Springfield woman named as a top female leader in region

It was an unexpected honor for National Trail Parks and Recreation District executive director Leann Castillo.

Castillo was named to the 2017 class of Top 25 Women to Watch for the Dayton and Miami Valley Region, an honor she hoped will draw more attention to the organization. The list is sponsored by the Better Business Bureau’s Women in Business Networking program.

“I’m very surprised,” Castillo said. “I didn’t know I was nominated. It’s an honor to be with a lot of notable women.”

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According to the organization’s web site, the awards recognize women who are exceptional in their roles and respected in their fields.

Castillo said she was nominated by Stacy Wall Schweikhart, community information manager for the City of Kettering.

On the nomination form, Wall Schweikhart said, “When the time came in Leann’s career to take on an executive leadership role, as a highly respected and experienced leader she had wide open doors to go anywhere. She chose National Trail.

“She chose to go there not for the esteem or the fantastic salary,” Wall Schweikhart said. “Leann was born and raised in Springfield. She lives in and is raising her family in Springfield.”

Castillo, who will mark her fifth anniversary as National Trail executive director in May 2017, sees this recognition as a way to educate others more on National Trail’s programs.

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“Any time more people in our community are aware of National Trail, it’s important,” Castillo said. “Some people don’t understand exactly what we do and this gives us recognition to move forward in helping that.”

Castillo pointed to several community partnerships the organization has created in recent years that use private funding to help with projects beyond National Trail’s budget as part of its growth. She also credited her staff.

The agency is working with gardening groups in Snyder Park, where its dog park and sprayground have been successful additions. Birding programs are also gaining attention.

NTPRD also works with the Springfield Arts Council with the Summer Arts Festival in Veterans Park, as well as athletic events with Wittenberg University and the Champion City Kings at Carleton Davidson Stadium.

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“We want to make sure there’s something for everyone,” said Castillo.

She participates in the Better Business Bureau’s Women in Business Networking workshops and events, and enjoys meeting with other women who have common goals.

The ceremony to honor the 2017 Top 25 Women to Watch will be in March 2018.

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