Sunday, April 23, 2006

Area business leaders gathered Thursday to honor one of their own, real estate developer Michele Hagans, who was feted as the 2006 Leader of the Year by the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

“It’s a validation from one of the most significant business groups of the region,” said Ms. Hagans, president of Fort Lincoln New Town Corp. “It’s a very humbling experience for me.”

Ms. Hagans attended the black-tie event with her three children and her mother, whom the District native said she had only asked to accompany her to one other ceremony, “when I received the distinguished alumni award from Howard University.”

About 350 executives in the fields of banking, law, trade and technology packed the Capital Hilton to honor their friend and colleague.

“It’s a great event and I’m a great supporter of Michele. I’ve known her for a long time,” said developer Til Hazel. “It’s very appropriate when we recognize people who are essential to the way this region works.”

Ms. Hagans, who has also served on the boards of directors of Friends of the National Zoo and For Love of Children, has done it all without seeking recognition for her efforts, said W. Lyles Carr III, senior vice president of the McCormick Group Inc.

“She has been one of our most constructive leaders for two decades, and she doesn’t look that old,” Mr. Carr said.

Laura Machanic, president and chief executive of New Target Inc., a Web design firm in Alexandria, said Ms. Hagans set the standard for female entrepreneurs.

“She’s been a terrific role model for young executives, [especially] female executives trying to establish themselves in the community,” Ms. Machanic said.

The Board of Trade has recognized a Leader of the Year since 1947, and Ms. Hagans was chosen by a group of previous winners.

— Dan Caterinicchia

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