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NICK ON POLITICS: Leadership Southern Maryland
By Nick Garrett
If you have never heard of Leadership Southern Maryland you are not alone.Many are not aware yet of the impact that LSM is having on our regions leaders, in politics, business, and industry. It is not easy to explain exactly what Leadership Southern Maryland is as much as what it does.Modeled after Leadership Maryland, a very popular leadership training, it was the vision of several local leaders that a program be established in this region that focused on the unique diversity of Southern Maryland, yet offer the same high level issues training.
Imagine an organization that over a nine-month period exposes you to all that your region has to offer, from industry to tourism, natural resources, to public safety and more.How would you like to have personal tours at key places that impact our daily lives such as PAX River Naval Air Station, Calvert Cliffs, and Cove Point Liquid Natural Gas Facility and learn about how they work inside and out? In addition, briefings from the individuals that make these places work are common agenda items.
Imagine visiting the regions three major hospitals in one day and having the red carpet rolled out by each location’s best and brightest, then ending the day with a panel discussion hosted by all three hospital directors.
Before you get too excited, you can’t just apply and choose to sign up.You have to be referred by an LSM Alumni.It is quite a prestigious honor to be one of the lucky 32 each year.Selections are made by a board of directors selection committee comprised of community leaders sitting on a selection committee.After being referred by a graduate of the program an individual is called in for an interview and within a month notified as to whether or not they have been accepted.If you are accepted and willing to pay $2,500 for the nine-month tuition based course, you will be among a small but growing base of well informed leaders who run the gambit but have some interesting things in common.
Leadership Southern Maryland graduates earned their certificate by putting in one or two full days each month exploring sites all over the tri county area with theme days such as public safety, the defense industry in the region, tourism, and more.Each class day gave way to a variety of engaging activities hosted by the regions best and brightest elected officials, department heads, and leaders in business.
The class roster grows each year into a who’s who of regional power players.Political and business leaders, elected officials, real estate moguls, lawyers, high military brass, and the new up and comers interested in impacting their community all gather, dress down, and hearken back to the college days for lectures, activities, and perspective enhancements that create lasting memories and friendships that are leading to strong networks of people eager to tackle the regions biggest issues.Whether in transportation, healthcare, or natural resources, LSM has succeeded in creating a buffet of important lessons through vast briefings on issues and then follow it up by letting the classes tackle the issues.
It seems that after four years the fact that LSM is continuing to gain momentum and prestige is a huge indicator of success.In a time of economic stagnation they have succeed in organizing a vast and robust program and creating the demand to get the regions leaders to buy in and pay several thousand dollars to be part of it and add their names to the list of graduates.
Why should you care? Future generations of our regions elected officials and leaders will know our region inside and out and have first hand experience with our greatest challenges.This is a benefit to our region that cannot be overstated.The networks of people graduating from this program will continue to graduate LSM ready to work together to tackle big challenges.
Having first hand experience and as a proud graduate of the class of 2010, I look back with fondness on the whole endeavor and would recommend it to anyone who plans on stepping up to tackle regional issues.Having gained a great deal personally what stood out the most was the depth of each program.It was quite an honor to stand in the Atlantic Missile Test Facility control room, and see the drone projects of our armed services up close.I also recall with the serious but humorous moment watching the regions sheriffs’ office academy trainees’ taze each other as part of their required development, and fight their way through assailants after being pepper sprayed.
So when people ask me what I got out of LSM, I tell them, “everything. It was not leadership training.It was issues training for leaders.” I am proud to have been part of this program and for our benefit I hope LSM continues to thrive and gain footing in our region.
To see how you could apply or to learn more visit:www.leadsomd.org
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