Karyn Merkel has been named as the 2019 recipient of the Donald G. Jones Leadership Alumni Award. Merkel will be presented with the award during the Leadership Fond du Lac Completion Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21 at the Hotel Retlaw in Fond du Lac.
The Donald G. Jones Leadership Award was created in 2001 and honors the former area businessman who played a major role in founding and supporting the Leadership Fond du Lac program. This award, made possible by National Exchange Bank and Trust, recognizes a past graduate of the Leadership Fond du Lac program for the effort they have put forth in helping improve their community through volunteer service and utilization of their leadership abilities.
Merkel moved to Fond du Lac in 2004 when she began her career at Spectrum. Soon after, she was asked to participate in the Leadership Fond du Lac program. A bit reluctant to participate in the program at first, she now credits the experience for propelling her into her widespread involvement in the Fond du Lac area.
“Leadership Fond du Lac gave me a sense of belonging in a new community where I didn’t know many people,” said Merkel. “The program introduced me to all areas of the community and welcomed my involvement.”
Merkel works as a customer service manager in the Spectrum Call Center in Fond du Lac. Apart from her day job, you can find her involved in many community organizations including: Fond du Lac City Council on which she has served for five years including two years as president and one year as vice president, Fond du Lac Noon Rotary where she will become the organization’s president in June, Envision Greater Fond du Lac’s Communication Council, Leadership Fond du Lac Empty Bowls committee and the Envision Fond du Lac initiative.
Merkel has also served on the Fond du Lac Festivals board, City-County Buildings board, Equal Opportunity Housing committee, Red Cross board, Advisory Park board, and Redevelopment Authority. She’s also volunteered with the Marian University Mentor program, been a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and served as the chairperson for the Fond du Lac Public Library’s Browser Open.
“As a community leader, it’s rewarding to see the difference your efforts make. Our efforts to make our community better today, will have an impact for the years to come,” said Merkel.
For aspiring leaders and this year’s graduating class of Leadership Fond du Lac, Merkel shares these words of advice, “Take small steps and get involved in some way that interests you. Reach out and get to know people. You will find that people will help you identify your strengths and ask you to get involved based on your strengths.”
Leadership Fond du Lac, a program of Envision Greater Fond du Lac is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 class, a nine-month program that provides information and experience to individuals who are willing to commit to serving their community. Accepted applicants learn about local institutions and issues and put their skills and knowledge to use through the required small-group Community Project. Through the program, individuals develop leadership, interpersonal and communications skills, and develop a strong network throughout the community. For more information, contact Envision Greater Fond du Lac at (920) 921-9500.