Looking at the newest 19 individuals to graduate Leadership Los Alamos, Jason Lott, superintendent of Bandelier National Monument and co-chair of Leadership Los Alamos, proclaimed, “What a great class!”
The celebration of the program’s newest crop of graduates occurred Friday night at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge.
The event featured Regents Professor in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics and Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University Lowell Catlett as its guest speaker. During his talk, Catlett described a leader as “somebody who is going to take you to a place that you wouldn’t have gone to and and you are better for having gone.”
This year, Leadership Los Alamos did just that; it took participants into new territory for the program and the students benefited from this journey.
In 2013, Leadership Los Alamos took the year off to develop a strategic plan. In 2014, the plan was implemented and this year, the program was given a few tweaks.
“This year had a lot of changes for us,” Lott said.
These changes included collaborating with the Eastgate Toastmasters to bring a public speaking piece to the program. The other new feature was leadership experience which had three components: observation-such as attending a meeting, discussion-or interacting with a person in a leadership role, and act- or taking part in a project outside of Leadership Los Alamos and getting out in the community.
Participants performed the final component in a variety of ways. For instance, they organized a garden cleanup project at the Betty Ehart Senior Center that teamed senior citizens with teenagers and took part in a Cookies and Conversation at an elementary school.
Additionally, a volunteer fair was organized at Fuller Lodge. Numerous community organizations attended and presented information about their services to those interested in volunteering.
Lott said “hands-down” the changes were positive. “Past graduates who came back said, ‘I wished my class did that.’”
Fellow Co-Chair Debbie Huling agreed. “Absolutely, the feedback we got from the class was very positive.’
She added the community’s response was also positive.
Although Friday’s event recognized the upcoming leaders in the community, a few of Los Alamos’ distinguished leaders were also honored with awards. Denny Erickson received the Distinguished Leadership Award. Erickson serves as chair of the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee and is involved in the Los Alamos Historical Society. He currently co-chairs the society’s “History is Here” capital campaign. “His service is well known,” Lott said.
Erickson did not attend the ceremony, but Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan accepted the award on Erickson’s behalf.
Roger Waterman earned the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Co-owner of TRK Management, Waterman has served on the Leadership New Mexico board as well as the Los Alamos Association of REALTORS, the Los Alamos Medical Center Advisory Board, the Los Alamos Family YMCA Board, Los Alamos County Council and has offered support to numerous organizations in the community.
Waterman graduated from Leadership Los Alamos in 2003, to his fellow alumnus, he said, “being among you makes me feel good.”
Finally, the Outstanding Service Award was given to Huling. She served as chair of Leadership Los Alamos for the past two years. Huling said it was an unexpected surprise, adding, “I didn’t do it alone.”
This year’s class started back on Sept. 19 with an orientation at Bandelier National Monument. With the class completed, applicants are being sought for next year’s class. The deadline to apply to the program is June 26. The new class will start Aug. 28.
Leadership Los Alamos is a nonprofit organization that strives to identify current and emerging local leaders and enhance their leadership skills, according to its website. If you are interested in applying to the program, visit http://leadershiplosalamos.com.
Lowell Catlett, a dean at New Mexico State University, was the guest speaker for the graduation. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
Bandelier National Monument Superintendent and Leadership Los Alamos Co-Chair Jason Lott served as emcee for Friday night’s Leadership Los Alamos graduation ceremony. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com