December 4, 2023
Annapolis, US 53 F

Tribute to Community Leadership Scheduled for Monday Evening

Leadership Anne Arundel (LAA), the premier leadership training and networking institute in Anne Arundel County, has announced the annual Tribute to Community Leadership and Graduation special honorees.

Each year, LAA hosts a celebration honoring the graduates from the Flagship and Neighborhood Leadership Academy classes along with the Excellence in Leadership, Distinguished Graduate and Bertina Nick Flagship Scholarship Honorees.

The Excellence in Leadership Award, selected by the LAA Board of Directors and sponsored by Live! Casino & Hotel, recognizes an Anne Arundel County business or individual who has made a significant local impact to our quality of life. The 2021 Excellence in Leadership Honoree is Ricky D. Smith, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Although this award is not limited to LAA graduates, Mr. Smith is a graduate of the LAA Flagship class of 1995 (FLG95). Mr. Smith was selected for his longstanding exemplary leadership at BWI Marshall Airport.

The purpose of the Distinguished Graduate Award is to recognize exceptional LAA graduates. Recipients are individuals who have adopted “the heart of community trusteeship” and have made significant and notable contributions for the betterment of our community. Distinguished Graduate Honorees are selected by an alumni committee of past recipients. The 2021 Distinguished Graduate Honoree is Pastor Sheryl Menendez, Founder and Pastor of Light of the World Ministries in Glen Burnie. Pastor Menendez is a graduate of the LAA Flagship class of 2002 and was selected for 38 years of service to Anne Arundel County including addressing the emotional needs of at-risk youth and expanding her food pantry to create a baby pantry and providing food, blankets, and diapers to 900 families in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Bertina Nick NLA Flagship Scholarship is awarded a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. The scholarship is named for activist and community leader Bertina Larkins Nick recognizing her lifetime of work in the county. It is the only full-scholarship available for the LAA Flagship program. The 2021 scholarship recipient is will be announced during the event.

The annual Tribute to Community Leadership and Graduation Celebration is a feel-good evening celebrating more than 25 years of contributions, collaboration, innovation, and leadership of countless graduates from Leadership Anne Arundel. More than 1,500 LAA graduates have transformed our community’s landscape by serving throughout public, private, non-profit, and government sectors—all who are ready to develop, nurture, and connect the next generation of leaders.

The event will take place on Monday, June 21st from 5:30 pm – 8:00pm at The Hall at Live! Casino & Hotel. The program will include inspirational multimedia, remarks from featured guests, award presentations and recognition of graduates from the 2021 Flagship and Neighborhood Leadership Academy classes.

According to LAA President & CEO Kris Valerio Shock, “Following more than a year of pivoting and adapting to virtual and hybrid connecting, we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize the resilient leadership of 2021 LAA graduates and special honorees in-person at The Hall at Live! Casino & Hotel! We truly can’t wait to celebrate this amazing group of community leaders together!”

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