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Ideas from Vegas won’t stay in Vegas, Great Falls teen says

When Ashlyn Klosterman of Great Falls answered a call last month from USA Network, telling her she had won the cable channel’s nationwide sweepstakes and would soon be whisked away to a secret location, she was excited and scared, she said.

But when she learned she would be flying to Las Vegas to attend the invitation-only “UniteLIVE: The Concert to Rock Out Bullying,” featuring Canadian recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen, Ashlyn was only excited.

More than 1,000 teens entered the sweepstakes sponsored nationally by USA Network’s public service initiative, Characters Unite, and sponsored locally by Cox Communications. Ashlyn, 16, was one of 12 teens to win.

“My friends are really jealous,” said the Langley High School junior.

The Oct. 3 concert at the Thomas & Mack Center brought together thousands of teens and educators to focus attention on National Bullying Prevention Month.

At the concert, the winners introduced Jepson, welcoming her to the stage before taking their front-row seats. Ashlyn also met television actors Nolan Gould from “Modern Family,” Mechad Brooks from “Necessary Roughness,” James Roday from “Psych” and Sheamus from “WWE,” all commentators for the event.

“It was so cool,” Ashlyn said. “We were up so close.”

At round table discussions, Ashlyn met other anti-bullying advocates and learned about programs to help teens combat bullying and increase tolerance and respect in their communities. She said she hopes to help Langley students by sharing her experience.

The best part of her three-day adventure, she said, was “meeting all the winners,” as well as seeing the lights of Las Vegas.

Leadership Fairfax honors 6 who make a difference

Leadership Fairfax has announced the recipients of its 2013 Northern Virginia Leadership Awards, who will be honored Nov. 7 at the 17th Annual Northern Virginia Leadership Awards Luncheon at Vienna’s Westwood Country Club.

LFI alumni and the general public submitted nominations, and a panel of community and business leaders made the final selections.

Bob Chase, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, received the Regional Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual for advancing regional collaboration and partnership. For two decades, Chase has worked with the NVTA, a business-citizen coalition founded in 1987 to involve the business community and citizens in regional transportation issues.

Today, the Alliance is the only private-sector organization focused exclusively on improving transportation for Northern Virginians. Chase has played a significant role in the group’s efforts to educate the public and motivate advocacy for major improvements in regional roads and transit. His efforts led to securing statewide funding for transportation in the 2013 legislative session.

Lynn Tadlock, chairman of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and deputy executive director of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, received the Trustee Leadership Award. It goes to an individual who has demonstrated visionary leadership by embracing new opportunities and pursuing innovative, collaborative approaches.

Tadlock, an LFI ’02 graduate, has been associated for 28 years with the Fairfax County Park Authority, and in philanthropy at the Claude Moore Foundation. She has been instrumental in bringing to reality many projects that exist in the county today, including the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, the County Connector Trail, and two county parks for disabled children: Clemyjontri Park in McLean, and the Special Harbor Spray Park at Lee District.

Pam Michell, executive director of New Hope Housing, received the Nonprofit Leadership Award, which recognizes an outstanding nonprofit individual who demonstrates service and stewardship. Michell was selected for her 22 years of inspirational leadership at New Hope Housing.

Michell has grown New Hope from a small, local agency to a regional agency, with shelters, transitional and supportive housing, and outreach and support services. She has advocated for ending homelessness in the region, and was lauded in her nomination for her “commitment … [which] has transformed an entire system of services into a group of dedicated nonprofits producing effective, tangible outcomes that literally save lives in Fairfax County.”

The JBG Companies, a real estate investment firm, received the Corporate Leadership Award. The award goes to a private-sector company that has demonstrated excellence and a commitment, not only through ethical leadership and corporate stewardship, but also by making a demonstrative, positive difference in the community.

The JBG Cos. is dedicated to developing active, sustainable communities, advancing affordable housing and promoting public art. The company also has shown a commitment to green building and minimizing environmental impact. JBG Cares, the companies’ volunteer arm, matches volunteers from the company in the areas of affordable housing, education, the environment, hunger and the arts.

Joe Thompson, assistant principal at Annandale High School, received the Educational Leadership Award, recognizing a teacher or administrator who has demonstrated a long-term, consistent pattern of excellent leadership in the education field.

Thompson was selected for his efforts, along with those of event co-chair, Sherry Noud, in coordinating and launching the first Annandale Pyramid Resource Fair in August, which provided school supplies and personal services to almost 4,000 families in the Annandale High School Pyramid.

Thompson’s group identified top needs in the community, developed a website with information about community organizations and agencies that provide assistance, and encouraged them to donate the needed services at the Resource Fair. Among those were clothing, hearing and sight testing, and haircuts for students. The fair received $300,000 in donations, the largest effort in the history of Fairfax County Public Schools.

Patricia Stevens, executive director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships, Fairfax County, received the Chairman’s Award, given at the discretion of the current chair of the Leadership Fairfax Board of Directors to recognize a person who has given passionately and personally to Leadership Fairfax over the past year.

Stevens, LFI Class of 2008, served on the Board of Directors of Leadership Fairfax as Governance Committee chair, and as a member of the Executive and Membership committees. She is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Leadership Fairfax and its programs, as measured by her contributions to the board.

‘Like’ Burke writer, help her go places

Melissa Martin, 33, of Burke, is one of 50 semifinalists in Jauntaroo’s search for a “Chief World Explorer,” who will travel the globe for a year visiting destinations, sharing experiences, volunteering in communities and creating content for Vacation Travel Match, an online travel site.

To compete for “the best job around the world,” the former television news reporter had to beat some 3,000 applicants with two video submissions. The first, a 60-second clip, is a pitch for why she would be the best candidate. The second, a two-minute video, is about her hometown of Clifton. Both can be viewed at

The Chantilly High School grad invites readers to vote for her by clicking “Like” on her submission page. Fans can vote once every 24 hours, but as Martin pointed out, that’s once a day on each computer and smart phone to which the fan has access.

If she wins, Martin said she hopes to be reporting from Mykonos or Kauai in January, while earning $100,000 for her efforts.