Nineteen young professionals from a wide variety of organizations compose the 2015 Leadership Essentials class. This six-month leadership development program, instituted by Leadership Howard County in 2007, is now managed by Loyola University Maryland as part of the Sellinger School of Business.

Similar to Loyola’s graduate business programs, Leadership Essentials develops skills that allow participants to stretch their leadership potential and contribute significantly to their organizations, their families and their community.

The program is based on a three-pronged approach to leadership development: skill-building workshops, an individual coach relationship and a Community Impact Team Project.

The core of the program is five skill-building workshops, each focused on a specific leadership characteristic — teambuilding, relationships, project management, presentation skills and personal development planning — that include exercises and reflection to facilitate class members’ ability to sharpen critical skills necessary for effective leadership.

Throughout the six months of the program, each class member works with his or her coach to help that person unlock the answers within, enabling him or her to better make decisions and strengthen relationships and leadership skills.

Participants also work as part of a team on a short-term Community Impact Project that challenges them to put their lessons learned and leadership skills in action. This year’s projects involve: Howard County Conservancy, Association of Community Services, HoCoPoLitSo, Howard County Board of Social Services/Family Resource Center and Howard County Office on Aging.

“The Leadership Essentials program provided me with an opportunity for personal and professional growth and reflection, while introducing me to tremendous Howard County resources and connections,” said Jennifer Sifuentes, Ed.D., manager of Certificated, Management and Technical Recruiting and Hiring, Howard County Public School System.

The Leadership Essentials program values its strong community alliances, especially its collaboration with Leadership Howard County and with the Leadership Essentials community of alumni, coaches, community leaders and facilitators.

Recruitment for the Leadership Essentials class of 2016 will kick off in July; applications are available online, with a deadline in early October. Information sessions will be held in August and September; check online at for more information.

Lori Fuchs is the Leadership Essentials program manager. She can be reached at [email protected].