LEONARDTOWN, Md. – December 9, 2021 – One of the things that makes Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) special is the way that it brings a diverse group of people together to learn from one another and bring positive change to the community. At LSM, diversity encompasses many things. From ethnicity and gender to where participants live and work, each LSM class is built to represent a wide range of people and their experiences. Class members in both the Executive and Emerging Leaders programs come from all three Southern Maryland counties and represent fields like healthcare, defense, law, and the nonprofit sector.
Recognizing that not all applicants have the backing of a large organization or training budget, LSM offers scholarships to open the door to class members who add value to the cohort and want to make a difference in their community. This year, LSM awarded scholarships to two deserving recipients: Patty Stine and Yonelle Moore Lee.
Patty Stine is the executive director of a Charles County-based nonprofit, Pure Play Every Day. The organization is devoted to encouraging “self-initiated, unstructured, undirected free play” opportunities for children to promote their problem-solving skills and emotional health. Stine hopes that through enhanced knowledge of the region and relationships established with her LSM classmates, she can accelerate the growth of her nonprofit organization. “I wanted to participate in LSM because I have been a lifelong resident of Southern Maryland and wanted to learn more about my community,” she said. “I hope to take away a new understanding of the needs of our community as well as its untapped potential,” she added.
Stine explained that being awarded a scholarship was critical in allowing her to participate in the program this year. “As a young entrepreneurial nonprofit, the tuition required to participate would not have been available in our budget for several more years,” she said. After only a few sessions, Stine already knows that the LSM experience will help her to grow personally and professionally. “The ’behind the scenes’ tours and candid conversations have been eye-opening,” Stine said.
Yonelle Moore Lee is a managing partner and owner of Lee Law, LLC in Waldorf, Maryland. In addition to practicing law, she belongs to several organizations that serve the tri-county area. “I wanted to participate in LSM in order to become better connected in my community,” Lee explained. “We have a unique and incredible opportunity in Southern Maryland, and I want to be aware of the resources and community leaders in each of the three counties. I hope to take away a stronger and broader sense of community beyond my own county,” she said. Lee was also drawn to the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other community leaders.
Like Stine, Lee feels the scholarship she received played a key role in allowing her to participate in the Executive Program. “As a small business owner, we typically do not have the same access to training and networking as large businesses and government agencies. Receiving an LSM scholarship helped level the playing field and make the class more affordable,” she said. “I appreciate that LSM provides scholarships and makes an effort to include as many people as possible.”
LSM’s Executive Director Denise Foster explained that the support of LSM graduates and community partners make scholarships like these possible. The end-of year giving campaign and additional donations that come in with alumni memberships are the primary funding sources for the scholarship fund. “It is essential to offer scholarships to give opportunities to small businesses and nonprofits who may not have the capacity to pay full tuition,” Foster explained. “Their representation in the class (and the region) is critical.”
Do you want to be a part of the LSM experience? Applications for the Class of 2023 Executive Program open in January. Find out more and learn how you can become an LSM supporter at www.leadershipsomd.org.