Leaders meet here from near and far

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By Carol A. Clark

The eastside home of Roger Waterman and his wife Emily was filled with local leaders, leaders from across New Mexico and as far away as Russia Thursday evening. The common denominator drawing the large group together for an evening of introduction and networking is Leadership New Mexico, an educational organization dedicated to the future of New Mexico. Leadership New Mexico was founded in 1995 to identify current and emerging leaders throughout New Mexico, enhance their leadership skills, and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the state.Waterman co-owns TRK Management. He is an alumni and holds a seat on Leadership New Mexico’s board of directors. This is the third consecutive year he has hosted the Los Alamos event in his home.“Most smaller New Mexico communities only get to host the group once so we’ve been lucky to have them three times,” Waterman said. “The group is staying at the Hampton Inn (Waterman’s hotel), Los Alamos Public Schools is transporting them around the area and Hill Diner and Central Avenue Grill furnished tonight’s food.”Min Park owns Central Avenue Grill. He is a Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory, serves on the Leadership New Mexico curriculum committee and is a 2007 program participant. “The most important part of this program is to expose leaders from all parts of New Mexico to the challenges facing the state,” Park said. “The second most important is the network we develop. We become friends spending 10 months together and we’re just a phone call away.”This is the first time many out of town leaders have visited Los Alamos, he said, adding it’s an opportunity for them to meet local leaders in finance, education, government, the construction industry other fields.Leadership New Mexico President Patty Komko spent the day at the Valles Caldera with this year’s participants, who are in town for the Health and Human Services unit of the nearly year-long program.“We’re back here for our fifth year so that should say it all,” Komko said of the importance the program places on the local community. “Los Alamos has an amazing group of leadership volunteers and they always welcome us so graciously.”Komko described the success of the program in Los Alamos as a tribute to Waterman, Park, and community leaders Denise Lane and Sharon Stover for their efforts and support of the program.“When the community has a business as large as the laboratory and you open the newspaper and see something not going so well, you don’t see the business, you see the people,” Komko said. “With the county you think, ‘I know Robert Gibson, with the schools it’s Steve Girrens and with the laboratory it’s Min Park’. What Leadership Los Alamos and Leadership New Mexico do is humanize communities and businesses and help people work better together. It’s not about the businesses, it’s about the people who are there.” Los Alamos Medical Center CEO Sandy Podley is a participant in this year’s Leadership New Mexico program. “This is our second meeting, the first was our two-day orientation,” Podley said. “I’ve always heard wonderful things about Leadership New Mexico - it’s surpassed all I’ve heard and I’m honored to be a part of it.”Local Magistrate Judge Pat Casados is a graduate of Leadership Los Alamos and joined Leadership New Mexico’s Local Government Leadership Program Thursday. “I love the state of New Mexico and would love to know more about it,” Casados said. “I enjoyed participating in Leadership Los Alamos and even though I’m a native, there’s always more to learn.”The group will spend today at the Los Alamos Research Park, this evening at the Bradbury Museum and Saturday at Fuller Lodge.The five person Russian contingent, who happen to be on a sister city visit this week from Sarov, stopped by the Waterman gathering Thursday with local coordinators Laury and Alice Mann.Leadership New Mexico is nonpartisan, does not advocate for legislation, does not endorse political candidates, and does not take a stand on political or social issues. Leadership New Mexico educates participants including leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors about statewide and regional issues. The nonprofit organization is funded through contributions from corporations, foundations, and individual donors.

Leadership New Mexico at a glanceLeadership New Mexico´s Core Program sessions are designed to address current issues facing the state. Each program session features speakers who are acknowledged leaders in their specific fields, while program participants actively engage in discussion and debate. The process offers an opportunity for inquiry, analysis, and development of solutions to the most pressing issues facing our communities and state.Sessions are held in communities across the state. The Core Program is open to all New Mexico citizens. Leadership New Mexico selects a class each year of 40-45 leaders who represent a statewide cross-section from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.The Local Government Leadership Program is an educational partnership between the New Mexico Association of Counties, the New Mexico Municipal League, and Leadership New Mexico. These three organizations have joined together to provide an educational experience to municipal and county officials. The goal of the program is to develop and enhance leadership capacities of officials while fostering a higher level of civic and community concern and participation.CONNECT New Mexico launched this fall. The curriculum is designed to offer young professionals the opportunity to develop personal leadership skills, learn how New Mexico systems and structures work, and explore the critical issues facing the state. Participants, ages 25-40, learn about the statewide operations of a variety of systems and structures in the state. This process is designed to elicit participants to cultivate new ideas, techniques, and to develop solutions to some of New Mexico’s most pressing issues.