L.E.O. Program Students from Don Bosco Prep Complete Second Annual “Summer Leadership Conference” in Washington, D.C.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 24, 2019
Washington, D.C. ~ Thirteen students in Don Bosco Preparatory High School’s L.E.O. Program business pathway track successfully participated in and completed the second annual Summer Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. over the past two days. The conference is sponsored by The Leonidas Foundation and Mason Harriman Group, a D.C. consulting firm led by Teddy Vagias, who moderated the panel discussions.
The group of rising seniors departed New Jersey in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 22 and arrived in our nation’s capital before settling in at Mason Harriman Group’s headquarters in DuPont Circle. Over the next two days, the young men were addressed by twenty-five speakers from a wide variety of public and private sector backgrounds and experiences.
Day One commenced with the first panel of professionals, comprised of former Department of Homeland Security agency leaders: former D.H.S. Undersecretary of Management Janet Hale, current Federal Chief Information Officer (C.I.O.) for the Office of Management and Budget Margie Graves, and National Credit Union Administration Deputy C.I.O. Rob Foster, along with Small Business Administration (S.B.A.) C.I.O. Maria Roat, who also served 26 years in the U.S. Navy.
The second panel featured three military leaders: current Military Fellow to the office of U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Air Force Major Michelle Hernandez, Library of Congress Chief Operations Officer for Library Collections and Services Group Joe Cappello, and Deputy Director for Enterprise Governance for D.H.S.’s National Protection and Programs Directorate Lee Smith.
After a walking tour of DuPont Circle, the students enjoyed a catered dinner shared with a Young Professionals Panel featuring eight government and business leaders all under 30 years of age. The panelists included Congressional aides, political operatives, public relations professionals, and private sector businesspeople providing a wide array of insight and expertise to the L.E.O. students.
Day Two began with a breakfast featuring Elaine Rigas and Niko Rigas. Ms. Rigas currently serves as Director of the Total Force Office and Human Capital Management at the National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office. Mr. Rigas serves in an official capacity within the Trump Administration.
Speaking next and providing a “Washington 101” was lifelong Washingtonian and recipient of the US Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, Dean G. Popps. Secretary Popps formerly served as Acting Assistant Secretary of The Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. He spoke of his decorated career working with the military, especially his role in advising national security during the U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary Popps provided a vivid description of the Washington, D.C. area with historical insights and personal anecdotes.
The following panel featured Chief of Business Operations for the Federal Emergency Management Authority’s Technical Hazards Division Duane Jenkins, Deputy C.I.O of D.H.S. Stephen Rice, Chief Technology Officer for the S.B.A. Sanjay Gupta, and Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the Internal Revenue Service Harrison Smith.
The final panel of the weekend was comprised of former Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Presidential appointment as first C.I.O. of D.H.S. Stephen Cooper, Transformation Executive for the Department of Veterans Affairs Paul Brubaker, Principal at Emery Consulting Mark Emery, and former C.I.O. of D.H.S. Luke McCormack.
“Over the course of these panel discussions, our L.E.O. students have had the privilege of hearing the backstories and professional experiences from a number of highly influential government and business leaders of the past, present, and future,” said Matthew Perricone, President of The Leonidas Foundation. “The captivating insights and personal stories shared by these leaders of our nation with our students have provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for the young men to hear and interact with decision makers who have shaped the world as we know it.”
“Witnessing the students and panelists interactions over the past two days has been truly inspiring,” remarked Teddy Vagias. “These young men will be able to take these lessons and add knowledge to their repertoire as they seek to enhance themselves as future business and civic leaders of the world.”
“Our students’ participation in the L.E.O. Summer Leadership Conference has helped to enhance the lessons we have covered in our course at Don Bosco Prep, while exposing them to incomparable expertise of government leaders who have interacted significantly with those in the business world,” said Professor John Esposito, instructor and Dean of the L.E.O. Program. “I look forward to building upon the lessons learned here in Washington once the students return to the classroom in the fall.”
For more information on the L.E.O. Program and The Leonidas Foundation, please visit www.leouniteus.org.