Abbi Peters Graduates as Fellow of Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Leadership Institute

Abbi Peters Graduates as Fellow of Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Leadership Institute

Peters joins 77 others from across the Region in the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network

On July 15, 2021, Abbi Peters, EVP of Operations at the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. was one of 38 fellows who graduated from the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a leadership and economic development program sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Members of the Class of 2021, along with their friends and family, attended the ceremony — 24 in-person in Washington, DC, and 14 virtually.

“We congratulate the 2021 class of Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows. In addition to network-building, the Fellows have been hard at work over the last nine months building skills needed to help their communities thrive,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. 

“The Appalachian Leadership Institute gives local leaders the tools to make their communities stronger and more resilient,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Congratulations to the 38 graduating fellows.”

In the nine months leading up to graduation, Peters participated in six virtual sessions, all of which included skill-building seminars with regional experts, peer-to-peer learning, and case study analysis. All aspects of the curriculum were designed to equip fellows with the knowledge and network needed to create positive change in their communities. 

PA Wilds Center’s Abbi Peters and John Sider of Ben Franklin Technology Partners were two of the four 2021 Appalachian Leadership Institute graduates representing Pennsylvania.

Peters was one of four fellows representing Pennsylvania in the class.

“This experience allowed me to meet the most incredible group of doers. These are the people who care about their communities and are in the thick of doing the work necessary for positive change, both socially and economically. I’m so honored to be part of a strong and diverse regional network that I can turn to for support and inspiration,” said Peters. “My ALI graduation certificate is proudly placed next to my desk as a constant reminder that by fulfilling this experience I am now commissioned to ‘serve the Region, improve the Lives of its People, and help fulfill its Promise and Potential.’  This is a charge I take to heart, and I know that the lessons learned through the last nine months have armed me with the tools and resources necessary to continue doing a lifetime’s work.” 

As a graduate of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, Peters is now part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network. With each graduating class, the network will continue to grow, connect leaders, and facilitate continued learning and idea exchange across the 13 Appalachian states.

About the Appalachian Leadership Institute

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows participate in an extensive training curriculum developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission ( is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

About the Pennsylvania Wilds 

The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region as a premier outdoor recreation destination and manages the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a business network of over 300 place-based businesses, as well as PA Wilds Conservation Shops and the PA Wilds Marketplace in an effort to help businesses connect with travelers and stimulate local economies. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit


  1. Lisa Conklin Conn on August 26, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Congratulations Abbi!

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