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So you want to be a leader?

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By Kirsten Laskey

So you want to be a leader? Think you have what it takes to assume control?

For six years, Leadership Los Alamos has helped locals develop the necessary skills and May 8, the newest crop of leaders celebrated graduation.

So just what does it take to be a leader?

William Phillips, who was the keynote speaker, said leadership requires having an open mind, being aware of the interdependency of all things, having a passion for leadership and helping others and learning compassion.

So to the crowd of newly minted leaders, Phillips said, “I think you’re all very fortunate. Don’t take it for granted.”

Twenty-three graduates received their certificates during a ceremony and dinner at the Best Western Hilltop House.

To get to this point, they spent nine months training and learning about issues pertaining to Los Alamos, Marc Clay, vice chairman of the organization, said.

These issues include government and economy as well as regional issues, cultural issues and the environment.

And while every class likes to think of itself as the best, John Hofmann, past chair, said this particular class “is a great class,” “very enthusiastic.”

The true test, he said, will be what the participants do with their new knowledge.

Kim Selvege, co-chair, added graduates are already getting into action. “If they haven’t already done something significant in the community, they have signed on to be on a board or committee in the future.”

Past graduates include county councilors such as Mike Wismer, Jim West and Mike Wheeler. Also, school board members, including Steve Girrens.

It’s not just adults accepting leadership roles. Leadership Los Alamos has a close relationship with Los Alamos Youth Leadership, Clay said.

Clay explained LAYL offers a lot of projects, which is something adult organizations would like to follow.

Additionally, he said the hope is to provide leadership skills that deal with issues as well as to work to engage alumni in the program.

“We’re looking for a new group of people who want to learn about Los Alamos and make it a better place,” Selvege said.

Hofmann encourages people to pick up an application.

“It’s a great program and we’re drawing plans to make it even better next year. (We’re) looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

One new addition will be the John Hofmann Award. The award was made in honor of Hofmann and will be given to a student who goes above and beyond the standards.

The first recipient was Hofmann himself and it was presented to him during the event.

The award was a complete surprise to Hofmann. It was even kept a secret from his wife, Sue.

“Basically, there are so many individual people who started this program but he stayed involved throughout the years,” Selvege explained.

Upon receiving the award, Hofmann said, “This rejuvenates me … thank you so much … everyone.”

Applications are already available to people to take part in next year’s program. The forms can be downloaded at www.leadershiplosalamos.com. The deadline to submit is July 12.