Maryland Leadership Workshops
Maryland Leadership Workshops NewsletterDecember 2010
in this issue
:: Message from the President
:: News from our Alumni
:: Annual Holiday Party
:: Giving Back to MLW
:: Spotlight on Ray Sacchetti
:: An Unlikely Mix: MLW & Elementary Education
MLWlogoDear MLW Alumni:

Welcome to our fifth e-newsletter!  If you have any ideas for future newsletter topics or news items, please submit them to Devita or Lauren.  Enjoy!
Message from the President
By: Ron Dhindsa

Dear MLW Friends:


I hope you and your family are well. As you know, MLW is at a pivotal point in our history. I am asking you to please join me in propelling MLW toward long-term sustainability, allowing MLW to keep programs affordable, and enabling MLW to spread the MLW magic and transform even more of society's greatest resource - young people. Your commitment and friendship have played a critical role in bringing us to this point. By creating the Mike Michaelson Endowment Fund (balance of $122,000) in 2005, we have been able to weather the more than 50% cut in our annual state grant. By strengthening the Michaelson Fund, we have the opportunity to recognize the contributions of MLW icon, Mike Michaelson, while simultaneously securing MLW's future.

I know you appreciate the impact MLW has had on your life and the lives of countless thousands of others. I am re-committing to pledge substantially over each of the next 5 years. I hope you will do the same. Thank you for your consideration.


Please contact us at to let us know what you are able to commit. You can also call the office at 301-527-8222 to pay by credit card over the phone, or pay using our online donation page at

Also, please let us know if you can make it to the MLW holiday party (aka corporation meeting) on the evening of December 23 at Strathmore Hall Mansion in North Bethesda. I hope to see you there. It has been way too long!


Finally, we are creating an MLW staff alumni directory. Please email your contact information to the MLW office ( and indicate whether you wish to be included. Alumni who do not opt out will be included.

Warmest holiday greetings,

Ron Dhindsa
News from our Alumni
By: Lauren Hanson Lee

MLW would like to send our sincerest congratulations to the following people:

Derryck Fletcher got engaged to Alexius Vice on June 12, 2010 (her birthday) on a boat out on the Potomac. The Wedding will be April 30, 2011 in Baltimore.  Below is a picture of Derryck and his beautiful fiance.


Aliza Leventhal was accepted to Simmons College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science for a dual degree program in Archives Management (MA in history, MS in library science). Starting January 2011. She will be in Boston for the next 4 years.

Steph Barnes will be singing Gretel in Red Branch Theatre Company's production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel December 9-12.

Maggie Leahy is graduating from NYU in December and moving to San Diego in January to be a roadie for Invisible Children, a non-profit that is working to end the war in Central Africa.

Brad Sanzenbacher just moved to San Francisco and started a new job as Youth Services Coordinator at the Midpeninsula Media Center in Palo Alto, California. His job combines working with youth and multimedia production, and will draw strongly on his experience with MLW. Also, He's about to release my debut album, "Fear and Drought." People can get updates about the release by going to and "liking" him on a facebook, or signing up for his mailing list.

Doug Dennison (MSEL Staff '03, '04) was married to Susan Binger of Johnstown, PA at the Museum of Industry in Baltimore on September 25th. The couple met at the University of Pittsburgh and currently live in Dover, DE where Doug is a journalist for the Dover Post.

Nyron Burke and his wife, Ruth, are expecting a new bundle of joy.  Best wishes to Nyron and Ruth!
Holiday Party - RSVP Now!
MLW's annual Corporation Meeting (aka Holiday Party)  will be held this year on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at Strathmore Mansion. Please rsvp by calling 301-527-8222 or emailing We look forward to seeing you on the 23rd!
Giving Back to MLW
By: Bri O'Brien Lowndes

Happy holidays! I hope you have time set aside to relax and celebrate with the people you love.

As the New Year approaches, I always find myself taking stock of what's important to me. As much as 2011 will be a time of new adventures and projects, the New Year is also the perfect time to renew your commitment to those things that have always been on your list. I think for most of us - MLW is.

As you wrap up this year with presents, and parties, and toasts, I hope you'll consider including MLW in some way. Your gifts to MLW are of great importance and allow us to impact Maryland's youth, year after year. So consider a gift in honor of the parent or teacher who originally sent you, or if there isn't anything you really want - ask for contributions to MLW in lieu of gifts. (Don't forget, all charitable contributions are fully tax deductible).

Or if a financial gift is not in the cards this season, I ask that as you make resolutions and do your best to keep them that you find room for MLW on the list. I know that my annual resolution to "do more good this year than last" is always easy to keep with MLW in my life. And its not difficult to stay involved! You can come to a policy board meeting, recommend a child, connect us with a corporate sponsor, staff a program, and much more! No matter what your schedule or situation, there is always a way to keep the MLW magic in your life!

Happy holidays to you and yours!

To make a contribution, visit our online donation site by clicking here or simply call our office at 301-527-8222 to find out other ways to make your contribution.
Alum Spotlight - Ray Sacchetti
By: Lauren Hanson Lee

Below is an interview MLW conducted recently with former staffer, Ray Sacchetti. 

When did you attend MLW as a student and when did you staff MLW?

  • Delegate Junior High Program -- Summer of 1972
  • Delegate Senior High Program -- Summer of 1973
  • Junior High Staff & ALS Delegate -- Summer 0f 1974
  • Junior High Staff and Senior High Staff -- Summer of 1975
  • Staff at Lots of programs, Senior High, ALS etc -- Summer of 1976 -- 198?

How did you come to be a part of MLW?

One of my Junior High School Student Government Advisors was Karleen Allen.

What is your favorite memory from MLW? 

Too many to include.... but.... Drafting the articles of incorporation in Karleen's house, Post workshop parties at the Rajacich's, Mike's nick names for everyone, Si's love of the program (and his Dutch temper), Getting my first tennis lesson from Si in a quiet moment between workshops, TOOOOOO many late nights figuring out what we were going to teach the next day, Silly songs at morning sing, Long walks with special people in St. Mary's, Arriving at Princeton as a freshman and being greeted by half a dozen MLW alumni, Alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day read by Joel at vespers, Spending time with the most amazing people I've ever met.......

What is your job now?

I am the Senior Vice President of Virology for Bristol-Myers Squibb.  In this position, I am the head of commercial operations for the world's largest producer of medications for people living with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B.

Do you use any of the skills of MLW in your job/daily life? Which ones?

My experiences on the staff of MLW have more to do with my success in business than any other single factor. My ability to lead teams, communicate effectively and create a compelling vision of the future are all directly related to those early experiences.

What is/was your favorite thing about MLW?

The lifelong friends that I have from the program.

What advice would you give to new staffers about life/work/passion/etc.?

Surround yourself with extraordinary people that share your passion for life and learn something from each person you encounter.

What would you like to see MLW doing over the next few years?

Expand its alumni activities and raise enough money to ensure its sustained existence for the next 50 years!

An Unlikely Mix: MLW & Elementary Education
By: Natalie Sayag


Over the summer, you all know me as Natalie. During the school year, I often go by a different name - Ms. S. I am an Elementary Education major at Elon University and I spent most of my time with a bunch of students in the area. This semester alone, I am in three different internships: one in fourth grade at a high-poverty school, one in an ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom, and one as a tutor to a struggling math student. These kids keep me busy and so, so happy.Over the years, I have found myself learning a lot both as a teacher and as a staffer of numerous MLW programs. I feel like I have grown tremendously in both roles and I do not think I could not have been as successful in one without the help of the other; staffing MLW has most certainly benefited my teaching and vice versa.

Even though I work with little guys during the year, working with the middle and high school delegates over the summer has taught me some invaluable lessons and skills, not to mention allowed me to have a few more mature conversations. The following is a Top 5 list of the most important things MLW has helped me with as an elementary school teacher. While in my mind MLW and elementary school are two different entities, writing this article has shown me they are a little more similar than one might think.

5. Teamwork - Teaching is all about working with others to create the best possible lessons for your students. I have learned great communication and organizational skills from being a team leader and a team member. Goodness knows the skills I have gained and the relationships I have made have impacted how I work with my teaching teams and partners now in the schools.  

4. Planning - You know those extensive plans we write over the summer for Learning Units? I don't get a break from them! The lesson plans I write for school are even longer and more extensive. I am so glad I have had the practice writing lesson plans for MLW, though, because it makes the transition back into "teacher stuff" at the end of the summer less daunting and scary.

3. Processing - I feel like all I do in school is process the heck out of my kids. All day long I ask questions and more questions and even more questions. A huge thank you to anyone who has ever taught a processing workshop or given me feedback on processing. It certainly has helped me, as a student teacher, push my kids' thinking and challenge them just a little.

2. Tuning - As a teacher, you don't just teach, you often act as students' therapists. Tuning is one of my favorite parts of the MLW week since it really helps me to get to know my delegates as individuals. The emotional connection I try to achieve with them is something I also work towards with my students. Tuning has helped me prepare for my little ones that need just a little extra love and care.

1. Passion - Being surrounded by so many passionate and dedicated individuals over the summer has taught me that no job is worth it unless you love it. I have loved being a part of the MLW magic for the past few years and I can only hope to recreate that type of magic in my future classroom. I absolutely love teaching and am so thankful that I can transition throughout the year from one role I love to another.