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Distinguished Graduate Award
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2020 Distinguished Graduate Honorees

The purpose of this award is to recognize exceptional Leadership Anne Arundel graduates. Recipients are individuals who have adopted “the heart of community trusteeship” and have made significant and notable contributions for the betterment of our community.

Two Distinguished Graduate honorees, Monica Alvarado and LaToya Nkongolo, were selected by the committee for recognition in 2020.


Monica Alvarado (FLG09), Founder, Feed Anne Arundel

The idea is simple, pay restaurants across Anne Arundel County to prepare nutritious meals for those in our community in need. The end results create a win-win-win. We are keeping people fed, keeping people employed, and keeping businesses afloat.

Monica Alvarado, founder of Bread and Butter Kitchen, was nominated for her efforts to launch Feed Anne Arundel to help the Anne Arundel community during the COVID-19 crisis. During a time when just trying to keep her Eastport cafe open could be headache enough, she is putting the community first. 

Click here to see Monica’s leadership in action, including an interview with her about the current status of food security in our area and her work with Feed Anne Arundel. For more about her dedication, rain or shine, you can see her many Facebook lives from the food deliveries here.

In the first two months and a big thanks to Monica's efforts, there are over 40 restaurants involved and they have provided more than 15,000 meals to our community. Feed Anne Arundel has numerous partnerships, including with Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT), the AACO Partnership for Children, Youth and Families and The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Feed Anne Arundel has raised over $100,000 with the hopes of $200,000 on the way. But this is more as it starts to turn from just a moment, it is a movement. 


LaToya Nkongolo (FLG18),  Work Life Urgent Care and Behavioral Health

LaToya Nkongolo has been serving Anne Arundel County in a variety of volunteer capacities for over 12 years. Currently, LaToya serves as the Severna Park Secondary representative for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools Citizen Advisory Committee as chair of the social/emotional subcommittee, addressing issues related to issues of our public school students. LaToya served as the behavioral health co-chair of County Executive Steuart Pittman’s Healthy Communities Transition Team to address the behavioral health needs of our county. LaToya joined the planning committee of Mayor Gavin’s Buckley’s Naptown Anti-Dope Movement program to provide addiction education and resources to high risk communities of Annapolis City. LaToya served as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Services From The Heart/Backpack Buddies, where she helped build a non-profit organization focusing on providing food to Anne Arundel County Public School children who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend. For the past 6 years, LaToya has been providing Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to senior citizens through the Anne Arundel County Dept. of Social Services’ Holiday Sharing Program.

As a licensed mental health and addictions therapist, LaToya spends countless volunteer hours educating the community on causes and treatment related to such disorders. In 2018, LaToya joined Former County Executive’s Steve Schuh’s, “Not My Child” panel, and LaToya took the lead on a Leadership Anne Arundel project by producing a video titled, “Not My Child: A Prescriber’s Perspective.” LaToya along with several Leadership Anne Arundel Flagship 2018 classmates partnered with top doctors in the county to develop this educational video to address best practices for the treatment of opioid use disorders.

When LaToya is not donating her time to our community, she is running a business full-time. LaToya co-owns Work Life Urgent Care and Behavioral Health in Glen Burnie, MD. LaToya along with her husband Bamoyo (a physician’s assistant), a group of therapists and a psychiatrist have assisted over 800 county residents in achieving mental wellness.




The Distinguished Graduate Award is the longest standing award at Leadership Anne Arundel, and is most significant in that it is the only award based on open nominations to a selection committee of Leadership Anne Arundel graduates and award recipients.  The Distinguished Graduate(s) will be recognized and honored at the Tribute to Community Leadership Celebration in June.

Nominations are welcome from any Leadership Anne Arundel graduate, current class member, or member of the community.


The recipient must be a graduate of any Leadership Anne Arundel program.

The recipient must live or work in Anne Arundel County.
The recipient must have exhibited his/her commitment to volunteerism and community service.
The recipient must have demonstrated the application of leadership principals.


The Committee is interested to know the nominees’ level of commitment and contribution in terms of time invested, leadership roles assumed, and significant contributions to the advancement of the mission of the organization or cause.  The selection process considers the nominee’s body of work in the community and breadth and depth of the contributions to the good of the community.

Please click here to complete the nomination form by June 1, 2021.


Past LAA Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

Erwin Abrams – FLG97

Wendy Beavers – NLA07

Pam Beidle – FLG96

Ken Brannan – FLG00

Vicki Callahan – FLG96

Vanessa Carter – FLG95

Carlessa Finney – FLG94

Marc Gilbert – FLG00

Melanie Graw – FLG02

Lisa Hillman – FLG95

Alli Holstrom – FLG10/NLA09

Penny Hopkins – FLG97

Barbara Huston – FLG99

Rick Hutzell  FLG08

Bill Kuethe – FLG95

Tricia Lehmann – FLG97

Nadja Maril – FLG02

Tom Marquardt – ELS05

Patty McManus – FLG97

George Moran – FLG94

Bruce Morgenstern – FLG12

Ed Reilly – FLG03

Diane Sancilio – FLG14

Tony Spencer – FLG95

Pat Troy – FLG94

Larry Ulvila, Jr. – FLG95

Tad Wood – FLG99

LAA, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, is the premier leadership training and networking institute in Anne Arundel County since 1993. The Mission of Leadership Anne Arundel is to provide people of diverse backgrounds with education, resources and networks necessary to become successful proactive leaders. LAA inspires, develops and connects community leaders through education, training, information, events and networking. Please support LAA by investing in Membership.
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