Maria Tildon, vice president of state and local affairs at Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, chairs the Chamber’s Policy Committee. The Business Voice spoke with her about her goals for the committee, the importance of the Chamber and a surprising job early in her career.
How has your background in government policy prepared you for this role?
Whether the work was in complex litigation, international trade policy or health insurance and health care, my experiences have prepared me to navigate the complex issues and myriad of stakeholders in the policy arena – from legislators and regulators to grassroots advocacy interests. I’ve been in the business of having to quickly assess issues and arrive at solutions throughout my career, which will no doubt serve me well in this role.
What are some of the goals you hope to achieve during your tenure as chair of the policy committee?
My goal on behalf of the Committee and Chamber is to advance the interest of the business community in a manner that supports and drives economic growth in Northern Virginia and across the region and facilitates a well-supported, well-prepared workforce by being an effective advocate with local, state and regional policymakers.
What would you say to a business considering joining the Chamber?
The Chamber is a connective tissue among and across all aspects of the business community with key stakeholders in local and state government, the not-for-profit community and grassroots leaders. While networking is an important part of the proposition, it is also a resource for data, information and trends emerging across multiple sectors of industry that do and can better position businesses of any size for success.
What local boards or nonprofits are you involved with and why?
I serve on a number of boards of local for-profit companies and nonprofits, including the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company, an all-girls public charter middle and high school and Health Care for the Homeless. I’m blessed with the opportunity to understand and advance issues that have a meaningful impact on people experiencing homelessness and on supporting the growth and education of young girls, while also advancing the strategic goals of a utility and insurance company key to this region’s economy.
What is your life like “off the clock”? What kind of hobbies or passions do you have outside of work?
I love to read, and I love to run. Both of these hobbies require no facilities and no equipment. It’s my own personal brand of therapy!
What’s one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?
Early in my career I represented a client on death row in the commonwealth of Virginia at the appeal and clemency stage. It was a humbling experience that I will never forget.
Tell us about a favorite book you’ve read and why it resonated with you.
“The Warmth of Other Suns” is one of the most impactful books I have read in a long time. Isabel Wilkerson chronicles the history of the great migration by layering historic data and research into beautiful prose about three individuals who migrated from the South. I finished smarter and forever connected to the history as well as these three people and the 6 million Black folks they represented during this little-known but consequential period in our country’s history. It’s a masterpiece.