State What You Bring to The Table and Own It: An LGW Ambassador Story

October 15, 2020

After participants in the Signature Program complete the class year, each member is matched with an LGW Ambassador from a previous class. They often form deep bonds which strengthen the supportive LGW community of visionary leaders. They all have a story, and this one is a story of friendship and a mentorship taken to new heights.

Kristen Komlosy (’17) and Janice Frey Angel (’10) first met in 2017.

“Right away she was very responsive, and we had some synergy from the get-go because she serves as an interim Executive Director for non-profits. When we met, I was also an ED for a local youth development program,” recalls Kristen.

It began on a professional note. The two met for coffee in downtown DC between summer days packed with meetings. Kristen was at the point in her career where she was looking for some new challenges.

“I remember Janice being very candid, very direct, and frank. She was real and that is what I was drawn to,” recalls Kristen. Janice and Kristen shared about their professional work life, their families, and pasts and the relationship began to grow.

“We met at Peet’s Coffee. It was always very comfortable with Kristen. She is just genuine and opened up very easily, so it was easy to open up with her. She expressed interest in my life, so it became a friendship. It is all about planting the seeds and watching the person grow," says Janice. 

At the time, Kristen’s organization intentionally built a deficit budget as it looked to scale but also was experiencing challenges diversifying its fundraising efforts.

“Some of the biggest things Janice helped me with were lessons on how to operate an organization that had a deficit budget and be reminded of the reasons why that is done. She provided me with key insights on board-development and fundraising and helped me to navigate the challenges I was facing." 

“I serve as an LGW Ambassador because I love people, and with every new person you meet, you grow. That is part of why I am involved in LGW – period.” – Janice Frey Angel (’10)

Kristen had been with the organization for eight years and the time was coming to move on. With many career options available, she came to rely on Janice for perspective.

“Janice was a thought-partner as applied for the Executive Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). She made sure I was clear in what I was looking for, what strengths I had, and encouraged me to remind myself what I bring to the table. She helped me articulate those strengths to others. She was a huge part of that process.”

Janice helped Kristen make a career transition - Executive Director of JDRF. She helped Kristen rehearse for the interviews and offered an overarching piece of advice on strengths-based interviewing that Kristen took to heart:

“State what you bring to the table and own it.” – Janice Frey Angel (’10)

Kristen tells us, “LGW brought mentorship to a new level. We both shared a regional perspective because of LGW. Janice also had spent part of her career in the Baltimore market. So, as I was looking to transition out of my position in DC and come back to Maryland, she helped me navigate that. I wanted my children to see me serve in the community where they are being raised.”

“Three years later, it is a great friendship, I know her family, I have been on FaceTime with her grandchildren,” says Kristen.

Today, their thought-partnership continues, “Janice doesn’t mince words; she tells it like it is. She helps me be very clear on whatever it is I am thinking of working on. Specifically, navigating change during the COVID pandemic and my fundraising work at JDRF including what the future looks like for professional growth opportunities.”

As an interim CEO and Executive Director in the non-profit sector, Janice has to be nimble, responsive, and rise to whatever the moment demands. From traveling the world to relocating to the DC-region from Portland, Oregon, Janice becomes a part of the DNA of the community wherever she goes.

“Janice has her awesome grandchildren that keep her going. She doesn’t hesitate to try new things, she is deeply engaged in LGW, from member dinners to thought-leadership conversations, she is not one to sit still. COVID has forced her hand a little bit, and she doesn’t get to travel – but she has so many stories – and many I haven’t even heard yet.”

Kristen shared some of the key takeaways from her LGW Ambassador experience with Janice:  

  • Empower team members to lead in the areas you need them to
  • Establish a culture of trust and honesty 
  • Recognize your strengths and get very specific about what you bring to the table 
  • Foster a culture of accountability
  • Acknowledge it when something does not go right

“If you’re an LGW member, you should volunteer to be an Ambassador. You get as much out of it as you give. It’s another opportunity to not only expand your network but deepen your impact in the community. Kristen has given back to me with her friendship. You never know what being an Ambassador is going to bring.”

“LGW has been so helpful during the pandemic as we have all been stuck in the house. Years ago, I actually became an interim Executive Director in the first place because of LGW. I went to a member dinner and met Katherine Morrison (’05) who taught me about it, and the rest is history. I went on to create and lead the Interim Executive Network and many of them are LGW members,” says Janice.

The possibilities are limitless when great minds connect for a greater purpose, and you get back what you put in. Through LGW, both of these visionary leaders made new career pathways and found lifelong friendships. The positive impact in the community continues as a result. 

To apply to be an LGW Ambassador reach out to Debbie Kaplan ('17):


State What You Bring to The Table and Own It: An LGW Ambassador Story