When Ed Stern, a business owner and resident of River Hill, joined the Columbia Association (CA) Board of Directors back in 2000, he really didn’t know what to expect, but he knew that he wanted “to make a difference.”
What motivated Stern to join the board initially was his concern over the perception of many Columbia residents that the River Hill village was full of wealthy people who had nothing in common with the rest of Columbia. Part of his goal was to “make people understand that we’re normal people (in River Hill), we have the same values as any other village in Columbia.”
“When I first joined the Board, it was not to advance any personal agenda of mine; I was really just wanting to listen and to help make the best decisions for Columbia. I viewed myself as an “in-betweener” and a “rational voice” as well as someone who could offer a different viewpoint,” Stern says.
Stern admits that he was very naïve when he first started his board tenure. He also didn’t expect the time commitment that accompanied his new position; however, when he looks back on his time with the Board, he has no regrets. “I was starting a business and had family obligations as well, but I still found time to serve because I felt it was genuinely important and that I could and did make a difference.”
“How can you expect other people to rise up and serve and take responsibility if you are not willing to do the same?” Stern says, “A lot of people sit on the sidelines and look to others to take on service while they hang in the background and complain. We need to take responsibility for what we have created.”
Stern has only words of encouragement for anyone who is thinking of running for a spot on the CA Board of Directors or one of the Columbia village boards. Although it is a big commitment, it is also very rewarding. Having the ability to offer a different perspective, your perspective, can only be a positive thing. It’s all about “responsibility and sustainability” as Columbia residents, we are all in this together.
Stern is currently the CEO of The Redhead Companies, located in Ellicott City. CA has recently hired The Redhead Companies to assist with its branding and marketing efforts.
If you’re curious about how to become involved in CA as a Board or committee member, information can be found online at ColumbiaAssociation.org/Leadership-Opportunities.
— Written by Kathy Huver