Meet the Greater Baltimore Committee’s inaugural Next Up class

The Greater Baltimore Committee’s inaugural Next Up class opened its year of leadership training, professional and personal development and networking opportunities with a February 13, 2018, dinner at the Capital Grille.

Interest in the program — which accepts 25 individuals under age 40, employees of GBC member organizations, and identified and nominated by their organization’s leadership as having the potential to be in a leadership role within the next few years — was high, and acceptance into the program was competitive for its first year in existence.

GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry, who was joined by GBC Board members Courtney Capute (Partner-In-Charge, Baltimore Office, Venable LLP), Dick Cass (President, Baltimore Ravens), Guy Filippelli (Vice President, Forcepoint), and Tom Geddes (CEO, Plank Industries), attended the dinner, described participants as “the best of the best” and expressed his excitement at spending the year sharing with them how the GBC can help to expand both their professional and personal networks and knowledge.

The 2018 Next Up class is made up of the following young leaders from across the Baltimore region’s industries and sectors:

Adam Abelson is a litigator at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, representing clients in complex civil litigation, white collar criminal defense and government investigations. His criminal defense focus includes alleged complex financial, securities and health care fraud. His civil litigation focus includes health care class actions, securities enforcement and legal malpractice.



Josh Ambrose, Executive Director of McDaniel College’s Center for Experience and Opportunity, helps facilitate number initiatives on and off campus. These include summer orientation, education abroad, the Encompass entrepreneurship program, community engagement, scholarships and fellowships and career development. Every day, Ambrose works to continue McDaniel’s longstanding tradition as a college that “changes lives,” working to facilitate experiences that demonstrate the relevance of a liberal arts education. He is passionate about connecting students with real world opportunities that help them realize their fullest potential. He also teaches classes in the English department and has led several classes overseas, including for a semester last year as a Visiting Professor at McDaniel’s branch campus in Budapest, Hungary. When not at work, hobbies include creative writing, playing music, media creation, sailing and above all else, spending time with his wife and two young children.

Danielle Bennings joined the Plank Industries team in August 2015 as the Director of Events and Public Relations at Sagamore Ventures. In October 2016, Bennings became the Director of Public Relations for Plank Industries. In this role, Bennings develops and oversees the execution of public relations strategies for Plank Industries and the Sagamore brands. She manages the overall public relations and messaging calendar and provides proactive support for teams with regards to media relations, social media, content creation, internal communications and executive support. Bennings is also responsible for the planning and execution of Cupid’s Cup, the signature program of the Plank Foundation for Entrepreneurship.

She is passionate about food, travel and exploring new cultures, having visited more than 10 countries across the globe and two wonders of the world. She earned a master’s degree in Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University, with a focus on digital strategy. Bennings continues to strengthen her commitment to the field of public relations through organizations such as the Washington Women in Public Relations and the Public Relations Society of America.

Brooke Eaton serves as the Maryland/Delaware Business Development Manager for Bohler Engineering. Bringing more than 12 years of AEC industry experience, Eaton began her career as a marketing professional at companies throughout the Washington D.C. metro area. Later, her focus turned to business development with an emphasis in Maryland and Delaware. At Bohler, Eaton oversees business development for three offices in the Mid-Atlantic region, where she is primarily responsible for cultivating enterprise-wide partnerships, guiding client relationship, and managing new prospective regional and corporate opportunities. Eaton also plays an important role in the AEC industry by being involved with local organizations that influence and partake in the future direction of our development industry.

Eaton is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee, ULI, NAIOP, ICSC and SMPS, as well as the Logistics Chair on the Board of Directors for Women In Healthcare, and golf committee member of AIA Baltimore. When she isn’t building professional relationships, Eaton spends time with her puggle, Henry, and becoming a champagne connoisseur and enthusiast.

Jonathan Flesher, Vice President of Development for Beatty Development Group, manages all day-to-day development activities for the company’s premier waterfront development, Harbor Point. The most prominent and sophisticated brownfield development on the East Coast, Flesher led the entitlement process for the recently completed regional headquarters for Exelon Corporation.

Flesher is currently managing the development and construction of a 289-unit luxury apartment project (1405 Point) and is completing the design and entitlement process for a mixed-use office and hotel building (Wills Wharf). Previously, Flesher developed Thames Street Wharf, Harbor Point’s first building now home to Morgan Stanley’s Baltimore operations center, Johns Hopkins Medicine Int’l and Beatty Development Group’s headquarters. With a background in community planning, sustainable development and urban geography, he is passionate about creating dynamic urban environments.

Flesher earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Community Planning from University of Maryland, College Park. Flesher enjoys photography, reading and spending time with his wife and son.

Matt Gordon, Attorney, Law Offices of Mitchel Gordon

Matt Gordon was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2008 after graduating from the University of Baltimore School of Law.  As an attorney with the Law Offices of Mitchel M. Gordon, he has litigated thousands of claims on behalf of injured workers at the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.

With a family background in law enforcement, Gordon is dedicated to advocating for the interests of members of the public safety community, including police officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, paramedics, correctional officers and security officers.

Gordon serves on the Board of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Educational Association and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Outside of work, Gordon is the father of two boys and enjoys spending time with his family. In addition, he plays ultimate Frisbee competitively and has played at the national championships nearly every year since 2006.

Nicholas Johnson, US Market President for Optavia, Medifast

Nick Johnson was appointed Market President of OPTAVIA USA in January 2018. Johnson brings more than 10 years of direct selling, marketing and client relations experience to his role as Market President. In this role Johnson is responsible for leading and developing the OPTAVIA organization in the United States and partnering with the growing community of OPTAVIA Coaches to support them in the key areas of marketing communication, field development and client services.

Before joining OPTAVIA, Johnson served as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Nu Skin Enterprises, where he oversaw sales and marketing for 27 countries including the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Prior to this position, Johnson held numerous leadership roles during his tenure at Nu Skin Enterprises including General Manager, Latin America and Director of Sales USA.

Johnson, a graduate of Brigham Young University, was in 2017 a Direct Selling Association Top 40 under 40 honoree.

Marcus Jones, Branch Manager, Wells Fargo Bank

Tom Kelley serves as Director of Design at COPT, Corporate Office Properties Trust. He is responsible for the overall design leadership and management of design for New Development, Redevelopment, Repositioned Assets, Capital Expenditure Investments and Asset Innovation.

Kelley oversees all phases of design and ensures that high standards are upheld including service, design integrity and quality assurance. He inspires, directs and manages various internal and external resources to achieve company goals and provides leadership regarding Innovation. Kelley also develops and promotes the integration of sustainability and environmental stewardship into all projects and fosters collaboration and teamwork in staff.

Kelley is certified as a LEED AP ID+C and serves on the Board of Directors for USGBC Maryland Chapter and the Baltimore Port Discovery Children’s Museum, Explorers Council.

John Laur, Digital Initiatives Manager for 98 Rock and WBAL NewsRadio 1090, manages the entire digital footprint for both stations—a role which includes running the websites, streaming audio, podcasts, app development, social media and digital marketing.

Laur’s career began in college, where his love of music evolved into a love for radio while attending Towson University. He has been with the Hearst Corporation stations since landing internships with 98 Rock and WTMD while still a student at Towson University. On his days off, Laur enjoys live music and spending time with his wife and three children.


Emmanuel Manu is a passionate educator, trainer, speaker and leader. He currently serves as the Associate Director of Programs for Year Up Baltimore, where he leads site staff in defining and achieving goals against their mission.

Manu has been serving Baltimore City youths through post-secondary planning and training for 10 years. In 2012, he was awarded the Counselors That Change Lives award from the CTCL organization. Outside of training Baltimore youths, Manu enjoys facilitating trainings and workshops. He has deep interests in leadership development, diversity and cultural humility, and effective workplace communication.

Manu earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. Of all his accomplishments, Manu is most proud to be married to Maame Yaa and father to four children.

Craig Martin, Director of Operations and Risk at Harbor Investment Advisory, is responsible for managing the firm’s workflow, overseeing day-to-day operations and supervising all client relationship managers. He works closely with senior management to execute the compliance and operational needs of the firm.

Martin began his career in financial services at Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor in 2011 and joined Harbor Advisory in 2015. He achieved the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation in 2012 and earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificate in 2017. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in Management from Gettysburg College in 2011. He minored in Economics.

In addition to being a member of the men’s lacrosse team, Martin established himself as a committed leader of multiple campus organizations. He is still an active member of the Gettysburg College community through his involvement with several alumni boards including the Orange & Blue Advisory Council and the Gettysburg College Baltimore Alumni Club.

Martin serves as a Board Member of The Golfers Charitable Foundation as well as the Boys’ Latin School Alumni Board. He was named a Rising Star in philanthropy by the Living Classrooms Foundation in 2016. Martin lives in Lutherville with his wife Emily. In his free time, he Craig enjoys playing golf and lacrosse in addition to spending time with his family at the beach.

Erin McLaughlin started her position as the Event and Marketing Coordinator at The Daily Record in November 2017. In this role she plans and executes The Daily Record’s many prominent events, including Top 100 Women, Icon Honors and Influential Marylanders.

Having recently moved to Baltimore, McLaughlin is most excited about getting involved within the city and joining committees to make a difference. Being part of the GBC’s Next Up program, McLaughlin hopes to meet and connect with the future Baltimore leaders as well as learning from the success of the current innovators.


John McNamara is a Director in Stifel’s diversified industrials investment banking group. McNamara is responsible for coverage of the building products and environmental services industries. He has completed more than 50 M&A, public offering and private placement transactions, generating more than $10 billion in consideration.

McNamara began his career at Stifel in July 2006, serving as a member of the middle market M&A group. Prior to joining Stifel, he was an intern in the financial planning and analysis department of Constellation Energy Group.  McNamara earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Loyola University Maryland, where he now serves as a member of the President’s Council.  He is a CFA® charterholder. McNamara resides in Baltimore with his wife, Suzanne, and two children, Michael and Margaret.

Felicia Metz is the Acting Director for the University of Maryland’s Office of Technology Commercialization. Metz leads and facilitates the university’s technology transfer activities and advises on intellectual property policies, patent prosecution, IP-portfolio development, tech transfer strategies and licensing.

Metz earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Maryland and a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is a member of the Maryland bar and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Alexa Milanytch, Director of Community Engagement, Chase Brexton Health Care

Alexa Milanytch is the Director of Community Engagement for Chase Brexton Health Care, a community medical center headquartered in Baltimore. Through establishing partnerships with foundations, major donors, businesses, and community members, Milanytch raises funds for capital needs, medical programs and individual assistance. She secured more than half of the funding for the first ever pharmacy robot at Chase Brexton, exceeded the 2017 End of Year campaign goals, and led the most successful Employee Giving Campaign to date. 

Previously, Milanytch served in the Peace Corps as a Fundraising Training Specialist as part of the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Ukraine.

Milanytch began her career in public service by serving as the youngest Ukraine Country Director for the Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund, an international children’s health-related organization. There she raised $5.3 million to fund medical assistance projects, managed a national network of medical professionals, and authored six successfully awarded project proposals for its support.

She relocated to Baltimore in 2016 and is a founding board member of the City Center Residents Association where she serves on the Finance & Fundraising Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and a master’s of public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Ryan Moran is Director of Community Health – Baltimore City for MedStar Health. In this role, Moran oversees community and population health strategy for all three MedStar Health hospitals in Baltimore – MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Harbor Hospital.

Moran joined MedStar Health in 2014 as Administrative Resident before assuming the role of Director of Operational Management at MedStar Good Samaritan and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. He is an active member of the Baltimore community, serving on the Hampden Family Center Board of Directors, Glen Burnie High School Business Advisory Board and Greater Baybrook Alliance Steering Committee.

Moran earned bachelor’s degrees in public policy and business administration from the University of Charleston and a master’s degree in health services administration from Xavier University. He is also a member of the University of Charleston National Alumni Board.

Moran is a current part-time doctor of public health candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has been recognized for his leadership and contributions to the field of health services, including being named a Foster G. McGaw Scholar by the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 2017, Moran was named one of The Daily Record’s Successful Before 40 – Very Important Professionals, recognizing 40 individuals from across the state of Maryland for their professional accomplishments, community service and commitment to inspiring change.

Rory Murray is a Lobbyist for Capitol Strategies, LLC in Annapolis. Murray advocates for clients in industries including telecommunications, education, health care and medical cannabis. Prior to joining Capitol Strategies, Murray was Director of Government Affairs for a start-up company concentrating on public health issues, Campaign Communications Coordinator for a successful Maryland State Delegate campaign and worked on opioid overdose reduction policy as a student at the University Of Maryland School Of Law.

Murray served from 2003 to 2007 in the United States Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Sergeant. He served as an Infantry Squad Leader and Scout Swimmer. Murray was deployed to: Fallujah, Iraq; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines. Following his time in the Marine Corps, Murray was a Maryland State Trooper and was President of his academy class and served in road patrol and full service community policing capacities.

Murray is a graduate of Towson University and earned a Juris Doctor from the University Of Maryland School Of Law. He is married to Emilie, a physician, and they have an infant son, Theodore, and a dog, Luna. Murray and his wife enjoy rock climbing and mountaineering.

Erin S. O’Keefe is the Director of the Center for Community Service and Justice at Loyola University Maryland and is the Founding Director of its York Road Initiative, a place-based community development strategy focused on strengthening the York Road communities of north Baltimore.

Prior to joining Loyola in 2010, O’Keefe worked in community affairs for Johns Hopkins University, as an Urban Policy Research Assistant in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and in community services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore.

O’Keefe earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola University Maryland and a master of public policy from UMBC, where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in urban policy. O’Keefe lives in Baltimore City, is a fellow of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and sits on the Board of Directors for Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Strong City Baltimore.

Irene Pastorino is a Senior Account Manager at KELLY Benefit Strategies (KBS), where she began working in 2013, bringing five years of account management and sales experience in professional baseball. She first learned the business of benefits working as the Executive Assistant to KBS’ Senior Vice President of Consulting and Account Management. In 2014, she was promoted to Account Manager and shortly after promoted to Senior Account Manager, where she began serving the daily benefit needs of clients.

Pastorino serves the needs of fully insured and self-funded clients, ranging in size from 150 to 2,000 lives. She works directly with HR staff and employees to ensure a smooth Open Enrollment for every client and assists the Lead Consultants with strategic group benefit planning to maximize client success. She is a key player for KBS, both inside the office and out in the community, where she plays on the company softball team. Pastorino is also a member of the Women’s National Bowling Association.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Washington College.

Dana Perzynski Johnson, Associate Principal, Ayers Saint Gross Architects

Dana Perzynski Johnson is an Associate Principal with Ayers Saint Gross, a multi-disciplinary design firm in Locust Point. She leads in the firm’s health sciences planning practice. In the nearly 12 years she has been with Ayers Saint Gross, Perzynski has developed master plans for a wide cross-section of clients including Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Health sciences campuses and academic medical centers are complex places with many competing needs and Perzynski’s focus has been on engaging stakeholders, analyzing space metrics, designing spaces for collaboration, and focusing on the user experience.

She is actively involved outside the firm as a member of the United Way of Central Maryland’s Baltimore City Partnership Board, Women United Executive Council and the Baltimore Health Department’s Business Advisory Group.

Perzynski, who grew up in Howard County, attended the University of Maryland where she earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture. She lives in Canton with her husband, Graham. In her spare time, she likes to cheer on the Baltimore Orioles, golf, exercise, volunteer, try new restaurants and travel.

Destiny-Simone Ramjohn serves as Director of Community Health for Kaiser Permanente. She advances the mission of Kaiser Permanente by strategically enhancing and evaluating the financial, material and human resource investments across the Mid-Atlantic States region that directly address the social determinants of health and promote health equity.

She earned a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. Creating conditions that promote health equity are at the core of Ramjohn’s personal and professional mission. Her current work examines the role of anchor institutions, such as academic institutions and health systems, in generating economic and health impacts that may minimize the disparities that drive unrest, especially jobs, added years of life from better health and reduced use of emergency departments for primary care.

Ramjohn helps others drive innovation and develop new ideas to ensure that large health care system’s policies, programs and practices are aligned with an equity agenda. Her research is guided by the desire to advance health equity using authentically inclusive, empowering and evidence-based techniques to bring the most vulnerable from the margins of our society to the center of dialogue, advocacy and power.

Nicholas (Nick) Rossi is the Sales and Product Manager for KELLY Payroll, specializing in new sales and production by expanding the organization’s presence in the marketplace. Rossi is responsible for developing unique and innovative products that deliver a comprehensive payroll solution. In addition, he places an emphasis on building long-lasting relationships with prospects and clients.

Rossi began working for KELLY Payroll in 2015 as an Account Executive. After one year in this role, he was promoted to Product Manager and in 2017, he was asked to lead the sales team. Prior to working for KELLY Payroll, Rossi was a Solutions Architect for Integrated Control Corporation in New York City.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Communications from Stevenson University in 2013. In college, Rossi was a two-time NCAA All-American lacrosse player and was part of the National Championship team during his senior year. Outside of KELLY Payroll, Rossi serves on the Junior Board of Directors for Military Bowl and is an active member for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Lacrosse. He also does color commentary for Stevenson University Lacrosse. Nick currently resides in Towson.

LeeAnn Sims, Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

LeeAnn Sims is currently the Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. In this role, Sims is responsible for developing and implementing an enterprise-wide strategy to maintain workforce diversity and cultivate a culture of inclusion, while integrating a diversity lens into CareFirst’s brand and employee value proposition.

She governs the company’s diversity training and Associate Resource Group programs which aim to develop, engage and connect the associate population.

Sims also serves on the College Bound Foundation’s Urban Scholars Program advisory committee, is a published author and founder of an organization that provides practical health information and encouragement for women to jump start or continue a wellness journey.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from The George Washington University and expects to graduate from Saint Joseph’s University in Spring 2018 with a master’s degree in Business in Administration.

Perceval Bahado-Singh, Director for System Integration, University of Maryland Medical System

Perceval Bahado-Singh is the Director of System Integration at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and Chief of Staff to Dr. Stephen Bartlett, Chief Medical Officer of UMMS.

Prior to joining UMMS, Bahado-Singh worked as a Consultant Chemical Pathologist and Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of the West Indies School of Medicine and Hospital. He also worked with the South East Regional Health Authority in Jamaica.

Bahado-Singh is a Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans scholar and an alumnus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica, where he pursued a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry and Zoology (double major) and Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry. He completed postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and earned a M.Sc. in Chemical Pathology and Health Care Administration at the University of Surrey, UK.

He has conducted scientific research on diabetes management, wound healing and cognitive effect of substances of abuse. His research also encompasses the isolation and characterization of bioactive molecules from Jamaican medicinal plants and synthesis of analogues, for the treatment of cancers, in particular, prostate and central nervous system cancers. He has published 13 peer-reviewed articles, 30 abstracts and is the co-author of two books.

Bahado-Singh has successfully developed several private sector companies, notably the Bio-Tech R&D Institute, Jamaica. He is a previous ward of the state of the SOS Children’s Village in Jamaica. He is interested in charitable work, classical music, sky diving, scuba diving, adventure sports and aviation and is a licensed private and commercial aircraft pilot. Bahado-Singh and his wife, Brynne Reece, live in Cockeysville with their daughter.

Tyler Wright is a Vice President and Commercial Real Estate Relationship Manager at Howard Bank, a full service community bank based in Baltimore (Canton). Wright, a 2004 graduate of McDaniel College, is a member of the Executive Board of Directors for Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center, and has been active with the United Way of Central Maryland’s Emerging Leaders United and Business Volunteers Maryland GIVE program.

Wright was recognized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as a Maryland’s Finest honoree in 2014 and identified as a Next Leader in Banking by the Maryland Bankers Association in 2015. He was recently honored by the Baltimore Business Journal for its 40 Under 40 campaign. Wright, a native of Chestertown, lives in Baltimore County with his wife, Tracy, and two daughters. They are looking forward to welcoming their third child in May 2018.

Interested in learning more? Contact Sophia Silbergeld, GBC’s Director of Membership and Member Relations, at 410-727-2820.

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