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June 1, 2023
Reach High: Stories of Leadership | Phil Wenger
When you ask Phil Wenger about the story of his career, you’re in for a journey. From his first job in sales for a local greenhouse to founding Isaac’s Restaurants to serving on notable nonprofit boards, Phil has had the unique opportunity to impact Lancaster in most community sectors.
His most recent position as President of the Lancaster Conservancy felt like a full circle moment to his days in the greenhouse.
“The latest chapter of my life was defined by this environmental passion that was buried deep inside me,” Phil said. “Our planet is in peril. And I got an opportunity to say, ‘Look at all this land we protected. Look at all this nature we’re going to give a chance to thrive.’”
Throughout his story is this common thread— a passion for living things. Whether it be the plants he sold, the employees he invested in at Isaac’s, the people he has mentored, or the land he has stewarded and protected over the last eight years at the Conservancy.
“You can have a tremendous amount of success in your life by following your passion,” he adds.
As someone who credits himself fortunate to spread his passions around in many areas, Phil has wise words for the next generation of people who care about this community.
“I like to encourage young people to learn as much about the community as possible,” he explains. “Because I think you can actually have a bigger impact if you’re knowledgeable about more than just one focused area. You should find something you want to know more about—how it works and where you can make an impact.”
With a new transition on the horizon for Phil as he steps down from the Conservancy, he is looking for new challenges and opportunities to lend his skills to in addition to consulting with the Conservancy on special projects.
“Working for the Conservancy really reenergized me. It gave me a purpose,” Phil reflects. “It helped me really look into the future and say, ‘What is our mark?’ So many of us who spend our careers trying to impact the world, we like this idea of a legacy. We want to leave something behind.”
Whatever is next, one thing is certain. Phil has planted deep roots in Lancaster County—investing his time, his passion, and his unique leadership style into a legacy that will last for years and years to come.
Reach High is a series brought to you by High Foundation that introduces you to business and nonprofit leaders who are thoughtfully innovating with a spirit of servant leadership. Find out more about High Foundation’s mission to be a Bridge to Opportunity for the Lancaster community at highfoundation.org.