Leadership Southern Maryland Trying to Create a Regional Conscience

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Leadership Southern Maryland Trying to Create a Regional Conscience


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By Staff Writer Pete Hurrey

 Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) is set to launch its inaugural, tuition-based 9-month program in September of 2008. According to four of the twelve steering committee members: Thomas Jarboe, Karen Holcomb, Patrick Murphy and Ray Wernecke who met with The Bay Net, the program is an outcropping of Leadership Maryland, of which only Holcomb is not a graduate. “Karen was too busy sending others to the Maryland program to attend herself,” said Jarboe.

 Describing the program is difficult at best. LSM is a broadly scoped study of Southern Maryland where participants seek to gain an awareness of regional opportunities, weakness, strengths, and threats over the course of the program. When asked whether or not LSM was to be a think-tank, those in attendance quickly said that, “no, it is more that.”

 “It is a think-and-do program,” Jarboe said.

 When asked to explain, the group indicated that those accepted into the program will be studying the region and visiting sites, interacting with those managing the programs, facilities, and services to learn, first hand, what is going on in any given area of study. The LSM program will accept 30 mid- to upper-tier leaders, ten from each county, this first year. According to steering committee members, the interview process is not a traditional application and interview. “We look at more than a resume.” Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the region and have proof of this commitment before being accepted into the program. 125 applications have been sent out and many are expected to be returned for the interview and selection process.

Once the initial orientation in September is complete, the LSM class of 2009 will cover everything from land use and the environment to multi-cultural diversity. “We will be looking at education and workforce development, human services, housing and transportation and more,” Wernecke said.

 Holcomb added, “the program is set to look at the entire region as a whole to identify items that we can work together to improve.”

 “The key is – as a region,” stated Murphy.

Historically, the rest of the state looks and Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Charles Counties as ‘Southern Maryland.’ However, for the most part, each county designs programs and services unique to the individual county without more than a cursory glance at the region and the effect those decisions have on surrounding neighbors. LSM will develop leaders for the future who are prepared to focus on both local and regional issues and impacts.

When asked to define the ultimate goal for the LSM program, there was a momentary pause by all in attendance for the group. Then Jarboe told the Bay Net, “The goal is to begin a network of concerned citizens and leaders who will identify how to begin the process of helping the region.”

 Wernecke added, “Prior to this, there was no feeder group for the more broad-based Leadership Maryland program.” Ultimately, LSM should become a group working actively to promote the health and welfare of the Southern Maryland region while exposing the state to their expertise by contributing to the Leadership Maryland program as well.

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