Kevin A. Chase: Leadership Anne Arundel provides a home for diverse ideas

Kevin A. Chase is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Leadership Anne Arundel and a 2014 graduate of their Flagship program.

During my first day of the Leadership Anne Arundel program in September of 2013, I felt at home and I have felt at home there ever since.

That day felt very similar to the day my wife and I first toured the house in which we currently live. We walked in the front door, turned on the light, and my wife said, “We’ll take it.” We knew it was the home for us because there was a positive energy in the space.


Like my literal home, Leadership Anne Arundel (and the people involved) is the figurative home to which I return to energize, strengthen and get support to be my best self and the best leader I can be. Both my LAA home and my actual home give me the foundation for the experiences, and concurrent emotions, that make life meaningful: joy and disappointment; satisfaction and frustration; and a sense of meaning and accomplishment.

You may find it odd to hear that a non-profit leadership training organization invokes complex emotions in me. But when you consider the mission of LAA, the people that make up the Leadership community, and the results they achieve, I think you will understand why.


LAA is made up of representatives from all parts of Anne Arundel County including large and small businesses, arts, education, public safety, government and non-profit organizations.

These leaders are passionate about their ideas to enrich our community and make it more vibrant. Their enthusiastic willingness to work with others to create a shared vision and take action to make that vision a reality ignites passion.

As a result, momentum for change is created. Passionate leaders don’t always agree on the best way to effect change but LAA graduates know that one of the cornerstones of good leadership is a willingness to consider diverse ideas. LAA graduates look to include people with diverse ideas and backgrounds at the decision-making table.

Throughout the course of the year, LAA offers an intensive leadership training program (known as the Flagship program), a Neighborhood Leadership Academy, a Women’s Executive Forum, a speaker series, a welcome event for new leaders in the County and various social events for members to connect.

Leadership Anne Arundel was a life-changing experience for me. Before LAA, I would see a problem and say, “They should fix that.” LAA opened my eyes and mind to realize that there is no “they” — only me and the choices I make whether or not to fully understand a problem, see it as an opportunity, engage others to develop a solution and act.

I can and should be “they.”

LAA helped me and over a thousand other individuals in its 25-year history reframe our thinking and take action. Leadership Anne Arundel has been the catalyst for graduates to successfully run for public office, to establish non-profit service and advocacy groups, to create technology that saves lives and to stand with some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. How can I not be emotional about that kind of impact?

Three years ago I opened a fortune cookie from one of my favorite restaurants. The tiny slip of paper had just five words: “Leadership is action, not position.” That fortune cookie expressed what Leadership Anne Arundel has taught me. Leaders have to be able to take their ideas, passions and energy and channel them into an action plan to create change.


Leadership Anne Arundel is dedicated to training, cultivating and connecting leaders from all backgrounds and segments of our community to act – to become informed, to work in coalition with others, and to take steps to help our county thrive.