Donald C. Fry has faced one of his most challenging years leading the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) during the pandemic, but Fry, president and CEO for 18 years, has remained positive and optimistic.
“We have stressed that our programs and projects are relevant and provide the benefits to our members to justify renewing their membership investment,” he said. “This requires constant attention to the quality of programs and the delivery of services requested by our members.”
Fry said the mission at GBC, an independent, regional business advocacy group with more than 500 members, is unchanged: organize corporate and civic leaders to improve the business climate by taking on problems that affect the region’s ability to compete.
During Fry’s tenure, GBC has started many programs, including Bridging the Gap, which helps minority- and women-owned businesses, and the Baltimore Women’s Advisory Board, which provides assistance and resources to women interested in being leaders in business.
GBC has also created a COVID-19 Business Recovery Advisory Council. “Our goal is to focus on providing resources and advice to small and minority-owned businesses about not just how to reopen but to recover from the economic challenges of the pandemic.”
In a September interview, Fry said the impact the virus will have on the future of the business community is unknown.
“Most (employees) are still working remotely. Many businesses have realized that they can successfully operate remotely, many employees enjoy working remotely, and for some businesses, that could become the new normal,” he said. “The pandemic has led many business owners to reevaluate the office space needs of their company. Fortunately for businesses, whenever there is change, opportunities are presented as well.”
Fry said the upcoming release of GBC’s regional workforce development report will look to the future and focus on what’s needed to prepare workers. “We have a strong set of findings, observations and recommendations that will provide a road map for addressing those challenges, and we look forward to implementing the report to provide a strong regional workforce for our future.”
“We have stressed that our programs and projects are relevant and provide the benefits to our members to justify renewing their membership investment.”
— Donald C. Fry