Southern Delaware Aspiring Leaders motivated to make a difference

A third of this year’s Leadership Delaware Fellows come from Kent and Sussex Counties. From left, are Dr. Brittany Hazzard of Millsboro, Matt Windsor of Milton, Michael Curry of Lewes, Jeremy Kalmbacher of Magnolia, Evan Park of Dover, Scott Becker of Magnolia and Mike Utley of Dover. Not pictured: Stephenie Tatman of Harrington and Aiste Foreman of Millsboro.

For the nine Kent and Sussex County residents who have been experiencing Leadership Delaware this year, one concept stands out — motivation to have an impact and contribute to positive change in Delaware.

Developed in 2009 to identify and develop new leaders who could have a positive impact on our state, Leadership Delaware has already directly touched over 200 participants. In the field of politics alone, Delaware state treasurer Ken Simpler and state Sen. Anthony DelCollo are both alumni.

While Leadership Delaware draws from all over the state, this year’s one in every three Fellows lives in Kent or Sussex County.

“We meet monthly and hear from a variety of leaders,” said Terry Strine, president and founder of Leadership Delaware. “Our goal is to educate and broaden the Fellows’ understanding of our challenges and opportunities. Over the years, motivation to become involved has proven to be a by-product of knowledge.”

Jeremy Kalmbacher, director of engineering for Tidewater Utilities in Dover, says the sooner the next generation of leaders gets involved in complex issues, the higher the probability that their solutions will have a lasting and positive impact.

“The top leaders in our state have set the groundwork. Now is the time for us, the next generation of Delaware leaders, to get engaged,” said the Magnolia resident.

Matt Windsor, a minister with Eagles Nest Church in Milton, said Leadership Delaware has broadened his view of how “I can contribute in the bigger picture to help move the state of Delaware into the future. “

While a spirit of motivation has been growing, each session provides a close look at issues facing the state, including health care, finances, crime, the non-profit sector and education.

Lewes resident Michael Curry, assistant chair and professor of Undergraduate Teacher Preparation with Wilmington University, sees wider opportunities to contribute. Before this program, “my field of vision narrowly focused on the world of teaching and how I was affecting my students. Now I can better see education from the state level … how legislation can directly and indirectly affect both K-12 schools and higher education.

“Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting was one of our speakers so I was able to hear her perspectives first-hand and relate them to the teachers-in-training I see everyday,” Mr. Curry said.

That kind of networking especially in our state really enables these Fellows to have an impact, Mr. Strine said. “In Delaware, you really do have to know people to get things done.”

Dover resident Michael Utley, fleet duty officer for Exelon Generation, said he is already feeling the program’s impact “as I take on new challenges and work to help people reach a higher level of performance than they thought was possible.”

Dr. Brittany Hazzard, an intensive out-patient program therapist with Delaware Guidance Services, said “the opportunity to connect, network and build relationships with current leaders statewide has been a big benefit. Building healthy and productive relationships is key to being an effective leader,” added the Millsboro resident.

Evan Park of Dover, assistant director of government affairs for the University of Delaware, sums up his experience this way: “This program moves people from good to great.” And Stephanie Tatman of Harrington, who became a new mother this summer, said she has learned that “I can make a bigger difference and have much less stress by narrowing my focus to one or two really meaningful things.”

Separately, both Aiste Foreman of Millsboro, director of advanced services for Trinity Logistics in Seaford, and Scott Becker, owner of Coastal Car Wash in Dover, returned to motivation as the dominant theme.

“With every session I feel more and more motivated and inspired to get involved and make a difference not only at my work place, but in my community as well,” Ms. Foreman said.

Becker agreed: Each month, “the program seems to motivate us more and more and more to go out and make a difference in our wonderful state.”

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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