In the News

Leadership Southern Maryland 2015 Class Commencement

Class Celebrates Completion of the only Regional Leadership Development Program

LEONARDTOWN, Md.  – May 20, 2015 – The Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Board of Directors announced today that they celebrated LSM’s seventh class during a graduation ceremony on May 1, 2015, at the Swan Point Yacht and Country Club in Issue, Md. The 2015 graduating class includes the following leaders from the region:

  • Diana Abney, health officer/medical director for the Charles County Dept. of Health
  • Tom Barnett, director for the Calvert County Dept. of Community Planning and Building
  • Dana Burke, director of career development at St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • Kelsey Bush, coordinator of local management board and youth for St. Mary’s County Govt.
  • Lindsay Frazier, senior project analyst for Booz|Allen|Hamilton
  • Gerald Gardiner, Jr., Emergency Management Manager for the St. Mary’s County Dept. of Emergency Services & Technology
  • Tom Garrison, retired Navy Captain, Senior Director, Systems Development & Integration Operation for BAE Systems
  • Robert Goodman, retired Navy captain, independent consultant and investor
  • Tim Gowen, director of Naval Aviation Center for Rotocraft Advancement
  • Darla Hardy, director of nursing resources for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Amber Hughes, director of human resources for The Patuxent Partnership
  • Donna Jordan, owner of House of Dance and COO/Cofounder of Jordan Research & Development
  • Dana Levy, vice president of nursing services and chief nursing officer for the Univ. of Md. Charles Regional Medical Center
  • Kelly McMurray, associate vice president of planning, institutional effectiveness and research for
    the College of Southern Maryland
  • Agnes Miller, contracts manager for PSI Pax
  • Brendan Moon, chairman for the Charles County Board of Appeals
  • Walt Nilsson, senior pastor for Cornerstone Presbyterian Church
  • Dan Parker, owner of Travel Leaders
  • Christina Payne, director of human resources and recruitment for Precise Systems
  • Tom Phelan, Director, Air Vehicle Programs, T&E Division, Wyle Aerospace Group
  • Anne Powers, community volunteer
  • Chris Powers, retired Naval Aviator, Principal Systems Engineer for The Johns Hopkins
    University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Sharmella Riggs, acquisition manager for the P-8A aircraft systems Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division
  • Nancy Schertler, stage lighting designer and community activist
  • Fred Severson, Vice President – Lexington Park Operations, Imagine One Technology & Management, Ltd.
  • Julie Simpson, executive director for Port Tobacco River Conservancy
  • Karen Smith Hupp, assistant vice president of community relations, College of Southern Maryland
  • Stephanie Taylor, research development test and evaluation deputy team lead for Research and Engineering Development (RED-INC)
  • Mike VanMeter, department head for Ground Acquisition and Telemetry Antenna Branch Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division
  • Kristine Wilcox, senior communications and multimedia specialist for AVIAN LLC
  • Stephanie Witte, owner/operator, Chick-Fil-A at First Colony Center
  • Lynette Wright, project manager

Mark De Luca, president of the LSM board of directors, addressed the graduates this way: “Over the past nine months, you’ve been exposed to the opportunities and challenges facing our region. You didn’t just read about them, you experienced them firsthand.” Helen Wernecke, LSM’s executive director, added that “We are confident that these newest graduates will apply their LSM experience in positive and dynamic ways to benefit the region.”

During the program, LSM participants engaged with recognized leaders in education, healthcare, government and industry, focusing on leadership development by highlighting pertinent regional issues: the environment, housing and human services, healthcare, economic development, the defense industry, education and workforce development, and diversity/multiculturalism.

Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month tuition-based program specially designed to develop leaders from the Southern Maryland area for regional collaboration. The LSM program is dedicated to building a cadre of informed regional leaders, prepared to address common issues and bring long-term benefit to their neighbors and communities and incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.

For application information, please contact Helen Wernecke, executive director, Leadership Southern Maryland, 240-725-5469 via email or visit


Leadership Southern Maryland is an independent, educational leadership development organization designed to broaden the knowledge base of mid to senior level public and private sector executives about the critical issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the region. Leadership Southern Maryland is a not-for-profit organization.