Reconnecting with LGW: The Next Chapter
July 27, 2020
Recently I’ve been thinking about all of the wonderful memories that I have experienced over the years as a member of Leadership Greater Washington. I remember joining the 1991 Class as a 31-year-old executive filled with boundless energy looking for ways to positively impact our community. My program year was enriched with great opportunities to gain insights and learn from each of my classmates, celebrate our differences as strengths while offering the chance to fortify each other to fill gaps in any areas of weakness.
As we approached the end of the year, I wanted the class to leave a lasting legacy that would serve as a culmination of our bonding experience and so we decided to create a sister program to extend the leadership training to high school students across our region. That program is Youth Leadership Greater Washington (YLGW). In doing so I was able to solicit the help and support of my entire class (too many to reference them all but the key architects were—Jeffrey Keitelman, Howard Ross, Kanu Kogod, Ginger Wolf, Sharon Robinson, Terry Holtzheimer, Carol Penn, Cherry Adler, Margie Deane Gray, and Louisa Williams).
We were also able to attract the support of key organizations early on such as the Board of Trade, PEPCO, and Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge (currently Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) during the early days of our formation. While the first few years were challenging, they were also extremely rewarding as my classmates worked closely with me to set the foundation. Ultimately I was invited to Tulsa, Oklahoma to receive a National Community Leadership Award given by SPRINT at the National Community Leadership Conference which I did on behalf of my classmates. Since it was founded, YLGW has graduated 928 youth leaders, leaving an indelible positive impression on their lives. By being an active member you support LGW in carrying on this legacy.
Over the years my life journey has taken me all over the world and I am grateful for the many experiences and friendships built along the way, but I have to say that the program year that I spent going through the LGW equipped me on so many levels. To this day I am so proud that our class can get together periodically and reminisce about our fondness for each other as well as coming together to use our talents to create something meaningful for the next generation through our efforts in establishing YLGW. I remain grateful for the continued leadership and subsequent LGW graduates who have continued to work so hard to keep YLGW alive—I am sure that we’re seeing its impact of the training of our past YLGW in many ways such as the recent marches across the country in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and as well as voices for equality across many constituencies including LGBTQ and Pay Equity for Women.
I was inspired recently to reconnect with LGW once I became an ‘Empty Nester’ and found myself with some time to ponder on how the greater Washington region will be shaped and impacted over the coming years with the advent of new technologies such as Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. In my mind, LGW can and should be a lighthouse to lead the region on figuring out ways to embrace these new technologies and empower our LGW alumni on best practices to incorporating these tools of the future across key areas including Transportation, Housing, Education, Healthcare, Non-Profits, and Workforce Improvement. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my LGW journey.
Returning to the LGW community has been inspiring and enriching. In a world that feels increasingly divided, LGW is still your place to cultivate progress from common ground. LGW’s continued success as the DC region’s premier leadership incubator is directly linked to your engagement in LGW opportunities and investment in creating lasting regional change. Let’s continue to #LeadGreaterTogether.
John Aggrey (’91)
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
The Unicorn Group, LLC