Tag: leadership

When Attraction Isn’t Enough: A Conversation with John Racanelli, CEO of National Aquarium


John Racanelli

Courtesy Citybizlist – Baltimore’s National Aquarium has always been a success, drawing tourists and locals alike to its exhibits for decades. But I have wondered how an organization that’s in the business of attracting an audience to come inside has any impact on the issues facing the aquatic world beyond its walls. Is it enough to have engaging exhibits? What role should the Aquarium have with advocacy surrounding the health of our Bay for example? So I recently sat down with John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium, to explore how he’s juggling the seemingly incongruous goals of entertaining, educating and advocating as it charts new waters.

Joseph A. Sullivan Named Legg Mason CEO and President

Joseph A. Sullivan
Newly appointed Legg Mason CEO Joseph A. Sullivan

Courtesy Citybizlist – The Board of Directors of Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE: LM), one of the world’s largest global asset management firms, announced that it has appointed Joseph A. Sullivan President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.  In addition, it announced that Dennis M. Kass, a veteran leader in the asset management industry, will join the Legg Mason Board, effective April 1, 2013.

A Hire From Within: Gilman Names Henry Smyth the School’s Next Headmaster


Gilman School Board of Trustees Chairman Paul McBride, announced last night the appointment of assistant headmaster Henry Smyth as the school’s 14th headmaster effective July 13, 2013.

2012 Boys Latin Grad Named Uganda Lacrosse Team General Manager

Tyler Steinhardt and the Uganda team at the King’s Cup Championship. Photo courtesy of LacrossePlayground.com.

We know Baltimoreans love their lacrosse, and now one will take a leading role on the international stage. Boys Latin grad Tyler Steinhardt, ’12, has been named general manager of the Uganda Men’s National Lacrosse Team by the Uganda Lacrosse Union.

The recent grad, who played lacrosse for BL, is a natural leader and organizer. According to the school’s website, he served as student body president in his senior year and help to organize the school’s first Model UN team.  But his standout accomplishment in the lacrosse world has been his founding of Shootout for Soldiers, a 24-hour lacrosse tournament held in June to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The event raised over $100,000.

He was one of fifty students accepted into American University’s Global Studies Program, where he is a freshman.

Who knows, maybe another Baltimorean will join him at the organization.  The union’s website says it is in search of a head coach.  Interested? Tyler’s doing the hiring.

See the press release from the ULU below:

Gary Vikan, Director of Walters Art Museum, to Step Down Next Year


After more than 27 years of service, including 18 years as director, Gary Vikan announced Tuesday that he will step down from his leadership position at the Walters at the end of the next fiscal year, June 30, 2013.  Board President, Douglas Hamilton, Jr. shared the announcement with the board of trustees at its regular meeting yesterday afternoon. 

“Gary will be leaving the Walters a very different museum from the one that he entered,” said Hamilton.  “Those of us who care deeply about this jewel and about our community owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.” 

“We are especially fortunate that Gary stayed on to guide the Walters though the recession,” added Andrea Laporte, board chair.  “He leaves the museum with a solid financial foundation and poised for future growth.”

Gary Vikan joined the staff of the Walters Art Museum in 1985 as director of curatorial affairs; he was appointed director in 1994.  During his tenure, Vikan has led many transformative strategic initiatives at the museum, including:

  • The elimination of the Walters’ general admission fee, resulting in an increase in attendance of more than 45% and a nearly three-fold increase in the diversity of  the museum’s audiences;
  • The change in name from “Gallery” to “Museum,” with an associated shift in the museum’s mission from object to audience focus;
  • The oversight of two major building renovation and collection reinstallation projects, while helping to raise more than $65 million in associated capital and endowment funds;
  • The endowment of 24 staff positions in the museum’s curatorial, conservation, and education divisions, nine through Mellon Foundation challenge grants;
  • The development of an award-winning Education Division with greatly expanded school and family programs;
  • The development of a ground-breaking exhibition program which regularly garners national critical press;
  • The creation of the museum’s Touring Exhibition Program, which has served more than 3.2 million visitors world-wide;
  • The initiation of an ambitious program of exhibition and collections publications, with nearly three dozen titles since 2000;
  • The expansion of the museum’s website open-source art offerings, resulting in a more than five-fold increase in on-line visitors to more than 1.8 million annually;
  • The expansion of  the museum’s collections, through gifts and purchases, in the arts of Asia, the ancient Americas, Russia, and Ethiopia;
  • The creation of a Center for the Arts of the Ancient Americas, with a $7.25 million endowment;
  • The initiation of an innovative exhibition partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s Brain Science Institute in exploring the emerging field of neuroaesthetics.

Gary Vikan has also brought the story of the Walters Art Museum to people throughout the region by way of WYPR’s  “Postcards from the Walters.”

His many awards and honors include an appointment by President Clinton to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, and Knighthood in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) conferred by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.

In support of his strong commitment to Baltimore and the arts, Vikan has served on several boards, including Maryland Citizens for the Arts, the Maryland Humanities Council, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors’ Association, now Visit Baltimore.

Throughout his time at the Walters he has taught courses in the Master of the Liberal Arts program of Johns Hopkins University, of which he is a board member. 

Vikan, who celebrated his 65th birthday in November, reflected on his upcoming departure after nearly three decades: “I was drawn to the Walters by its magnificent collections but I stayed on because of the people: the staff, the Board and volunteers, and the public we all serve.”  What’s next?  “The word ‘retirement’ is not in my vocabulary,” said Vikan.  “I look forward to the next chapter in my career, without yet knowing what it will be.  In the short term, I have two books looking for publishers.”

A trustee search committee will be formed in the coming weeks to begin the process of recruiting Vikan’s successor.  

Johns Hopkins Students Leading Social Change in Baltimore


Navigating Baltimore City’s thorny special education bureaucracy. A micro-farming project that breaks up “food deserts” by harnessing the skills of refugees and immigrants who were involved in agriculture in their home projects. A science league that teaches creative thinking and science/math skills in a fun (and competitive) after-school program. Each of these projects was dreamed up and designed by a Johns Hopkins undergraduate for a three-week mini class that taught students how to draw up a business plan — and how to think thoughtfully about how they might make Baltimore a better place.

But the plans aren’t just academic theory. The class, called Leading Social Change and taught during Hopkins’ January intersession term, culminated with the brand-new Social Entrepreneurial Business Plan Competition. And the three students who won (with the projects mentioned above) each got $5,000 in seed money to make their idea a reality.

This is, it seems to me, an unabashedly good idea. Students gain real-world skills in budgeting, writing grant proposals, and coming up with innovative — and achievable ideas. And then they put those skills to use in their own communities. The class was made possible by a $75,000 gift from alumnus Christopher Drennen, who has himself learned, it seems, how to spur social change in innovative ways.

Read more about the projects and the class that inspired them here.

Ray Lewis’s Post-Game Speech


Wonder what was said in the locker room after the Ravens devastating loss to the New England Patriots? Ray Lewis’s post-game speech to the team started making the rounds on the internet late last week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the video was produced by the Ravens for its weekly television show “1 Winning Drive.”

Check out the video on our video landing on the homepage. 

Catholic Bishop Convention Lands in Baltimore


If things suddenly feel a bit more holy this week, it’s because the bishops are in town. To be more specific:  the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national meeting took place in Baltimore on Monday.  On the agenda:  hiring a lobbyist, fighting for religious exemptions in states that allow same-sex marriages, and trying to create religious loopholes in Obama’s health care plan so the parish won’t have to pay for anyone’s contraception. In other words, the Catholic leadership is feeling embattled. And they’re trying to figure out what to do about it.

It’s a tricky time for Church leadership. Catholic organizations have done good work worldwide, but now that the Church’s views are increasingly at odds with mainstream culture, they’re finding themselves stymied by government restrictions. To take one striking example, the Church has long been an advocate for refugees, including victims of human trafficking. But recently the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t renew a contract with the bishops’ refugee services office because the group, as the ACLU puts it, “impose[s] religiously based restrictions on reproductive health services.”

Meanwhile, the bishops are facing criticism from the left as well. Steven Krueger, director of Catholic Democrats, pointed out that despite the tough economic times, the group’s agenda included no mention of poverty. For a group with a history of embracing social justice causes, Krueger says, “this certainly will represent to a vast majority of Catholics a tone-deafness on the part of many, many bishops.” Or perhaps the bishops have other issues on their plate.