Leadership Loudoun Youth
“Making Loudoun County the Best Place to Grow Up”
Little did John Wood know that the good-natured computer hacking he did in college would lead to a multi-million dollar business right here in Loudoun County. The CEO of cyber security firm Telos Corporation in Ashburn was one of many business and government leaders offering sage advice to 26 high school students on their journey through Leadership Loudoun Youth.
After a morning of interactive presentations from Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and Sugarland Run District Supervisor Susan Klimek Buckley, Virginia House of Delegates Rep. Tag Greason and Loudoun County School Board Dulles District Rep. Robert DuPree, the teens gained a better understanding of how their local and state government operates, as well as how they play a key role in its success.
"Salesmanship is the root of everything you will do as a leader," noted Del. Greason. "If you can't inspire and motivate people, you won't get very far." Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and Sugarland Run District Supervisor Susan Buckley added that "You don't need a title to be a leader. Anyone can make a difference. You just have to get involved."
The teens spent the afternoon learning how the business community and local government work in synergy to make Loudoun such a special place. They visited with Tony Howard, CEO, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Grafton deButts, Membership Sales Manager, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, led a referral marketing activity. Telos CEO John Wood recounted that a simple signage dispute led to his involvement in Loudoun County government. Not only did he get more signage space but went on to found the CEO Cabinet and has been a key player in the county's Economic Development Commission and many other initiatives ever since. "The key to success in business is collaboration," Wood said. "You have to be able to work with people toward a common goal. That takes persuasion, motivation, conflict resolution and compromise – skills that are as important in life as in business."
Equally important is financial literacy, noted Charles Kapur, a vice president of Virginia Commerce Bank, the founding partner and grand sponsor of Leadership Loudoun Youth. Kapur, along with colleague Leah Day, offered advice on money management – and that it's never too early to start planning for retirement.
Retirement was hardly on the teens' minds, however, as they practiced job interviewing in the afternoon with none other than Donald Trump (actually LLY co-founder Mike Morgan in Trump mask). The teens also practiced their public speaking skills in preparation for the closing ceremony, in which they will offer personal impressions and testimonies about their week.