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April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, CNN political analyst.
April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, CNN political analyst. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

April Ryan

51, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, CNN political analyst

A successful book and a gig as moderator for a Democratic presidential candidates’ forum have added luster to April Ryan’s already stellar resume. But her famously contentious relationship with President Donald J. Trump remains intact. Ryan accused Trump’s ex-press secretary of having “lie-abetes,” ripped him for his recent verbal attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore, and had to move her family, she said, because of threats. (She still lives in the area.) But Ryan insists none of it will affect how she approaches her job. “I’m a reporter who has to shed a bright light in dark places,” she said. “Sometimes it’s to accepting crowds, sometimes it’s to people who don’t like it to the point they want to kill me. But I’m a reporter who is still going to do my job."

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—Jonathan Pitts

Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. senator
Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. senator (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Barbara Mikulski

83, former U.S. senator

The woman who was Maryland’s longest-tenured U.S. senator stays as busy as ever since retiring from Congress in 2017. As a professor of public policy at the Johns Hopkins University, she teaches “wonderful, bright people" about creating social change. She is also working with Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to make sure the city is not shortchanged on the 2020 census. “I’ve been encouraging efforts to make sure everyone counts because it’s so determinative of all the federal funds that will come to Baltimore,” she said. In the spring, the Enoch Pratt Free Library will open a “Mikulski Room” featuring her 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom. “That medal belongs not to me but to the people of Maryland that sent me to Congress,” she said.

—Jeff Barker

Alicia Wilson, vice president for economic development for the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System
Alicia Wilson, vice president for economic development for the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Alicia Wilson

37, vice president for economic development for the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System

With complicated agreements completed between neighborhoods and developers of the $5.5 billion Port Covington project in South Baltimore, Alicia Wilson, Sagamore Development’s community and legal negotiator, was attracted to a new role at Johns Hopkins. She said the position will give her a say in all the economic development underway around the university and hospital, near where she grew up in East Baltimore. “In the city I love, working with this institution that has so much consequence is a chance of a lifetime. Think of the scope and scale of what can be done," she said.

—Meredith Cohn

Tisha Edwards, head of the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success
Tisha Edwards, head of the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Tisha Edwards

48, head of the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success

There was a moment — as scandal engulfed Mayor Catherine Pugh — that Tisha Edwards considered leaving Baltimore. Since her departure as the city schools’ interim CEO in 2014, Edwards has tried on other hats: consultant, chief of staff to Pugh, and more. She was looking for her next reincarnation when the Pugh affair, which led to the mayor’s resignation, left her depressed. But she rallied behind the city, deciding that “everyone who can stand up and lean in ... must.” Now she’s leading an effort to give the city’s families more support, a job she says she is "completely overjoyed” to have.

—Liz Bowie

Ericka Alston-Buck, chief strategist and life coach at EAB Strategy & Impact
Ericka Alston-Buck, chief strategist and life coach at EAB Strategy & Impact (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Ericka Alston-Buck

48, chief strategist and life coach at EAB Strategy & Impact

Ericka Alston-Buck is no longer head of the Kids Safe Zone in West Baltimore — the youth program she created in the wake of the unrest following Freddie Gray’s death closed in April 2018 due to funding shortfalls — but she is still helping Baltimore’s children by growing her public relations consultancy, where she works with nonprofits and companies to provide services to local youth. She said she is still “very intentional about living in my purpose and amplifying the voice of youth in Baltimore City.”

—Catherine Rentz

Laurie Schwartz, President of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore
Laurie Schwartz, President of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Laurie Schwartz

67, president of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc.

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A lifetime of public service in Baltimore is what defines Laurie Schwartz, something she looks to emulate at the Waterfront Partnership. A former deputy mayor under then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, Schwartz said she sees herself becoming a voice on “Inner Harbor 2.0.” “It’s speaking out publicly with a vision and objectives for the Inner Harbor and for Harborplace, specifically," she said. “I’m really proud we’ve established ourselves along the waterfront and to a level where businesses call on us more frequently for support and assistance.”

— Phil Davis

Sonja Santelises, Baltimore schools CEO
Sonja Santelises, Baltimore schools CEO (Caitlin Faw / Baltimore Sun)

Sonja Santelises

52, Baltimore schools CEO

Since Sonja Santelises was appointed Baltimore schools CEO in 2016, the city has seen widespread turnover at the top of its most important institutions: City Hall, the police department, and the health, transportation and housing agencies. Santelises, meanwhile, has emerged as a stabilizing force. Under her leadership, the city’s graduation rate saw its largest gain in more than five years, and standardized test scores rose significantly in both math and English for the first time in nearly a decade. “We have so much further to go, my God, do we,” Santelises says. “But we are so not where we once were.”

—Talia Richman

Georganne Hale, vice president of racing development for Maryland Jockey Club
Georganne Hale, vice president of racing development for Maryland Jockey Club (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Georganne Hale

61, vice president of racing development for Maryland Jockey Club

When Georganne Hale became racing secretary for the Jockey Club in 2000, she was the first woman to hold that role at a major North American track. She built deep trust with the state’s tough-minded horsemen, to the point where many were alarmed when she moved to a different role in 2018. But Hale said she was delighted to take on new projects, such as reviving the D.C. International stakes race and building up philanthropic efforts at the state’s tracks. “I look forward to the great opportunities it presents to continue to build the thoroughbred racing program,” she said of her new position.

—Childs Walker

Kristin Jones Bryce, chief of staff for University of Maryland Medical System
Kristin Jones Bryce, chief of staff for University of Maryland Medical System (HANDOUT)

Kristin Jones Bryce

51, chief of staff for University of Maryland Medical System

Kristin Jones Bryce is no stranger to taking on monumental tasks. Formerly the chief of staff to late House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch, she helped guide legislative policy for the state. Bryce recently became the chief of staff at the University of Maryland Medical System. With the hospital network’s board of directors reeling from a self-dealing scandal, Bryce finds her work more important than ever: overseeing nearly 30,000 employees and the delivery of quality health care to about one-quarter of all of the state’s hospital patients. “Every organization encounters challenges over the course of its existence. If you remain mission focused, you will emerge stronger on the other side,” the Odenton resident said.

— Luke Boardwater

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