Leadership Prince William’s 2023 Evening of Excellence

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By Paul Keily

On Thursday July 6, 2023, Leadership Prince William (LPW) held their yearly Evening of Excellence fundraiser event at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The theme of this year’s event was Casino Royale. Attendees enjoyed horse races, betting tables, and auctions to raise money for the organization.

The evening was also an opportunity to award individuals who helped the community or Leadership Prince William in the past year. Kathy Ellington, the first Director of Leadership Prince William, presented the following awards: the Chair Award to Valerie Meale, the Kathy Ellington Leadership Award to Patrick King, the Vision Award to Dr. Carol Shapiro. Outgoing Chair Bennett Whitlock and incoming Chair Tiffany Izenour were recognized as well.

The Leadership Prince William Class of 2013 celebrated their ten-year anniversary and raised $10,000 for the organization to help fund future programs.

 The Sponsors Speak

SBR Workplace Leadership Services is a consulting firm that partners with companies to foster healthy workplace cultures and alleviate bullying. Their president, Dr. Sabrina Ricks, graduate of the LPW class of 2022 and member of LPW’s Board of Regents, said the evening was a chance “to support what [LPW] do[es]in the community and also to help others have fun and re-energize.” Ricks noted how LPW fosters community: “LPW’s programs offers program participants the opportunity to engage in their community in an intricate way they may not have otherwise.  One may have lived in the County 10 years, 20 years, or their entire life and not have seen some of the behind the scenes, hidden gems, of Prince William County.  Not to mention, the networking opportunities with the amazing citizens who live and work in PWC are unmatched.”

Jacqueline Connor, Associate Director of University Priorities for George Mason University’s (GMU) Science and Technology Campus, said “the Hylton Center seemed to be a perfect location” for the Casino Night, “as it offers a variety of beautiful and unique spaces.”  Connor further noted that LPW and GMU share a focus on community education, “Leadership Prince William provides, through its 10-month Signature Program, an opportunity for community leaders to get more engaged with their community, but also to learn more about themselves; their unique mindset and communications style.  It is much more in-depth than the typical personality assessments and provides actionable information at each session on how to build stronger teams and how to work effectively with others. Mason’s mission to be an innovative and inclusive academic community committed to creating a more just, free, and prosperous world, aligns with Leadership Prince William’s mission to engage and inspire individuals, organizations, and alumni to enrich the community through collaborative leadership.”

Executive Director of OmniRide Bob Schneider said that “OmniRide has four staff members who are all proud alumni of the LPW program. LPW’s programs and initiatives are educating and assisting the leaders of tomorrow, who will make valuable and lasting contributions to the local community for years to come. OmniRide plans to send one staff member through the Signature LPW Program every year, as well as additional staff through the Emerging Leaders program.” OmniRide provides transportation and mobility related services in the area.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, part of the Sentara Health network, was another sponsor of the event. Christy Grabus, Chief Nurse Executive of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and alumni of LPW Class of 2019 said, “much like LPW, we are committed to our community.  We recognize and celebrate the collective impact LPW alumni continue to make in the greater Prince William region and we are proud to support the Evening of Excellence 2023. Each year we nominate a candidate from our leadership team to participate in the LPW Signature program, we’ve had the privilege of hosting Health & Human Services Day, and we are very proud that our past president, Kathie Johnson, served on the LPW Board of Regents. The Evening of Excellence affords all LPW Alumni the opportunity to come together and celebrate the rich, diverse talent that LPW has fostered over the last 15 years!”

Grabus described how LPW contributes to the local community: “By bringing together community leaders from a wide array of fields, participants are afforded exposure to a broad perspective on the strengths and resources our community has to offer.  The structure of the program fosters learning, collaborative leadership, and relationships among the participants which fosters opportunity well beyond the program year.”

Tiffany Izenour

Freedom Property Management and Sales was a bronze sponsor of LPW’s Casino Night. Freedom is a real estate and property management firm located in Manassas. Principal Broker and Owner Tiffany Izenour is a ten-year alum of the Signature Program, as well as Incoming Chair of Leadership Prince William.

Izenour said, “Building relationships through supporting and strengthening the local community is key to both Leadership Prince William and Freedom’s mission. By sponsoring LPW and its events, Freedom gives local community members the opportunity to go behind the scenes in our county and surrounding area, connect with others to accomplish great things in our community, as well as improving their leadership skills. Quoting the late, great, Patrick King ‘It’s not who you know, but how you know them’, Freedom is honored to be a part of this great circle known as “Leadership Prince William Sponsors” and is looking forward to the next generation of leaders in the coming years.”

Whitlock Wealth Management, a local independent Financial Advisory Firm, has been involved with LPW since 2009. CEO Bennett Whitlock said, “Leadership Prince William and Whitlock Wealth are both in the business of helping people and business grow and succeed. It is the joy of this success that motivates Whitlock Wealth and why we are so involved with Leadership Prince William and sponsor events like tonight’s Evening of Excellence. Whitlock Wealth partners with Leadership Prince William on many levels. We have sent many people through the Signature Program over the years and encourage their involvement in the organization. Most recently we have also sent people through the emerging Leaders Program. They are all ambassadors for Leadership Prince William. It seems the more we do to support this fantastic organization the more we get back.”


Whitlock further spoke on LPW’s contributions to the community: “Leadership Prince William programs changes lives. They change the lives of individuals, and businesses. These programs are critical and instrumental in supporting and helping our community. So many new successful businesses and nonprofits have emerged from Leadership Prince William and our Alumni to support the needs of our community, it is simply amazing. Looking ahead, Whitlock Wealth is excited to continue to be involved with Leadership Prince William. We are looking forward to not only helping the organization grow but continuing to see how the organization changes lives.”

Other sponsors of the evening were HPAC, United Bank, VF&N, Wind River Chimes, Compton & Duling, Executive Law Partners, Kara Pitek, ECU Communications, Don & Donna Flory, RW Murray, Tina & Juan Laguna, and Potomac Health Foundation.

Remembering Patrick King

Patrick King Music, high note 0621

Patrick King (Photo by Mark Gilvey)

Patrick King was an alumni of the LPW Class of 2015 and was posthumously presented the Kathy Ellington Leadership Award.

Sabrina Ricks remembered Patrick as “always intelligent, kind, compassionate, smiling, and helpful.  He was a hard worker, meticulous, and reliable.  The world is missing a wonderful addition to humankind and all it means to be human.”

Jacqueline Connor recalled that she “was very impressed with [Patrick’s] dedication to the greater Prince William community.”

Paul Keily is a local writer, educator, and artist. He has lived in Prince William County for the majority of his life. He is an active participant and organizer of DIY events at Clearbrook Center of the Arts.


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