Baltimore County Executive-Elect Johnny Olszewski Jr. seems to be making good on his campaign promise of being an inclusive exec, tapping Rachel Garbow Monroe, president and CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and BGE CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. to lead his transition team.
Monroe, whose background includes being COO at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and lead marketing positions at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago and the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and her MBA from Northwestern’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management.
Olszewski didn’t know Monroe well before tapping her for the transition team’s co-leadership position, but said he has “long admired Rachel and the amazing work that she and the foundation have been doing.”
“She and Calvin Butler are among the most dynamic executives that the region has. I’ve been impressed by her leadership, as well as the depth and breadth of the Weinberg Foundation and its impact,” he said. “It was a pretty easy decision, even without having a long-standing relationship.”
Monroe will be co-chair of the new county executive’s team to help facilitate a smooth transition from Interim County Executive Donald I. Mohler to the Olszewski administration. Just six months ago, Mohler, longtime right-hand man and chief of staff to former County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, stepped into the executive position when Kamenetz died suddenly of cardiac arrest in May.
“Johnny’s commitment to representing all residents of Baltimore County, coupled with his commitment to a more regional platform of leveraging opportunities for Baltimore County and City to work more effectively together is exciting,” Monroe said in a statement. “I am thrilled to partner with Calvin Butler to lead this transition team, and to work with Johnny and his strong professional team to expand opportunities for everyone throughout each and every neighborhood in Baltimore.”
Recognized by many organizations for her work, including as the 2016 SmartCEO Magazine CEO of the Year, one of The Forward’s 2012 Forward 50 and locally by The Daily Record and the Baltimore Business Journal, Monroe is also active with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations such as Leading Edge and Baltimore’s Promise.
The transition team is set to include seven work groups looking at education, public safety, job creation and economic development, sustainability, transportation and infrastructure, health and human services, government reform and innovation, and diversity, inclusion and quality of life. Elisabeth Sachs will serve as director of the transition and Sam O’Neil will serve as senior advisor to the transition.
“We are committed to supporting Johnny’s vision for an open, transparent transition process,” Mohler said in a statement. “Our team stands ready to keep residents informed and engaged during this change in leadership.”
Olszewski said it’s important to him to have a diverse transition teams and a diverse government. Monroe is Jewish and Butler is black.
“As I’ve said all along, it’s important to bring diverse perspectives to the table and throughout the campaign I said we would build a diverse team that reflects the full and rich diversity of our county,” he said. “I believe that starts at the top and that it starts from the beginning. I couldn’t be more excited to have them. They are a dynamic team.”