Each March, we celebrate the beginning of another Leadership Maryland class year with our New Class Reception. This event gives our newest members a chance to gather for the first time, meet our board members and other past participants, and share their joy and enthusiasm for the coming year. After having to postpone our 2020 program, it felt great to renew this annual tradition this year, even if we did have to forgo our typical setting of the Governor’s Reception Room in the Maryland State House for a virtual celebration.
On Monday, March 15, we hosted more than 80 guests on Zoom, including the 50 members of the Class of 2021, the individuals who nominated them, our lifetime members, and our board. We also welcomed Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford as our special guest speaker. In his remarks, the Lt. Governor reminded us that leadership comes in many forms, and the opportunity to lead can come at any time, regardless of your position. He also updated us on the State’s response to COVID-19 and thanked us as local business and community leaders for doing our part to help the state persevere and recover.
We then separated our guests into break-out rooms, divided into our five key geographic regions – Central, Western, Capital, Southern, and Eastern Shore. This gave our new class the opportunity to meet and chat with our alumni in a smaller and more personal format and hear what advice they had to offer for the class year. Our past graduates commended the new class on their resiliency and resolve and advised them to be prepared to be present in each session by taking care of things at the office and at home in advance, and that what they each get out of the program will depend on what they each put into the program.
The Class of 2021 also shared what they were most looking forward to this year. They expressed their intent to apply the perspective gained during the pandemic, and that they were looking forward to focusing on the Leadership Maryland program with a mindset no other class has experienced. This class is excited to renew, restore, and network to support our local and regional communities, as well as our state and nation, in a very different world than existed just a year ago.
It felt wonderful to finally bring the Class of 2021 together in an official capacity, and it was also a bit therapeutic for us on the staff to do something that feels normal again – welcoming a new class and building excitement for the year ahead!
Providing thought leadership and insights from our organization, board, and members.