February 2019 Young Professional Profiles: Kat Thompson & Leah Walentosky

Kat ThompsonWe’re excited to introduce Kat Thompson, this year’s FLEX Vice President/Secretary and the Talent Engagement Facilitator at CareerLink.

Kat grew up in Hydetown, just outside of Titusville, and moved to Oil City while in high school. From kindergarten through 12th grade, she attended Christian Life Academy (CLA), then went on to Spring Arbor University in Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in global economic development. She also received her Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification through Oxford Seminars.

For three years, Kat lived in China teaching Oral English and Reading Comprehension at Sias International University. While in China, one of her fond memories is performing, usually choregraphed dances. They would sometimes give performances in front of thousands of students and once on TV for a basketball tournament.

Kat has traveled and lived all over the world (she’s been to 30 countries and over 40 states) and loves meeting new people and learning about different cultures, but she is happy to call our area home. “It’s where my family is and I’m proud of way the community is growing here,” she said.

As the new VP/Secretary of FLEX, Kat is looking forward to helping others get more involved in the organization and the community.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing on her patio with her cat, Ellie, while bird watching. She also participates in outdoor recreation, like hiking, biking, and kayaking throughout the region. She loves watching wildlife, including deer, foxes, a bear, racoons, a porcupine, and a lot of birds just around her house. One of her favorite stops in our area is Core Goods, a new store in Oil City.

“I truly appreciate the sense of community in Venango County,” she told us. “There is a strong network between businesses, economic development, and community organizations. There are so many people working towards improving the quality of life in this area and I’m happy to be a part of that.” We’re happy to have her a part of it, too, especially as a new officer of FLEX!

 

 

Leah WalentoskyLeah Walentosky is one of our newest FLEX members. Born and raised in Oil City, Leah has fond memories of going to the YMCA, getting ice cream at Butler’s Candies, and biking to the Marina with her brother.

Leah graduated from Oil City High School in 2009 and attended Clarion University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in library science and education. She currently works for both the Allegheny National Forest, and as a substitute teacher.

Leah enjoys reading and photography, she said she never leaves the house without a book or a camera. She also enjoys staying active by doing yoga once a week and hiking every day in the summer. In the colder months, she spends time at the YMCA and takes Taekwondo classes.

Among her favorite things to do in Venango County, Leah loves to visit galleries and enjoy the work of local artists. She tries to shop local as often as possible, and often grabs a bite to eat at the Taco Shack.

She is proud of her work with the forest service and was recognized by winning a Safety Award and Peer Recognition Award. Leah also completed the PA Hike 50 Challenge in 2018, which involved hiking at least 12.5 different miles in each of the four PA chapters of the North Country Trail Association.

As far as the future, Leah stated, “I am prepared for whatever life has.” She hopes to land a full-time job with the government and earn her master’s degree in archival science. Personally, she’d like to spend more time gardening and traveling, and eventually buy a house of her own.

Leah loves the arts community and rural landscapes of Venango County, and is proud to call it home. We are so excited to have Leah join FLEX and bring her fun-loving spirit and positive attitude to our organization.

 

These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) February 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter. Find more young professional profiles here.

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