Learn more about the Class of 2020's Community Impact Initiatives

Impact is defined as “the effect or influence of one person, thing, or action on another.” CIVIC Leadership Institute is far more than a network of remarkable leaders. It offers more than just a forum to discuss ideas and hear from experts. CIVIC provides the opportunity to engage, to participate, and to make an impact. Each year, CIVIC class members select five large-scale, regional initiatives in which to participate. These Community Impact Initiatives are at once practical and aspirational, and offer a tangible way for our leaders to make a difference.

“Simply one of the most rewarding and engaging experiences of my professional career,” said TowneBank’s Executive Vice President of Commercial Banking, Chas Wright. “An incredible group of senior level professionals and executives, all working hand in hand with subject matter experts from the public and private sectors on a regional project.”

The CIVIC Class of 2020 spearheaded the following Community Impact Initiatives.


This two-year project focuses on the new undersea fiberoptic cables landing in Virginia Beach and the potential for a “fiber ring” in our region. Participants researched and compiled a comprehensive inventory of internet services, data centers, exchanges and related broadband infrastructure from Hampton Roads to Richmond. This initiative is part of a larger analysis and plan to advance the interconnectedness and economic performance of the two regions.

Contributors & Leadership

  • Wynter Benda
  • Michael Daniels
  • Brian Garrison
  • Jose Gutierrez
  • Bonita Harris
  • CAPT Robert Holmes
  • Gucci Malfitano
  • RADM Chip Rock
  • CAPT Jason Schneider
  • Julie Williams-Byrd

Initiative Sponsor

  • James K. Spore, Past President & CEO, ReInvent Hampton Roads
The CIVIC Community Impact Initiative on Broadband actually extended over two class years and proved instrumental in forging the Region’s thinking about the synergistic potential of both the landing of the transatlantic undersea high speed cables and the linking of the world’s fastest cables to the largest global concentration of data centers present in central Virginia. Taken together they represent a truly unique opportunity that was inventoried and cataloged as part of the Community Impact Initiative.
James K. Spore

Past President and CEO, Reinvent Hampton Roads | CIVIC Leadership Institute Board Member & CII Sponsor


“Campus 757 is now a viable, new Hampton Roads initiative to retain college graduates in the region, as supported by the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and led by a new full-time program manager,” says Kurt Krause, President and CEO of Visit Norfolk. The goal of Campus 757 is to encourage college and university students to study, innovate, work, live and thrive in the 757 region. Having a strong developed pipeline in the region is the underlying support system for a strong, vibrant economy.

Contributors & Leadership

  • Chief Larry Boone
  • Christine Dwyer
  • Giovanna Genard
  • Cheryl Jones
  • Kurt Krause
  • Ann Lester
  • Bob McKenna
  • Connie McKenzie
  • Tricia Russell
  • Vanessa Yearick

Initiative Sponsors

  • Shawn Avery, President & CEO, Hampton Roads Workforce Council
  • Whitney Lester, Senior Director of Talent Development, Hampton Roads Workforce Council
  • Kurt Krause, President & CEO, Visit Norfolk
The Campus757 program was merely a concept when the CIVIC Class of 2020 project group agreed to work on this initiative. Over subsequent months, Campus757’s foundational building blocks of a business plan, budget, milestones, deliverables, and funding would all emerge; the CIVIC group were not by-standers learning about how this program was developed but rather were hands-on participants contributing invaluably to this end. Campus757 is now a viable, new Hampton Roads initiative to retain college graduates in the region, as supported by the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and led by a new full-time Program Manager. The benefits of the symbiotic relationship between CIVIC’s 2020 Community Impact Initiative and the formative stages of Campus757 are impressively tangible, and we at the HRWC and Campus757 remain humbly grateful to CIVIC for this opportunity
Whitney C. Lester

Senior Director of Talent Development, Hampton Roads Workforce Council | CIVIC Class of 2013 and CII Sponsor


How can Hampton Roads support the creation and success of a resiliency-focused ecosystem? How can this critical network become a long-standing, regional, economic driver? These are questions the contributing leadership team asked as they determined the scope of potential support for a resiliency industry, identified the pillars needed to foster this industry, and gained insight into ways Hampton Roads can attract, grow and retain companies focused on resiliency solutions.

Contributors & Leadership

  • CAPT Vince Baker
  • Andrea Butler
  • Heather Engel
  • Dana Fuqua
  • Julie Heller
  • Kurt Hofelich
  • Kathy Kaurup
  • Dr. Lee Slater
  • Jeff Wilson
  • Chas Wright

Initiative Sponsors

  • Dr. Paul Robinson, President & CEO, RISE
  • Ann Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation & Protection in Secretariat of Natural Resources, Office of the Governor
  • Skip Stiles, Executive Director. Wetlands Watch


“Our team was tasked with establishing career pathways for TCC students pursuing hospitality careers,” said Kieran Poulos, an attorney at the USCIS. “We are incredibly grateful to the many local industry executives who provided thoughtful insight and ideas. Our interviews led to the development of career pathway flowcharts demonstrating pay scales; pathways to advancement; and the roles of experience, certification, and education in hospitality careers. As our interviews progressed, our team was struck by the many challenges facing the hospitality industry, including a severe skilled workforce shortage. To help, we established the CIVIC Hospitality Scholarship, aimed at assisting TCC students pursuing careers in hospitality. I am excited to help administer our scholarship through The CROP Foundation in the upcoming years, and I am thrilled that our team’s efforts will provide continuing benefits to TCC and the hospitality industry in Hampton Roads”.

Contributors & Leadership

  • Dr. Kathy Cabler
  • Bryan Cuffee
  • John Harding
  • Akhil Jain
  • CAPT Jon Kline
  • Kieran Poulos
  • Brandi Smith
  • JT Taylor
  • Britton Williston

Initiative Sponsors

  • Matt Baumgarten, Executive Director, Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation
  • Steven Jones, Director of Development, The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education


Creating a mega-region to market the combined Hampton Roads and Richmond regions continues to be a key focus to increase the economic successes of the two urban anchors. Research indicates that by 2040, the combined regions will account for 40% of Virginia’s population. Contributors to this initiative produced a detailed case study and research based on the analysis of other mega-regions and best practices.

Contributors & Leadership

  • Julie Angilly
  • Jean Galliano
  • Dr. Brian Martin
  • Chris McKee
  • Barbara Nelson
  • Karen Priest
  • Kelly Till
  • Molly Trant
  • Dr. Bonnie Van Lunen
  • Anthony Walters

Initiative Sponsors

  • Tom Frantz, Partner, Williams Mullen
  • John Martin, President & CEO, RVA-757 Connects