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Rising Star Network Hosts Successful Mentorship Event

More than 30 young professionals participated in the Fort Meade Alliance’s first Rising Star Network mentorship event on November 19, gaining insights from Fort George G. Meade (FGGM) Garrison Commander Col. Brian Foley and connecting with members of the FMA Board of Directors to discuss leadership, professional development and community service.

“Tonight’s participants are the future leaders of the Alliance, and we are thrilled to see so many young leaders get involved in FMA activities.” FMA President Steve Tiller said.

During small group discussions, FMA Board members and participating young professionals discussed career skills and professional growth. In addition, participants learned more about the mission of the FMA and were encouraged to get involved in the organization’s committees, student programs and outreach initiatives. The event also provided the opportunity to learn more about the vital cybersecurity and intelligence missions and ongoing growth at Fort Meade.

Fort Meade is one of the few Army installations that continues to grow. The installation is Maryland’s largest employer, with 55,230 people working on Post every day. There are 118 organizations that make their home on Fort Meade, and many of them are involved in the cyber defense of our nation.

When Foley became FGGM Garrison Commander two years ago, the biggest challenge he faced was the fact that Fort Meade is an Army fort, funded by Army resources, but the growth is almost entirely non-Army growth. The ongoing Department of Defense level, joint service cyber growth is driving the need for additional infrastructure resources from the Army.

Col. Foley’s leadership has been instrumental in raising awareness within the DoD and U.S. Army to secure much needed resources. He outlined three key elements of his leadership philosophy for the FMA Rising Stars in attendance.

You Must Care
In order to be effective, Col. Foley said you must care about yourself, your family and your organization. This seems self evident, but it’s easy to become complacent.

“Not caring can be insidious. It may start innocently enough but if you allow yourself to not care, it will grow and it will ultimately be transmitted to those that you work for, work with and who work for you,” Foley said.

Understand and Explain the “Why”
Foley said it is vitally important that individuals within your organization understand the purpose of their roles and the goals and missions of the organization.

“It doesn’t matter how menial the task is, the task has value or the person doing it shouldn’t be doing it,” Foley said. “Whether you are cutting the grass as a Private or making national security decisions as a 4-Star General, you need to know why you are doing it.”

Check Your Ego at the Door
Learning to work alongside individuals with different points of view and personality types is crucial to professional development. Learning to listen and adapt to co-workers with different personality traits will foster collaboration and enhance your ability to effectively communicate with with and influence others.

“Even if their personality is the exact opposite of yours, try to get to know them, figure out what makes them tick, and adapt yourself to them,” Foley said. “Check your ego at the door and adapt yourself to them. Don’t try to force them to adapt to you because the energy you would have to spend is more than if you just check your own ego at the door and understand how to make the interaction work out for the both of you.”

About the FMA’s Rising Star Network
The Rising Star Network is a new FMA initiative to identify the region’s emerging leaders and engage them in FMA activities. The initiative targets young professionals, offering cross-industry networking opportunities, mentorship activities, educational programing, volunteer opportunities and more.

Additional networking and professional development opportunities are being planning for 2016. Help the FMA identify the future leaders of our organization. Encourage young professionals from within your company to participate.

Join fellow FMA member companies that are already encouraging participation, including Aerotek, Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, ClearEdge IT Solutions, Howard Bank, Howard County Economic Development Authority, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Tower Federal Credit Union, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and more.

For more information, contact Will Burns at


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