By Jorge de Villasante
Sponsored by Leadership Prince William (LPW)
Before 2007, potential community leaders in greater Prince William lacked resources and programs where they could grow and learn. The answer to this was Leadership Prince William (LPW) and their new program to prepare leaders to serve the community. LPW is a private, independent non-profit 501(c)(3) serving Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. In 2007, LPW began as a cooperation between the Prince William-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce (est. 1935) and the Prince William Regional Chamber of Commerce (est. 1955).
Andrea Money, Executive Director of LPW, explains that their mission is “To engage and inspire individuals, organizations, and alumni to enrich the community through collaborative leadership.”
Signature Leadership Program
LPW serves the community with a 10-month leadership program to help train community leaders, present and future, and encourages and enables them to participate in the community as volunteers or political leaders. The program welcomes adults over 25 from all backgrounds. Andrea Money said, “Our Signature Program is still pretty popular. Each year we have to turn people away. That is mostly thanks to referrals from our past graduates. When they have a positive experience, they tell their friends and co-workers. We work really hard to create a unique program that somehow has maintained a bit of mystery despite a huge number of graduates. People have to go through the program in order to really ‘get it.’
“But we aren’t a typical leadership training program. We often refer to ourselves as an ‘applied leadership program.’ You come into the program as a leader and we hopefully help.” After completing the program, graduates use the skills they have learned in their businesses and organizations. They remain active in the community and serve in various boards and committees as well as mentor LPW youth, plan programs, or serve as presenters and speakers. Anyone interested in applying to the 10-month leadership program can find it on LPW’s website at Adult Leadership.
The Leadership Prince William Summer Youth Academy
In addition to the 10-month leadership program, LPW also offers a two-week summer youth program where students learn and become aware of leadership skills, how to connect with other leaders, and how they can positively impact the community. The summer program also helps kids discover who they are and who they might want to become. The academy also welcomes Leaders in Training (LIT) who are 10th through 12th-grade counselors who model leadership skills and behavior for their younger peers and help the staff with activities. In exchange for their services, the LIT attend the Summer Youth Academy tuition-free. Interested students can apply at the LPW website under Youth Leadership.
Making a Difference
LPW isn’t a typical organization and doesn’t have many volunteers readily available. LPW considers the positive impact in the community of their alumni as their contribution. Money said, “If our alumni can leave our program and get more plugged in or somehow start making a difference—if they can be better and more informed leaders, we celebrate that. We don’t claim their success as our own. But we feel a little swell of pride when they are successful.” LPW’s alumni include a range of people such as mayors, politicians, attorneys, judges, executives, school administrators, business owners, law enforcement personnel and many more. Additionally, Money said, “They are all making a difference in our community in big ways and small every hour of every day of the year. We cannot take credit for their work, but we do love to see our alumni succeed in making a difference.”
Leadership Prince William’s Future
As for the future of LPW, there are many plans in place. Money said, “Over the next six months we will be launching a new Emerging Leaders program for those who are just starting or getting ready to start taking on leadership roles in the workplace. We also have a Strategic Plan in place that has us focusing on increasing community partnerships, gathering feedback from our alumni, and deepening our focus on alumni engagement while we diversify revenue streams. We have been focused on events for revenue and alumni engagement for quite a while and COVID has taught us that we need to get more creative. Finally, we want to continue to explore the themes of diversity, equity and inclusion that have impacted our programming over the last couple of years. As the make-up of this great community continues to evolve, we believe it is important to continue to raise up engaged and informed leaders who represent the rich tapestry of ideas and perspectives herein.”
How to Get Involved
LPW is located at 9720 Capital Court, Manassas. If you’re interested in becoming a leader in the community and helping LPW make a difference, visit leadershipprincewilliam.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn or YouTube. Anyone who would like to support LPW may do so by volunteering or donating at donate-today. LPW can be reached at 571-765-7568 or or via email (Andrea Money) at email@example.com.
Jorge de Villasante is a contributing writer for Prince William Living.