Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Leading by example, one of the two most important leadership qualities for Michael Kelly, should be a simple process. “It means making the right choice, even when that choice is difficult,” said Kelly, executive director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC). The other vital factor is placing people where they’re most likely to thrive and providing the needed support and guidance if they run into obstacles, he said.
Tasked with working on a broad range of the policy initiatives regional elected executives are focused on, micro-managing his small staff is out of the question, Kelly said. “It is important that our employees have the freedom to work collaboratively and to use their best knowledge and judgment without the fear of someone constantly looking over their shoulder,” he said. That’s particularly true for a nonprofit relying on fluctuating funding sources that in lean years leave little room for bonuses and raises.
Innovation is another factor that keeps everyone motivated, as the council often looks years and decades into the future to see what the region’s challenges and needs will be, Kelly said. One example of such a project was the recently concluded Opportunity Collaborative, which was a consortium of government and non-government partners focused on reducing socio-economic disparities by better connecting investments in housing, transportation and workforce development. Among other ideas, the consortium developed career pathway tools to help workers earn enough to support their families.
“We are always striving to stay abreast of technological and policy developments that will have an impact on our region,” he said.