No. 6: Jay A. Perman
CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF MARYLAND
Dr. Jay A. Perman has learned to listen with energy.
For Perman, the fifth Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, it might be his super power, one that he credits some key mentors — his early school teachers — for instilling.
In the fourth grade, his teacher instructed him in the fine art of “listening a lot and saying a little,” with a plaque that said “Even a fish wouldn’t get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.” For Perman, the gist was that active listening is “the key to solving problems.”
A sixth-grade teacher ingrained in him the lesson that “you’ll get much farther by being nice than being insistent or obnoxious. I’ve never forgotten that,” he said.
After medical school at Northwestern University and a residency at Northwestern University Children’s Memorial Hospital and a fel-lowship at Harvard University and the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston, Perman became an assistant professor of pedia-trics at the University of California, San Francisco.
He moved to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, teaching pediatrics and serving as the head of several divisions from 1984 and 1996. From 1999 to 2004, he chaired the Department of Pediatrics at UMB’s School of Medicine, and he later returned to serve as UMB president.
Perman has served on many national and regional boards and committees, including chair of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, as well as the boards of the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans, the Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is immediate past-chair of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
Through his career, Perman said, his ability to keep excellent people loyal to him has been the biggest contributor to his success. At the end of the day, the excellence of a leader is really a credit to the leader’s team, he said.
“The fact that I’ve been fortunate to work with extraordinary people — dedicated to their jobs, devoted to their mission, capable and compassionate in equal measure — is the biggest blessing of my career. And they’re the reason I’ve been able to do what I do — for our students and for the state.”