In a recent post, I wrote about leadership and promised to introduce you to some people in our community who possess the qualities that make a good leader. First up is Anne Brinker, the Kings Contrivance Village Manager.
I’ve gotten to know Anne since I became a Village Board Member last year, and let me tell you, she is definitely a leader. First of all, she’s smart. Notre Dame smart. Ask her a question about any hot topic being discussed here in Columbia and Howard County, and she’ll instantly give you a rundown on all the issues. Not only that, but she also realizes that, no matter what side of the issue you’re on, it’s important to listen to the other side, work out your differences, and move forward for the good of the community.
Secondly, Anne listens. Good leadership calls for thoughtful action, which is not common. At a recent KC Board meeting, a resident spoke out (angrily) at the board’s lack of leadership on environmental issues. She voiced concern about leaves in storm drains and the lack of people planting rain gardens. She came in armed with a pamphlet, and she was looking for a fight.
Now, this resident (God love her) was just trying to do her part to help the environment, and I believe she really did come to us with the best of intentions, but she was clearly ill informed about our environmental efforts. For example, environmental issues are so important to our Village Board that we have a standing Environmental Committee which hosts an annual Open Space and stream clean up twice a year.
So, after quietly listening to all of the residents’ concerns and the perceived lack of environmental activism in KC, Anne calmly addressed her. In a positive tone, she thoroughly explained that our village is one of the few to have a page on our website dedicated just to the Environmental Committee’s activities and related resources. She then pointed out that the latest Architectural Guidelines revision included adding a page dedicated to Green Technology and Sustainability. Anne then went on to explain that the Board also encourages green thinking by sending the village covenant advisor to Howard County’s Greenfest every year so we are able to answer residents’ questions on sustainable technology and the covenants.
It was quite a sight to behold. But Anne did not simply list the Board and association’s accomplishments; she invited the resident to join the Board’s environmental efforts and encouraged her to volunteer on the Environmental Committee. What started as a heated conversation ended with the resident feeling heard by her Board and positively charged to become an active member of her community.
And finally, like any true leader, Anne is humble. She is quick to give credit to others, and never wants or expects any praise for her amazing work. In fact, I had to convince her to let me write about her leadership qualities. But she saw it as an opportunity to reach out to residents in a new and exciting way, so she agreed. She is selfless.
We are lucky to have Anne Brinker on the job in Kings Contrivance. She is a great leader, and one of the main reasons I believe our village is one of Columbia’s best.