April 3rd, 2016

“There is nothing better than getting things done on behalf of the people that you serve and making their lives better”  – Doug Duncan

The Washington Post called Doug Duncan the best County Executive in Montgomery County history.  But then what was splashed all over the media was Doug withdrawing from the Maryland governor race due to severe depression. What followed Doug calls “two years of living in hell.”

In this frank, revealing interview you’ll hear about Doug’s struggle with depression – from denial of its existence to coming to terms and asking for help to making it his mission to help others suffering from this debilitating mental illness. We also discuss how Doug’s family, faith, leadership philosophy and passion for public service have shaped his life and journey as a leader.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Doug Duncan transformed a mental health crisis that forced him out of the MD Governor race into an even bigger opportunity to serve the public
  • What might be the early signs of depression vs. high stress (and see the link below for more symptoms of depression)
  • How Doug overcomes shyness by focusing on his passion for public service
  • Why it’s crucial for leaders to be transparent and tell the truth even under the toughest of circumstances
  • Differences between leadership as a politician vs. of a non-profit like LGW
  • What is Doug’s “Secret Handshake” club and who should join
  • The importance of sharing your vision as a leader
  • Tips and strategies to combat “loneliness at the top” and make friends at any stage of life
  • How Leadership Greater Washington and other professional organizations can help leaders connect and grow

Links & Resources

About Doug Duncan

Doug Duncan has been a leader in the Greater Washington Region for over thirty years and today serves as President & CEO of Leadership Greater Washington, where he brings together regional leaders and regional challenges to foster positive community impact.  LGW is a thirty year organization with over fifteen hundred members who have gone through its Signature Program and who are among the top decision makers in the region.

Mr. Duncan is best known for having served three terms as Montgomery County Executive, the top elected official in Maryland’s largest jurisdiction. The Washington Post has called him the best County Executive in Montgomery County history.  In his highly successful 12 years in office, he developed, coordinated and implemented a wide array of initiatives on the local, regional and state levels, in partnership with multiple constituencies including residents, civic groups, unions, non-profits, the business and education communities, and other elected officials.

He led Montgomery County through its transformation from a suburban bedroom community into a thriving urban center recognized for visionary land planning, its global technology industry, and vast open spaces and parks. The results of Doug Duncan’s landmark initiatives have been hailed nationally as models for other communities across the country. He successfully revitalized downtown Silver Spring, now a national model for urban redevelopment.  He led the effort to fund and construct the Music Center at Strathmore, rated as one of the best concert halls in the country. And during an extraordinarily dangerous time in our region’s history, Mr. Duncan, along with Police Chief Charles Moose, helped lead this community through the DC area sniper shootings, where he earned the title of Chaplain for the region.

In his career, Mr. Duncan also co-founded a continuous advisory services firm for state and local governments, was Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland College Park, was a National Account Manager for AT&T, and served as Mayor of Rockville, his hometown.

Among numerous awards, Mr. Duncan has been named to the Washington Business Journal Power 100 and as a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine.


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  1. Ray Leki comment:

    Thanks for doing this. Shedding light on mental health – an issue all leaders have to deal with at some level – either personally or among the people who they lead – is an area we all need to get both more knowledgible on and more comfortable with. You rock, Margarita.

  2. Andrea Fuller comment:

    Very well done. Bravo Margarita and Doug!

  3. margarita comment:

    Thanks, Andrea!

  4. margarita comment:

    Thank you, Ray! I know you’re making incredible strides to help leaders through mental trauma – grateful for the difference you’re making!

  5. Mari comment:

    Wow, Margarita! I find this podcast so inspirational–something we all need these days. Finding humanity and honesty in leaders gives me such hope. As a leader, I found my days dominated by meetings and minutia–it was so hard to keep my perspective.

    Great advice from Doug on taking the time to form friendships outside of work to provide that perspective. Huge kudos to Doug for being so honest about depression–it’s dreadful beyond words. The only way out of the darkness is to accept the help and guidance of others–not an easy thing for most of us.

  6. margarita comment:

    Thank you so much for listening and for the very thoughtful comments, Mari! Doug is amazing and I’m glad you’re finding the podcast inspiring!

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