Leadership Los Alamos Celebrates Graduation Of Its Class Of 2023

Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2023. Photo by Kateri Morris

LLA Board Chair, Kirsten Bell, welcomes graduates and guests. Photo by Kateri Morris

Keynote Speaker, Matthew Maez, shares his leadership experience and inspires the class to embrace their own. (Editor’s note: Matthew Maez is a 2002 graduate of Los Alamos High School) Photo by Kateri Morris

LLA graduate Rob Metclalf is congratulated on his award by LLA Board Chair Kirsten Bell; Brian D’Andrea, Chairman and CEO of TechSource, Inc.; Karen Easton, Branch Manager of Century Bank; and Angelica Gurule, Los Alamos County Sustainability Manager. Photo by Kateri Morris

Leadership Los Alamos

Leadership Los Alamos would like to congratulate the Class of 2023, who completed their nine-month program on Friday, May 19. Following an evening reception and dinner, the graduates and guests participated in the graduation ceremony. The audience had the pleasure hearing from keynote speaker, Matthew Maez, Communications Director for the New Mexico Environment Department, as he shared his personal growth in leadership throughout his education and career.

The 2023 Leadership Los Alamos Distinguished Leader Awards were awarded to Ryn Herrmann, LLA alumna (Class of 2016) and current Director of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce; and Philip Kunsberg, Owner of Central Park Square. All participants in the Class of 2023 received their certificates from LLA Board Chair, Kirsten Bell, and were congratulated by TechSource, Inc. Chairman and CEO Brian D’Andrea, Century Bank Branch Manager Karen Easton, and Los Alamos County Sustainability Manager Angelica Gurule.

LLA Graduates of 2023:

Sylvia Aguirre
Felicia Archuleta-Toya
Christine Bernstein
Curtis Christensen
Jacquelyn Connolly
Umanga de Silva
Danielle Duran
Brandi Engeman
Abbey Hayward
Mike Holtzclaw
Eva Jacobson
Carmen Kramer
Veronika Magnelind
Ana Martinez
Tessa Jo Mascarenas
Sam McRae
Rob Metcalf
Tashia Own
Trey Pereyra
Ufemia Rios (Class of 2022)
Jillian Rubio
Ty Ryburn
Samantha Terrazas

The ceremony was hosted by LLA Board of Directors: Kirsten Bell (Chair), Beverly Purtymun (Chair-Elect), Mihaela Popa-Simil (Treasurer), Crystal Hollon (Secretary), Lily Chapman, Deb Huling, Kateri Morris, and Amber Ortiz. 

Ryn Herrmann, LLA Graduate-Class of 2016, recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Alumna Award. 

Ryn has a degree in Business from Gonzaga University. She and her husband, Hans, moved to Los Alamos from Spokane, Washington in 1997. They have three children who have all graduated from LAHS. Before taking on her professional roles in Los Alamos, Ryn was a stay-at-home mom for 17 years, but didn’t stay home much. She volunteered, planned, and implemented fundraisers, mentored young adults as a Girl Scout Leader and served as a Substitute Teacher. Her professional life in Los Alamos began in 2014 when she joined the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation where she has served as Marketing & Events Assistant, Marketing Manager/Director, Communications Director, Chamber of Commerce Director, and Interim Assistant Executive Director. These initiatives and accomplishments demonstrate her passion for Los Alamos and how much Ryn has functioned well above and beyond in her role as Chamber Director.

As a professional, Ryn pro-actively facilitates partnerships and nurtures relationships with community and business leaders – which has a direct impact on community members. Even while taking on these busy full-time professional roles, Ryn has continued to serve many years on various boards where she has been able to utilize her education and experience in business and sales, in combination with her knowledge of our community, to identify new needed initiatives, support existing efforts and focus on real results.

As a volunteer, she has served as a Board Member and Treasurer at the Los Alamos Ski Racing Club; Los Alamos Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board; Bradbury Science Museum Board; Girl Scout Co-Leader and Friday Night Concert Series Host. In her professional life, she has forged many partnerships between organizations and businesses, has been commended for her guidance, and Chamber member retention during the pandemic; and continued leadership in both professional and non-profit/volunteer environments. KayLinda Crawford nominated her for this award and states, “It’s not what Ryn does, it’s how she does it – tirelessly, passionately, selflessly, and without seeking recognition…. Ryn is truly a hidden hero.”

Philip Kunsberg, recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Leadership Award. 

Philip Kunsberg is a commercial property owner, lawyer, and owner of Central Park Square in Los Alamos. He has served at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos Manhattan Project National Historical Park Committee, and the Los Alamos County Planning & Zoning Commission. As a property owner, he considers the needs of Los Alamos residents as he curates the businesses he leases space to, to best serve the community. As owner of Central Park Square since December 2011, Philip has demonstrated a commitment to supporting his tenants, the majority of which are local small businesses. He has consistently supported the annual ChamberFest, Trick-or-Treat on MainStreet, local parades and Pride Fest celebrations – enabling food trucks and other organizations to set up on his property. 

He has been a key supporter of initiatives started by other local organizations, such as the LACDC, MainStreet, and Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, such as the creation of projectY Cowork. During the COVID shutdown, along with Los Alamos MainStreet and the Chamber of Commerce, he sought to identify an incentive program to shop locally. The program was eventually extended to locals and visitors. During the pandemic, he sponsored the drive-in movies at Central Park Square organized by Los Alamos MainStreet and Los Alamos County Recreation Department. He has enabled a few businesses, along with partnerships, to have permanent locations in Los Alamos County by first offering a short-term lease that would enable test driving some small business concepts downtown.

Mr. Kunsberg is a supporter of the arts and history of Los Alamos. He created the Historic Portrait Gallery inside the hallway of the 1789 Central Ave. building. He placed a historic photo of the “Big House,” a dormitory from the Ranch School days, near its original location downtown. The Central Park Square and other properties owned by Mr. Kunsberg are filled with sculptures by local scrap metal artist, Richard Swenson. Over the years, many sculptures have rotated through the outdoor public spaces, purchased or on-loan from galleries around NM. He also installed the “News from Mars” display along Central Avenue. 

Ryn Herrmann nominated him for this award, “Mr. Kunsberg is humble by nature and his activities supporting the business community often go unrecognized. His commitment to Los Alamos has resulted in a significant impact on the community and quality of life for Los Alamos citizens. We thank him for his extraordinary leadership.”

Leadership Los Alamos is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify current and emerging leaders in Los Alamos and surrounding communities, to enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the community. Each class learns about a variety of topics like community organizations, culture and history, youth, education, local government, economic development, and environmental issues. 

If you are interested in participating in next year’s class, please refer to: Leadership Los Alamos – An educational organization dedicated to the future of Los Alamos