Leadership Howard County Has a Rich History
By Susan Kim, Staff Writer
1985. Leadership Howard County (LHC) was created by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. Early on, people such as attorney Richard Talkin and business insurance broker Gordon Mumpower began raising money and developing programs for the program. During its first year, it was housed at the chamber offices.
1986. The first Leadership Howard County class graduated. Already, LHC had grown to the point where its founders decided to form a 501(c)(3) organization. The program officially separated from the Howard chamber, though the two continue to maintain a close relationship, and shared offices for several years. Shirley Burrill was hired as the first executive director.
1996. Leadership U, designed for students entering their junior year in high school, began.
1998. The first annual fundraising luncheon was held. Before an official name could be agreed upon, the working name “The Big Event” took hold and has now become the official moniker of LHC’s signature event. The goal was to bring widely known speakers to Howard County who could share inspiring personal stories of visionary leadership and courage. The first keynote speaker was Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham.
1999. LHC continued to expand its reach, finding consistently more diverse classes representing many different sectors. Colleen West, executive director of the Howard County Arts Council, said her Leadership (Class of 1999) experience shaped not only her career, but the entire local arts community.
Sept. 11, 2001. The class of 2002 had its very first gathering on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The events of Sept. 11 certainly defined the class in a way that no one could have foreseen,” recalled Burrill in a commemorative interview about Sept. 11. “The Class of 2002 was and continues to be a very strong and close-knit group.”
2007. Leadership Essentials, a six-month leadership development program targeted to rising stars and future leaders under the age of 40, began.
2009. The first annual Iron Chef Cook-Off was held, organized by the Premier Class of 2005. It has evolved into a much-anticipated team-building event for LHC classes, attracting an enthusiastic audience while also raising funds for Leadership U and gathering contributions for the Howard County Food Bank. Brenda von Rautenkranz (Class of 2005) hosts the show, which is broadcast on her cable TV show “Fit for Life.”
2010. LHC celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the Leadership Howard County Board of Directors initiated a strategic planning process with the goal of preparing, inspiring, connecting and sustaining community leaders. Brian Walter (Class of 2001), market president for the Chesapeake region at M&T Bank, was instrumental in leading the strategic visioning.
2011. Leadership Essentials became a program offered through Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business in collaboration with LHC. Lori Fuchs, program manager for Leadership Essentials and a consultant for Loyola University, said, “Although Leadership Essentials is now considered a Loyola program, we get tremendous support from Leadership Howard County.”
2014. Following a tragic shooting at The Mall in Columbia, LHC began a program called “This Just In.”. A small group discussion (25 people) centers around a current topic or concern. Bob Jeffrey, director of The Jeffrey Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and a founding sponsor of “This Just In,” said the forum “has become a newer resource for those looking to expand their knowledge on more focused issues in an intimate and interactive setting.”
2014. Leadership U began a program called “3D-HC” in which students receive learning experiences outside the classroom. 3D-HC, which stands for “Dig Deep and Discover – Howard County,” provides an interactive opportunity for students, working in groups of eight to 10, to gain exposure and insight into a local nonprofit organization.
2015. LHC unveiled a 30th Anniversary Capital Campaign that will bring its scholarship fund to $1 million, allowing the program to support even more future participation. LHC estimates its more than 1,150 alumni have volunteered more than 75,000 hours in support of Howard County nonprofits — equal to an investment of more than $1.8 million in the community.