Ed Priola -  Former Guest Speaker at the Leadership Institute

As the son of a 27-year Air Force veteran and a Registered Nurse, Ed Priola learned early on that "democracy is worth fighting for," and that "taking care of others is the most fulfilling mission one can have."

After growing up on military bases across the nation and overseas, Ed began his career as a passionate grassroots activist by building state and national volunteer networks and public policy coalitions. With the same zeal, he served on numerous national, state and local political campaigns as a field organizer and advance representative, including the Reagan/Bush and Bush/Quayle presidential campaigns. All told, Ed has accumulated nearly two decades of political and advocacy experience.

Ed first moved to Maryland in 1992. He currently owns a home in Owen Brown, Columbia. Throughout the 1990’s, he fought fervently for taxpayer rights (as National Field Director for the National Taxpayers Union) and to limit the terms of career politicians (as Field Director for U.S. Term Limits).

In 2001, Ed jumped at an opportunity to advance the values of American democracy overseas. Although he volunteered for what was supposed to have been a 3-month training project in Romania, he ultimately embarked upon a five year capacity-building mission.

While overseas, he took on a number of international assignments for organizations charged with implementing programs for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition to serving as a senior consultant and project director in Afghanistan, Albania and Romania, he visited more than two dozen nations on three continents as an advocacy instructor.

Ed joined the non-partisan, non-profit, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in May 2007 and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Public Affairs.

He earned a master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Bowie State University at Bowie, Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, New York.

Ed Priola