BAND’s 2018 Best Leader of the Year Award

We are pleased to introduce you to our top nine finalists!

BAND for groups
Published in
6 min readNov 30, 2018


Every team needs a leader who cares about them and helps them grow. Whether it’s an athletic team, or a scout group, marching band, faith group, or small business, teams need someone to help them unite, encourage growth and show them the way to success.

This holiday season, we wanted to help you celebrate the great leaders in your community. BAND’s Best Leader of the Year Award is an esteemed honor for leaders with an extraordinary ability to band people together around a shared vision.

We gave BAND users the opportunity to nominate a great leader who has shaped their team into something that is more than the sum of its parts. We were floored by the number of submissions. With over 1000 highly deserving candidates to choose from, it was very difficult to narrow it down to just nine!

We’d like to invite you to learn more about the nine finalists who exemplify the BAND spirit by bringing their group together like a family.

True Spirit

Robert “Ski” Miecznikowski is the men & women’s competitive swimming coach at St. Ambrose University. He inspires his team to realize their own potential and understand the importance of finding a good balance in life.

“All I ask is that you give 100% of what you’re capable of giving me today…It may not be the same as tomorrow, tomorrow you might do more, and maybe the next day, even less than before.” — Coach Ski

Formerly a shooting guard in the NBA, Thomas Gardner is the coach for Portland Supreme, a competitive youth basketball team in Portland, Oregon. Coach Thomas requires his athletes to turn in school progress reports twice a month and inspires them to have a positive attitude.

“I’ll never take you out for missing a shot, but I’ll take you out for how you react to missing a shot.” — Coach Thomas

Virgil Smith is the Head Coach for the Golden Empire Youth Football Southern Ravens in Bakersfield, CA. Coach Virgil tries to mold his players into better young men by teaching them responsibility, brotherhood, and the importance of having fun.

“No matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the day, know that you gave it your all, and were the best teammate you could be.” — Coach Virgil

Exemplary Role Model

Barbara McGrogan is the leader of a scout troop for homeschool girls in Palm Beach, Florida. She has a passion for giving back to her community. Early in her career, Barbara worked in the Air Force. She inspires her girls to try new things, advocate for themselves, and build a sisterhood.

“Even though a failure happens, it’s a learning moment. You don’t have to excel at everything you do the very first time.” — Barbara McGrogan

Lance Williams is the Head Director of the South Oak Cliff High School Marching Band in Dallas, Texas. He uses music to teach his students the value of being disciplined, dedicated, committed, responsible and respectful.

“You control you. You cannot affect other things, you can only affect yourself. You control your own destiny. All the power that you need is already inside of you.” — Director Lance

Jordan Ward is a youth pastor at F.L.O.C.K. in Palm Beach, Florida. He inspires the other members of the group to grow and encourages them to follow their dreams and trust in themselves.

“You can plant the seed, but you don’t determine when it sprouts.” — Jordan Ward

Community Contributor

Emily Robinson is a dance teacher at Enlight Ballroom Studio in Logan, Utah. She encourages her dancers to be well-rounded, to follow their passion, and to do well in life. Emily believes that it’s important to be someone who leads by example but is also willing to be a friend.

“If I ever end up being a coach or teaching ballroom, I hope that I can do as good a job as Emily.” — Bridger Winward, Enlight Ballroom dancer

Stanley “West” Burrage is the Head Coach of the LA Phantomz, a semi-pro team in Los Angeles. Most of his players were in street gangs before joining the team but Stanley inspires them to change, one person at a time.

“If I can keep one person from going to jail, or one person from being killed, that’s bigger than any championship that I can win.” — Coach West

Sue Randall is the co-owner of La Fiorentina, a restaurant in Punta Gorda, FL. She inspires her employees with her kindness, dedication, and patience. She has an open-door policy and always gives her employees the benefit of the doubt.

“Every time you walk through these doors, we are on stage, in a performance. Our goal for every meal is for them to have a phenomenal experience.” — Sue Randall

Click HERE to support the Best Leader of the Year.



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