Jessica Cronauer

Jessica Cronauer does not believe in taking foolish chances, but she does know that nothing can be accomplished without any risk at all.

“There is so much to learn and experience in our short lives, so many problems to solve. I believe that if we have the privilege and the capacity to affect positive change and solve problems, then we should try,” explains the executive director of Leadership Northeast.

As Leadership Northeast is a small nonprofit with only three full-time employees, its staff often wears many hats. Cronauer oversees the organization’s six leadership development programs which involves planning content and assessing program outcomes, among other tasks. She manages organization finances, fundraising efforts, and explores new strategies to create revenue and expand leadership development services for the greater good of Northeast Pennsylvania.

While serving audiences that range from juniors in high school to executives, an important aspect of her role is creating and maintaining relationships with the schools and organizations who send their students and employees though Leadership programs. She noted, “It’s an incredible job at a very special organization that I believe in with all my heart, and I am grateful every day to get to do this work.”

Cronauer also serves as adjunct professor teaching small group and team communication at Wilkes University, and sits on a panel of community stakeholders with the PAsmart OPENS STEM specialist program with the Kings College education department.

Having graduated from E.L. Meyers High School, she earned her bachelor degree in English and psychology from the University of Scranton and participated in Leadership Northeast while working at her first job at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry. She pursued a master’s degree at NYU while working at the Churchill School in New York City. She returned to the area when she had her daughter, Elizabeth, in 2006. Cronauer then received her teaching certificate at the King’s College FastTrack program and became a secondary English teacher, prior to joining the team at (then) Leadership Wilkes-Barre, as Program Director. She obtained her master’s degree in organizational leadership and learning from the George Washington University.

Cronauer acknowledged that she learns from everyone she works with, but Lori Nocito has been her mentor from the moment she met her as a young woman; Dr. Christine Kiesinger, a dear friend and colleague, has taught, challenged and collaborated with her on many important projects; and her cousin, Deb Cupp of Microsoft, has been an incredible example of leadership, drive, and innovative intuition throughout her career.

Cronauer credits her success to her remarkable parents, Lynne and Rick Cronauer, for whom she holds tremendous respect and gratitude, and who have always led with integrity, generosity and kindness; and to her incredible children, Elizabeth, 16, Emily, 13, and Will, 11, who are the center of her world and her biggest supporters.

She is a board member of Dress for Success Luzerne County, United Way of Wyoming Valley, and the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Luzerne County Youth Aid Panel, Junior League of Wilkes-Barre, and the St. Nicks/St. Mary’s PTG.

She enjoys working with various committees such as the WV Chamber’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, Northeast Sight Services Chip in For Sight Golf Tournament Committee, and the newly formed Education Leader’s Network.

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