A Special Interview: August 2022
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Baltimore County?
The challenges facing Baltimore County, and in fact, the whole region, are many, but if I had to pick one, I’d say that it’s the growing income gap and the shrinking middle class. Baltimore County is a wonderfully diverse place, but it’s like so many communities across the state and country. Healthy and thriving communities rely on strong connectivity between neighborhoods, great public schools, and a general sense of well-being across the entirety of the population. That’s becoming more and more of a challenge as so many socio-economic factors are squeezing middle and lower income families out of the American dream that we all grew up believing in and benefiting from. We need to work harder to create a fairer, more equitable and more connected Baltimore County.
How does The Y in Central Maryland address the needs of our community?
In short, in so many ways. We focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and we do that at scale. As such, we work in the areas of early childhood development, community schools, afterschool enrichment, summer camp and enrichment, health and wellness, mentoring and so much more. In the past several years, we have also jumped into the food access arena, working hard to provide access to healthy food for those who are struggling. In all this work, we focus on building an inclusive community and breaking down the barriers that have historically prevented too many people and families from accessing these essential opportunities. To learn more about our mission and work, follow this link: The Y’s Case for Support.
How can the community support your work?
Thanks for asking! There are many ways that someone can support the work of the Y. One way is to become a member of the Y, which I guarantee will be a positive for you and your family. A second way to support our work is to volunteer. We have many types of volunteer opportunities and many ways to do that, whether it’s through one’s company or individually. For more information, follow this link: https://ymaryland.org/volunteer. Finally, one can donate to support our work. With financial support from the community, we can make anything we do happen. To learn more, follow this link.
What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?
When I reflect on growing up and going to college, I would say the fact that I needed to be very independent and work early in my life, and the fact that I had to pay for my college tuition myself as our family had a lot of kids and not a lot of extra cash laying around. That made me understand the value of hard work, and the fact that grit is often more important than whether someone went to a “brand-name” school. As I think about my career, the fact that I’ve worked in multiple industries and in both the private sector and in the not-for-profit sector has given me a wider perspective as both a leader and an innovator.
In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?
There’s undoubtedly more than one important personal trait needed to be a good leader, but in my experience I believe that a great leader is someone who can attract, develop and get the most out of a diverse set of people. Great leaders surround themselves with people who look and think differently than them, and who bring different experiences to bear. As such, one has to realize that there is no one way to lead when one has a diverse team. I think it makes leadership more interesting and gratifying.