Alumni Spotlight


Alumni Spotlights




Martha Shickle, Class of 2018

Martha Shickle
Executive Director, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission
Richmond, VA

What is new and exciting with you now or since your time with Lead Virginia?
My organization will launch a new brand, website and public participation plan in conjunction with our 50th Anniversary celebration in 2019. This is a key strategy for our Strategic Planning Framework adopted in 2018 intended to refocus our direction and services in support the localities of the Richmond Region. We’re focused on building our capacity as a regional resource, celebrating collaborative action in the region, and strengthening our agency’s infrastructure and governance. Outside of my current position, I also joined the board of directors for the Virginia Repertory Theatre.

How did Lead Virginia shape you as a leader?
I appreciated the opportunity to meet fellow participants from multiple sectors and regions of Virginia and to learn different perspectives on the complexities of our communities’ challenges and solutions in health, education and the economy. I loved the chance to have honest conversations about the diversity of needs and opportunities in Virginia and to think more comprehensively about our obligations and barriers to cooperate on a statewide basis.

Since Lead Virginia, how have you put your social capital to work?
My personal cabinet now consists of Lead Virginia alumni from 2018 and I’m so incredibly grateful for the relationships I have that just would not be possible without the program.

What were your expectations of Lead Virginia prior to beginning the program? Did the program exceed or meet your expectations?
I didn’t know what to expect! I saw part of Virginia that I had little familiarity with and learned about scientific developments I had no clue even existed and met amazing people! It was unlike any other leadership program I’ve participated.

What was your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from Lead Virginia that continues to stick with you today? 
Regardless of political beliefs, geography, age, race, economic status, career or position, we have the capacity to find the areas we disagree. But we can also find something bigger in common if we try. It’s in that effort and desire we can do more for our community and see improvement faster and better than before.