Leadership Berks Class of ‘19

Program offers college credit and tuition discount


Reading, Pa.—Leadership Berks, the premier professional development program for community leaders and housed at Alvernia University since 2009, moves under the auspices of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) in a new co-branded initiative with the university, effective immediately. Under the GRCA umbrella and in partnership with Alvernia, Leadership Berks will leverage the chamber’s extensive network, professional development resources and cadre of business leaders and Alvernia faculty.


“Alvernia’s stewardship of Leadership Berks has helped to enhance the talents and experiences of hundreds of emerging leaders during the past decade to build stronger, better Berks County communities,” said Tom Flynn, university president. “Repositioning this signature program under the GRCA not only strengthens our partnership with them, but also, for the first time, expands educational benefits to participants in the program,” he added.


Through the new arrangement commencing with the Leadership Berks Class of 2019, participants who successfully complete the program will earn three college credits in Leadership Studies that can be applied toward an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Participants also will receive a 20 percent tuition discount to be applied toward a master’s degree program at Alvernia.


“The GRCA is thrilled to house the Leadership Berks program as well as strengthen its partnership with Alvernia University,” said Randy Peers, GRCA president and CEO. “The Leadership Berks program is one of the most important tools we have in our county to develop and retain top talent, as well as strengthen our community of leaders. We are pleased to bring a talented leader like Toni Eckert onto the GRCA staff, and we thank Alvernia University for their work to strengthen and develop this outstanding program.”


To date, the program has graduated more than 750 community leaders who serve Greater Reading and beyond, and it engages more than 75 business and community leaders, lawmakers and field experts as volunteer faculty. Eckert, director of Leadership Berks and community leadership programming at the O’Pake Institute, will become a full-time employee of the GRCA.


Founded in 1985 by the United Way of Berks County, Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry, United Labor Council and Junior League of Reading, PA, Inc., Leadership Berks, previously located in the O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service on the Alvernia campus, is the premier program dedicated to developing, supporting and connecting community leaders in Berks County.