Leadership Los Alamos Takes Working Hiatus



By Kirsten Laskey

The Leadership Los Alamos organization is taking the year off to update its program.

Leadership Los Alamos has operated for more than 10 years and things have changed, Chair-elect Mike Wismer said. The community, the economy has evolved, he said, and Leadership Los Alamos is looking at possibly retooling.

It’s something that has already begun. Under LLA Chair Wayne Torpy’s leadership, the recent graduating class was given homework assignments with regard to how leadership compares in today’s world – what worked and what did not.

“That was a good start and we need to do more of that,” Wismer said. “This is the time to evolve to the next level.”

To achieve that goal, LLA is looking to everyone, stakeholders and program graduates for input.

Leadership Los Alamos Board Chair Micheline Devaurs explained that LLA will evaluate itself by looking at what works and what might need to change.

It’s similar to a pause, she said, adding that doing this type of self-assessment is important because doing the same thing over and over does not mean an organization is doing a good job.

Deputy County Administrator Brian Bosshardt has volunteered to help facilitate this strategic plan process.

Bosshardt said a strategic planning process is beneficial because, “It sets direction. It ensures the board that they are all on the same page … It gives them a map to get to the place they want to go.”

The goal is to have a new class and a new curriculum by 2013, Wismer said.

“It’s an exciting, vibrant organization,” Devaurs said. “We’re just hoping to take it to the next level. Times have changed and we need to reflect that. (We need to) engage the alumni and use resources to continue to (serve) the community, past, present and future.”

Leadership Los Alamos was founded in 2003 to identify current and emerging leaders in the Los Alamos area, enhance their leadership skills, and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the local community.

LLA is dedicated to the development of informed leaders who understand issues, define problems, develop solutions, and achieve positions of higher responsibility in Los Alamos.

Leadership Los Alamos is nonpartisan, does not advocate for legislation of any kind, does not endorse political candidates, and does not take a stand on any political or social issues but rather educates participants, leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, about community and regional issues.

Leadership Los Alamos is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) tax exempt New Mexico organization. It is funded by contributions from businesses, local government, and individual donors. Primary among these are Los Alamos National Bank and Los Alamos County.

The Current LLA Program

The Leaderhip Los Alamos program is nine months in duration and recently completed its seventh class. Program sessions are designed to address current issues facing the community.

Each program session features speakers that are acknowledged leaders in their specific fields, while program participants actively engage in discussion and debate.

The process offers an opportunity for inquiry, analysis, and development of solutions to the most pressing issues facing our community and surrounding area.

Program sessions are held in Los Alamos and the surrounding area in order to expose participants to the different aspects of the community and the local issues important to each area.

In addition, program participants experience the unique culture of the area, weaving for themselves a broad-based and comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing our community with many cultures and geographic diversity.

Each program year includes a one-day leadership orientation and retreat followed by educational sessions on topics such as:

  • Local Government
  • Economic Development
  • Education and Youth
  • Regional and Cultural Issues
  • Environment

The program is open to anyone who lives or works in Los Alamos. Leadership Los Alamos selects a class each year of about 24 leaders or potential leaders who represent a cross-section of the community and surrounding area from public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Special consideration is given to ensure diversity of occupational background, race, gender, and community involvement. Participants are selected using the following criteria:

  • Commitment, motivation, and interest in serving Los Alamos
  • History and demonstrated voluntary leadership in community activities
  • Record of accomplishments within his or her own company or organization
  • Interest in seeking future key volunteer and/or appointed leadership roles
  • An occupational commitment to remain in the Los Alamos area
  • Commitment to play a personal role in helping shape Los Alamos’ future

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