Washington College President Bair to be Speaker for Aspire Rural Maryland Summit

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More times than not the best solutions to complex community challenges are developed through the collaboration of multiple levels of stakeholders within the community. With this simple, yet often overlooked concept in mind, the Rural Maryland Council is hosting its 2015 Rural Summit – “Aspire Rural Maryland.”

The conference will be held on Thursday, December 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 210 Holiday Court in Annapolis, and is open to the public. Registration is $50.00 per person and includes continental breakfast, the Rural Impact Awards Luncheon, and a networking reception.

BairSheilaThe keynote speaker will be Sheila Bair, 28th president of Washington College and former chair of the FDIC. Bair gained national prominence for her leadership during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and was twice named the second most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. She is Washington College’s first female president and the author of several books, including The Bullies of Wall Street.

The biannual summit brings together professionals and grass root individuals from throughout Rural Maryland. Attendees will include residents, State and local government leaders, grass root nonprofit organizations that work in rural communities, and professionals representing health care, economic development, agriculture, forestry, workforce development, and community development.

“Our goal is to provide a venue for all stakeholders to be part of the conversation to create positive change in our rural communities,” says Charlotte Davis, executive director of the Rural Maryland Council. “We know that if we can get everyone together – our residents, nonprofits, and our legislators – we can craft solutions that will work. This summit will build momentum and truly be an unofficial kickoff for our legislative agenda that will affect our rural communities,” she adds.

Conference goers will gain access to information and resources such as loan and grant programs and the opportunity to meet and collaborate with cabinet secretaries and other legislators. At press time the following secretaries were confirmed: R. Michael Gill, Secretary of Commerce; Benjamin N. Grumbles, Secretary of the Environment; Kenneth C. Holt, Secretary of Housing & Community Development; and Mark J. Belton, Secretary of Natural Resources. Also attending will be James P. Eichhorst, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

A special conference feature will be the Rural Impact Awards Luncheon, recognizing individuals and organizations that have done outstanding work. The following will be acknowledged:

• Rural Community Volunteer (up to two awards);
• Outstanding Rural Economic Development Award;
• Outstanding Rural Community Development Award; and
• Outstanding Legislator Award.

At press time conference sponsors include: Platinum level sponsors: Maryland Department of Commerce (formerly Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development); Gold Level Sponsors: MARBIDCO; Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; and Silver level sponsors: Community Development Network of Maryland.

Bronze level sponsors are: Cecil County Government; Engage Mountain Maryland; Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc.; Maryland Agricultural Conflict Resolution Service; Maryland Department of Agriculture – Marketing Department; Maryland Department of Agriculture – Resource Conservation Agricultural Certainty & Nutrient Trading Programs; Maryland Forests Association; Maryland Insurance Administration; Maryland Relay 711; Maryland Rural Health Association; Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland; Triea Technologies, LLC; and USDA Rural Development.

Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council operates under the direction of a 40-member executive board in a nonpartisan and nondiscriminatory manner. It serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts. The vision for RMC is the ultimate realization that citizens living in rural communities are achieving success in education and employment, have access to affordable, quality health care and other vital public services, and live in an environment where natural and cultural resources are being sustained for future generations.

To register for the conference visit rural.maryland.gov or call (410) 841-5774, email rmc.mda@maryland.gov. For updates on all RMC events and activities connect with the Rural Maryland Council at facebook.com/RuralMaryland or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.
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