Looking around the room on the first day of our Leadership Howard County (LHC) Premier Class retreat in September, I had no idea the interesting relationships that would develop with my classmates. We were similar, yet different. That first weekend, we discovered our unique leadership personas and delved into critical topics affecting our personal and professional selves.

The sessions so far have covered living and learning in Howard County: human services, health care, education, conducting business, economic development and governing. Growing up in Howard County, I thought I was pretty well informed, yet I learned a great deal about the people who call Howard County home today.

The session highlight for me was our day in Annapolis, meeting and talking with the Howard County delegates, Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.

The real highlight for me is the people and how we’ve inspired one another to do good work. One example that comes to mind is something that classmate Linda Ostovitz shared. She found the holiday season to be a sad time, and told the class that she had attended a Christmas Eve event this year with Howard County Fire and Rescue Batallion Chief Louis Winston.

Every year, he leads a team of people as they prepare and deliver gifts for children in the community. She was struck by the sheer number of volunteers, the size and scope of the effort, and the holiday spirit they showed. His dedication to this yearly event lifted her spirits. and she wanted to tell the class about it — which moved us all.

The 2015 class is just one person shy of last year’s class of 50, but no less powerful in support of the community. Like last year’s class, we began to collect donations of funds and items for a list of local charities, with each session benefitting an organization on the list. We hope to have a large total at the end of the year.

I have been working with a team on a class project, helping to raise awareness and funds for the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Glenwood that provides physical and occupational therapy services to children and adults with a wide range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities. It has been a fun and worthwhile project.

Since we end our class year at the start of the 30th anniversary of LHC, our class legacy likely will be to help sustain the LHC program going forward, as program tuition does not cover costs for either tuition-paying participants or scholarship recipients. I know I feel strongly that the program should continue and thrive. As a classmate of mine, Trevor Garner, put it, the “best class ever” may be yet to come.

Susan Case (LHC 2015) is senior director of Marketing and Communications at Howard County General Hospital and is the class representative for the 2015 Leadership Premier Class. She can be reached at [email protected].