March 8, 2019
2019 Women's Leadership Conference - The Power of Perseverance

Eight hours of inspiration! That's how many of the attendees describe the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference as they left the beautiful Live! Hotel yesterday.

After a warm welcome from Chamber President Leonardo McClarty, the room turned their attention to a video playing on screens on each wall. Hundreds of sets of eyes watched the story of Rayna DuBose. She's a Columbia native, who was on a full-ride basketball scholarship at Virginia Tech, playing in her first season, when a viral meningitis infection put her into a coma, and ultimately led to her hands and feet being amputated. DuBose took the stage to a huge round of applause, in prosthetics, including stilettos. Her message was one of perseverance and positivity and left us all feeling inspired.
The first session of the day, moderated by Lisa Anderson, included panelists Towanda R. Livingston, Senior Director of Philadelphia's Office of Economic Opportunity, Denise Shelton and Shawn Nance, CEO and Founder of Community Bridge Incorporated, and Sharon Brackett, President and CEO of Tiresias Technologies. All four women shared incredible stories about their background that exemplified the topic, 'Finding Peace During the Storm.' A few of the conference's most memorable lines came out of this session, including "you can ask any hard question, but expect a hard answer," and "it's more important that an idea happen than for it to be mine."

The next session, moderated by Anna Fleeman Elhini, featured two powerful and history making panelists in Howard County's first female Chief of Police, Lisa Myers, and Howard County's first female Chief of Fire and Emergency Services, Christine Uhlhorn. The theme of their session was 'Determining When Patience is a Virtue, and When It Is Not." Myers and Uhlhorn decided to do a joint presentation, and talked frequently about how important it has been to each of them to have the other to call on, as both are navigating the task of taking on these incredibly powerful positions at the top, while being the first woman to hold the positions. Both Chiefs had incredible advice to share, but one line in particular that stuck out, was one of Chief Uhlhorn's closing lines, "I don't want the women in the department today to feel like they have to be one of the guys. I want them to be themselves!"
The last session of the day, moderated by Kim Watters, took on the topic of "Igniting and Sustaining Purpose and Passion." Panelists including Suzanne Delica, Owner of Clothes Mentor - Columbia, MaryBeth Hyland, Founder of SparkVision and Jeanne Martin, Owner of JMar Enterprises, talked about everything from the power of values when trying to find your purpose, to their views on social media. Delica illustrated many of the journeys taken by all three panelists, by explaining that she found her path as an entrepreneur by saying, "I did an audit. I asked myself if I was making decisions based on my core values."
The last speaker of the day, Sheela Murthy, founder of Murthy Law, had the difficult task of closing the conference, but to say she rose to the occasion, would be an incredible understatement. Murthy brought the energy in the room back up after a quick break and kept the audience laughing and listening intently as she shared about how she chose to work in the field of U.S. Immigration Law and built her firm, including the most visited legal website in the world! Murthy says she believes one of the keys to her success is compassion, explaining "I don't care how much you know, unless I know how much you care."

It was a day that left attendees feeling empowered and ready to take on the world. As with any big event, the day would not have been possible without the hard work of the amazing conference committee and the support of our annual partners and event sponsors. 
Week 9 Legislative Update

The Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines Thursday morning - 8-3, to advance a bill that would raise Maryland's minimum wage to $15 per hour after making additional changes in efforts to help small businesses. Key amendments are as follows:
  • Slows down incremental increases in the minimum wage so it does not reach $15 for businesses with 14 or fewer employees until 2028. The original bill would have increased the minimum wage for all business to $15 by 2023.
  • The bill also requires the governor to put more money in the budget for the Developmental Disabilities Administration so state-funded health and human services organizations can pay their employees more.
  • Tipped wages remained the same. The committee rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Antonio Hayes, a Democrat from Baltimore City, that would have raised the minimum wage for tipped workers. Under current law tipped workers, such as bartenders and servers, are paid $3.63 per hour with tips making up the difference. The original bill would have eliminated the "tipped credit" but the House ended up carving out tipped employees. 
While bill changes continue to make things better for business, it still marks a significant increase in labor cost that began four years ago when the last minimum wage rate change was implemented.

The bill now advances to the Senate floor, which could happen as early as today. Republicans and Democrats are expected to engage in a spirited debate.

If the Senate passes the bill, then the House needs to agree to the changes or else the bill will go to a conference committee.
Got Questions About the Legislative Process?

Our partners in the Maryland Chamber Federation at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce have put together a helpful "2019 Advocacy Handbook" to guide you through the steps of the legislative process and understand more about how the Chamber is working for you as the voice of business.


Strategic Alliance Partner
This has been a great week for our membership team. We are happy to welcome the following new members to the Chamber!
In honor of our 50th Anniversary Year, we will be recognizing some of our original members throughout the year in this section of the newsletter!
  • Century Corporation - 26 Years
  • Environmental Systems Associates Inc - 26 Years
  • J M Gaske Inc - 26 Years
  • Association of Community Services - 25 Years
  • Atholton Holdings, Inc. - 25 Years
  • VW Brown Insurance Service - 25 Years
  • Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler, LLC - 24 Years
  • DP Solutions - 23 Years
  • Jean Moon & Associates - 23 Years
  • Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC - 23 Years
  • The HR Team - 22 Years
  • EMERGE, Inc. - 21 Years
  • Howard County Association of REALTORS - 21 Years
  • National Conference Services, Inc. - 21 Years
  • Data Computer Corporation of America - 19 Years
  • SECU - 7 Years
  • Rotary Club of Howard West - 5 Years
  • Costello Construction - 3 Years
  • The Lodestar Team of Keller Williams Integrity - 3 Years
  • Breakout Columbia - 2 Years
  • The Bob & Ronna Group of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - 2 Years
2019 Business Appreciation Week

Howard County businesses of all types and sizes are invited to take part in the 2019 Business Appreciation Week from April 22 - April 26! As a part of our ongoing mission to improve the resources available to our business community, each year teams of ambassadors from the Howard County Economic Development Authority, the Chamber, Government Officials and Elected Officials, including County Executive Ball.

Leadership Howard County Accepting Leadership Premier Applications

Leadership Howard County, which seeks to empower leaders to strengthen and transform the community, is accepting applications for Leadership Premier, a 10-month leadership development program for senior-level business and community leaders who live or work in Howard County.
Join Our Mailing List
Twitter: @HoCoChamber | Facebook: @HowardChamber |