More than 300 Young Leaders Gathered at United Way of Central Maryland’s Fifth Annual Emerging Leaders United Young Professionals Conference

 “Philanthropic Five” Award Winners Announced

BALTIMORE, MD (May 10, 2016) – On Friday, more than 300 local young professionals convened in Baltimore to discuss issues affecting central Maryland, foster leadership in the community, and recognize the exceptional work of their peers at United Way of Central Maryland’s fifth annual Emerging Leaders United Young Professionals Conference. The superhero-themed event, focused on “The Power of You” — as a young professional in the community. Attendees participated in leadership development and panel discussions that included a lineup of top local executives and CEOs who shared their greatest mistakes and lessons learned. The panel included BGE’s Stephen J. Woerner, P.E., Baltimore County Public Schools’ Dr. Dallas Dance, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s Dr. Bernard Ferrari, Ayers Saint Gross’ Luanne Greene and Generosity’s Jamie McDonald.

United Way of Central Maryland also announced the “Philanthropic Five” award winners — five young professional community leaders who are creating positive change in central Maryland through their leadership. This year’s winners are Jillian Ruskey, Nicholas Culbertson, Oana Brooks, Shawnice Jackson and Kip Hollar.

“As a group, Emerging Leaders United encourages members to take a stand and make a difference in the local community,” said Jeremy Rosendale, United Way of Central Maryland Emerging Leaders United Director. “These young professionals, in particular, have made a significant and positive impact in central Maryland and they continue to change the odds for individuals and families throughout our region. Each of the young leaders recognized has brought something special and important to their community.”

An Assurance Manager at Ernst & Young, Jillian Ruskey was the founding chair of the Ernst & Young Professionals Board and served as a board member for the American Heart Association. She has worked tirelessly to revolutionize the way our society approaches homelessness as the local chapter chair of Back on My Feet — an organization that combats homelessness through the power of running — by recruiting, coordinating, leading and serving.

President and COO of Protenus, Inc. Nicholas Culbertson is the co-chairman of The Sixth Branch (T6B), a veteran-led nonprofit organization that works to build, grow and inspire local communities through citizen-led initiatives and utilizes the leadership and organizational skills of military veterans to execute transformative initiatives in Baltimore City.

Oana Brooks, equity compliance investigator at Johns Hopkins University, is passionate about public service and working toward a better Baltimore. She serves on several nonprofit boards and has led projects for organizations throughout the community including House of Ruth, Moveable Feast and My Girlfriend’s House. Oana is also the president-elect of the Junior League of Baltimore.

Working as a Post-High School Individualized Services Manager at Thread, Shawnice Jackson has been actively involved in the Baltimore nonprofit and social entrepreneurship scene over the past six years. She now serves and advocates on the national level for a variety of youth organizations including Baltimore Corps, Public Allies, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake and Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Community Relations Supervisor at UPS, Kip Hollar serves on the executive committee of United Way of Central Maryland’s Emerging Leaders United and is on the advisory board of Empty Bowls of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore and Project Lead the Way (Pre-Engineering Pathway) Baltimore City Public School System. He is also a member of the Paul’s Place Rising Leaders Young Professional Group as well as a founding member of the E-Council with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Emerging Leaders United provides unique opportunities for young professionals to give back to the local community at events while meeting other committed young professionals. Click here to learn more about United Way of Central Maryland’s Emerging Leaders United and how it continues to help change the odds for families across central Maryland. A video about the Philanthropic 5 award winners can be found here.

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About United Way of Central Maryland 

For 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been changing the odds for families and communities by investing in the building blocks of a self-sufficient life: quality education, safe and affordable housing, and access to healthy food and health care. Family Stability is at the core of this work, which includes helping children attain the education they need to be successful; preventing homelessness and providing, safe, affordable housing; and increasing access to healthy food and health care. All of this work is underpinned by a safety net of critical service supports to meet people’s basic needs, plus the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, which answered more than 100,000 calls for help last fiscal year. United Way of Central Maryland serves Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties and Baltimore City. To help change the odds for families and communities in central Maryland or learn more, visit

More than 300 Young Leaders Gathered at United Way of Central Maryland’s Fifth Annual Emerging Leaders United Young Professionals Conference