In times of uncertainty, communities depend on their leaders for guidance. Virginians are simultaneously navigating an unprecedented global pandemic while also addressing the compelling need for equality and justice for all and for racial reconciliation. The alumni of Lead Virginia are using their leadership skills and the social capital they fostered during the Lead Virginia program to find solutions that benefit their communities and organizations. Each of their unique, exemplary stories is a testament to Lead Virginia's mission of shaping leaders that engage in the shared responsibility of advancing the Commonwealth.
Inspiring Stories from Inspiring Leaders
Learn how Lead Virginia has helped prepare alumni for challenges like navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hope Johnson ‘05
President & CEO, Pyramind LLC
Michel Zajur ‘10
President & CEO, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Ilsa Loeser '19
Principal, Letterpress Communications
Josh Sawyers '19
Innovation Center Manager, The University of Virginia's College at Wise
Cian Robinson '08
Executive Director of Innovation, Research and Real Estate Investments, Lafayette General Health
BK Fulton '11
Founding Chairman, CEO, Soulidifly
Amy Yarcich '10
Executive Director, Rx Partnership
Douglas McDonald '05
Partner, Venable LLP
"The Venable Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by contributions from Venable LLP equity partners, is awarding $1 million in grants to support 18 organizations that are working to meet the increased needs of vulnerable groups during the pandemic. These grants will be made to organizations in the five metro areas where we work: D.C. Central Kitchen, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, the Los-Angeles based California Community Foundation, City Harvest in New York, and the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank."
Tim Hall '09
County Administrator, Henry County
"I learned so much from my Lead Virginia classmates about attacking the day yet remaining flexible. With COVID-19 and with recent flooding in our area, my daily to-do list (I still make one every night) sometimes never gets touched because of what happens after I get to work. As I write this, Henry County is operating under two states of emergency – one for COVID and one for the flooding. The ability to focus on each task as it arrives, and remain calm while doing so, is imperative."
Gloria Witt '19
CEO, Define Success Coaching & Facilitation Services
"The COVID-19 experience has shifted by business model. In a matter of weeks in March, my entire calendar of contract work was eliminated because the contracts were for in-person training content. My experience with LEAD VA exemplified the need for organizations to shift practices to meet the needs of its audience. Since social distancing was implemented, I chose to move forward by tapping into my relationships and paying it forward. I started partnering to share inspirational thoughts using technology around remote working and writing articles on the topic of leadership to share. I particularly wanted to send a message to high potential individuals that are currently not in a formal role of leadership (waiting in the shadows of their organizations) to seize the moment to lead in an article entitled, Rainbow Leadership Moment."