Speakers named for March 29 Faith-Based Leadership Seminar
Photo Caption: State Rep. Mike Unes (R-91st) of East Peoria and Jeannine McAllister, executive director at Advocates for Access, will share how they integrate faith with their work.
By: By Tom Dermody
When Karlo Leonor attended his first Faith-Based Leadership Seminar a year ago, the morning gave him “practical advice, honest dialogue, and a Christ-centered outlook on my life as a layman living and working in the world.”
As this year’s seminar approaches on March 29, the member of Epiphany Parish in Normal is doing all he can to invite others to the diocesan-sponsored exploration of ways to integrate faith and work life.
He joined the event’s planning committee, and “it’s my personal goal to encourage other young professionals in this diocese to attend and become missionaries of the New Evangelization in their studies and careers,” said Leonor, a 2011 graduate of the University of Notre Dame now working for a financial services agency.
Casting a wide net, organizers hope persons of all ages and vocations — professionals, parents, students, politicians, clergy and religious — will attend this year’s Faith-Based Leadership Seminar, which opens with an 8:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.
Following a buffet breakfast, there will be two keynote presentations.
— “Faith-Based Leadership . . . even in Illinois!” by State Rep. Mike Unes, currently serving his second term in the Illinois General Assembly representing the 91st District. He and his wife Natalie and their four children live in East Peoria and are members of St. Ann Parish in Peoria.
— “It’s Not My Plan, but His,” by Jeannine McAllister, executive director at Advocates for Access and who has worked in the field of disabilities for more than 20 years. A former principal of St. Edward School in Chillicothe, she and her husband Steve and son Zach are members of St. Edward Parish.
The morning will also include music led by Daniel Klocke, director of music at St. Jude Parish in Peoria; a rosary led by Deacon Greg Serangeli, and table discussion.
“There is a real thirst out there for people to know it’s OK to be Catholic in the workplace,” said Jack Desatnick of Chillicothe, whose idea of a day for Catholic business leaders and managers merged several years ago with a desire voiced by Bishop Jenky to further engage lay leaders in their Christian mission.
A special effort has been made this year to encourage attendance by students from the Newman Centers at colleges and universities throughout the Diocese of Peoria.
“Learning how to mature in the faith and apply the teachings of the Gospel in one’s profession is just as important as being trained for that profession, if not more,” said Leonor. “We hope that students will challenge themselves to be not only top-notch professionals in their fields of work, but also men and women after God’s own heart.”
Among topics expected to be considered at the seminar are the role ethics and morality play in work life, viewing work as a vocation, and what makes a Catholic professional distinctive.
Cost is $20 per person ($25 for registrations after March 19), or $10 for students. Clergy and religious are admitted free. Registration deadline is March 25.
A website with registration forms and further information has been set up at and more information is available online at
faithbasedleadership.org. Questions may also be addressed to the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Family Life at (309) 671-1550.