Emerging Leader: ‘Profound Impact’ as Coach, Educator and Volunteer

Editor’s note: In closing the book on 2023, we asked readers to nominate emerging leaders in conjunction with our story about initiatives underway in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys to cultivate leadership.

Mike Latessa, Interim Executive Director, The Rich Center for Autism

Mike Latessa has been part of The Rich Center for Autism since 2019 and currently is the interim executive director. His dedication to the center couldn’t be any greater.

Before assuming that role in August, Mike held the position of director of development. Over the years, he has successfully planned events that generated awareness for those impacted by autism and the necessary funds to support Rich Center families, staff, facilities and the autism community in our region.

When you meet Mike, you’ll immediately be greeted with a smile. He loves his work, he loves Youngstown State University and he loves the Youngstown area. Once you meet him, you’ll never forget him. He has made a profound impact on our community through volunteering, coaching and being an educator. Mike is a member of the Youngstown Rotary and is close to completing a master’s degree at YSU. As a member of YSU’s national football championship team in 1997, he knows what it takes to win and how to stay disciplined.

Mike leads our team with a calm, collected and professional demeanor and truly brings out the best of those around him. He goes out of his way to spend time with Rich Center students, families and staff. He has a plan for success at The Rich Center but doesn’t forget to make things fun and enjoyable along the way. He exemplifies what a great leader is and we are lucky to have him as ours.

Nominated by Jake Ellis

Pictured at top: Mike Latessa with Rich Center student Ayden Kucik.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.