Earlier this summer, 36-year-old Owings Mills native Annie Milli made the impressive leap from nonprofit Live Baltimore’s marketing director to executive director. But when you consider Milli’s intense work ethic and fierce love of Baltimore City, the shock of her rapid-fire professional trajectory eases.
If the digital media world were a globe like our physical one, Thomas Dolby would have circled it already, and then some. Many know him for the popular music fame he achieved as a masterful synth player (“She Blinded Me with Science,” “Hyperactive”) and MTV standout in the 1980s, as well as his wide-ranging work as a producer and keyboardist for other artists.
Even leading up to college, Kai Jackson never planned to be on TV. In fact, when he first enrolled at South Carolina State College, he was an engineering major, though he admits now that may not have been the best fit.
Parks & People Foundation CEO Lisa Millspaugh Schroeder Plans to Transform Baltimore One Park at a Time
Native Baltimorean Lisa Millspaugh Schroeder spent the majority of her career leading a charge to revitalize a 13-mile swath of waterfront in Pittsburgh, transforming it from a largely abandoned wasteland to a prosperous center of commercial and recreational activity that connects various focal points in the city. Now, she’s taking on a similar task in Baltimore.
As the recently appointed CEO of the Parks & People Foundation, Schroeder has big plans for the 32-year-old organization, which over three decades has made deep inroads in the lives of urban residents. Among its many initiatives, the foundation is credited with bringing the first urban Outward Bound program to Baltimore, developing recreational programs in which over 30,000 city youth have participated, and forming a literacy-based free summer camp that to date has served more than 17,000 Baltimore City students.
Michael Ross keeps coming back to Baltimore. This past July, the Milwaukee native returned to the city for the fourth time to take over as managing director of Center Stage, a position he previously held from 2002 to 2008. During his eight-year hiatus from Baltimore’s largest nonprofit professional theater, Ross served as managing director of the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. Throughout his career, he also has consulted on fundraising, board development, executive search, and strategic planning for theaters nationwide.
Upon meeting Ross, his firm handshake, quick smile, and roaring laugh make him seem at once like a trusted friend and the centerpiece of the room. After spending some time with him, what also becomes evident is Ross’s love of Baltimore and his desire to grow its cultural scene, his devotion to Center Stage in particular, and his belief in the power of the theater in general. Recently, he expounded on these themes and more in an interview with Baltimore Fishbowl.
Why have you decided to return to Center Stage?
To Elizabeth Embry, reducing violent crime in Baltimore while also reducing arrests is not wishful thinking; it’s the only way forward. She has put together a Blueprint for Fighting Crime that views improvements in education, economic opportunity, business investment, public health, and housing as fundamental to curbing crime.
It’s this kind of holistic approach that Embry credits with helping to reduce violent crime and homicides in the city to historically low levels during her tenure as Deputy State’s Attorney.
Councilman Carl Stokes was first elected to Baltimore City Council in 1987, where he served until 1995, the same year he accepted an appointment to Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. In 1999, he ran for mayor of Baltimore but lost the Democratic nomination to Martin O’Malley. Since then, Stokes has helped to found two public charter schools in the city (each offer year-round study and three meals a day) and returned to the City Council, where he has been a critic of Baltimore property tax rates and utility fees.
In the wake of the Freddie Gray protests and riots, Stokes made national headlines for venting his frustration at the use of the word “thugs” to describe black Baltimore youth to CNN’s Erin Burnett. I asked Stokes, who is again seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, about the divide in public opinion over that statement; the relationship between public safety, education, and employment opportunities; and how a Stokes administration would tackle the city’s most deep-seated issues.
Baltimore Fishbowl: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Councilman Carl Stokes: Take care of your family.
BFB: In a recent interview, you said that improving public safety requires not only investment and improvements in policing but also in education, recreation, jobs, and after-school activities, among other things. When an issue like public safety is determined by so many direct and indirect factors, how do you, as mayor, actually decide how to prioritize spending to achieve the greatest impact?
CS: The best practices and statistics before us inform us on how to proceed. When a community’s adult population is gainfully employed at wages that allow them to sustain themselves and their families economically, we know that crime is much less.
Green Party’s Emanuel McCray on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, Plans to Fight for ‘Regular Citizens’
Formed in 2000, Baltimore City’s growing Green Party has roughly 1,000 residents registered. Emanuel McCray is the Green Party’s mayoral candidate in the 2016 race. As the party’s name suggests, ecological sustainability is a key focus, but just as important are social and economic justice issues. In their words, Green Party members are grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters, and regular citizens who’ve had enough of corporate-dominated politics. This is Emanuel McCray’s second run for mayor, and below he shares what makes this year’s bid unique, and why he’s excited to throw his hat into Baltimore’s ring of mayoral candidates.
Joshua Harris on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, What Basketball Taught Him and Creating Jobs Through Energy Efficiency
Joshua Harris, a community organizer and nonprofit co-founder, puts his leadership and campaign skills to the test as he runs in the crowded race for mayor of Baltimore. Exuding confidence, Harris shared in an interview with Baltimore Fishbowl why he believes he’s uniquely qualified for the job.
Among the highlights, Harris explained how playing basketball prepared him to be mayor, touched on his plans to use renewable energy to spark an economic resurgence, talked about turning Baltimore’s vacant homes from eyesores into assets and explained why the unrest of April 2015 wouldn’t have happened under his watch. Read the full interview for more about Harris and his take on these and other significant issues facing Baltimore City: