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Eight Local Leaders to Join United Way of Central Maryland Board of Directors

Eight Local Leaders to Join United Way of Central Maryland Board of Directors

Baltimore, MD (June 23, 2022) – New board members will join the group of dedicated local leaders at United Way of Central Maryland. Each year at its annual meeting, United Way of Central Maryland announces new board members, each lending unique expertise to the leadership of the organization. Fiscal year 2023 new members include Renee Blanding, Aaron Church, Sean Closkey, Derrick Dickins, Greg Farno, Martin Lemelle, Derek Lynch and Cindy O’Neill. 

“The addition of these leaders from across the central Maryland region to our board will bring new perspective and experience to the table,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “Each has a demonstrated interest in and a track record of service to their communities. We look forward to the talents and insights they will bring to our organization and our work to promote equity and increase access to life’s basic needs.”

Dr. Renee Blanding is an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She serves as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Medical Director of the operating room at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  

Dr. Blanding is passionate about community engagement and volunteerism. In 2013, she founded Readership to Leadership, a program that promotes literacy in elementary school students. Through the program, she enjoys sponsoring reading and spelling bees in several area schools. 

Aaron Church has nearly 20 years of experience working in the Assurance-Audit practice of Ernst & Young (EY) in Baltimore. In addition to his client service experience, he serves as the lead Partner in charge of all recruiting efforts for the EY Baltimore office. 

Aaron’s philanthropic work in the Baltimore community extends to his history volunteering with United Way of Central Maryland. Effective July 1, 2022, Aaron will be Chair of the Baltimore City Region United Network (RUN) Advisory Board. He has served on the RUN Board since 2017 and is the lead Partner in charge of United Way fundraising for the EY Baltimore office.  

Sean Closkey has spent the last 15 years building ReBUILD Metro into one of the premier community development organizations in its region. As founding President, Sean conceptualized the organization’s model of revitalizing communities by building on the strength of local assets and community leadership. He has used this model to lead the visioning, financing, and completion of over 1,000 homes in East Baltimore and beyond. Sean has spent more than 25 years in government and nonprofit leadership positions, including Director of New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. 

Derrick Dickins became senior vice president and chief operating office of Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) in September of 2021. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, including safety, reliability, distribution, transmission, gas operations, fleet and technical services. 

Dickens actively serves on the Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE) Board of Directors and has previously served on the boards of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington as well as the B&O Railroad Museum and Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. 

Greg Farno is regional president for the Maryland Region at Truist Financial Corporation. Named to this position in December 2019, Farno is the senior leader in the market and responsible for directing the commercial business and delivering the full complement of the firm’s services to clients. 

Passionate about education, he serves in various volunteer capacities, including the executive committee of the board of directors for the B&O Railroad Museum, and serves on the board of directors for the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, the Greater Baltimore Committee, Living Classrooms and the Maryland Bankers Association. He’s a past member of the executive board of the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Family and Children Services of Maryland, the executive committee of the Center for Urban Families, board member and treasurer of St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, and the board of St. Timothy’s School in Maryland. 

Martin Lemelle is a strategic business leader and accomplished professional with remarkable interdisciplinary acumen. Currently serving as Vice President of Finance and Business Services for Maryland Institute College of Art, Lemelle has a track record of leading finance and operations for organizations like the U.S. Senate, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, General Electric and more. 

In 2020, Martin was an endorsed candidate for U.S. Congress in Louisiana’s 5th congressional district. From managing billion-dollar enterprises to leading brand campaigns with Beyonce and Adidas, Lemelle is a modern thought-leader with a unique ability to engage diverse audiences. 

Derek Lynch is the Commercial Banking Leader for Maryland, based in Baltimore. His team provides advice and a wide range of financial services – including lending, capital markets, treasury management and deposit products – for businesses with annual sales between $10 million and $2 billion. 

Derek currently serves on the Board of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the United Way of Central Maryland Harford County RUN Board, is a member of the World Trade Center institute (WTCI) and is a WTCI EDGE Program Bowe Fellow (2019). 

Cindy O’Neill is a strategic consultant to nonprofit organizations based in Annapolis, Maryland. Cindy is certified by the Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence® Institute as a Licensed Consultant and is committed to helping nonprofit organizations achieve their potential through implementation of best practices in nonprofit governance and management. 

Cindy has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees in Anne Arundel County and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Ohio Wesleyan University. She serves as Grants Committee Co-Chair for a multi-city family foundation. She has been a member of United Way of Central Maryland’s Anne Arundel County RUN Advisory Board since 2018 and received United Way’s 2020 “Spirit of Partnership” award for her grant review work on the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. 

Also announced at the meeting, Noah Chang has been named as Chair of the Emerging Leaders United (ELU) group for United Way of Central Maryland. ELU activates and champions young professionals to strengthen communities in Greater Baltimore. Chang is a senior business intelligence analyst with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has a background in psychology and brings a passion and dedication for giving back to his community to ELU. 


United Way of Central Maryland helps the working poor and those in poverty access basic needs like housing, healthcare, jobs, and education. The nonprofit’s programs promote equity, create opportunity, and improve the lives of our neighbors and the neighborhoods they call home. For nearly 100 years, United Way has tackled the toughest challenges in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Learn more at