2023 Voices of Public Service

Voices of Public Service is a monthly series that gives students an opportunity to learn about public service careers from seasoned professionals. Guest speakers include government and nonprofit leaders, elected officials, and business leaders who have made a civic contribution to society. Students from all majors and programs are welcome to attend.

This series is co-sponsored by the College of Public Affairs, the Schaefer Center for Public Policy and the Career and Internship Center. Voices of Public Service is part of the Schaefer Center’s Public Service Academy.


J.B Jennings, Maryland State Senator

Senator JB Jennings

Senator J.B. Jennings was elected to the Maryland Senate in 2011. In addition to serving on the Finance Committee, Executive Nominations Committee, Rules Committee, and Spending and Affordability Committee, Senator Jennings is the Minority Leader of the Senate.

Senator Jennings grew up in Baltimore County and attended Baltimore County Public Schools. At the age of 16, became a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company (Station 47). After graduating from Dulaney High School, Senator Jennings pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Baltimore.

Senator Jennings got his start in politics with then-Congressman, Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., as an intern and caseworker. He handled a majority of the constituent matters with such passion and resolve that he eventually became a staff assistant. Despite his service as a volunteer firefighter and legislative assistant, Senator Jennings remained committed to his childhood passion for agriculture and local farming. He left his job with Congressman Ehrlich and became co-owner of The Mill of Hereford, a farm feed and supply store.

Currently, Senator Jennings. is taking classes at Johns Hopkins to further his education and he is also the President and CEO of his own cyber-intelligence company, as well as a cybersecurity technician with the National Security Agency. He, and his wife, Michelle, have two children, J.W. (5) and Kate (3). The Jennings reside at their farm in Joppa, Maryland where Michelle boards horses and cares for an array of farm animals. 

Zeke Cohen, Baltimore City Councilmember

Council Member Zeke Cohen

Zeke Cohen has represented Baltimore’s First District on the City Council since 2016, delivering top-level constituent services while providing transparency throughout the process. Councilman Cohen’s team successfully resolved 4,147 unique constituent service requests, while passing landmark legislation. 

Councilman Cohen, his wife Reena, and their two children live in the Brewers Hill neighborhood. Before being elected to the City Council, he taught middle school in West and South Baltimore where he was awarded the Elizabeth Lawrence Prize for excellence as an educator. After graduating from Goucher College and receiving a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins, Councilman Cohen founded and ran a nonprofit where he taught civic leadership to high school students.

Paul Monterio, Secretary, Maryland Department of Service &                    Civic Innovation

Paul Monterio

Paul Monteiro served as the Director of the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS). Monteiro returned to CRS after serving as chief of staff to the president and assistant vice president of external affairs at Howard University.

Monteiro previously served as the CRS Acting Director from December 2015 to January 2017. During his tenure, he oversaw CRS’s work supporting communities as they worked to reduce tensions and to prevent and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes. 

In 2014, before first joining CRS, President Barack Obama appointed Monteiro as national director of AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the federal anti-poverty program established in 1965 as the domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps.

Previously, Monteiro joined the White House staff as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement after serving on Senator Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as the deputy director for religious affairs. In that role, he worked on President Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Initiative, the My Brother’s Keeper mentorship program for young men, and as a liaison to religious and secular belief communities as well as ethnic groups, including Arab American and Afghan American groups.

Monteiro also served as an at-large member of the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Public Schools Board of Education. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law.

Aruna Miller, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

Aruna Miller

Aruna Miller is the Lieutenant Governor of the state of Maryland. On Jan. 18, 2023, she was sworn into office as Maryland’s 10th lieutenant governor, the second woman to serve in that role, and the first woman of color and immigrant elected to statewide office in Maryland.

Born in India, Lieutenant Governor Miller and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Lieutenant Governor Miller has devoted her life to public service and removing systemic barriers to opportunity.

For 25 years, she worked as a transportation engineer for Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation to improve safety and provide equitable access.

From 2010 to 2018, she served the people of Montgomery County (District 15) in the Maryland House of Delegates.

For over 30 years, Lieutenant Governor Miller has lived in Montgomery County with her husband David, where they raised three daughters.

Senator Antonio Hayes

Senator Anthony HayesSenator Antonio Hayes was first elected to the Maryland Senate in 2018, and has represented the 40th Legislative District of Maryland since January 9, 2019. His legislative service prior to being elected State Senator was as a Member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 2015-2019.

He currently serves on the Finance Committee, Energy and Public Utilities Subcommittee, Executive Nominations Committee, the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, the Joint Committee on Federal Relations and Member of the Economic Development Committee of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and Vice Chair of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee.

Through legislation he sponsored, the West North Avenue Development Authority was established in 2021 to work in coordination with residents to create a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy for an area that never fully recovered from the 1968 riots. Senator Hayes, along with community members, the President of Coppin University, Dr. Anthony Jenkins and other stakeholders serve on the Authority.

His other public service include membership on Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee, the Pimlico Community Development Authority, the local (Video Lottery) Development Council, and the Behavioral Health Advisory Council.

He is an active member of Empowerment Temple African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Baltimore, serving as member of the Board of Trustees, Senator Hayes is also an active matter Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Baltimore Alumnae Chapter

He is native Baltimorean living most of his life in the district in which he serves. He is a graduate of Frostburg State University, with a B.S. in Political Science.

His professional career includes serving as Legislative Aide to Delegate Salima Siler Marriott of Baltimore, Director of Legislative Affairs for Baltimore City Council President from 2003-2006. From 2007-2010, he served as Assistant Deputy Mayor of Administration. He currently serves in the Baltimore City Department of Social Services.

Senator Hayes is married to Dr. Jenny Pena Dias and as of February 2022 they have a son, Antonio Agapito Hayes.

Videos from Schaefer Center's Candidate Forums Available Now

Videos from The University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy‘s hosting of three state candidate forums, held in an online setting, are now available. Click on the links below to view the videos:

2022 Voices of Public Service

Voices of Public Service is a monthly series that gives students an opportunity to learn about public service careers from seasoned professionals. Guest speakers include government and nonprofit leaders, elected officials, and business leaders who have made a civic contribution to society. Students from all majors and programs are welcome to attend.

This series is co-sponsored by the College of Public Affairs, the Schaefer Center for Public Policy and the Career and Internship Center. Voices of Public Service is part of the Schaefer Center’s Public Service Academy.


Lorena de Leon, B.S. ’10, MBA ’13, D.P.A

Lorena de LeonLorena de Leon, B.S. ’10, MBA ’13, D.P.A. ’20, has over 25 years of clinical and operational experience including program development, strategic planning, digital health and technology, and affordability/cost savings. She is currently the Sr. Director of Population Health and Social Determinant of Health for Maryland Physicians Care, the third largest Medicaid managed care organization in the state of Maryland. She has worked for and lead initiatives for organizations including United Healthcare, Optum, Johns Hopkins, and the Office of Healthcare Quality. Lorena holds a bachelor’s degree in business management, an MBA in healthcare management, and a Doctor of Public Administration from The University of Baltimore. She also holds a Certificate in Value-Based Care from the University of Houston and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Robert K. Hur, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Robert K. HurRobert K. Hur is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group. A seasoned trial lawyer and advocate, he brings decades of experience in government and in private practice, including service in senior leadership positions with the U.S. Department of Justice, to guide companies and individuals facing white-collar criminal matters, regulatory proceedings and enforcement actions, internal investigations, and related civil litigation. He is also a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group and the National Security Practice Group.

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Hur served as the 48th U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. Presidentially appointed and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he served from 2018 to 2021 as the chief federal law enforcement officer in Maryland, setting strategic priorities for and supervising one of the largest and busiest U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the nation. Before serving as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Hur served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. from 2017 to 2018.

Mr. Hur received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Stanford Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and won the Kirkwood Moot Court Competition. He served as a law clerk for William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Hur received his A.B. degree, magna cum laude with highest honors, from Harvard College and studied philosophy at King’s College, Cambridge.

Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates

Adrienne A. JonesSpeaker Adrienne A. Jones shattered two glass ceilings when she was unanimously elected by the full House of Delegates to serve as the first African-American and the first woman Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates in history.

Since becoming Speaker, she has led the Maryland House of Delegates in passing some of the most consequential bills in a generation. Speaker Jones ushered through The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a 10-year plan that makes the largest investment in education in Maryland history. She implemented the nation’s first comprehensive statewide policy agenda for racial and economic justice and made transformational police reforms including making Maryland the first state in the nation to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the legislature in passing the RELIEF Act, which made Maryland’s earned income tax credit (EITC) the highest in the nation and allowed Maryland’s nearly 86,000 immigrant tax payers to benefit from this critical pandemic relief.

Prior to being Speaker, Speaker Jones also held the distinction of being the first African American woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tem in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving in that capacity under Speaker Mike Busch for 16 years. Speaker Jones served on the House Appropriations Committee, and was Chair of the Capital Budget and Education, and Economic Development Subcommittees. She has been a delegate since 1997.

In February 2019, Speaker Jones received the Casper R. Taylor, Jr. Founder’s Award, the highest award given to a member of the House of Delegates, recognizing her steadfast service. She has three times been named to the “Top 100 Women in Maryland” by the Daily Record and was inducted into the Circle of Excellence for Sustained Achievement. Most recently she was selected along with 25 female legislators for Governing Magazine’s Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2016. As the first Executive Director of the Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs, she faithfully served the citizens of the County for over 37 years. She served as Deputy Director of the Baltimore County Office of Human Resources until her retirement from service in Baltimore County Government on June 30, 2014. During her civil service career, she worked with diverse populations of the County with dedication and sensitivity, providing a listening “ear” to individual citizens, business owners, religious leaders, and elected officials. She is the Founder of the Annual Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival, now in its 21st year.

Speaker Jones was born in Cowdensville, Maryland, a historic African-American community located near Arbutus in Southwest Baltimore County. She attended Baltimore County Public Schools, graduating from Lansdowne High School and is a proud alumna of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. She attended The National Security Seminar, U.S. Army War College in 2007. In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She is the mother of two adult sons and proud grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren, Jalen and Janelle Jones.

Brandon M. Scott, Mayor, City of Baltimore

Mayor Brandon ScottBrandon M. Scott is the 52nd Mayor of Baltimore, working to end gun violence, restore the public’s trust in government and change Baltimore for the better.

Scott was unanimously elected President of the Baltimore City Council by his colleagues in May 2019. As Council President, Scott developed and released the first-ever City Council President legislative agenda, focused on building safer, stronger communities, cleaning up city government, investing in Baltimore’s young people, and centering equity. Previously, Scott served on the City Council representing Baltimore’s 2nd District. He was first elected in 2011 at the age of 27 and is one of the youngest people ever elected to the Baltimore City Council.

During his first term, Scott emerged as a leading voice in reducing violence in Baltimore and reinstated Council Oversight of the Baltimore Police Department by holding quarterly hearings. He believes that reducing violence will require a holistic, all-hands-on-deck approach, one that recognizes violence is fundamentally a public health issue. Scott led legislative initiatives that created extensive crime data sharing and online reporting of crimes by the Baltimore Police Department. In 2016, Scott introduced and passed legislation creating an open data policy in Baltimore.

In early 2018, then-Councilman Scott introduced and passed monumental legislation on equity in Baltimore. His equity assessment program law will require all city agencies to operate through a lens of equity and require all operating budgets, capital budgets, and proposed legislation to be weighed through an equity lens. That legislation is in the early stages of implementation.

Mayor Scott is a rising star in politics. He was a member of the Young Elected Officials Network and served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for YEO’s America’s Cabinet. He also served as the Chair of the National League of Cities’ Large Cities Council.

Mayor Scott is a community leader, public servant, and lifelong resident of Baltimore City. A proud Baltimorean, Scott is a graduate of MERVO High School and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He lives in Baltimore’s Frankford neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore.

Thibault Manekin, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Seawall Development and Author of Larger Than Yourself

Thibault MannekinFrom the time he was little growing up in Baltimore City, Thibault wrestled to understand why we as human beings seemed so divided. He continued to ask himself what truly causes those divides that separate races, cultures and communities, and can anything be done to bridge them?

Armed with that burning question, in 2002, Thibault traveled to South Africa, where he combined his passion for bringing people together with a love of sports to help create PeacePlayers, a nonprofit with the mission of bringing together children from war-torn countries around the world through basketball and dialogue. PeacePlayers has since worked with over 75,000 youth from over 20 countries around the world and has trained over 2,000 coaches/change agents. The program has won numerous global awards, including the 2007 ESPYs Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Bothered by how real estate and the control of land seemed to have done more to divide us as people than actually bring us together, in 2006 Thibault moved back to Baltimore where he helped start Seawall, an impact driven company made up of passionate social entrepreneurs who believe in re-imagining the real estate industry as we know it. Seawall believes that all facets of the built environment should be used to empower communities, unite our cities, and help launch powerful ideas that create important movements. Since its inception, the company has focused its energy and resources on providing discounted apartments for teachers, collaborative office space for non-profit organizations, workforce housing, community-driven retail, public markets, launchpads for chefs, and creative space for charter schools. In 2011, Thibault was honored by President Obama’s White House as a Champion for Change and Seawall’s projects have received numerous local and national awards.

Most importantly, Thibault is the proud husband of Lola Manekin and the father of Durban and Finley Manekin.

Donald C. Fry, J.D. ’79, president and CEO, Greater Baltimore Committee

Donald C. FryDonald C. Fry, J.D. ’79, is President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a position he has held for 19 years, making him the second longest serving President & CEO in the organization’s 67-year history.
Mr. Fry will retire effective June 1, 2022, but will serve as a consultant to the GBC until December 31, 2022.
Mr. Fry began his tenure with the GBC in April, 1999 when he joined the organization as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He served in that role until November 1, 2002 when he was named President & CEO. Prior to joining the GBC, Fry maintained a private law practice in Harford County.
He also served in the Maryland General Assembly, first as a member of the House of Delegates where he served on the Ways and Means Committee and the Appropriations Committee and chaired its Subcommittee on Transportation & the Environment. He also served in the state Senate where he was a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee.
Fry is a 1979 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law. He earned a B.S. in political science from Frostburg State College.
Fry’s civic work during the past 23 years is expansive. Among the dozens of boards, commissions, task forces and other entities Fry has served on are include: Towson University Board of Visitors (active); Search Committee that helped select a new president and athletic director for Towson University; United Way of Central Maryland (Campaign Chair); Maryland Port Commission; CollegeBound; Visit Baltimore; the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore; Harford Mutual Insurance Co. Board of Directors (active); University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Board of Visitors; President of Star Spangled 200 Celebration, and Chair of the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission charged with selecting the location and operators of the state’s casino locations.

Stacy L. Rodgers, M.P.A. ’99, Baltimore County Administrative Officer

Stacey L. RodgersStacy L. Rodgers, M.P.A. ’99, has more than 30 years of experience in working with federal, state, and local government agencies and non-profit organizations where she has successfully designed, implemented and overseen innovative programs and initiatives. In March 2019, Stacy became the first African-American and second woman appointed to serve as the Baltimore County Administrative Officer (CAO). She is responsible for directing the County’s day-to-day operations and providing oversight for the County’s nearly $4 billion dollar operating budget. Baltimore County is the 3rd largest jurisdiction in Maryland, with a population of more the 850,000 residents.
Stacy is a graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Leadership Institute, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ (NFBPA) Mentor Program and Executive Leadership Institute. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a M.P.A. from The University of Baltimore.

2021 William Donald Schaefer Memorial Conference and Award Ceremony, Celebrating the 100th Birthday Anniversary of William Donald Schaefer​

View the entire William Donald Schaefer 100th Birthday celebration including remarks by Governor Hogan, Comptroller Franchot, Mayor Brandon Scott, and City Council President Mosby HERE.

More Videos

Welcome and Opening

Reaching for the Future: Transforming Cities, Tom Murphy, Senior Resident Fellow Canizero/Klingbeil Family Chair for Urban Development – the Urban Land Institute

Lessons in Transformational Leadership – Panel

2020 William Donald Schaefer Award Recipient Sister Helen Amos, RSM

2018 William Donald Schaefer Memorial Conference and Award Ceremony

Download program HERE.

2017 William Donald Schaefer Memorial Conference and Award Ceremony

Download program HERE.

2016 Candidate Forums

The Schaefer Center co-hosted a series of candidate forums with the Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and the Baltimore and Maryland League of Women Voters.

2016 Baltimore Democratic Primary Forum

The Schaefer Center partnered with the Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and the Baltimore League of Women Voters to host forums with democratic and republican candidates for the office of Mayor of Baltimore. Three forums were held.

Candidates: Sheila Dixon, Elizabeth Embry, Nick Mosby, Catherine Pugh, Carl Stokes, and David Warnock

2016 Maryland U.S. Senate Republican Primary Candidate Forum

The Schaefer Center partnered with the Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and the Maryland League of Women Voters to host a forums with the republican candidates for the Maryland U.S. Senate race.

Candidates: Richard Douglas, Chrys Kefalas, Kathy Szeliga

2016 Maryland U.S. Senate Candidate Forum

The Schaefer Center partnered with the Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and the Maryland League of Women Voters to host a forum with the republican and democratic candidate for the Maryland U.S. Senate race.

Candidates shaking hands. Kathy Szeliga and Chris Van Hollen
Candidates: Kathy Szeliga and Chris Van Hollen

2015 Regional Policy and Economic Forecast Conference

Download program HERE.