"Lead(h)er, a nonprofit organization that links young professional women to mentors, celebrated its first birthday Wednesday at the Establishment Theatre in Rock Island.
The group currently serves 122 area women with mentors who help them — at no cost — with career and community advancement, networking and work-life balance.
"It has been a wonderful, fulfilling year," said Melissa Pepper, Lead(h)er founder. "We are so grateful for the community support and of course, for our matches that made it all possible.
"It’s really the relationships in this community we’ve formed that is amazing to me," she said. "They are sparking each other’s success. Lead(h)er just gives them a mechanism to do it a bit easier and more intentionally."
"It's a great way for anybody who's new to the community, wants to get built into a network right away," said Sam Schlouch, a mentor and vice chair of the board who works as Augustana College's major gifts officer — a job he's had since July after working in marketing/communications."