Every strong ecosystem needs pollinators to help it stay alive and thriving.
These 20 busy bees keep Baltimore’s tech ecosystem thriving by creating events, building networks, and guiding young entrepreneurs to successful businesses. Through this work and their other local recovery efforts, Technically now recognizes them as this year RealLIST connectors.
The 2022 edition of our annual Animator Honors List was compiled from a mix of external nominations and picks based on our reports. This list comes about two years after we highlighted 110 scene leaders with similar impact in our comprehensive inaugural edition. 25 more connectors were introduced the following year. Every previous RealLIST has centered around people who know we go further together, and that theme holds true this year as well. All of the connectors highlighted here want to build a stronger, more inclusive tech ecosystem in Baltimore.
Without further ado, and in alphabetical order, here are the 20 connectors that are cultivating Baltimore’s tech ecosystem into something that does justice to the “Charm City” name:
Kory Bailey, Director of Relationship Development, UpSurge Baltimore
Bailey brings together technologists, founders and community stakeholders for Equitech Tuesdays at Alma Cocina each week. Each meeting involves a theme on how to make Baltimore a more equitable city through the tech economy. Next week marks the event first birthdayi.e. 52 events bringing together technologists and innovators to share their ideas.
Gary Bonner, Executive Director, PCs for People Maryland
Through the nonprofit dedicated to digital access, Bonner not only connects Baltimore residents to the internet and free devices, but also teaches digital literacy skills that can help build a career in tech. It also strives to literally connect much of the city by integrating the 96,000 householdsor 40% of the city’s inhabitants, who lived without a wired internet connection in 2018.
Juliana Buonanno, Founder, TechSlice
Buonanno hosts demo days that often introduce local entrepreneurs and Baltimore’s VC scene to out-of-state entrepreneurs. The work she does to build community through TechSlice provides another opportunity for underserved founders to showcase their talent and connect with the venture capital ecosystem in Baltimore.
Patti Chandler, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Baltimore Community Foundation
Beyond his work with the Baltimore Community FoundationChandler serves as a mentor for innovation works. Through these two positions, Chandler is using her experience as a business owner (and a businesswoman used to breaking glass ceilings) to help other social entrepreneurs in Baltimore overcome similar challenges and obstacles.
Jennifer Clark, Deputy Director of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Baltimore Corps
Clark champions grassroots social entrepreneurs through her work, which empowers local entrepreneurs seeking to solve community problems. Events like the Elevation Rewards and Moon shot does not happen without his hard work.
Luke Cooper, Founder, Latimer Ventures and Fixt
With his venture capital fund destined to reside in the middle of West Baltimore, Cooper is building a more equitable tech ecosystem by investing in black founders and tackling the legacy of divestment from black communities in the city.
Paulo Gregory Harris, CEO, Cohado Inc.
Cohado is the organization that manages Black Butterfly Network, a program designed to support and uplift Baltimore loose business owners while connecting them to a network of peers who want to achieve the same growth. The program was born out of an ecosystem building organization Advanced citieswhich aims to support entrepreneurship by connecting other organizations and businesses to business resources.
Doug Holly, Entrepreneur in Residence, Maryland Innovation Center
Holly has guided many young entrepreneurs through the hurdles of running a business, connected them to venture capital, and helped startups navigate the growing pains of scaling a small business. Based in Colombia Maryland Innovation CenterHolly’s statewide reach takes Holly’s impact far beyond the Baltimore area.
Jeannie Howe, Executive Director, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA)
As head of the GBCA, Howe connects more than 300 artists and organizations to resources in the city of Baltimore, as well as the surrounding counties of Anne Arundel, Carroll, Baltimore, Howard and Harford. His work, while more obviously focused on the arts and humanities than on technology, invariably impacts cultural institutions that also employ or collaborate with technologists and entrepreneurs.
Dan Hymowitz, Director, Mayor’s Office of Performance and Innovation
When it comes to connecting city government technologists to other departments, Hymowitz is the person to call. He leads the office’s data fellow program and has helped technologists like the city’s chief data officer Justin Elszasz find their way into municipal administration.
Jayesh Jariwala, Senior Mentor and Chairman of the Board, Baltimore Bolts
Serving the whole city Baltimore Bolts robotics team in both mentorship and leadership, Jariwala guides Baltimore youth into careers in engineering and robotics. At Ethan Joyner’s chemin des Bolts to a course with Galen Robotics illustrates the impact of Jariwala.
Breonna Massey, Membership and Facilities Manager, ETC Baltimore
Massey takes possession of Baltimore ETC Open mic pitch party events, which involve showcases for young startups and entrepreneurs that often act as networking events and pitch workshops. These low-stakes networking and pitch development opportunities are integral to growing the ecosystem. They also allow entrepreneurs to develop the skills needed to win larger national pitch competitions.
Brendan McAdams, Program Director, AccelerateBaltimore 2022 Edition
McAdams, a California native who has been in the Baltimore entrepreneurial world for more than a decade, oversaw AccelerateBaltimore’s tenth cohort. This year, the focus was on sales, and McAdams leveraged its 25 years of telecommunications start-up and sales experience (including selling to Bell Laboratories and AT&T) to guide fledgling startups through the 13-week acceleration program.
Patrick McQuown, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship, Towson University
McQuown oversees the Starting at the Armory coworking space for university startups and leads the eight weeks Startup accelerator. Through this work, he guides many inhabitants and Towson University student startups at scale, as well as helps Sherpa them into Baltimore’s larger tech ecosystem.
Robert Moore, Technology Center Manager, Digital Harbor Foundation
Moore runs youth programs that introduce and develop the foundational skills these young people will use in their technology careers. His work addresses the beginning of the pipeline that may shape the technological future of the city of Baltimore.
Trevor Pryce, CEO, Outlook Enterprises
the old Baltimore Ravens actor-turned-entertainment entrepreneur is working to grow Baltimore’s animation and visual effects industry. As her business seeks to grow, she has the opportunity to connect hundreds of Baltimore residents to careers in animation production. His promise has already been celebrated by the State Commerce Departmentwho recently noted that Pryce’s company expands its headquarters on East Biddle Street.
LaToya Staten, Strategic Projects Specialist, Fearless
Staten interacts with many partner organizations and connects them to full digital service work in which Without fear specializes. She also works as a capacity builder and connector to bring the company’s work to the broader tech ecosystem and to Baltimore in general.
Maggie Terhune, Community Manager, Spark Baltimore
Terhune is mainly responsible for the construction of the Baltimore Spark the community of coworking space founders and resources. She is the hub of how the assortment of businesses in the space network and support each other.
Stacy Stube, Associate Director for Creative Entrepreneurship, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Stube uses his role to log in MICA entrepreneurs to the resources and networks that facilitate the success of their creative enterprises. She also champions their work to the city as a whole. Programs like MICA’s 2022 UP/Start Venture competition work as well as they do thanks to Stube’s expertise in developing creative entrepreneurship.
Jamye Wooten, Founder, CLLCTIVLY
Wooten’s scope of work includes frequent opportunities to connect and support black-owned startups in Baltimore. He builds a grant and resource ecosystem to nurture black-led organizations with a vested interest in improving Baltimore.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.