44, mayor of Baltimore
Perhaps no Baltimore woman is watched more than Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. But while she’s seen on national television appearances, Rawlings-Blake says she’s watching Baltimore’s bottom line. She slashed $300 million from the city’s long-term $750 million structural deficit, revamped the Police Department’s schedule and upgraded the city’s bond rating. “It’s important we run Baltimore like a business,” she says. In 2015, she says, she’s pushing to reduce police brutality, which she says will make residents more likely to share tips with officers. “The reforms we make with police brutality can make violent crime reductions dramatic,” she says.
— Luke Broadwater
30, Boston Marathon bombing survivor
Twenty surgeries, one prosthetic leg and a nation’s embrace have led Erika Brannock to where she stands today. It’s been 18 months since she was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, and Brannock wants her experiences to enrich others. “I’m getting back to a normal life, but there’s this itch inside of me to be doing something more.” She’s living in a condo in Timonium, student teaching and finishing her master’s. She envisions a role that will help every child embrace the ways he or she is different. It could be in a preschool classroom, in a children’s book or in the way her life inspires others. “That hard stuff is behind me.”
— Yvonne Wenger
25, Paralympic superstar
After years of dominating marathons and summer Paralympic races, Tatyana McFadden extended her prowess to the winter Paralympics in March, winning a silver medal in the 1-kilometer sit skiing race. The Clarksville resident earned her first winter medal in her birth country of Russia, where she grew up in an orphanage. Then, to show she hadn’t lost her old touch, she won the London and Boston Marathons eight days apart in April. “Yeah, it’s crazy to deal with the changes,” McFadden said of adding winter sports to her stuffed docket. “But it’s also fun.”
— Childs Walker
Already the nation’s leading female jockey, Napravnik added a win in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks to her list of big-race victories. Through early September, she had won more than 150 races and ranked seventh among all jockeys with $9.28 million in earnings. Napravnik, who built her reputation riding in Maryland, is still looking for her first Triple Crown victory but rode in all three of those races for the second straight year. She’s always among the most popular figures at any race, especially among female fans. “Having all those women and little girls in my corner, it is inspiring to me to inspire other people,” she said.
— Childs Walker
Catherine Curran O’Malley
52, Baltimore district judge, first lady of Maryland
Gov. Martin O’Malley and his family will move out of Annapolis in January to make room for the next governor — so Katie O’Malley has been house hunting in Baltimore. “I started in March. I absolutely love looking,” she says. She’s still doing truancy prevention work, and she continues speaking out against cyber-bullying. And, no, she hasn’t made any trips to Iowa, while her husband, who is mulling a presidential bid, has. A decision to run might require her to resign her judgeship. “Whatever next step I take will depend on where he wants to go with this,” she says.
— Susan Reimer
Susan L. Burke
On paper, Susan Burke’s fight against sexual assault in the military suffered setbacks. Congress declined to take up legislation to take the prosecution of rape out of the chain of command. Then the case against three midshipmen accused of assaulting her client ended without convictions. But Burke, who has represented service members in lawsuits against military leaders, sees progress. She says the withdrawal of two of the accused from the Naval Academy spared “this country having two naval officers who really should not be naval officers.” Another legislative push is slated after midterm elections. And she plans more lawsuits. “I try to focus primarily on cases that have a social impact,” she says.
— Matthew Hay Brown
62, chief executive officer, Enoch Pratt Free Library
As she began her third decade leading the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Carla Hayden cut her hair short because she didn’t have time for a more demanding style. No wonder: She’s involved in three renovation projects totaling $14 million of the Waverly and Canton branches and of the Central Library. She’s spearheading a redesign of the Pratt website. And she’s coping with a 64 percent jump in the number of the Pratt’s ebook readers. “Our circulation of hardcover books has remained steady even as our digital circulation has grown,” she says. “There are all these different ways now to get information. The content has been freed from the containers.”
— Mary Carole McCauley
59, superintendent, state Department of Education
State Superintendent Lillian Lowery says that the state’s continued work on the Race to the Top national education initiative is “bearing fruit” and paving the way for future student progress. The third-year head of Maryland schools says that the state has taken steps to strengthen teacher and principal evaluation and created programs to develop the next generation of leaders. The department will ensure momentum is sustained, she says. “Our work has been accomplished with superintendents, administrators, teachers and board members sitting alongside us,” Lowery says. “Buying in on our initiatives by a cross-section of the education community paves the way for success.”
— Joe Burris
The past year in charge of Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore has been the culmination of a two-decade professional dream for Amy Perry: to run a major hospital. She continues to be goal-oriented, but now her focus is improving community health. Sinai launched a program to help patients who used the emergency room for nonemergencies, expanded cardiovascular services to prevent a leading cause of death and partnered with urgent-care centers to provide more efficient care. Perry says, “We want to help with education, counseling and interventions. We want to help our patients live healthier lives.”
— Meredith Cohn
Dr. Deborah Persaud
54, virologist, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
Dr. Deborah Persaud was among the doctors credited with eliminating clinical signs of HIV in a Mississippi infant born to an infected mother by giving the baby antiretroviral treatment beginning 30 hours after birth. This summer she and others involved with the case were disappointed to learn that the virus had only been in hiding. But she called the child’s 27 months of remission “astounding” and a “turning point” in HIV research. She remains “driven by the new goal of transforming HIV treatment from lifelong to time-limited. The Mississippi child is the first step in this direction.”
— Meredith Cohn
49, chef and co-owner, Foreman Wolf
In February, her Baltimore-based restaurant group added its sixth restaurant, and its first outside Baltimore, a Columbia Lakefront version of Roland Park’s popular Petit Louis Bistro, and in March, Cindy Wolf was named a finalist, for the third time, for a James Beard Foundation regional chef award. “It was a great year,” says Wolf. “Part of opening a new restaurant is that it gives us an opportunity to move people forward.” Coming up: learning more about food and wine. “Throw in some travel,” she says, “and we’re looking at another great year.”
— Richard Gorelick