Twenty-nine community leaders who represent the diversity of Alexandria were honored at a graduation reception held June 16 at Finn and Porter Restaurant.
Leadership Alexandria, a program of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, was launched to be a catalyst for leadership potential in existing and emerging leaders to serve and unify the community of Alexandria.
The class recently completed a nine-month experiential learning program designed to educate them about the critical issues facing the community, further develop their leadership skills, and challenge them to become even more involved in creating a preferred future for all the citizens of Alexandria.
Monthly topic sessions included government, education, economics of the region, health care, public safety, housing and transportation.
"Our community is facing a critical time and needs leaders who are committed to serving the total Alexandria community. Leadership Alexandria provides these individuals the opportunities to have meaningful dialogue with current leaders about the many challenges and opportunities we face," said Scott Burr, Chair of Leadership Alexandria and sponsor of the graduation reception.
Joining Scott in congratulating the class were Joan Renner, 2004 Chair of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Bill Euille and Robert Egger, Founder and President of the D.C. Central Kitchen, and a 2001 graduate of Leadership Washington.
Joe Collum, Burke and Herbert Bank & Trust Company, spoke on behalf of his fellow graduates and highlighted events from the year.
Chris Campagna, also a 2004 graduate, described his experience saying, "This program has exceeded my expectations. As a fifth generation Alexandrian, I did not expect to learn much more about how the city works but, I have. I have gained a much greater appreciation for the inner workings of our local government, the necessary balance between commercial and residential interest, the fundamental challenges to our local healthcare system, witnessed the bravery of our public safety personnel, and seen the successes
[and failures] in local public and private education.
"I have been challenged to think about how to improve our city in the future and done it with an amazing group of fellow citizens. This program offers much for both the newcomer or the longtime resident."
Scott Burr, Joan Renner, and Mayor Bill Euille presented the graduates with items commemorating their accomplishments. Ken Moore, President and CEO of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and Jan Gravel, Executive Director of Leadership Alexandria recognized Scott Burr, Pam McConnell, Huey Battle, and Rick Dorman, members of the 2004 Steering Committee for their dedication and commitment to the launch of the Leadership Alexandria program.
THE 2004 graduates of Leadership Alexandria were Emily Baker, Deputy Director of Engineering, City of Alexandria; Mark Begly, Director of Marketing, Regent University; Laurie Blackburn, CFP, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley; Marion Brunken, Operations Manager, Alexandria Volunteer Bureau; Christopher Campagna,
Tartan Properties; Alfred Coleman, Management/Budget, City of Alexandria; Joe Collum, Vice President, Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Company; Ann Dorman, President, Meetings & Events of Distinction, LLC; Michael Eskridge, Assistant Principal, Alexandria City Public Schools; Chris Hamilton, President, Warwick Village Citizens Association; Barbara Hunter, Executive Director, Information & Outreach, Alexandria City Public Schools; Ann Huston, Executive Director/CEO, American Therapeutic Recreation Association; Darryl Jackson, Section Leader, Washington Gas; Phillip Keating, Attorney, Dunn, Curcio & Keating, P.C.; Laura Mandala, Managing Director, Mandala Research; Carolyn Martin, General Manager, Landmark Mall Management; Robert McCoy, Vice President/Regional Manager, Virginia Commerce Bank; Sean McEnearney, Corporate Services Representative, McEnearney Associates, Inc.; Erika Mendez, Youth Speak Program Coordinator,
Northern Virginia Aids Ministry; Elizabeth Moon, Chief Operations Officer, Focus Data Solutions; Justin Moore, Associate Director, Fed. Legislative Affairs, American Physical Therapy Association; Bill Reagan, Director, Alexandria Small Business Development Center;
Michelle Robinson, Director of Affiliate Services & Membership;
Reid Voss, Manager, Joe Theismann's Restaurant; Boyd Walker, Vice President, Walker Real Estate; Tom Welsh, Manager, Anne Welsh Salon; Chris Whitaker, Senior Director of Operations, Comcast Cable Communications; Judy Wilsey, Executive Director, Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center; and Paul Wilson, Chairman/CEO, Wilson Grand Communications, American School Food Service Association.