GBC’s 65th Annual Meeting goes virtual, highlights racial equity initiative

Annual Meeting 2020 Don Fry

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) presented its 65th Annual Meeting as a livestream event on October 14, 2020. The event celebrated the work of the GBC since the 2019 Annual Meeting, thanked the outgoing Board Chair and welcomed the incoming Board Chair. Goals for the GBC for the remainder of the year were also highlighted.

In his introductory statements, GBC President and CEO Don Fry said, “Advocating for economic growth and job creation, developing regional economic strategy, building our business ecosystem, engaging and providing leadership to the business community, serving as a catalyst to initiate programs, policies and projects and transcending changes in political leadership to ensure that elected officials remain focused on completing the work that has been started — that is the work of the GBC.”

The main message of this year’s Annual Meeting was that the GBC is serious about and committed to devoting our time and energy to building bridges for racial unity, working towards solutions to address systemic societal inequities, demanding just and responsible policing in Baltimore and beyond and building more equitable and inclusive workplaces. The organization will take initial steps to demonstrate its intention to live up to those words.

Fry added, “This work cannot be done without you – our members. It is our members who develop the ideas, the solutions and provide the influence that the GBC enjoys.”

Fry then announced the election of officers and members of the Board of Directors:

  • Chair: Calvin G. Butler, Jr., Exelon
  • Vice Chair: Mary Ann Scully, Howard Bank
  • Treasurer: Martin P. Brunk, RSM
  • Secretary: Robert C. Embry, Jr., The Abell Foundation
  • Immediate Past Chair: Paul A. Tiburzi, DLA Piper

See the complete list of GBC’s Board of Directors here.

Tiburzi, who has served as GBC Chair since 2017, was recognized with gifts and special messages from several Board Members.

Board Member Rev. Al Hathaway, Union Baptist Church, said, “He was an asset to our city.” Board Member Christine Aspell, KPMG LLP, said, “You’re one of the biggest cheerleaders I’ve seen for Baltimore City.”

Tiburzi thanked everyone and said, “I love the GBC. I love what we stand for. I’m very proud of what we accomplished. …Go Ravens. Go Orioles. Go GBC!”

Diane Bell-McKoy Annual MeetingDiane Bell-McKoy, President and CEO, Associated Black Charities, was presented with the Greater Baltimore Committee Regional Visionary Award, which is presented to individuals who have significantly contributed to the betterment of the Greater Baltimore region.

“For years she has been a strong advocate working hard to educate business, elected and civic leaders about systemic racism, and the need to address racial equity in the workplace and in the community,” Fry said. “For her consistent and strong advocacy, her educating of business and civic leaders, her relentless work to address systemic racism, and being part of the work demonstrating that Black and Brown citizens are part of the economic strength of the Greater Baltimore Region, the Greater Baltimore Committee is proud to present its 2020 Regional Visionary Award to Diane Bell-McKoy.

In her acceptance remarks, Bell-McKoy said, “Structural racism is in fact embedded in the history of our country. It is embedded in the history of our city. …Structural racism inhibits our own growth. Therefore, it hurts us all.”

Omar Jimenez Annual Meeting 2020The event’s keynote speaker was CNN National Correspondent Omar Jimenez, who discussed “Reporting from the Front Lines of the Racial Equity Protests.” Jimenez, who previously worked for WBAL-TV in Baltimore, and his crew were arrested on live television in Minneapolis while covering protests in the city after George Floyd’s death. He discussed what he observed, how he felt being arrested when white journalists a block away were not, and the important role that the business community has to play to ensure racial equity and justice.

“It’s been a year, hasn’t it?,” Jimenez asked by way of introduction. He talked about his personal experiences covering this year’s Black Lives Matter protests and said, “Collectively, these moments were turning into a movement. This felt like more than a black community problem. It felt like an American problem.”

Addressing the GBC and the private sector, Jimenez said, “Find a way to invest in some of these communities. Show these communities that the welfare of their lives is just as important as the bottom line.” Jimenez urged the business community to consider new recruiting initiatives. “I challenge you to start looking in places you haven’t before. …People want opportunities. Now it’s about growth. How will you dig deep?”

Calvin Butler Annual Meeting 2020Calvin G. Butler Jr., Senior Executive Vice President of Exelon and CEO of Exelon Utilities, was named the new Chair of its Board of Directors, the 32nd in its 65 year history. Butler, who previously served as Vice Chair, will serve as GBC Chair until May, 2022.

“I’m honored and humbled to step into the role of Chairman during these truly unprecedented times, recognizing that we are all interconnected,” said Butler.

Butler said that under his leadership the GBC would put a strong focus on improving racial equity, justice and inclusion in the Greater Baltimore region.

“We are privileged to be the leaders that affect solutions to the problems,” he said. “The Greater Baltimore Committee will need to continue to evolve. If we don’t, we’ll get left behind.”

Butler announced some practical action steps the GBC initially will take to be more intentional and drive greater collaboration to address racial inequities and injustice:

  • Conducting a review of bylaws, policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive.
  • Providing formal racial equity training for GBC staff and Board members.
  • Adopting a set of principles and code of conduct committing to practices of racial equity and social justice.
  • Creating a more representative Board of Directors.
  • Evaluating and deciding each public policy position through an equity lens.
  • Conducting a series of programs to educate and provide needed resources so GBC member and non-member companies can create inclusive business environments.

“We have to be intentional about our efforts to drive change,” Butler added. “We cannot remain static. …Let’s lead by example.”

Fry stated, “Throughout the GBC’s 65 year history the organization has addressed the most challenging issues confronting the business community and society at large. Nothing is more relevant and important today than the private sector addressing racial equity and social justice.”

In closing the 65th Annual Meeting, Fry said, “This is the ideal time for you to become engaged in the Greater Baltimore Committee. Your commitment to the regional business community and the sharing of your knowledge, experience and expertise can be a tremendous asset as we continue our work as an action committee, problem solver, catalyst for change and the voice of business. We hope that you will join with us as we work to bring about economic growth and vitality to the region.”

The GBC thanks all who joined us in celebrating our 65th anniversary and we look forward to seeing you in person in 2021.

Our sponsor, Southwest Airlines, helped to celebrate our 65th Anniversary by rewarding 60 lucky GBC Annual Meeting registrants — chosen at random — with a $100 Southwest gift card, and five lucky winners with a roundtrip ticket.

The winners are:

Round trip tickets: Claudia Freelan Jolin, David Metnick, Dominique Moore, Carolyn O’Keefe, Christine Spencer

$100 gift cards: Neya Abdosh, Lisa Akchin, Brendan Baloh, Chad Barth, William Baugher,  Jennifer Bedon, Deborah Boyd, Maura Burnett, Latarsha Carpenter, Alan Cason, Jack Cavanaugh, David Corkum, Rachel Cronauer, Phil Croskey, Byron Deese, Paul Deschamps, Kent Devereaux, Jill Donaldson, Gaston Dudley, Clare Elliott, Jeremy Finifter, Matt Freedman, Angela Galeano, Amsale Geletu, Benjamin Groff, Crystal Harden, Julie Harvey, Robert Holgate, Helen Holton, Jim Hughes, Donna Jacobs, Bonnie Johansen, David Kaercher, Miguel Lambert, Kathleen Lechleiter, Ava Lias-Booker, Kirkland Locey, Judi Lohn, Ed McLoughlin, Kenn Miller, Patrick Mutch, Rodney Oddoye, Wanda Oneferu-Bey, Elizabeth  Owolabi, Kendra Parlock, Lynda Perry, Deb Rivkin, Jeffrey Rosen, Peter Rosenwald II, Johnson Ross, Brandon Rowe, Arti Santhanam, Bonnie Staub, Megan Waranch, Sean Welsh, Justin Wenger, Kenneth Westary, Michele Whelley, Wayne Wilson, Ellen Yankellow

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