Baltimore County Leader Insight: Jackie LaMonica


LBC image with photo of Jackie backpacking with climbing gear. Jackie LaMonica. Program Director, Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center

A Special Interview: September 2023


What is the mission of GVOLC?
Our mission is to provide quality learning experiences that promote growth and nourish the development of individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Community, challenging comfort zone, and leadership are our top values.

Tell us about a time when you saw the GVOLC mission in action.
I see GVOLC’s mission in action every time people step foot at Genesee Valley – I see participants, staff, teachers, administration, and co-workers connect with each other in a natural space outside of work or school. I see them create new learned connections about personalities, leadership patterns, learning styles, and general well-being for their fellow humans. Our staff help to form a space where participants can share experiences and bind those experiences into daily life.

What trends do you see in adult groups as they work on leadership and communication skills?
Adults generally start out reserved and skeptical then transform throughout the experience to being open, authentic, and willing. When taking adults out of the workplace, there is a sense of stress about not working that then progresses toward connecting with others. GVOLC creates an even playing field for all adults to work together and then process this information back to their work lives. At GVOLC we are able to simulate low risk activities that break down the barriers to discuss our feelings, challenges, goals and experiences.

What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?
Having various responsibilities as a child and beyond has helped me to recognize the importance of thriving versus surviving. Being raised on a farm, I had space to make mistakes. I also learned the cost of those mistakes – not watering the plants, not putting the chickens away at night, forgetting to turn the watering hose off, etc. Those moments taught me how care, guidance, and support lead to success in these responsibilities or not. To be a successful leader, you must want everyone around you and your organization to grow and thrive. Forming into a leader is a JOURNEY as it consists of relationship building, performance, and trust! Trust between the mission of the organization, your co-workers and yourself is a process that takes time to grow. The moments when I felt my leadership come to fruition were when I put myself on the front line with my staff and was part of the magic work that makes Genesee Valley amazing. Being able to share those moments with your staff, be vulnerable and real makes for stronger team connections.

In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?
Being willing to do ALL/ANY of the work that is needed for your organization to thrive. This doesn’t mean doing all the work directly but being willing to support your staff in getting the work done well. Like I mentioned above, being willing to be on the front line with them to get work done is so valuable for relationship building to continue to grow and develop staff!

LBC Class of ’24 Kick Off

Leadership Baltimore County (LBC) is pleased to announce the LBC Class of 2024. Nearly 50 leaders were selected from a competitive pool of applicants from across the region and across sectors and industries.  View the class list here:

With a dynamic full-day session at Marriot Courtyard in Hunt Valley on September 13 followed by a second day of team building activities at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, the cohort built a solid foundation. They learned about each other and the program year ahead and started to build the life-long bonds that the program is known for. This group of impressive leaders set the perfect tone for the year as they welcomed differences and discussed how they would support each other through their community leadership journeys including being curious about issues and each other, keeping an open mind, and creating space for different ideas and opinions.

One class member commented, “What an amazing experience the last couple of days were… it was what I was hoping that it would be and then some! I feel like I just gained 40+ new friends and community partners in a journey that will be life changing. I am truly looking forward to next 10 months together.”

Throughout the 10-month program, the Class of 2024 will participate in educational and interactive sessions to learn more about how Baltimore County works, meet its leaders, understand the community’s challenges and opportunities and how to affect positive change in the region. In addition, each member of the class participates in a 360° leadership assessment and one-on-one executive coaching sessions to gain insight into their own leadership competencies so that they may be even more effective in their work in the community.

“As Leadership Baltimore County celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are so pleased to welcome this phenomenal and passionate group of leaders. I can’t wait to witness the transformation they will experience and the impact they will have in their workplace and in our community.” – Amanda Zinn, President and CEO.


LBC Class of ’24 by Mary Kay Page

Design by Mary Kay Page



Baltimore County Leader Insight: Katie McInnes


Baltimore County Leader Insight, Katie McInnes, Execitove Vice President, Gray & Son (headshot)

A Special Interview: July 2023


What do you feel is the greatest challenge in Baltimore County and how does it impact you and your work?

There are many important challenges in the county and the region so it’s hard to pick one. From my company’s perspective, I would like to see more value in the taxes that we pay. I am in the asphalt and paving business so the need to keep our road maintenance programs fully funded and functioning is extremely important to me. This creates and provides jobs. It also keeps motorists and tax-paying citizens safe.


How does your work as a civic leader impact your work at Gray & Son?

Being present in the community has always been a very important part of our company values and to me personally. I believe giving back is good for the soul. It keeps things in perspective and helps one remember the big picture. I have been searching for a nonprofit to work with and recently joined the board of Turn Around, Inc. After spending time getting to know my LBC classmate, Turn Around Director Amanda Rodriguez, I learned more about Turn Around’s mission and felt a true connection. I knew in my heart it was meant to be. Being part of a nonprofit has and will continue to help me develop as a leader, as the nonprofit and for-profit worlds are very different.


How did the LBC experience shape you?

My experience at LBC was very rewarding for me personally and professionally. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. The 360 assessment was extremely helpful to me as a leader of my third-generation family business— which is very tricky, I promise. LBC opened my eyes to many challenges that Baltimore County faces and has pushed me to want to be more involved and aware of what’s going on in my community.


Why did you choose to become a Lifetime Alumni Member?

Connections and relationships! I’ve met some of the most inspiring people at LBC and I am so very thankful for the relationships I made during the program. I hope that I will make more through being a Lifetime Alumni Member.


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

I am not sure that I can say there is one single life experience that has shaped me as a leader. What I can tell you is who has shaped me as a leader. My grandfather and my father are the two most hardworking and giving people I have ever known! Their work ethic and integrity are what have made Gray & Son the reputable company that it is today. I am proud to help carry on in their footsteps. I hope my girls will feel the same way one day.


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

Different leaders have different styles and that is what makes a good leadership team. At Gray & Son, our leadership team has a variety of traits that make us whole. My personal trait is being compassionate and having integrity. I want my employees to always know that I am fair, that they are part of the family, and that we know that they are our greatest asset.

A Celebration to Remember: LBC’s Ruby Anniversary and 2023 Commencement


On June 8 at The Gordon Center for the Performing Arts, LBC celebrated 40 years of service and community and the commencement of the LBC Class of 2023. The positive energy and excitement in the room was palpable. The LBC Class of 2023 was riding the high of a fantastic 10-month journey of personal and professional growth where they each made 51 new friends and came away with new vigor for civic engagement. Alumni from every decade of LBC’s history joined together to welcome the Class of 2023 to the alumni network and celebrate the organizations 40 year history. The event was made possible by generous sponsors, hard-working volunteers and supportive vendors. View the program and photo through the links below to learn more about these wonderful supporters and the great time had by all.


PROGRAM BOOK: LBC Ruby Anniv and 2023 Commencement Program Book 06 12 2023




Baltimore County Leader Insight: Jaeah Fortune


A Special Interview: June 2023


What do you feel is the greatest challenge in Baltimore County and how does it impact you and your work?

Baltimore County has such a wide-spanning demographic, varying in levels of education, economic stability and opportunity, and access. We have communities steeped in great wealth and prosperity, and others struggling under the weight of abject poverty. We also have an incredible number of public and private companies, non-profit organizations, and government services with the means to provide resources to help alleviate the challenges experienced in our county. The greatest challenge is a gap between resource providers and those in need. There can be limited knowledge of and access to resources that would otherwise serve to support deficits in the community. Resource accessibility issues can include transportation, lack of disability consideration, or just general lack of knowledge of what’s available. Within my organization I’m very invested in working with our Senior Leadership team to expand employment and professional development opportunities for our internal talent, focusing not on an associate’s disability, but on their abilities, their skills, their potential, and their motivation to succeed. My HR team also works to stay connected to available resources and to assist with access for our Associates.

What do you see as LBC’s greatest strength as developed over its 40-year history?

LBC acts as a conduit in Baltimore County, drawing top leaders and civic-minded individuals to learn more about the region’s struggles and needs, while giving organizations who are working to serve the needs of the community a platform to convey their needs to a captive, engaged audience. This uniquely positions these organizations along with the LBC participants to address current opportunities in a relevant way. LBC also works hard to create a safe space for courageous authenticity, allowing for challenging conversations and working through difficult issues in a solutions-oriented environment. These nuances of the program create the ideal circumstances for making impactful connections and truly working toward change.

How does your work as a civic leader impact your work at the BISM?

As the Director of Human Resources for BISM, my work revolves greatly around creating and supporting employment opportunities and growth for all our Associates including those experiencing blindness. I am very intentional about training and development, performance management, and overall accessibility. I’m grateful for an opportunity to be a part of an organization that is so instrumental in the advancement and progression of blind rehabilitation and employment. My personal civic leadership gives me a chance to offer my time and skills in similar support to other causes with which I feel personally aligned. While my professional journey with BISM and my personal civic engagement journey exist on 2 different roads, both roads lead to the common goal of increased access to necessary and impactful resources and improved outcomes for members of marginalized communities in our region.

How did the LBC experience shape you?

My LBC Experience did change me and I believe I’ll be discovering residual impact in my career and civic engagement for years to come. LBC increased my sense of responsibility to the challenges in my community. I no longer have the false sense that “someone else will fix it.” This program elevated my level of personal accountability to be a driving force for the changes I want to see. LBC has also amplified my voice through my network and the LBC platform. I am excited to continue to grow in my civic engagement and look forward to years of continued engagement with this program.

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

Mentorship – At every critical juncture in my life, I can identify the person whose mentorship made my progression possible. Some mentorship was intentional, and I am grateful for those who sought me out or to whom I reached out, who were willing to share their gifts and time with me. Others have mentored me without meaning to, leading by example, and giving me a guide to follow. In some cases, it was singing my praises in front of others, or giving me difficult feedback about myself to help me grow. I wouldn’t be the leader I am today without mentorship, and I am intent on paying in forward.

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

I know that the higher you advance in leadership, the fewer people there are who are in a position to hold you accountable in the conventional sense. This is why personal accountability is one of the most important personal traits for a good leader. Holding yourself to an elevated standard and having the self-awareness to acknowledge when you’ve fallen short of that standard and regroup is paramount to success and to motivating and inspiring others to want to work for you.


Baltimore County Leader Insight: Rhonda Pringle

Baltimore County Leader Insight. Rhonda Pringle. Market President & Publisher, Baltimore Business Journal.

A Special Interview: May 2023


What do you feel is the greatest challenge in Baltimore County and how does it impact you and your work?

Baltimore County has a diverse community, great universities, healthcare and great amenities. There is so much potential to build upon, but the county will need to address infrastructure issues, such as transportation, school overcrowding and sewage to continue to attract businesses and residents and ensure economic growth. As publisher of the Baltimore Business Journal, it certainly plays a role in our coverage of Greater Baltimore. For the region to thrive, Baltimore County must thrive. We need a resilient region to continue to attract business and talent.

What do you see as LBC’s greatest strength as developed over its 40-year history?

LBC’s greatest strength is helping leaders connect the dots as it relates to the needs in Baltimore County and our role in advocating for and working towards creating more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive communities. We don’t know what we don’t know, and I now understand not only the ways in which I can make a positive impact but where my help is most needed.

How does your work as a civic leader impact your work at the BBJ?

I’m closer to the issues impacting our small business community. I use what I’m hearing and seeing to inform us on the issues impacting small businesses. I also think that my work as a civic leader has helped me to develop a great deal of empathy for the unique challenges faced by marginalized communities, which makes me a better advocate for our coverage of women and minority-led businesses and nonprofits.

How did the LBC experience shape you?

There were two experiences during my class time with LBC that had a significant impact on my worldview. First, was a presentation by United Way of Central Maryland. I wasn’t familiar with the term “ALICE families.” That you can have two people in the household employed full-time and still struggling to make ends meet really hit home the importance of a living wage – and even a $15/hr minimum wage doesn’t cut it. Second, was the day spent with the Baltimore County Police Department. As a Black woman, I struggled with some of the outcomes of the training exercises, but I also gained a greater level of understanding and empathy for how incredibly difficult the job of a police officer is.

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

As a college student I had an opportunity to volunteer to tutor at a children’s home. It was challenging because these kids were dealing with issues of poverty, feeling abandoned, stigmatized. I spent a lot of time just listening and trying to find ways to help them better cope. That needed to be done before we could begin to dig into a school assignment. It’s a reminder to me every day that I’m leading individuals, not just teams; some that have challenges that I may not be privy to. I have to make space for that so that I’m a better listener but also a better support system when needed.

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

I think one of the greatest traits missing from leadership is empathy. I know it keeps coming up, but when I hear about the companies with great cultures, it always boils down to whether employees believe that the leadership genuinely cares about them.
It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


Attention Nonprofits! How Can the LBC Class of ’23 Support You?

Attention Nonprofits:

What Can the LBC Class of ’23 Do for You?

Leadership Baltimore County is offering an opportunity for 8 nonprofits to participate in the Class of 2023’s Civic Engagement Day. Nonprofits will have the opportunity to participate in a nonprofit fair to showcase their organization, and facilitate an activity for approximately 6-8 people that will give them a “hands on” experience with your organization.

When: Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Where: Oregon Ridge
Time: 10:15 AM – 1:45 PM

Arrive: 10:15 AM
Set-Up Nonprofit Fair: 10:30 AM
Nonprofit Fair: 10:45 – 11:45 AM
Lunch & Activity Set-Up– 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
Activity: 12:45 – 1:45 PM
Break Down & Clean Up – 1:45 – 2:00 PM

All participating nonprofits will commit to:

  • Send 1 or 2 staff members or volunteers to represent your organization that day.
  • Have materials available to set-up your space at the nonprofit fair including signage for your organization, printed marketing materials, giveaways and more.
  • Facilitate an activity where LBC classmates can do a “hands on volunteer activity” for an engaging experience with your organization.
  • Stay for the duration of the day (timeline outlined above)
Leadership Baltimore County will provide for nonprofits:
  • A space to set-up for the nonprofit fair inside Oregon Ridge.
  • A large picnic table under the pavilion outside for the activity.
  • Lunch for up to 2 attendees.
  • An opportunity to showcase your organization to more than 50 leaders in Baltimore County!
If you are interested, please complete THIS FORM no later than Monday, May 1st. For questions or more information, please email Lauren Yankolonis at Your request to participate will be reviewed by the Leadership Baltimore County Civic Engagement Day Planning Committee, and you will be notified by Friday, May 5th. if your organization has been chosen.

Baltimore County Leader Insight: Laura Riley

Laura Riley, Director, Baltimore County Department of Aging

A Special Interview: February 2023

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Baltimore County Dept. of Aging?

The population is aging. One in four residents of Baltimore County is over the age of 60 and that number continues to grow. Our role becomes more critical than ever to work proactively to help older adults live their best quality of life. Empowering individuals to take control of their health, finances and living environment before they face a crisis is our biggest challenge.


How have mental health needs shown up in your work and what are some strategies in place to address it? 

COVID brought its own challenges to what was already an issue of social isolation and loneliness. We have characteristically seen depression and isolation because the aging experience can come with retiring and losing the social network associated with co-workers, deaths of spouses and other relatives, and mobility and health changes. Add to that the times of quarantining and avoiding contact for fear of contracting COVID and we have a major issue.

Our 21 senior centers offer the opportunity for socialization, support groups and educational activities related to life changes and depression. We also offer:

  • Meals served daily at our senior centers and partnering community sites for a chance to dine with friends.
  • Individual counseling services offered through our community partners.
  • A friendly visitor program called HomeTeam, which pairs volunteers of any age with homebound older adults to provide a weekly visit or phone call.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can call 410-887-4141.


How can leaders support the Department of Aging?

Leaders can support our efforts by collaborating with BCDA to provide programs and services that can enhance the quality of life of our community’s older adults. Additionally, volunteering on our local Senior Center Council Boards or the Commission on Aging to share expertise is invaluable. Leaders can also be sensitive to the needs of their workforce who may be caregiving for an older relative and also offer pre-retirement seminars which focus not just on the financial and benefit elements of retirement but also the future planning of what they will spend their time doing and how to access the Department of Aging programs and services.

Visit our website at to see the wealth of opportunities or reach out to me at


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

I have worked with many leaders in my 37-year career at Baltimore County. I believe that I gained valuable qualities from each of them. I observed from my many levels in the agency, and developed my own style based on how their leadership made me feel as an employee.

I incorporated what made me feel valued and engaged and avoided what was alienating and disingenuous.  Ultimately, this developed into my servant leadership style.


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

Openness. Openness to different viewpoints, opinions, experiences, traditions and cultures. A good leader has to acknowledge that they are not the smartest or the most creative because they will miss the vast contributions others bring to the table.

Baltimore Area Nonprofits Led by LBC Alumni

Baltimore Area Nonprofits Led by LBC Alumni

During LBC’s 40 year history, many leaders have launched or grown careers in nonprofit organizations. Just as the individuals in the LBC alumni network come from diverse backgrounds, the organizations they represent serve diverse missions. Whether you are passionate about food access, education equity, housing or any number of issues, you are likely to find an LBC alum supporting that mission. The list below includes organizations where LBC alumni work. Please reach out to support them. If you would like an introduction, reach out to LBC staff at
A Step Forward
Alzheimer’s Association
American Red Cross, Greater Chesapeake Region
AYA Wellness Services LLC
Baltimore Humane Society
Baltimore Hunger Project
Baltimore Medical Systems
Beulah Baptist Institutional Church
BI Inc.
Blind Industries and Services of Maryland
Board of Child Care
Building STEPS
Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
Caroline Freiss Center – Gibbons Commons
CASA of Baltimore County
Catholic Charities
Catholic Relief Services
Center for Eating Disorders
Chesapeake Urology
Community Assistance Network (CAN)
Credit Union Foundation Of Maryland & The District of Columbia
Erickson Senior Living
Fair Havens African Methodist Episcopal Church
Financial Planning Association of Maryland
Generations Family Services
Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc.
Govanstowne Business Association
Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC)
Horizon Day Camp
House of Ruth
Howard Community College
HSI Counseling Services
Hunt Valley Church
INNterim Housing Corporation
Integrace Fairhaven
International Association of Black Triathletes
Irvine Nature Center
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Johns Hopkins Health System
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Junior League of Baltimore
Kaiser Permanente
LifeBridge – Northwest Hospital
LifeBridge – Sinai Hospital
LifeBridge Health
Maryland Family Network
Maryland Food Bank
Maryland State Education Association
MedStar Family Choice
MedStar Franklin Square Hospital Center
MedStar Health
Morgan State University
Mosaic Community Services
Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital
NAMI-Metropolitan Baltimore
National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware
Nativity Cedarcroft
New Covenant Community United Church of Christ
New Pathways
Oldfields School
Opportunity Builder, Inc. (OBI)
Penn-Mar Human Services
Sheppard Pratt Health System
St. Agnes Foundation
St. Elizabeth School
St. James’ Academy
St. Peter’s Adult Learning Center
Stella Maris
The Arc Baltimore
The Best is Ahead Foundation
The Children’s Guild
The Coordinating Center
The Family Tree
The IMAGE Center of Maryland
The Jack and Nancy Dwyer Workforce Development Center, Inc.
The League for People with Disabilities
The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland
The Mentor Network
The Robert Deutsch Foundation
The Washington Center
Towson University
United Way of Central Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Choice Program
University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)
University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center
Urban Teachers
Village Learning Place
Y in Central Maryland
Spectrum Support

Baltimore County Leader Insight: John Hoey

Baltimore County Leader Insight: John Hoey, The Y in Central Maryland

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: 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.