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!
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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.
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