The Up-and-Comers

The Bethesda area is home to lots of movers and shakers with long careers in business, politics and the arts. But it also has a number of rising stars who are making their mark before they’re even 40.

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Lisa Fadden

30, vice president of public affairs for The Chevy Chase Land Company

Lisa Fadden’s office at The Chevy Chase Land Company is decked out with tributes to running—from a poster of the 2007 Boston Marathon in which she ran to framed photos of the running team she coaches.

The pictures remind her of how running can bring together disparate personalities—and of how coaching can mean assuaging conflicting points of view.

That particular skill has served her well at the 122-year-old, low-profile firm that hired her in August 2011 to be its public face and help shepherd its controversial proposal to build a large mixed-use development at Chevy Chase Lake.

With her long brown hair and 5-foot stature, Fadden looks much younger than her 30 years and it’s difficult to imagine her going toe-to-toe with longtime community leaders. But that’s what she has done ever since she was hired six years ago as public affairs and communications coordinator, and 18 months later as vice president of public affairs, at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

Gigi Godwin, chamber president and CEO, says Fadden excelled at “getting into the weeds” of complicated legislation when she served as a liaison between the chamber and local lawmakers.

And in her new role, Fadden has helped smooth the contentious public debate over The Land Company’s development proposal for Chevy Chase Lake, says Chevy Chase Mayor David Lublin.

“People are now engaging in a meaningful discussion about the issues rather than simply arguing,” Lublin says. “She reaches out to people in a very meaningful way, listening to understand, not just to pay lip service. I wish she were working for my side.”

Fadden, who lives in Northwest Washington, D.C., with fiancé Dale Nelson, attributes her success to her “fearless” nature.

“Honestly,” she says, “it’s pretty difficult to intimidate me.”

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