LEONARDTOWN, Md. – November 19, 2021 – Leadership Southern Maryland is in the business of giving back to the community. In addition to fulfilling its mission to educate and inspire current and emerging leaders, the organization encourages class members to donate their time, talents, and treasure to the region. All told, class members have worked together to donate thousands of hours in support of area nonprofits. The most recent graduating class, Executive Program Class of 2021, embraced the service aspect of their LSM experience with gusto and earned the title of “Most Giving Class Ever.”
It comes as no surprise then, that 2021 class member Tracy Barkhimer would approach LSM about sponsoring a small business scholarship for an Executive Program participant. Barkhimer, president of TABAS & Co, LLC, was the recipient of a scholarship for her program year and felt it greatly impacted her ability to participate in the experience.
“When I applied to the LSM Executive Class of 2021, I had just launched my small business without any investors or outside money,” Barkhimer said. “I was able to apply for and received an LSM scholarship so I could attend.” As her business grew, Barkhimer felt compelled to pay the scholarship forward. “The only stipulation was that it be given to someone who found themselves in the same position I was. Someone who was a small business owner who needed just a little help to attend,” she explained.
That someone was Andrew Fitzgerald, founder and president of Nine 30 Consulting. Nine 30 Consulting is an elite professional services small business located in Lexington Park that specializes in providing integrated financial, project, and risk management in support of Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and federal agency missions. “For years, I hoped to have the opportunity to participate in Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM), based on its stellar reputation and amazing network of alumni,” Fitzgerald said. “As the founder of a small business, I appreciate the need to judiciously allocate resources and the difficult tradeoff decisions that often accompany investments. The LSM small business scholarship was instrumental in helping me to have the opportunity to join LSM.”
For Barkhimer, sharing an experience she found to be “immeasurable,” was a natural next step in her efforts to support both LSM and Southern Maryland as a whole. “I found the LSM Executive Program to be amazing. I was exposed to so many aspects of life in Southern Maryland that, after 26 years living in Scotland (Maryland), surprised me. I felt like I should’ve known more,” she said. “I also met an incredible group of people and learned something from every one of them.”
Now it’s Fitzgerald’s turn to experience Southern Maryland through the unique lens of LSM. He and his class members are determined to be the next “best class ever,” continuing to give back to their community and make Southern Maryland an even better place to work and live.