The Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland has appointed Sharon Southerland-Smith to the position of Executive Director. Southerland-Smith succeeds Gretchen Heinze-Hardman who served as the Foundation’s Executive Director since 2006.

Southerland-Smith is a seasoned non-profit executive with more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, finance and operations. She possesses expertise in leading highly impactful nonprofits in advancing their mission and exceeding their goals. Southerland-Smith has been consistently rewarded for her leadership and accomplishments through promotions and increased responsibilities. During her 17 years tenure at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), she’s served in several leadership roles to include the Director, Finance, Deputy Executive Director and the Senior Director, Operations. In her role as the Deputy Executive Director and Senior Director, Operations, she serves as the second in command and chief operation/staff executive. She supported the Executive Director with overall management of the staff as well provided support to the National Executive Board. She had an impeccable track record of ethical behavior and strived to make a positive impact on the members of NSBE.

An experienced Executive Consultant, the core of her expertise is in accounting and finance. She strengthened her knowledge in accounting and finance at the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Fairfax, VA. IAFC provides leadership to career and volunteer chiefs, chief fire officers and managers of emergency service organizations throughout the international community. While at IAFC she progressed from the Accounting Assistant to the Director of Finance. Southerland-Smith has a demonstrated history organizational management, business process improvement, strategic planning and communications.

The opportunity to lead the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland is, Southerland-Smith says a natural next step. As you can see, my lifetime commitment is to serve missioned based organizations whose primary focus is to serve a specific group. The Community Foundation of Southern Maryland is no different except now I can serve the community where I live and can see firsthand how we are truly impacting and engaging the local constituents.

Southerland-Smith is the second executive director to lead the Community Foundation in its 13-year history. Community Foundation of Southern Maryland Chair, Ellen Flowers-Fields said “Sharon possess the critical strategic management, fundraising and corporate giving expertise needed to execute the strategic plan of the board. We believe with her experience in non-profit and project management, administration and public relations, make her the best choice to lead the Foundation forward.”

Southerland-Smith earned her MBA from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Finance from Bowie State University, Bowie, MD.

Meet Sharon Southerland-Smith

Hometown: Chapel Oaks, MD in Prince Georges County

And now? Sharon’s been a resident of Charles County, MD for nearly 20 years.

What she does to relax: She enjoys travelling and spending time with her husband Erik, their son Langston and their dog Nelly.

Favorite thing about Southern Maryland: It brings back pleasant memories of my parent’s hometown in North Carolina… farms, farmer’s market, country stores and friendly people.

Plans for the immediate future? During the first 90 days my goal is to learn. I want to assess the current infrastructure such as marketing, finance, operations and technology; build on what has been established such that we have a stronger foundation. In addition to the internal infrastructure I desire to understand the needs of the Southern Maryland community and develop stronger relationships with our current and potential partners.

You can send a welcome message to Sharon at

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