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Leadership in Action 7 of 12
Since 2007, Susan Horne has been president and CEO of LEAD VIRGINIA, an educational forum that brings together diverse leaders from across the state and fosters discussions on major Virginia issues. She also has served as president and CEO of Leadership Fairfax, Inc., president of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and vice mayor of the Leesburg Town Council from 2006 to 2008. She and her husband, Bob, moved to Richmond last summer. They are the parents of two daughters, Camille, 27, and Emily, 24. For the full interview, go to richmondmagazine.com.
Q: I think it's great that you've served in a nonpartisan elected office. What's the toughest position you had to take while on Town Council?
A: I felt strongly at the time that out-of-town water customers needed to pay an increased surcharge [because they were not located inside town limits]. That's still playing itself out. Out-of-town customers sued the town. When serving on Council, you need to know for whom you work, and that's the residents of the town.
Q: You have planned plenty of conferences over your career. If you were to suspend disbelief, who would be on your ultimate roster of keynoters?
A: I would have [author and leadership expert] Stephen Covey. He strikes at the heart of leadership and character in a way that crystallizes the message of our performance and our relationships with others. Then, Martin Luther King — he led the way during a tumultuous time … and with grace and dignity helped to move our nation in a new direction. And Margaret Thatcher, for her principled leadership of Great Britain during a period of economic decline.
Q: Who is the perfect participant for LEAD VIRGINIA?
A: Someone who is established in their field, someone who is a thought leader and willing to explore all potential avenues of a solution and someone who grasps the long-term impact of truth-servant leadership. My dream is to have every key leader in business, government, education and not-for-profit sectors in every region as a participant in LEAD VIRGINIA, to experience the mutual interdependency of Virginia and its regions through new eyes.
Q: While LEAD VIRGINIA participants don't do a group project like those in Leadership Metro Richmond, how have they collaborated?
A: For example, in the 2009 class, a business relationship has been fostered between a Northern Virginia government contractor and a nonprofit center in southern Virginia after only two class sessions. Our alumni have served as university commencement speakers, have been recruited to serve on boards and become engaged in business relationships directly as a result of their participation. Some participants from Southwest also were really interested in a Northern Neck program that encompasses health care, child care and good health practices.