Christine A. Ross joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO in July 2016. Ross has been in the Chamber industry and practicing economic development since 1999. She sits on the Maryland Cyber Security Council, the Maryland Manufacturing Advisory Board, and the Maryland Comptroller’s Business Advisory Council. She is actively involved in broad-ranging legislative advocacy focused on regulatory reform, improving the state’s competitive business climate, ensuring a quality workforce and developing an adequate talent pipeline to support the state’s growth.
Ross earned an MBA and a master’s in marketing from the University of Maryland-University College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and earned the coveted Certified Chamber Executive (C.C.E.) status in 2014 from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In 2017, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Maryland–University College, was selected for the coveted CCC100 an elite group of chamber executives that represents the perspectives and needs of chambers and their members to the U.S. Chamber and was one of the Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs presented by the Daily Record. Ross has three adult sons, a husband that teaches high school chemistry and a wonderful Irish Red and White Setter named Astor.
Ashley Duckman is the Vice President of Government Affairs at the Maryland Chamber. As the VP, she leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the 4,500+ members of the Maryland Chamber before the Maryland General Assembly and on the federal level. Duckman’s responsibilities include developing, leading, and executing the legislative strategy of the organization and maintaining positive working relationships with key elected officials and members of the Administration in order to build a better understanding of and appreciation for business issues.
Previous to joining the Maryland Chamber, Duckman served as senior director of governmental affairs and public policy for the American Gas Association. In this capacity, she assisted in managing AGA’s federal government relations goals and programs. This included advocacy and outreach on Capitol Hill on energy and environment issues including infrastructure, energy efficiency, and the role of natural gas in a lower carbon future. Previously, Duckman was responsible for AGA’s state legislative and regulatory portfolio. This included outreach to state policymakers including governors, attorneys general, state legislators and public utility commissioners across the country.
Prior to joining AGA, Duckman served as legislative assistant for former National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Chairman Dan Mattoon at Mattoon & Associates where she assisted clients on issues ranging from telecom to education on projects and initiatives on Capitol Hill.
Duckman has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Washington College in Chestertown, MD.
Andrew Griffin is the senior policy analyst at the Maryland Chamber. He grew up on the Eastern Shore and has worked on multiple local, state and federal political campaigns. Prior to joining the Chamber, Andrew was the Director of Advocacy for the University of Maryland, College Park. In that role, he managed the grassroots outreach supporting the most pressing policy and budgetary issues that impact the state’s flagship university. Andrew also served in Governor Hogan’s administration, both in the Appointments Office, where he oversaw gubernatorial appointments to over 500 state boards and commissions, and as Assistant Director of Government Affairs at the Maryland Department of Agriculture. He is an avid outdoorsman and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Whitney Harmel is a dedicated philanthropist and volunteer who joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in December 2017 as the director of strategic partnerships. In November 2019, she was promoted to the role of vice president of membership and development.
Her career lends her expertise in small, large, local and international business.
As a sales executive for NAPC, Inc. she handled national business development for a marketing platform and a cybersecurity software solution. She was also integral in launching a new brand and product for NAPC.
Harmel previously served as an associate vice president of business development at Intero Advisory, business development manager at Experis IT and sales supervisor and executive at Advance Business Systems.
She earned her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech.
“I’m excited to share the Maryland Chamber mission with both new and existing members,” Harmel said. “They are the pulse of Maryland’s business economy, and I’m ready to work with them to make Maryland stronger for everyone.”
Nicole Seay joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as the member services coordinator in March 2019.
Seay comes to the Maryland Chamber from PEAK Grantmaking, a nonprofit organization where she worked for over three years. In her role as member services coordinator, she was the key link to members, educating them as needed to ensure their success with the organization offerings. Seay managed over 350 organizations and more than 2,000 individual members. She played a vital role in, not only membership, but assisting the education, events, regional chapter and communication teams. Prior to being in the nonprofit arena for over seven years, she was a licensed insurance agent.
Seay said, “I am inspired by the Maryland Chamber’s stance on advocacy for small business and the community.”
Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Seay went on to earn her bachelor of science in human services and management from the University of Phoenix.
Marie Rau is the Director of Programming and Special Events at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for leading the planning, development, execution and measurement of of all Chamber programming and special events. In this role, she ensures that all events support and enhance the Chamber’s mission, vision and strategic objectives. Rau also is responsible for sponsorship development, sponsorship sales and advertising opportunities.
Prior to this role Marie held the position of Director of Marketing & Communications where she was responsible for developing the marketing strategy and managing all aspects of the Chamber’s marketing efforts, as well as creating programming, planning, managing, and executing the Chamber’s portfolio of events.
Marie joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as the special events manager in April 2018. She comes to the Maryland Chamber from Merkle, a performance marketing agency, where she was for over six years. In her role as event marketing manager at Merkle, Rau was part of an award-winning corporate events team, managing and supporting over 150 events annually consisting of award ceremonies, executive summits, tradeshows, industry exchanges, networking workshops, executive meetings, and webinars.
Prior to her time with Merkle, Rau worked for Johnson Controls and Arbitron.
Born and raised in Maryland, Rau is inspired by the Maryland Chamber’s mission to grow jobs and make Maryland more nationally competitive.
“I am excited to be a part of the MD Chamber team and look forward to the opportunity to connect and inform members through our marketing efforts and events program,” Rau said.
She earned her bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland.
Nicole is the Marketing & Communications Manager at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. In this role Nicole is charged with driving the strategy and implementation for all internal and external communications and developing powerful narratives that showcase the Chamber’s expanding portfolio of services and products to businesses across the state.
Erin Montgomery is the senior content writer at the Maryland Chamber. She is a lifelong Marylander with more than 15 years of varied content development, writing, editing, and media relations experience.
Erin previously worked in Washington, D.C., as the communications director for the nonprofit America First Policies. She also served as communications director for Governor Larry Hogan’s Coordinating Offices and as press secretary on his 2014 campaign. Other previous experience includes working as a press secretary for Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., of Maryland’s 1st District, and developing content for the exhibits at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas.
Erin has a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Virginia. She enjoys playing tennis and the violin in her spare time.
Kimberly Reach is the Marketing and Events Coordinator at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. She first joined the Maryland Chamber as the Events Intern in January 2019 and started on staff in her current role in April 2019. She is attending UMUC to earn her bachelor’s degree in English.
Prior to joining the Maryland Chamber, she blogged on her website and worked in volunteer positions. As an active-duty military spouse, she is accustomed to adapting, planning, and making things happen.
She is passionate about writing, marketing, and forming relationships. Working as the Marketing and Events Coordinator, she is excited about creating authentic, intentional events for members to connect and network.
Laura Gordon joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as its administrative assistant In January of 2018. In October 2018, she was promoted to office manager. Prior to coming to the Maryland Chamber she worked in the insurance, staffing and manufacturing industries.
Additionally, she is a United States Navy Veteran having served aboard the USS Jason (AR-8). As a surface warfare officer, she made several deployments including during the Gulf War in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
She is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and has a bachelor’s of science degree in political science.
Gordon also serves as an executive board member of the Maryland Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and co-chair of Annapolis Great Strides Walk.