The LEADERship - A program of the Greater Baltimore Committee
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What Graduates Say About the LEADERship Program:
How it Impacted Their Lives and the Baltimore Community

"Since 1984, The LEADERship has done a superb job of creating a network of talented people who make a positive difference in our community, in both Baltimore and the State. If it were not for this program, many of us from the public and private sectors would never have come to know each other. The program teaches participants that there is far more to know about Baltimore, both its strengths and challenges, than most of us would imagine. Even more important, for many participants, The LEADERship has taught us a great deal not only about Baltimore, but also about ourselves. No doubt, participants and our community are better because of The LEADERship."

Freeman A. Hrabowski
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
LEADERship Class 1985


"The LEADERship is all about making a difference. The program exposes current and future leaders to both challenges and opportunities in our region. From that exposure comes commitment…as LEADERship graduates take on the hard work of helping to extend what works while improving what doesn’t. Graduates of The LEADERship are involved in virtually every civic activity…from education to healthcare, from economic and workforce development to transportation, from the issues today to the ideas shaping our region in the future. LEADERship graduates lead the way through civic involvement, personal commitment, and caring about the people, the problems, and priorities for the Greater Baltimore Region.  But the LEADERship program does even more for some – and did for me. It creates not just commitment, but passion for helping people and working on problems in the place where we live and work."

Chris Eddings
Owner/Consultant, caeIDEAS
Former President, The Daily Record
LEADERship Class 1998


"It took me 15 years to finally decide to apply to The LEADERship program. As an experienced psychiatrist and administrator, I didn’t feel that a program such as The LEADERship was critical for my ability to perform as the CEO of a large psychiatric hospital and behavioral health care system. But, as we were moving toward a public campaign to build a new psychiatric inpatient facility, I knew that I had to spend more time in the community, to understand Baltimore more intimately, and to learn more about philanthropy. So, in my late 50s, after ten years of being CEO, I joined The LEADERship with enthusiasm, hoping to have an experience that would contribute to my understanding of Baltimore and Maryland and help me with the tasks ahead.

The LEADERship far exceeded my expectations. I learned a great deal about the city, its problems and solutions, but more importantly, I learned how vital relationships and networking can be in a process where you connect with people with similar yet different circumstances and backgrounds. It’s lonely at the top. The comradeship was phenomenal. My LEADERship peer group continues to be a source of personal support as my hospital moves forward. The LEADERship was not just worthwhile – it was, in retrospect, essential to be able to lead in today’s complicated world."

Dr. Steven Sharfstein
President and CEO
Sheppard Pratt Health System
LEADERship Class 2002


"The LEADERship is a crash course on the most important policy issues which this region faces and which will determine our quality of life for generations to come. But, it is more. It is a living laboratory in which bright, accomplished people from different backgrounds can confront head on, and hopefully learn to overcome, the powerful divisions of race, ethnicity, and economic status in an effort to work together to make life better for all."

Frank Burch
Co-Chairman/Joint CEO
DLA Piper
LEADERship Class 1990


"I came to The LEADERship having been a lifelong resident of the Baltimore region and as career commercial banker turned nonprofit manager.  Suffice to say, I thought I had a pretty good perspective and knowledge about the issues facing our community.  But over the course of the intensive 10-month LEADERship experience, my class and I came to know the interrelationships of Baltimore’s assets and challenges with far greater depth and clarity than before.  I think much differently about solving problems thanks to The LEADERship.  Moreover each class produces a who’s who of tomorrow’s business, academic, social service, and government leaders who form an incredible alumni network that is inspired to roll up their sleeves and help each other.  It is one of the best investments of time in my life."

Mark Furst
President & CEO
United Way of Central Maryland
LEADERship Class 2005


"In a time when the world and the business landscape are changing at an accelerated rate and at a pace never seen before, it is often difficult to realize the full impact of change or to understand the transformations that occur until after they have taken place. Any senior business leader is constantly challenged to stay ahead of this curve, both personally and professionally. The LEADERship program is an asset to any senior level executive in that it is designed to harness the power of business and community leaders from diverse backgrounds to forge a common vision and direction for our city. This program provides a rare opportunity for leaders to build a profound understanding and intimate knowledge of our city, our people, and our institutions. The learning that takes place and the lifelong relationships that are formed with fellow classmates enhances this journey.

As a member of the 2004 LEADERship class, I was challenged to recognize not only the value of who I was and what type of leader I wanted to be, but more importantly what true leadership means and how it can be achieved. This is not a program for the faint of heart. You will be challenged and compelled to test the premise upon which you operate as a leader. An absolute must for any senior level executive!"

Christian Johannson
President, Laureate University Partnerships
Laureate Education, Inc.
LEADERship Class 2004


"A Great Society must always seek to improve the standard of living and quality of life for all its citizens. The LEADERship is aiding this role in Baltimore. The program is instrumental in developing more complete and effective leaders who make a greater impact in their organizations and our community. Only the most successful and committed individuals are selected.

The LEADERship provides the best opportunity to get to know other leaders from diverse backgrounds. These relationships improve our understanding and continue to grow as we all work to become more effective within our own organizations and community. This what I received from participating in the LEADERship and this is why we nominate someone from Legg Mason for the LEADERship on a regular basis."

James W. Brinkley
Special Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Former Vice Chairman, Smith Barney & Co.
LEADERship Class 1986


"Creating meaning in one’s own life and helping others do the same is the essence of The LEADERship. In today’s world of 10 second sound bites, 7a.m. breakfast meetings, and Blackberry communications emotional engagement with complex issues is difficult, but more important than ever. The LEADERship makes it happen."

Hal Smith
Executive Director Emeritus
Associated Catholic Charities
LEADERship Class 2000


"As a long time resident of the Greater Baltimore region, The LEADERship showed me a portrait of the region that I had not seen and introduced me to people that I never would have had the good fortune to meet in my time-challenged life. I had the rare opportunity to explore the issues and opportunities that we face as a region with an amazing group of intelligent, talented people who are passionate about our community.

As a business leader in Baltimore, I gained a much deeper understanding of our community, the role my business plays here, and the impact that my LEADERship classmates and I can have here. The payback on the investment of my time was considerable, not the least of which being that I have gained a wonderful group of business and community leaders as friends."

Laura Gamble
Regional President Greater Maryland
PNC Bank
LEADERship Class 2002


"Baltimore has so much potential with its incredible history, location, colleges and universities, parks, and of course, people. Yet, our city and region suffer serious ills. To improve, we need leaders who are motivated, knowledgeable, engaged, challenged, and supported. The Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADERship program provides a powerful vehicle to strengthen social networks so that we -- organizational, corporate and government leaders -- can work together to create a place that residents, employers, and visitors want to live, work, play, and learn.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a year in the LEADERship Class of 2002. I met some of Baltimore’s finest corporate, government, and non- profit leaders. From my experience, I have a renewed sense of commitment to my community that is fueled by an extensive, new support network that grows with each passing year of LEADERship classes and events."

Jackie Carrera
Executive Director
Parks & People Foundation
LEADERship Class 2002


"The year I spent in the GBC LEADERship program was one of the most rewarding experiences of my business career. I felt that I grew both professionally and personally. During this time, my knowledge and understanding of the responsibility of the private sector to the greater community at large was enhanced and shaped. As a leader, this insight has contributed to my organization's commitment in reaching out to enhance the quality of life of all citizens.

The opportunity to interact and learn together with such a diversified group of people in the 1995 GBC LEADERship class enabled me to develop relationships that continue to this day. The bonding and emotional sharing of life experiences proved to me that despite age, sex, race and religion, we were more alike than different."

Bert Hash
President and CEO
Municipal Employees Credit Union (retired)
LEADERship Class 1995


"My year-long LEADERship experience gave me a better understanding of the challenges facing the Baltimore region, from crime and public safety to healthcare, education, and unemployment. Motivated by my awareness of the needs of our immediate and surrounding community, the LEADERship experience offered me a channel to focus my energies and skills to make a difference in this community. The LEADERship Class of 2002 is made up of visionaries from diverse backgrounds and passions, individuals who everyday make social and economic contributions to the region, but collectively have the ability to make a dramatic difference in the community, and that difference transforms the lives of many individuals."

Joan Develin Coley
Past President
McDaniel College
LEADERship Class 2002


"More than two and a half decades ago I was a member of the third GBC LEADERship class. I've come to realize that the true assessment of a program's success is its impact over time. Since 1986, I have chaired three non-profit boards, I have served actively on more than 40, and I have elevated my charitable giving to the tithing level I aspired to as a child. In the process I hope I will leave the community a better place than I found it. I have recruited members of most of the 31 classes onto boards and initiatives I cherish and they have done the same for me. To top it all, when I was a member of the class of 1986, I was working for the United Way. Today, I am volunteering. In 2008, I  co-chaired the entire United Way campaign. Making a difference is what the LEADERship inspires participants to do. Our work may never be finished, but through the LEADERship Program, we have a far better shot."

Julie Mercer
Vice President of Philanthropy and Fund Development
Bon Secours Baltimore Health Sysytem
LEADERship Class 1986


"The LEADERship Program was invaluable to me as President and CEO of a company that relocated its World Headquarters from the Midwest to Baltimore. It really allowed me to dig in and gain an understanding of the Greater Baltimore Region, its culture, politics, issues, problems, and future potential. I gained a keen insight into many issues and it has allowed not only myself, but my company to become a more valuable partner in the community. Additionally it allowed me to meet and interact with some of the area's best and brightest executives, who have now become friends and associates on a business and personal level.

I highly recommend this program, no matter how long a person has been in the region any executive, manger, or business leader will find growth opportunities both personally and professional in this program.

In short - it's outstanding!"

John J. McLaughlin
SVP, RPM International
Former President & CEO, DAP Products, Inc.
LEADERship Class 2003


"I did the LEADERship Class in ’06 and did not know what to expect. I had just moved to Baltimore from Boston and my perception of “B-More” was “Homicide” and “The Wire”, as well as the Harbor. Moreover, Brown Capital Management had never sent anyone to the program, thus I did not even have a reference point. Nevertheless, I knew the city had some great schools, hospitals, and entrepreneurs; however, the LEADERship program exposed me to some of the brightest, creative, compassionate people I have ever met in my life. In addition, I was able to see all the real estate development, museums, distinct neighborhoods (good and bad), and even the penitentiary, as well as the potential of Baltimore. Also, the numerous non-profits that are truly adding value blew me away. Furthermore, I developed life long friendships with several of my classmates, similar to my relationships with section mates in business school. I will never forget struggling on the Y rope with Dave Boucher, and how we were determined to make it across together, without falling, or my police car ride along. Although we did discuss leadership in its purest form, we took it to another level by articulating numerous aspects of leadership such as: vision, empower your followers, embrace change, one must be a teacher as well as a student sometimes, and integrity. In short, the program left an indelible mark on me. I now believe even as one person, I can make a difference in Baltimore. I now feel that I am at home!"

Walt Pearson
Managing Director/Senior Portfolio Manager
Brown Capital Management, Inc.
LEADERship Class 2006


"When a Board member suggested that I apply to The LEADERship, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be one more professional development program that I had far too little time to devote to. Wow.... was I wrong! My LEADERship Class of 2005 experience was probably one of the most meaningful opportunities of my professional life. In addition to meeting so many great community leaders, learning about the Baltimore region, and making new friends for life, I learned so much more about me. We are very fortunate to have this treasure available to leaders in this area. Please make the time to take advantage. You will never regret it."

Paul Silber
President & CEO
Silber Associates LLP
LEADERship Class 2010


"The quickest way to resolve problems is with the truth. The best thing about The LEADERship experience is that it strips away the facades we maintain as part of our titles and positions. The experience allows people to speak openly and honestly about the problems facing the community. In the process, you have dozens of eureka! experiences. It's an intense, accelerated period of learning, growth, and change. Without question it has made me more effective in business and community work. I made great new friends, the kind who can march beside you 20 miles with a heavy pack and shoot straight in a firefight."

Jim Breiner
Past President and Publisher
Baltimore Business Journal
LEADERship Class 2002


"Baltimoreans have a rare opportunity. The lines between business and working for the social good are blurring. Social enterprise is growing at a record pace. Businesses understand, more and more, the power of relevant community partnerships. The opportunity to expand our context is more relevant today than ever, keeping pace with the need for fresh minds to tackle the most challenging issues. As one who designs experiential programming for clients everyday, I believe the greatest learning comes from focused, sustained, engagement that stimulates our minds and penetrates our hearts. When this sort of immersive participation is shared with a diverse and interested group, game-changing action often emerges. GBC’s LEADERship program delivers. Year after year. What’s equally extraordinary is that, at the end, each survivor receives another gift. A network for life of passionate, committed grads willing and interested in lending a hand, an idea, an experience. Don’t walk, run to the link and apply."

Paul Wolman
President & CEO
Feats Inc.
LEADERship Class 1997


"“What’s in a name?” Well, for the GBC LEADERship program the better question is “what is not in the name?” This is not a passive program where there are a lot of “talking heads” that bore you with the obvious “history of the city”. This program explodes out of the gate (at the initial interview and the opening session) and is a vibrant and interactive experiences. It is a “living classroom” for the arts, business community, community engagement, economic development, faith, diversity (in its broadest context), health, politics, ethics, education, public safety, and the basics of respect, human dignity, and right relationships. LEADERship stretches and challenges you in unexpected ways and will take you out of your comfort zone! If you have no interest in growth (personal and professional) then you should not attend!"

Samuel Ross, M.D., M.S.
Bon Secours Baltimore Health System
LEADERship Class 2009



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