See who our Impact Champion Honorees are of 2021
As an organization that believes in being a servant leader, it is our privilege to honor the servant leaders among us! Our SLG Network gives of their time and talent across a myriad of organizations and we are so proud of each and every member of our community. However, in 2021, there were a few that stood out as champions for developing leaders of character. Would you please join us in celebrating their accomplishments!
In addition to logging by far the most volunteer hours (just shy of 300!) in 2021, Ed Sheppard served on the most volunteer teams with SLG! Among his many accomplishments, he launched the Tampa Bay Area cohort, led the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee, led a prototype for a potential new mentoring model for SLG cohorts, and was an avid ambassador for SLG. His efforts has established an SLG presence in Florida, enabled the development of the SLG D&I Framework, and has impacted the lives of fellows and mentors alike! We are so inspired by his selfless service to others!
As a volunteer board member, Ray Steinmetz has gone above and beyond in his efforts to create a new network of courageous leaders for America! As Board Treasurer, Ray has been instrumental in creating, obtaining board approval and monitoring the SLG budget. He ensures our non-profit registrations and IRS 990 are complete and on-time. He has led our Board Administration and Nomination Committee championing policy updates and succession planning and served on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Twice he called our mentors and fellows to check in on how they were surviving the pandemic and to see how we could continue to support them. He and his wife Torri also opened up their home to celebrate our CORE supporters in our end of the year celebration. We are endlessly grateful for his generosity of time, expertise, and support!
Ray Rottman is not only one of the founding members of Severn Leadership Group, he served as the Northern Virginia program manager, and now leads the Annapolis cohorts. Additionally, as a certified emotional intelligence (EQ) coach he has spent hours training and providing individual coaching for dozens of mentors and fellows. It is not unusual to find Ray mentoring a fellow while also leading a cohort and providing EQ training and coaching! As someone always looking for ways he can help, he has also supported SLG in their communications and recruiting efforts. Ray lives out what it means to be a servant leader and we are incredibly grateful for the example he sets for the SLG Network!
Not all are aware that our incredible Program Managers are volunteers! They generously give of their time – upwards of 80 hours – to coordinate, lead, and facilitate each cohort.
In 2021, Aaron Thieme, with assistance from Jack Houdeshell, tirelessly ran three cohorts in our Groton location! His leadership and commitment to developing leaders of character enabled 42 fellows and senior fellows to refine their leadership to make a difference in the lives of those they lead at home, at work, and within their communities. We are inspired by the stories of transformation we hear coming from their fellows!
Our certified mentors are the backbone of our Fellows Program. They truly are the reason transformation is possible for our fellows! We had three mentors that answered the call to support and develop leaders during one of the most grueling years for leaders across the nation.
In addition to mentoring a single fellow in the first half of the year, Mike Murphy and Doug Moran stepped up to try something new! They each led a “band” of three and four fellows, respectively, through our Fellows Program simultaneously. It was a prototype
SLG was testing as a future scaling option. Not only did each gentleman rise to the challenge of balancing the mentorship of multiple fellows at once, they gave us invaluable feedback on the benefits and costs of using a “mentor band” concept. We are beyond grateful for their selfless service to their fellows, as well as their commitment to ensuring the success and quality of our Fellows Program!
Another mentor we need to acknowledge is Val Overstreet! Last year we saw a dramatic increase in the number of female fellows applying for our Fellows Program, shifting our gender demographic to about fifty percent male and female! However, despite our intentional recruiting efforts, our mentor demographic is not as well balanced. Only about 15 percent of our certified mentors are women. In 2021, Val truly stepped up by mentoring three individual fellows to help provide a women’s voice in the cohorts, as well as pour into our female fellows. We are blessed to have her as a role model to all our fellows going through our program!
Leadership and change cannot happen in a vacuum. And leaders on mission to change the leadership norms – that is, to reassert that character is a requirement of being leader – must have a support network. We need to recognize three members of our SLG Network that have been true ambassadors of SLG, bringing more leaders in to strengthen our support network.
Mark Germano is both a volunteer board member and certified mentor. In 2021, he introduced SLG to leaders far and wide leading to two new board members and three fellows who joined SLG. Additionally, he led the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board Committee and walked beside a fellow in the first Northern Virginia cohort. Mark trained all board members on fundraising and assisted the SLG President and Chair with fundraising goals and plans. He also led a team of volunteers spearheading our fall Level-up campaign. His efforts increased SLG’s ability to continue offering partially and fully paid fellowships! We admire his ability to see the potential in others and boldness to
invite them to strive for it!
In addition to assisting the operations and facilitation of the Groton cohort, Jack Houdeshell was an avid ambassador, spreading the word to the leaders in the Groton area. His efforts brought in five new fellows last year! We are grateful to his commitment to inviting leaders to join SLG and lean into making a bigger impact by becoming a leader of character.
And we would be remiss if we did not highlight Elise Harlow! She is an Annapolis 2019 graduate who has referred more fellows to SLG than any other alumni! In 2021 alone, her referrals have led to three new leaders experiencing SLG and joining the leadership of character movement! In addition to being a connector, Elise has offered her talents to help with communications and events to further spread the word of the SLG experience! We celebrate her desire to support her peers by introducing them to the power of the SLG Fellows Program!
Finally, there is one special family that has been united as champions for better leadership in America. The entire Moran family have each volunteered with SLG in various ways. We mentioned how Doug mentored five fellows last year already, but Gretchen has been just as involved mentoring two fellows, as well as serving on the communications, IT, operations, and events teams.
Additionally, their two teenage children, Izzy and Jack, have also generously given their time to help build books for the Fellows Program and serve at events. Izzy was even our official photographer at our CORE event in December! We are simply amazed by this dynamic family and grateful for their consistent support!