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Posted on: August 29, 2023

Livingston County Staff Graduate from NACo Leadership Academy

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GENESEO, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2023 — Two Livingston County employees recently graduated from the National Association of Counties (NACo) High Performance Leadership Academy (HPLA). 

Nicole Copeland of Workforce Development and Grant Cox of Information and Technology Systems are the eighth and ninth County employees to successfully complete the online 12-week course. Livingston County recently created the office of Training and Professional Development to assist County employees in identifying opportunities for growth, such as courses like HPLA. Encouraging staff growth and honing leadership skills are essential for a well-functioning county government, said Ian M. Coyle, County Administrator. 

“Prioritizing professional development is not just a strategic initiative, it’s a commitment to providing our residents with the highest quality of service and care. Investing in the growth and skills of our staff directly results in improved outcomes for the individuals and families we serve here in Livingston County,” explained Coyle. 

The intensive HPLA program provides frontline county government professionals with practical leadership skills to deliver results for counties and communities across the U.S. The robust curriculum was developed by the Professional Development Academy in partnership with Fortune 1000 executives, public sector leaders, and world-renowned academics and thought leaders, including General Colin Powell and Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. HPLA was designed specifically for the unique challenges and opportunities faced by those serving in county government. 

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and feel like I have grown as a person, personally and professionally,” said Copeland. “By learning to communicate effectively with different people I am better equipped to assist any customer with questions or concerns. Personally, I think learning to communicate effectively with different people was the most beneficial aspect of this course. We all learn differently. People can be in the same room listening to the same speaker and come out with different understandings of what was just said. Not making anyone wrong, but there are different ways of looking at things, different perspectives.”

“I'm very appreciative to Livingston County for giving me this opportunity for self-improvement,” added Cox. “I love to see Livingston County spending time and money on improving their own people, and I intend to make it obvious that it's worthwhile to do so. A lot of support agencies, whatever their area of expertise, have become very impersonal, scripted, and often unfriendly. The pursuit of absolute efficiency and dollar signs has caused a profound and widespread change in support culture, and I am often appalled at the level of support I receive from large corporations in particular. I don't want that for Livingston County, and I intend to set an example for the way support should be given. People should be listened to, people should be respected, people should get the help they need, and getting support for an issue should cause relief rather than dread. ITS has great people doing fantastic work, and I want success in our department to spread to all the people we help.”

For more on NACo’s HPLA, visit


About Livingston County:

Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.

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