In the News

Class of 2016 Experiences Multiculturalism and Diversity

LEONARDTOWN, Md., June 14, 2016: On April 21, 2016, Leadership Southern Maryland’s Class of 2016 explored multiculturalism and diversity in the tri-county region – sponsored by John Felicitas LSM ’13 and owner of Be-AThEdge Consulting. The day’s activities were held at the Olde Breton Inn in Leonardtown, Md., and were facilitated by Eliot Pfanstiehl, CEO of Strathmore in Montgomery County, Md.

The day began with an introduction by LSM’s Executive Director Helen Mattingly Wernecke welcoming the class members to the most emotionally charged session throughout the program experience and a reintroduction of Eliot Pfanstiehl, who opened with a discussion of the movie Crash (released in 2004) that was a requirement prior to the start of the program. Many class members shared their feelings and observations of the movie and Eliot launched the class into the “open space” learning model, where the class created their own discussion topics. Sixteen questions were created by the class members for discussion throughout the day with topics ranging from white privilege to women not supporting women in a man’s professional world to defining what racism, prejudice, and other terms mean to them today. The class was broken into four rooms with four segment times throughout the day with a break for lunch. Folks could move from topic to topic depending on the interest.   There were tears, laughter, and humbling quiet depending on the depth and range of the discussion. This powerful day led to changes in thoughts, beliefs, and plans to change future actions based on this amazing and emotional experience.

Leadership Southern Maryland is designed and dedicated to educate and inspire a diverse group of current and emerging leaders to create collaborations and partnerships to impact the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties and incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender. Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month tuition-based program.

Leadership Southern Maryland is a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service (EIN#26-2989381). Contributions are deductible as charitable contributions to the extent permitted by law.

For more information, please contact the Helen Mattingly Wernecke, Executive Director Leadership Southern Maryland, 240-725-5469 via email or visit