Maryland Leadership Workshops
Maryland Leadership Workshops Newsletter
Learn to Lead.
Lead for Life
September 2011


It's a Wrap!!  After a whirlwind of months of training, reviewing applications and final preparations at Washington College, the 2011 MLW staff welcomed another group of delegates for an amazing, life-transforming experience. There were plenty of highs and maybe a couple of lows (Monday Night Activity RAINED OUT during SHW!) but overall it was an incredibly successful summer.


All of the core programs saw major revisions in the curriculum and, with relatively young staffs, had a lot of opportunity for growth. We were fortunate to have so many long time MLW staff join us as part of Team O (on-site office staff) and guest facilitators. Everyone benefited from their experience and enthusiasm.


This has been a transition year for MLW with a new Board of Directors, a new Executive Director and first time directors for all the core programs. With the hard work, patience and flexibility of everyone involved, we once again achieved the mission of delivering the highest quality experience to empower and enrich the lives of the young people with whom we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to intereact.


Not surprisingly, the work doesn't stop with the end of the summer. As I write this, we are planning elections for the Program Board and beginning discussions of what next year holds. Fundraising, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships are all areas to develop. One thing is certain, with the incredible dedication and true desire of delegates and staff to see MLW succeed, 2012 will be the best year yet. Read on to see how you can be involved in the ongoing growth of MLW reaching as many young people across the state of Maryland as possible!   Ilaya Signature

In This Issue
A Message from Eliot
Program Board and Beyond
2011 Program Highlights
Of Note, Alumni Notes
Where is MLW Taking You?
Alumni Spotlight
MLW Through the Years
2011 Delegate Feedback
MLW Board of Directors
A Message from the Chair
Eliot Head Shot
Eliot Pfanstiehl, Chair, MLW Board


My friends,


Rarely, has a 56 year old not-for-profit organization totally renovated itself without bankruptcy, bloodshed, or fatal strife. Yet, that's exactly what MLW has done over the past three years. Thanks to the remarkable foresight and herculean leadership of President Ron Dhindsa, MLW successfully retained the youthful talent to continue driving the many peer-led youth leadership programs for which we are known.


Meanwhile, a whole new level of fiscal accountability and support has been added with the inauguration of MLW's first official Board of Directors. MLW hired Ilaya Hopkins, Executive Director, who came to us with wisdom, not-for-profit expertise, good humor and a remarkable work ethic. She hit the ground running in March and oversaw the implementation of the resident and outreach programs through the summer staying on-site and visiting as many of the outreaches as possible. (This is the rough equivalent of building the proverbial airplane while flying it. We didn't just fly, we soared!)


Members of the new Board of Directors are listed in the sidebar, but their professional titles don't tell their full story. Every one of them is a parent, alumni, professional colleague or benefactor of MLW. At the first Board meeting, each one described their distinct thread of connection to MLW. Each conveyed a refreshing authenticity, deep passion and real excitement to "give back" to a program which has been foundational to so many. Never, in my 35 years of working with Boards, have I experienced such a high level of commitment and mutual respect at the very first Board meeting.


So, if you are one of those to whom the old MLW has always been near and dear, you can rest easy knowing the financial and organizational future is in the very best of hands. And if you are one of the hundreds of staff alumni, or thousands of delegates steeped in the vivid traditions, values and songs of your Workshop years, rest assured that the Program Board and active staff still honor and protect everything you most cherished about your MLW Experience.


The quality of teaching I witnessed this past summer was everything I remember from my staffing days. (BTW Technology has come to MLW presentations and the MLW Resource Library lives online!) The social bonding we once forged in group meetings, morning sings and at solemn vespers still produce the exuberant laughter and quiet awe I felt in the '70's. Only the True could endure with such fidelity over so many years.


As the Board of Directors now works to construct a "concert foundation" where only a "brave scaffolding" once stood, consider this your formal invitation to "come home to MLW" to ensure that many more young lives are changed in the future. As government support is shrinking, make MLW one of your favorite tax deductions now. It is "Pay it forward time" for many of us and the ball is rolling. My email is if you'd like to see what we can do together for MLW no matter where you live now.


Eliot Pfanstiehl

Chair, MLW Board of Directors

Program Board and Beyond

As is done every fall, the Program Board will elect two members to serve as general membership directors. The Program Board - a total of eight members - is involved in the selection of program directors, recruitment and training of staff, curricular developments and program evaluation. In addition to the general members, two young staff members are nominated to serve for one year on the Program Board.


The Program Board also advertises and selects key staff leadership positions including the Staff Development Director and Community Outreach Director. Application deadlines are September 30. To apply, send a letter of interest to


There are other ways for people to get involved in the organization and its growth. Word of mouth continues to be our most powerful recruitment tool so think of the friends, relatives, colleagues you can tell about MLW. We are committed to keeping the programs as accessible to as many as possible and rely on the generosity of alumni, corporations and foundations to provide financial support to underwrite program costs and provide a scholarship fund to deserving students. You can help by making a tax deductible donation today!


The Board of Directors has established a number of committees to focus on key areas of growth including marketing, strategic partnerships and measuring our success. If you are interested in getting involved in any of these committees, please contact


Most important, stay in touch! If you have interesting articles, events, ideas on leadership or your MLW experience, share them at

2011 MLW Core Programs

This summer, we hosted 268 delegates at our three core programs: ALS, MSEL and SHW. In addition, we worked with over 250 students in a variety of outreach programs across the state from Southern Maryland to Washington and Harford Counties to the City of Baltimore. Thirty percent of core program delegates were returning delegates which speaks to the powerful impact our programs have on participants who choose to spend another summer at MLW.

SHW 2011 workshop
Delegates Presenting at a Workshop

Based on data from the pre and post site assessments, delegates continue to be most interested in gaining skills in public speaking and consistently rank our Diversity Workshops as among their favorite parts of the program.  After attending MLW programs, delegates indicate that they believe they will be more academically successful and more involved in clubs and extra curricular activities.  MLW welcomes reports from former delegates about how MLW has impacted their experience in school and the community.

For their stellar recruitment and support of such wonderful delegates, a special thanks to:

  • Gary Winsett, Regional Advisor of Charles County
  • Heather Jenkins, Regional Advisor of Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils (CRASC)
  • Sue Simmons, Director of Caroline County Recreation and Parks Department
  • Richard Moody, Regional Advisor for Prince George's Regional Association of Student Governements (PGRASG)
  • Ronnie Bohn, Regional Advisor of Howard County

 Start thinking now of young people to recruit for 2012!

Of note, Alumni Notes! 

Sarah Anderson graduated with a Masters in Public Health from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in May. After graduation, she moved to Rhode Island, where she is now working from home for a group at Emory that provides training and technical assistance related to tobacco control and diabetes prevention. And the final big thing is that she will be getting married on October 1 in Mystic, Connecticut.


Kathryn Cohen is directing her first production (a one act play in a student showcase) and is also in her first college play, "Trojan Women: A Love Story," which is running September 29 through October 2 at the University of Richmond.


Rebecca (Gifford) Goldberg and her husband have recently moved back to the area after spending five years in Boston. Rebecca is an Associate Partner with Bellwether Education Partners.


Jason Israel graduated with a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and received the top graduate award, the Ellen S. Raphael Award for Academic Excellence and Public Service. Additionally, he started a program called Harvard in the Schools (HITS) in which he brought Harvard Graduate students to local public school classrooms for small-group mentoring and MLW-like workshops. The program just received funding from the Harvard Center for Public Leadership to grow this year under its new leadership! He also spent the summer on the faculty of the United States Naval War College, College of Operational and Strategic Leadership. Way to go Jason!

Lauren Lee daughter

Future MLW Leader

Maisie Blair Lee


Lauren Lee and her husband Jake are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Maisie Blair on July 9th, 2011. The family is very happy and enjoying their future MLW delegate!


Kea McKoy started a new job. She's working for Health Howard, Inc. a non profit organization geared towards promoting health and wellness in the Howard County community. She is coordinating the Healthy Schools program which a partnership between Healthy Howard, the health department and the local school system.


Barrie Moorman started a new job this summer! She is a founding teacher at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School's High School in Washington DC, where she am teaching AP World History to their first 9th grade class. Congratulations!


DaShawn Murry proposed to his girlfriend of two and a half years, (and she said yes) Tina Vines! Congrats to Dashawn!


According to Mike Michaelson,"Pete Robertson is currently serving on the Shaker Heights, Ohio Board of Education. He has announced that he shall stand for election again. He is a MLW alum from the mid to late 80's. He also served a year as the Student Member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. I guess he is a glutton for punishment. For those who may be interested in more information, Pete may be found on Facebook just like the rest of the world."


Natalie Sayag got a job teaching 5th grade at Andrews Elementary, a Title 1 school, in North Carolina.


Vice-President of the Program Board Kevin Taylor is engaged to Libby Williams! A fall 2012 wedding is planned!


Darren Thompson, former delegate and staff member, works at American Express in Charlotte, North Carolina and has generously supported MLW through and employer matched donation program. Thanks Darren!


If you have information to share, please send it to Lauren Lee at


Where is MLW Taking You?

Former program delegates tell how MLW has shaped their futures.


Shayna Brown, a Senior High delegate from a few years ago, brought her younger sister to MLW this summer. She is headed to Penn State this fall.


When asked how MLW made a difference for her, she wrote...


After completing all of the MLW programs, there were a lot of things that had a profound impact on helping me prepare for college that I still use today. Of all of them, the most influential part of the MLW experience would have to be meeting all of the other fellow delegates. I met so many people who were different than students I went to school with and had different families, went to different kinds of schools, had hobbies of which I had never heard of and just overall different personalities of that I had never seen before. That was a boost not only in my personality, but it also helped me to overcome my shyness. It was like first day at a new school and knowing no one there, but then you make friends once you start talking.


But this was also not just any first day of school, it was a step up from that because not only did I have to go to a place I had never been and meet people I never met, but I also had to leave my mom and my sister for a whole entire week! This was nerve racking because I had to stay in a dorm at a college and I wasn't even old enough to be in high school. By the end of the week I made so many friends (that I still talk to, to this day!), had so much fun and remember feeling like I never wanted to leave.


When I did start high school I wasn't the reserved, shy girl everybody was used to seeing. I was enthusiastic, spontaneous, and open minded and I when I went in the building the second thing I said after kissing my mom goodbye was, "Thank You MLW!" 


I know that I can go into college and start new and do the same exact thing I did that morning on the first day of high school. So, Thank You MLW.


Where is MLW taking you? Send your stories and comments to

 Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Culver

When did you staff/attend MLW as a delegate? 

Michelle Culver
Michelle Culver

My first year as a delegate was when I was a sophomore in high school in the summer of 1992. After that, I staffed Senior High from 1994 until 2000 where I made my last appearance as evaluator under Ron and Charlie.


What was one of your most memorable experiences as a delegate or on staff?

I can tell you I have a lot of memories, but one really sticks out as memorable. It was when I was a delegate and in a group called "Purple Inc." In the synthesis session (Reality) we had to figure out where we were going to build our corporate plant. The staff told us that we had three places to choose where to build it. First was in a low-income community in Baltimore. The second was in Montgomery County and lastly was by the Chesapeake Bay.


I remember that it was a turning point for me as we tried to make meaning of the different places. This plant and its trajectory had a lot to do with race, class and privilege. For the first time, those things had meaning for me and I understood why our group was arguing and having a hard time deciding.


Describe your background, your job and a little bit about yourself.

I joined Teach For America as a 1999 Los Angeles corps member. As a fifth grade teacher in Compton, I had the second-highest-performing fifth grade class in the Compton Unified School District on the state exam, leading 94 percent of my students to advance at least 1.5 grade levels in reading. After my third year in the classroom, I joined Teach For America staff as a program director before becoming one of the organization's first managing directors of program. In that role, I led the Los Angeles region to exceed the goal for corps members who led students to achieve significant gains by 15 percent. As founding member of the national Teacher Support and Development team, I helped to create the organization's strategy for teacher effectiveness, build a performance management system, and lead the efforts to rapidly increase the rigor and pace of learning for the half a million students reached by over 6200 teachers across 29 regions.


Currently, I serve as the Vice President of Regional Operations and manage 5 executive directors in California, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta. I am responsible for maximizing the impact of the 1900 corps members and 3400 alumni and raising the $39 million dollars needed to fuel the movement in these communities. I live in Chicago with my fiancÚ, the corps member who taught in the classroom next door to me in Compton.  I am a graduate of Tulane University with a master's in education from Loyola Marymount University.


Tell us a little bit about Teach for America and how it relates to leadership and your life.

According to TFA, closing the achievement gap is possible and it's solvable. TFA has a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of this success, not unlike MLW does. There are several components to reaching it that also translate into life and all tenets of leadership:

1. set an ambitious goal and vision

2. invest others in the goal

3. play purposely to reach goal

4. work hard and relentlessly

5. execute effectively

6. continuously improve and reflect on your own performance


I like these steps because it's how to live as well, not just simple steps to achieve a goal.


How did MLW help you achieve your own goals and help form you into a leader?

MLW gave me the foundations - and enhanced my core beliefs. The program also allowed me to practice these foundational techniques in a safe space that helped me grow. I am a values driven leader and I was forced to examine my own beliefs and mindsets.


What is some advice that you have for newer staff members?

Emulate someone you admire but to continue to be yourself at the same time. You need to figure out your own voice and style. You also should be proactive about asking for feedback about how you can improve.

MLW Through the Years
MLW Staff late 1970s
MLW Staff - Do You Know the Year?
Thanks to people like Mike Michaelson, Steve Sultanoff and Karen Crawford, we are building the MLW Photo Archive and putting it online for all to see.

If you have classic photos to include, please email them to or post them to our Facebook Fan Page at

Be sure to include the year, program and individuals in the photo so we will know who everyone is!  Do you know some of the MLW staff from the late 1970's in the photo above?

Join the legacy and be a part of MLW 3.0 as we continue to enrich, empower and engage Maryland youth. Stay in touch through, and LinkedIn

Let us know what you would like to see in our next newsletter at

Are you interested in supporting MLW?

Donate online or contact the office at 301-527-8222 to find out how you can make a tax deductible contribution.

Contributions of $500 or more may qualify for a tax credit.

2011 Delegate Feedback 

At MLW, feedback is a critical part of the program, from the workshops, to the staff performance to the pre- and post site self assessement completed by the delegates.  Thanks to all for taking the time to help make our programs better.



This was the best week of my life because I learned new things, met awesome new people and saw a whole new side of my personality. -- MSEL delegate


I really enjoyed the MLW experience. I liked talking with the groups. Sometimes we talked about things that I would not be willing to talk about with friends. I am really glad that MLW was able to provide me with a safe and comfortable environment to discuss these things. -- SHW delegate


MLW is a truly life changing experience. This camp redefines leadership in so many ways. In camps its typical that the people in charge will stand up in front of you and tell you who you're supposed to be by the end of your time there. But, at MLW the staff really pays attention to our specific needs and personalities to make us better leaders. -- ALS delegate


Visit for more testimonials.

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MLW Board of Directors

Executive Committee


Eliot Pfanstiehl,


President and CEO, Strathmore Hall


Sean M. Looney,

Vice Chair

Vice President, State Government Affairs, Comcast


Katherine Getty, Treasurer

Managing Director, Susquehanna Bank


Kim Coble,


MD Exec Dir, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.


Ranjit Dhindsa,

President, Program Board

Attorney, Hollingsworth LLP


Ilaya R. Hopkins

Executive Director


Board of Directors


John Cammack

Commack and Associates


Lloyd Etheredge

Project Director, Policy Sciences Center


Nancy Grasmick

State Superintendent (retired)

MD State Dept of Education


Holly B. Huntley

Vice President, Human Resources, CSC


Thomas Jarboe

COO, Technology Security Associates


Rose Krasnow

Division Chief, M-NCPPC


Nancy Minieri

President, Leadership Maryland


Ann Misback



Betty Morgan

Executive Director Grad Nation

America's Promise Alliance


Wilson H. Parran

Asst Sec - Mission Support, MD DNR


Skipp Sanders

Lecturer, Morgan State University


Susan C. Simmons

Director, Caroline County Recreation & Parks


Cathleen Vitale

Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates


Betty Weller

VP, Maryland State Education Association


Amanda Werrell



Important Dates


September 30 - Applications for Appointed and Elected positions due


October 2 -

Program Board Meeting

12:00 - 2:00 p.m.


October 27 -

Board of Directors Meeting

11:30 - 1:30


December 28 -

6:00 p.m.

Corporation Staff Celebration


January 7, 2012

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


2011 Delegate Reunion