Leadership Maryland is pleased to welcome Rick Gross as our new manager, youth programs! In this role, Rick will oversee programming for Maryland Leadership Workshops (MLW), and as a former MLW delegate, staff member, assistant director, and policy board member, we could not have found a person better suited for this role. Rick’s commitment to MLW’s vision has spanned most of his life, and we are excited the next stage of his journey will be as an official member of the Leadership Maryland team.
The Delegate Days
Rick first discovered MLW when his high school mentor encouraged him to join. He traveled alone to Chestertown, Md. by bus to take part in the MLW summer program, which he says changed his life. The leadership trainings, team building exercises, and friendships he made left a lasting impact. He experienced “MLW Magic” for the first time when he returned to his hometown and advocated to prevent the closing of his high school as an active member of the “Save Einstein” committee. A fellow delegate supported Rick’s efforts in defending his high school by spreading the word across Southern Maryland. Rick and the Save Einstein committee even got featured in a local publication, the Maryland Weekly.
A Commitment to Mentorship and Education
His experience in MLW and supporting his high school spurred him to continue making an impact in his community. He joined MLW as a staff member, and one of his first duties was to oversee the snack bar committee, which unfortunately didn't go quite as well as he'd planned. At the end of the summer session, Rick and his staff partner gave an inspiring speech to delegates about how failures are just learning opportunities and that it's ok to not get it right on the first try. What Rick didn't know was MLW Founder Felix Simon, affectionately called Uncle Si, was listening in. Uncle Si was very impressed with the speech and praised Rick, which gave him a significant confidence boost and served as a point of inspiration in the years to come.
Rick’s commitment to mentoring and encouraging youth is evident in his professional history and his volunteer experiences. He was a special education teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools for nearly 10 years. He then went on to serve Prince George’s County Schools as a special education chairperson and mentor teacher for over five years. In his free time, Rick volunteers as a sports coach at CYO Youth Sports and Special Olympics Maryland.
The Future of MLW
Now that Rick has joined Leadership Maryland as manager, youth programs, he plans to use his prior MLW experiences to support delegates in their leadership endeavors and create new opportunities to gain genuine experience. On a personal level, Rick seeks to give back to MLW and leave an impact on the organization that has made such a positive impact on his life. His vision for the future of Leadership Maryland’s youth programming is to continue MLW’s legacy of building leaders, to foster inclusivity, and to improve representation of delegates and staff members of diverse cultural backgrounds.
“The people who come through MLW are the best and the brightest,” said Rick. “At MLW you will find a strong network of brilliant, supportive individuals who truly care about your success.”
Rick’s hobbies include photography, coaching lacrosse, coaching basketball, spending time with his wife and two sons, and reading. When asked what book he’d recommend to delegates, Rick suggested Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X because it represents the journey of life and greatness, and the importance of being open to other world views.
Please join us in welcoming Rick Gross to the Leadership Maryland and MLW family!
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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