FRIDAY FOCUS: Leadership of Southern Maryland

Leadership of Southern Maryland is an organization that puts its heart and dedication into ensuring that the people of today can become tomorrow’s leaders. It encompasses Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s County to prepare our leaders to speak on the communities behalf, including a range of issues and challenges our counties are facing throughout the year. Leadership of Southern Maryland works on finding solutions to these issues and working together to achieve community success. In this week’s Friday Focus we spoke to Helen Mattingly Wernecke, Executive Director of Leadership of Southern Maryland and learned all about their upcoming events to get involved in.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A:  Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) is an organization dedicated to building a cadre of informed regional leaders from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, prepared to address common issues and bring long-term benefits to their neighbors and communities within the Southern Maryland region.

LSM takes these executives through a nine-month educational journey where a different theme and its challenges are discussed each month – education, economic & workforce development, defense & industry, public safety, health care, housing & human services, multiculturalism & diversity and energy & environment.

LSM also hosts a four-day Teen Leadership Academy, which is designed to teach and develop leadership skills in a hands-on, experiential program with workshops and visits to meet with regional leaders in their workplaces throughout Southern Maryland. Topics taught are characteristics of good leadership, leadership in the public safety arena, state leadership and foundational leadership to take forward.

 Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: As the Executive Director, my favorite moments are when I attend various civic meetings throughout the region, look around the audience and realize alumni make up a good portion of the citizens. It warms my heart to know they’re fulfilling Leadership of Southern Maryland’s mission by engaging in community issues and being a part of the solution(s).

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Reintroducing ourselves and our mission each year in attracting a new pool of applicants. As we near our 10-year anniversary (in 2018), we feel like while we have created a noteworthy brand in the Southern Maryland region, we are constantly having to reintroduce that brand to the region due to the high volume of personnel transition/growth in this area.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

 A: Class of 2017 embarked on their educational journey in mid-September. The next learning sessions are Economic & Workforce Development hosted in Charles County and Education hosted in Calvert County. These two days are followed by a dinner hosted by the board of directors at RADM (USN Retired) & Mrs. Bert Johnston’s home.  They graciously open their home to the incoming class members and their spouses so folks can bond a bit more in a personal setting. In November, the class takes a behind-the-scenes tour of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station to hear from test pilots, communications and maintenance personnel and the vice admiral on the successes and challenges facing our Navy.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: Informational Breakfast for the Class of 2018 will begin January 9, 2017.  There will be two informational breakfasts in all three counties so there are six opportunities to learn about the program expectations and how to apply. If you have further questions, please reach out to the Executive Director, Helen Mattingly Wernecke, at or 240-725-5469.

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