John Felicitas, LSM’13 “Best Class Ever!”
When John Felicitas applied to Leadership Southern Maryland’s Executive Program, he was newly retired after working in education for 37 years. “The nine-month Executive Program not only renewed my passion for involvement but has allowed me to continue working in the area of diversity as well as the Teen Leadership Academy (TLA),” he said. Felicitas has been an active alumnus with LSM, participates in several facets of the organization, served as president of the board, and is instrumental in planning the TLA curriculum each year.
Felicitas’ dedication to LSM is just one piece of his community involvement puzzle. He is the owner and operator of Be-AThEdge, a company that offers education, consulting and training in the area of diversity. The company aims to “define diversity one human at a time” and Felicitas has served on advisory committees at both the College of Southern Maryland and St. Mary’s College of Maryland to further that aim. He is also involved in the Southern Maryland community through volunteer activities, financial sponsorship of events, and organizational advisory committees. Felicitas lends his time and talents to Mission of Mercy, The Conversation Starters, and Three Oaks Veterans Stand Down Day just to name a few. He stays connected with his roots in youth education, not only through his involvement with TLA but also by assisting with senior portfolio interviews and STI 8th grade interviews for North Point High School in Charles County. Somehow, Felicitas still finds time to relax and recharge. His favorite activities include traveling, cooking, watching movies, and dancing with his Zumba friends.
Ella Fitzgerald was quoted as saying “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” That may be true; but it’s hard to deny that while your roots may not determine your path in life, they do determine what you carry with you as you go. Felicitas took a careful look at where he’d been, where he was at, and where he was headed during one of the exercises that his class took part in at LSM’s orientation retreat. “Though I have used this exercise in my teaching, this was the first time for me, as a participant, to feel the movement back and forth for each question,” he explained. “I, and another classmate, ended at the very back [of the group]. My initial response was sadness, then pride for what I, as a POC (person of color), have accomplished in my life that allowed me to be a part of LSM ’13.”
Felicitas took what he learned about himself and his community, not only during orientation but throughout the Executive Program, and used it to direct his energy towards bettering Southern Maryland. “Participating in LSM broadened my view of my backyard to all the wonderful opportunities to become involved,” he explained.