CATCHING UP WITH THE CLASS OF 1995, our 25th Anniversary Class ….  Anita Stocker

In 2019, Anita retired after more than 32 years with the Community and Economic Development Department of Geauga County, over 20 years as its Director. A lifelong county resident, Anita is also a small business owner, having purchased her family’s business, Stocker’s on the Park Restaurant, in 1994. Retirement often means free time, so Anita fills some of it as an Outside Agent for Beaches & Dreams Travel Co.  Are you picturing a skilled juggler with many balls in the air at the same time? This is Anita balancing her daily schedule.

A Leadership Geauga alumni, class of 1995 (the very first best class!), Anita remembers that “I didn’t really want to be taking the time away from the office for class days. Leadership Geauga was a brand new program and a number of us were holding back until Andy Meinhold (LG 2003), the first program facilitator, got us on the right foot by recognizing and exploiting the fact that there was a wide knowledge gap in our understanding of Geauga County.  He encouraged questions and welcomed responses to those questions from other classmates, so instead of a teacher/student class it became a group effort to educate each other. Through class days of discussion, training, tours and activities, I learned that a community is more than knowing a neighborhood, or knowing where a road is. Leadership Geauga offered an exploration of topics to help each person face their particular bias, no matter what it was, and discuss it in good company.”

Anita noticed an additional, important benefit to the greater community, too. “As the years went by, I was able to “mine” new LG graduates to serve on the many committees our office was required to create.  Those committee members were without a doubt the most capable and educated of any to have served previously on the committees, no matter the length of time they had lived in Geauga.”