The Leadership program of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) celebrated its 30th anniversary on Oct. 24 at Martin’s West. The Leadership program is an incubator for connecting business leaders who represent a broad spectrum of business, non-profit, and community organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

More than 800 guests came to celebrate the anniversary as well as to pay tribute to the program’s Jan Houbolt, who is retiring after 25 years of service as the Executive Director of the Leadership program. During Houbolt’s tenure, he has shepherded classes of individuals who remain active in support of the program and the GBC’s mission. Those in attendance toasted his ability to ignite communication among the many participants who have completed the Leadership program.

The celebration also focused on the presentation of the Mercer’s Award to the Leadership program class whose members have accumulated the greatest number of points for service. In spite of the competition among the various Leadership classes being once again spirited as always, the Leadership Class of 2009 was again awarded the Mercer’s Award for the second consecutive time. The Leadership program’s new executive director, David Sachs was also introduced and warmly welcomed.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2013 Sondheim Award, an award inaugurated in 2008 and presented every five years to a Leadership program graduate who exemplifies the legacy of Walter Sondheim, a prominent Baltimore civic leader and long-time advisor to the GBC who also counseled mayors, governors and other civic leaders.

The recipient of the 2013 Sondheim Award was Christopher Eddings, president of the Daily Record and a member of the 1998 Leadership program class. Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC and the recipient of the 2008 Sondheim Award, presented the award. Eddings was selected from among 11 finalists for the Sondheim award.

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AFRO photos in the above slideshow