effective management and customer service in her professional life.

Stacey graduated Leadership Northeast, Class of 2011 and has been actively involved with the LNE family ever since. Her list of volunteer commitments is long, and she not only gives of her time and talents — she leads. Along with sitting on the Leadership Northeast Board of Directors and Advisory Council, she also serves as Vice President on the Executive Board of directors for Luzerne County Head Start and Health Advisory Council; she serves as a board member for the local foundation 570 on the Go and has recently joined the Osterhout gala committee and previously served on the Luzerne County Youth Aid Panel. She is actively involved with many fundraising efforts and awareness for several nonprofit organizations within our communities.

When the pandemic struck, Stacey was uniquely prepared, thanks to Leadership Incident Command Training at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, and she rose to the challenge by assisting with the operational needs of the Geisinger vaccine center. The effort, which involved everything from labeling vaccines to helping elderly patients through the process, exemplifies Stacey’s approach to work and volunteering — whatever task needs to be done, she will willingly pitches in for her colleagues and community.

Stacey was awarded the 2021 Luzerne County Head Start Outstanding Community Partner Award and she was recently recognized by Geisinger for the 31 Days of Women in Power for Dress for Success. Stacey was also featured in Geisinger’s “Leading by Example” series, highlighting dedicated leaders who are passionate about connecting with our communities through volunteerism.

She continuously pursues professional and personal development and growth.

Bill O’Boyle is the Times Leader Media Group’s news columnist/staff writer. His popular “Beyond the Byline” column on Sundays and occasional “Feet to the Fire” commentaries are fixtures on the pages. Bill has written for the Times Leader since April 2007, covering everything from Wilkes-Barre City to presidential races and local, state and national politics to breaking news to the repair of the Wyoming Monument.

A native of Plymouth now residing in Plains Township, O’Boyle volunteers with Victory Sports for adults with mental and physical challenges, the Hope Center Free Clinic of Wyoming Valley and he serves as a judge in the annual Plymouth Kielbasa Festival contest. A member of the Leadership Wilkes-Barre Core Class of 1988, he also served on the committee that began Junior Leadership Wilkes-Barre and he’s a 1995 graduate of Leadership USA.

A child of the sixties, O’Boyle often visits the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair in Bethel, New York, and his radio is locked into the music of that time.

Will Beekman joined the F.M. Kirby Center in April of 2010 and became Executive Director in January of 2014.  As both a venue manager and talent buyer, Will has helped lead the Kirby Center into uncharted waters.  The Wilkes-Barre venue currently ranks #93 on the list of Worldwide Theaters based on ticket sales for the 2018 calendar year.  Busier than ever, the Kirby Center is averaging nearly 150 events per year, greatly impacting both the economy and quality of life in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Will is a two-time graduate of Penn State University and currently lives in Duryea with his wife, Katie, and their daughters Hannah, 5, and Allie, 3.  He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Diamond City Partnership, Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, and Wilkes-Barre YMCA, while also serving on the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Advisory Board.  An avid baseball fan, Will enjoys watching his beloved Mets and coaching his daughter’s Tee Ball team.

Kit Foley has been involved with Leadership Wilkes-Barre since she graduated in the class of 2001. She has been a project advisor, chair of the Advisory Council, member of the Intercollegiate Advisory Council and is currently a member of the Board of Directors representing Misericordia University.

In addition to her involvement with the Board, she also facilitates programs for the Core Program, Junior Leadership, Intercollegiate Leadership and the Impact Program.

In 2006, Kit received a Leadership Wilkes-Barre 25th Anniversary Star Award but was unable to attend the awards ceremony because she was on a service trip to Guyana, South America with staff and faculty from Misericordia.

Kit is involved in the community through the parish of St. Therese’s in Shavertown, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office Youth Aid Panel, a diversionary program for non-violent juveniles, where she has served as Chair of the Back Mountain Panel for over 6 years.

Kit is actively involved at Misericordia University. She is a Mercy Associate who participates in many service projects at the University and through the Sisters of Mercy. During her tenure at Misericordia, she has led students on 4 service trips to Jamaica.

Kit has lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania most of her life and is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a B.S. in Human Services and a M.S. in Counselor Education. She has been employed at Misericordia for over 30 years and is currently the Vice President of Student Life.

Kit resides in Dallas with her husband Tom and her son Patrick. She loves to cook, read and travel.

Member,  LWB Board of Directors
Director of Development & Marketing
Quad 3 Group, Inc.

The 2017 Distinguished Leadership Alumni Award was presented to Michael Lombardo. Lombardo, the Lombardo, the Business Development Director at Quad 3 Architectural and Engineering Services and a member of the Leadership Wilkes-Barre Board of Directors, is a major contributor to the mission of LWB, presenting Northeastern Pennsylvanian economic development progress and leadership development skills to participants. Lombardo plays a key role in the LWB curriculum at every level of programming. He graduated in 1986 and 1988, respectively, from Bucknell University, where he received an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, and a Master in Education Degree in School Psychology and Clinical Counseling.  Following graduation, Lombardo worked for 20 years in public education, serving in various capacities including both school psychologist, and special education director. In 1996, Lombardo, feeling frustrated with the condition of his hometown, entered the race for mayor of the City of Pittston.  In November of 1997, he was elected the youngest mayor in the history of the city.  He was sworn into office in January of 1998, and served two terms until January of 2006.

During his tenure as mayor, Lombardo initiated a multi-point plan to revitalize the downtown.  Some highlights of his administration include:  construction of a new public library, renovation and expansion of the city’s fire station, development of a Façade Enhancement and Signage Program, development of a city drug task force, extensive renovations to several city parks and playgrounds, and development of the Lincoln Heights Senior Housing facility.  Upon leaving office, he was appointed to the board of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittston where he presently remains a member. Lombardo’s notable redevelopment projects include: continued downtown revitalization, the Neighborhood include: continued downtown revitalization, the Neighborhood Housing Initiative, Northeast Regional Land Bank, the Parks to Prosperity Program and facilitating over $35 million dollars of new construction in the central business district.   He is also serving his second term as a member of the Housing Authority Board of the City of Pittston. Lombardo’s experience as mayor resulted in a passion for economic and community development, to that end, in mid-2005, he left a career in education to serve as Chief Operations Officer of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry; subsequently serving as acting Chief Executive Officer for one year.  In December of 2007, Lombardo was appointed as Director of Governor Rendell’s Northeast Office, a position he held until Governor Rendell left office in 2011. Lombardo lives in Pittston with his wife Susan (Donovan) Lombardo and twin daughters, Catherine and Kristen, both recent graduates of Notre Dame University.  He enjoys running, art, travel, and interacting with people.  Lombardo has served as a member of several non-profit boards and has served as vice chair of the Pittston Tomato Festival Association for 20 years.

Nominees for this extraordinary award should be graduates of any Leadership Wilkes-Barre program who exemplify the spirit and goals of civic involvement and trusteeship.  If you have someone in mind, please contact the office at (570) 270-5323.

LNE Alumni Directory