Baltimore County Leader Insight: Mark Anthony Thomas

Mark Anthony Thomas, GBC President & CEO


A Special Interview: November 2023


What strategies can help overcome jurisdictional competition for attracting new development and retaining existing business?

This is where organizations like the GBC are important. We have to build trust with regional partners and our economic development peers to create the environment for collaboration. It has been exciting to partner on the regional tech hub bid, which included all of the counties and the city. The partners have equally been engaged on the creation of our 10-year economic opportunity strategy. Most major employers have workers and contractors that cross jurisdictions which creates an opportunity to build expand and win new business.

How will you support greater equity and cooperation across jurisdictions in our region?

Nearly all of our initiatives will be regional. Our economic success will require progress in creating strategic opportunities that impact families and communities throughout the metropolitan area. GBC’s 12 initiatives and multi-year agenda touch issues that we believe broaden our economic opportunities and improve connectivity throughout the region. I’ve never viewed equity as a secondary concept, it truly has to be integrated into the work that organizations like GBC provide leadership on.

How can leaders like LBC alumni contribute to a more unified region?

Baltimore County is critical in the region and for our future. Given the diversity of Baltimore County’s geography, demographics and population density, as well as the post-pandemic shift of work and office spaces, Baltimore County has a unique opportunity to offer lifestyles and communities that cater to nearly every type of resident or business.

LBC alum represent the current and future leaders for Maryland. The more alumni understand the interconnectedness of the communities, the more effective we’ll be at shaping strategies to support a strong region.


What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?

I grew up with very humble beginnings in Atlanta, yet I felt surrounded by successful, community-minded people in the broader metro area. While it’s hard to see this now, Atlanta culturally was largely an underdog community. As a famous musician once said, “The south got something to say.” There was a culture of hard work and lack of entitlement that shaped my willingness to do whatever it takes to make things happen.


In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?

You have to love people and love the work you do on the behalf of the communities you serve. Our team is so connected and committed that GBC’s former staff volunteer at all of our events and make sure everything works out seamlessly. To me, that’s the heart of good leadership, creating great teamwork so I can do what I can do best.