By: Tammi Thomas '18; Vice President, Marketing & Communications, TEDCO
Aretha Franklin famously sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T; find out what it means to me!” The song earned her two Grammy awards, was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, and ranked number five on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
What makes the song so popular and, well, respected? In addition to being catchy and memorable, its lyrics speak to a universally recognized value: We all want respect—and we all know that to get respect, we must also give it.
Yet getting and giving respect can be difficult to put into practice consistently. Many organizations include respect in their values, but without considering its true meaning and what it takes to “walk the walk.” True respect can’t be in name only—it has to be authentic to be effective.
At TEDCO, our commitment to respect is reflected in our core values: “We uphold a culture of respect at work, within our communities, and nationally. We embrace diversity and value our employees for their individuality and the unique perspectives that they bring to the organization.”
But respect at TEDCO is much more than words on paper. The TEDCO team represents a group of passionate people from different nationalities and backgrounds who are leaders in technology, life sciences, and commercialization. It’s because of this diversity—not in spite of it—and our mutual respect for each other’s unique perspectives and expertise that we can achieve our collective mission.
Not only is diversity important to TEDCO’s culture, we know that it also fuels Maryland’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. There’s a large body of evidence to support the connection between diversity and innovation. According to research summarized in Forbes, companies with above-average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below average diversity (26%). This 19% innovation-related advantage translated into overall better financial performance. Clearly, organizations that value and respect differences outperform their peers.
TEDCO isn’t the only organization demonstrating a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect. Stanford University instituted a Respectful Workplace training that all new faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students must take. Closer to home, Leadership Maryland trains business leaders from across the state to have crucial conversations in an environment of trust, respect, and civility.
One of the best ways that you can start demonstrating respect is to encourage dialogue among those with unique backgrounds and perspectives and then really listen. The gold nuggets of innovation can be found at the intersection of diverse viewpoints.
Respect is an important value to me personally and professionally. I believe in treating all people with respect and celebrating diverse points of view—and it’s incredibly rewarding to work with a group of people who feel the same.
This is a contributed post from our silver sponsor, TEDCO.
Season 2, Episode 1: Using true leadership connections to create significance for others.
“Just about anybody can become a better leader than they start off being if they understand what leadership really is. Leadership is not just power—it’s a reciprocal process that takes you and someone else to accomplish. You can’t do it all on your own.” – Eliot Pfanstiehl (LM)
In our Season 2 premiere, Eric Brotman '09 is joined by Eliot Pfanstiehl (LM), who represents all things leadership—having served as program facilitator for Leadership Maryland, Leadership Montgomery, Leadership Southern Maryland, Leadership Washington County, and Leadership Allegany since their inception. Throughout the episode, Eric and Eliot walk listeners through the Leadership Maryland experience—highlighting the intimacy and state-wide networking opportunities created during the program, as well as the vast perspectives, ideas, and issues that participants encounter. Eliot breaks down what it really means to be a leader and how to use leadership tools to create positive change for others. He also explains why any message about his departure from Leadership Maryland was premature. That's right; Eliot has decided to rejoin us for the Class of 2021!
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Topics covered in this conversation include:
About our guest:
Eliot Pfanstiehl (LM) is Founding CEO Emeritus of the Strathmore Hall Arts Center in Bethesda, MD. Born in Washington, D.C. and a life-long resident of Montgomery County, he is a graduate of George Washington University, where he majored in psychology. After college, he worked for the Maryland State Department of Education and went on to be the arts coordinator for Montgomery County Government in Montgomery County, Maryland. During his time there, he opened the original Round House Theatre. In 1983, he was hired as the first Executive Director of the Strathmore Hall Foundation. Inc. and went on to build the world class Music Center at Strathmore and Pike and Rose AMP Strathmore. He conceived and launched the Strathmore East County Initiative and the innovative Partnership with MCPS and Strathmore called Think Big Café.
He’s served as the chairman of the Maryland State Arts Council, the Maryland Citizens for the Arts, and the Montgomery County Conference and Visitors Bureau. Mr. Pfanstiehl founded and served as president of the Montgomery County Arts Council, the League of Washington Theatres, the MetroArt I and II Consortiums, and Maryland Leadership Workshops, Inc. He has facilitated over 400 non-profit retreats, leadership training workshops, and educational conferences.
He has served as program facilitator for Maryland’s leadership programs and was a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Greater Washington, a member of the National State Leadership Directors, and currently serves as a founding board member of the National Give a Note Foundation.
Within the cultural industry, Mr. Pfanstiehl has served on the boards of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington; Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Foundation of Maryland; Community and Friends Board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Round House Theatre; Maryland College of Art and Design; Black Rock Center for the Arts; Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County, and the Maryland Association of Non-Profit Organizations.
Mr. Pfanstiehl was named 2001 Washingtonian of the Year for his leadership in a new 2,000 seat Concert Hall and Arts Education Center at Strathmore scheduled to open in 2005. He and his anthropologist spouse, Cynthia, are proud parents of their four grown children in Silver Spring, Maryland where they are adapting to retirement by being busier than ever.
This letter from Jeanne Forrester Singer, Esq. ‘07 (LM), Board Chair and Renée M. Winsky ‘05, President & CEO, appears in the Leadership Maryland 2020 Directory, which is being mailed to our members this week. We chose to also share it here, as it provides a great recap of the past year and what we have to look forward to in 2021.
We hope this finds you in good health and high spirits. We are coming to the close of a chaotic year, having endured many months of grief, ambiguity, and trepidation. When the Board made the difficult decision to postpone Leadership Maryland programming, it sparked concern that our impact for the year would be significantly reduced. We are happy to report that our staff, volunteers, and alumni adapted to the new and uncertain landscape with great poise and admirable grace, working collaboratively to ensure our progress would go unhindered.
In response to the pandemic, the entirety of Maryland Leadership Workshops summer programming was transitioned to a virtual format with incredible success. Anita, her staff, and our immensely resourceful volunteers created a tremendous virtual program. Their work on MLW@Home also allowed us to expand the reach of our impact, providing free, at-home access to our leadership programming to students across the state.
The Board also spent more time this year interfacing with the Maryland Leadership Workshops Program Committee and staff. While the merger is now several years old, we have not given primacy to fully integrating the two programs until recently. Instead, we had essentially been functioning as two distinct entities, duplicating certain efforts and splitting overhead expenses. While this model had some advantages for both organizations, the Board wanted to identify and maximize synergies between the programs. As a result, we have adjusted our budgeting processes and are beginning to develop initiatives that will boost our alumni engagement, reconnecting a robust body of knowledge and experience within Leadership Maryland and Maryland Leadership Workshops. Stay posted for more information on these opportunities!
Lastly, we want to report that any message about Eliot’s departure was premature. He has decided to rejoin us for Leadership Maryland Class of 2021! The search committee will continue to work with Eliot to recruit his eventual replacement. That individual will undoubtedly have big shoes to fill, but we are confident we will find the right person for the job.
As we move into a new year, we hope you all take a moment to reflect on your experiences with our programs and the ways in which those experiences may have helped to prepare you for the tumult of the past several months. This is a moment that necessitates empathy, resolve, and clarity of purpose. Our communities are desperate for connectedness, shared vision, and resilient leadership. Our mission of empowering a diverse network of local leaders has never been more important; we look forward to meeting and working with many more of you as we continue in that endeavor.
Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a wonderful 2021!
Jeanne Forrester Singer, Esq. ‘07 (LM)
Renée M. Winsky ‘05
President & CEO
Providing thought leadership and insights from our organization, board, and members.