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May 29, 2013

2013 Kitty Reed Leadership Award presented to IHA’s Director of Programs and Community Relations

Mary Ellen Mitchell was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Kitty Reed Outstanding Leadership Award!

Here is the article published in the Frederick News-Post on May 30, 2013:

Mary Ellen Mitchell’s service to the community through nonprofit and educational organizations was highlighted Wednesday when she received the third annual Kitty Reed Outstanding Leadership Award at the Leadership Frederick County Graduation & Alumni Celebration.

Kathryn “Kitty” Mercer Reed was the first female chairwoman of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and served as the chamber’s executive director from 1980 to 1993. Reed also initiated the Leadership Frederick County program and was known for her enthusiastic and passionate dedication to the chamber, the community and its members.

Many nominees for the award have impressive records of volunteering and public service, said Diane DeMarco, who nominated Mitchell for the award.

“What makes Mary Ellen stand out is that she has founded or co-founded a number of successful fundraising events and these events continue to this day,” DeMarco said.

Through her career, Mitchell has raised more than $4 million for Frederick County nonprofit organizations and has recruited and trained thousands of volunteers in her 20-plus years in Frederick County for nonprofit employers and for causes near and dear to her heart to expand awareness, educate and improve the lives of the less fortunate in the county, DeMarco said.

Mitchell, who is director of programs and community relations at Interfaith Housing Alliance, is a 2008 Leadership Frederick County alumna and member of the LFC Council. She is the first woman to win the Kitty Reed Leadership Award. The previous winners were Fred Genau and Michael Boyd.

“Leadership Frederick County is probably one of the most significant impacts on my life, both personally and professionally, and I am very honored to receive this award,” Mitchell said. “I can hardly walk downtown without running into someone affiliated with Leadership Frederick County.

“Fredericktonians are so interested in making our community better. We take so much pride in our community and I’m happy that each graduate has committed to making a difference.”

Keynote graduation ceremony speaker Bill Graham encouraged the 43 new Leadership Frederick County graduates to lead with passion and emotion.

Leadership is not a promotion and being in charge does not make you a leader; it’s a responsibility, said Graham, a corporate and organizational trainer.

“As leaders, you have to find a way to get into people’s heads,” Graham said. “Be in a constant state of being better. There’s no reason to accept the status quo in what we do. Change is the only way we get better.”
Leadership is not just about taking in information, said Graham, who is on the faculty of Seton Hall’s communications department, George Mason’s sports management department, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organizational Management.

“You take the information so you can lead passionately,” Graham said. “As leaders, you get to say, ‘Now, I get the chance to set a course, to row faster and better.’

“You’ve been given the opportunity to imagine a better Frederick, and I challenge you to do so.”
The new LFC class has given more than 1,200 hours of volunteer service to six local nonprofits, which amounts to about $80,000.

Credits: Ike Wilson, Staff Reporter, and Graham Cullen, Staff Photographer

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