Destination: Leadership! 

April E-News
Spring has sprung!
A conversation with Diane Sandford, LLP '12,
Lifetime Leaders Program Inaugural Graduating Class

"I'm happy when I'm extremely busy," Diane Sandford says, reflecting on her thirty year career as the Director of Library Services and Facilities at the law office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

It's a beautiful spring day in the office of Leadership Fairfax, and a spirit of renewal is present both outside and in, as Sandford joyfully raises her arms after a seven month recovery following a shoulder surgery.

A native of Pontiac, Illinois, she moved to the Washington, D.C area with her husband in 1976 after completing her Master's degree in Library Science at Northern Illinois University. Sandford worked as a librarian for the Joint Committee on Taxation on Capitol Hill for a time before joining the office of Ernst & Whinney, and found her career home at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where she maintained  a full schedule up until her retirement in 2010.

"I wanted to give myself a year to do everything I thought I was missing by working such crazy intense hours. After a year, I realized I was really missing people and I was missing a direction to go." Around this time, an information session for the Lifetime Leaders Program serendipitously crossed her path via her neighborhood's online newsletter.

Thus began her journey as an alumnus of LLP's first graduating class."I've met a lot of people and had a lot of fun," say says. "When you work in the legal field, you really only deal with people who work in the legal field. I've met people in management and coaching, [employees] at Mason, grant writers for United Way...It was a nice mix and we all just sort of gravitated toward each other."

The social interaction was just one of many facets of the program benefits for Sandford. "I learned a lot about Fairfax County. My focus for 35 years was DC. I woke up in the morning and went out the door, thankful that Fairfax County had decent roads." But once in the program, she adds, "I learned a lot about my neighborhood, government structure, and a lot about myself. I've learned about a lot of opportunities for engagement."

She went on to use her skills as an editor to help young professionals craft their resumés, and her expertise in administration to provide support for Volunteer Fairfax's Emergency Response program, assisting with recruitment and orientation. Additionally, she came on board at Leadership Fairfax where she became the chair of LLP, collaborating with staff and alumni to redesign the program to show even more directions one can take as they transition out of the work force.

"LLP has my heart. I've been with it since the beginning and I've attended almost every single class," she says, proud of the work she has put into the program both as a student and advisor. Now, after a brief hiatus, Sandford looks forward to re-engaging. For anyone interested in joining the LLP program, she emphatically advises,

"Sign up!"

Class of 2018 applications are underway!
Alumni - It's not too late to nominate your friend or colleague to one of our programs!

As an alum you know first-hand the impact these programs can have on your personal and professional life, so pay it forward and nominate someone today. Nominations can be sent to 

Future students - Slots are filling up fast! Applications can be accessed at Information sessions about each program will be held through April. Don't miss out on being part of our next class of leaders! 

Information session details can be found by clicking  here. More information sessions will be posted as they are finalized.

Recapping a Savory Board of Supervisors Breakfast


"The Supervisors are not afraid to have a good time," Casey Veatch (LFI '99),of Veatch Commercial Real Estate and the Board of Supervisors Breakfast Emcee, reflects on Leadership Fairfax's signature event that took place just three short weeks ago. 

Indeed, the fist bumps and high fives were flying as Casey introduced each Supervisor by their stats in an "Eye of the Tiger" style March Madness theme. 

The light-hearted spirit continued as Pat Harrison graciously accepted  the Katherine K. Hanley Public Service Award for the quarter of a century she has spent serving Fairfax County in various roles. 

Then it was down to business. Chairman Bulova gave her State of the County address and it was time to ask the Supervisors all the burning questions. "This group has done a very good job of working together," Casey said, citing the Supervisors enthusiasm for the Diversion First program, which is designed to help residents suffering from mental illness gain access to treatment instead of being incarcerated when they commit low level offenses. 

"I'm very impressed by the display of commitment to Leadership in general, and to Leadership Fairfax Inc. more specifically, by the wonderful attendance and engagement we have by so many busy and notable community leaders who made time to attend,"  Kevin Greenlief (LFI '95), our Chair of the Board of Directors, commented. 

He also noted the complexity of issues faced by the diverse community of Fairfax County, and how well the Supervisors articulated the issues they grapple with as they continue to serve in their capacity.

Kevin went on to say, "I am also so very proud of our  organization and our superb staff in pulling together such an outstanding event, and take pride in the role Leadership Fairfax is playing in the community."

A great time was had by everyone in record breaking attendance and we're already excited for next year! To check out the images taken by Jennifer Heffner Photography (LFI '16) at the breakfast, click here.

See How Students Are Shaping Our Community

Leadership Fairfax is in our seventh year of partnership with Mason Honors College for the "Honors College Connects" program, where students collaborate on a project that will benefit a local nonprofit.

The culmination of six months of hard work will be presented Friday, April 7, 2017 at GMU 1201 Mertin Hall beginning at 3:30 pm.

Registration is  free.
Contact Us
Karen Cleveland, CEO

Lauri Swift, Director Leadership Advancement

David Bean, Programs Manager

Laura Lyon, Manager, Marketing & Communications


Thank you to our annual sponsors:

Congrats to our Alumni! 

Jen Sterling (LFI '07), founder of our annual sponsor, Red Thinking, has facilitated Public Art Reston's 10th anniversary rebranding, which included a name change that dropped 'the Initiative for' Public Art Reston from the name, a new logo, and updated website. The refreshing change was part of Red Thinking's annual pro bono BrandJam, where nonprofits can apply to be selected for a marketing overhaul that will boost their impact in the communities they serve.

Michael Frey (LFI '90), a recently retired Sully District Supervisor, has officially joined the board of the Friends of Fairfax County Animal Shelter, a nonprofit that assists the furry residents of the shelter with additional care such as medical treatment and foster homes. Frey has supported the Friends for many years and has big plans for their continued growth. He was recently featured in
Centre View  reminiscing about his work as a supervisor and what's around the next corner for him.

Rhonda VanLowe (LFI '07) is one of nine Fairfax County residents appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the Police Civilian Review Panel. The panel will serve as an avenue for residents to submit complaints regarding abuse of power and other forms of misconduct. Each member of the panel was chosen based on their diverse background and extensive service to the community. Chairman Bulova said, "I am very proud of our Fairfax County Police Department. This panel will contribute toward making us a model of excellence in the nation." 

Candice Bennett (LFI '13) has been announced as an appointee in Governor McAuliffe's administration. She will serve on  the Fair Housing Board, which "administers and enforces national and state fair housing laws", according to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. We're excited to see a treasured alumnus rocket to the state level! 

Eileen Curtis (LFI '97) is retiring from her position as president and CEO of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce after serving for over 20 years. The Washington Business Journal featured her plans to continue volunteering in her community, travel, and finish writing two books, one of which is a memoir. Lauri Swift, our Director of Leadership Advancement, is excited to see her former boss entering this next wonderful phase of her life! 

Have a Seat at the World Café
As part of our "Leadership Fairfax 2.0" goal of bringing different sectors of the community together for solution-based conversation, we are partnering with The Women's Center for their annual Leadership Conference on April 22, 2017. 

The conference will include a segment called the World Café, where several of our faculty members will be facilitating discussions regarding the advancement of young female leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M) fields. 

We are looking forward to this informative and inspiring day with female leaders across the metro area. Sponsorships and individual registration can be purchased here. We hope you'll join the dialogue!
Upcoming Partner Events
 April 19, 2017:The Business               April 22, 2017: Bite Me Cancer            April 29, 2017: Good Shepherd
 Women's  Giving Circle hosts             reflects and celebrates cancer             Housing hosts their annual 
 Building Girls' Confidence:                  survivors at their signature                   Transforming Lives Gala. 
 Developing Tomorrow's                      fundraising dinner.                                         Learn more here.  
 Successful Women.                                   Learn more  here .     
      Learn more here.

 May 6, 2017: PRS invites you             June 23, 2017: SPARC is                 June 27, 2017:Get your team
  to support mental illness                      offering Leadership Fairfax               registered for the Corporate 
  recovery at Raising the Stakes            members $30 off their charity           Fun Run & support the Leukemia
 for Hope & Recovery benefit.               golf tournament for our 30th             & Lymphoma Society.
         Learn more here.                          anniversary!                                                 Learn more here
                                                                          Learn more  here