Meet the team.
Christine A. Ross joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO in July 2016. Ross previously served as CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, transforming the 1,000-member organization through difficult times and winning the coveted five-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for effectiveness and impact. She advocated for regulatory changes to improve the region’s competitive business climate, and worked to ensure quality workforce and education reform, progressive infrastructure planning for transportation, and technology.
Ross also led a wide range of economic development activities, such as long-range broadband planning, for a five-county area of 1.2 million residents, as well as a statewide strategic update for the Enterprise Florida 2014-17 economic development plan.
She was voted Chamber Executive of the Year by the Florida Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives, and her Chamber was recognized as Florida’s Chamber of the Year in 2014. That same year, she earned her elite Certified Chamber Executive (C.C.E.) status.
Prior to her service at the Bonita Springs Area Chamber, Ross served in similar positions at the Falmouth, Massachusetts, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, chambers. She also worked as the program director of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, and as marketing director at the Pittsfield Tourism Council (Massachusetts).
Ross has several Maryland connections. She 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.
Ross is married and has three grown children, two of whom are in graduate school in the Washington, DC, area.
Read more about Ross.
Learn more about the Maryland Chamber’s leadership.
Lawrence A. Richardson Jr., Esq. joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as its vice president of government affairs in October 2016. Prior to his arrival at the Maryland Chamber, Richardson served as claim attorney/jurisdictional specialist for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.
Richardson brings more than two decades of experience as a government affairs representative for State Farm Insurance to the Maryland Chamber. A registered in-house lobbyist (Maryland, Baltimore City, and Washington, DC), Richardson was accountable for multiple facets of activities relating to legislative, general business and public relations issues before the Maryland General Assembly, the Council of the District of Columbia, the Baltimore City Council, their respective executive branches of government, and all relevant regulatory entities.
Prior to his position with State Farm, Richardson worked as a staff attorney with Blue Cross–Blue Shield of Maryland for 10 years, five of those years as counsel for the Office of Government Affairs. There, he provided research and legal analysis of legislation before the Maryland General Assembly; prepared and drafted legislation and amendments; presented testimony before House and Senate committees; engaged in direct interaction with members of the Maryland General Assembly, their staffs and counsel; and served in an overall support capacity to the vice-president of government affairs.
With 30+ years of experience working with government in Maryland, Baltimore and DC, Richardson brings his well-earned reputation as a respected lobbyist to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. He uses all of that experience advocating on behalf of the Maryland business community to grow jobs and reduce regulations, working to make Maryland more competitive.
After attending Towson State University, Richardson graduated cum laude from the University of Baltimore with a B.A. in political science (government and public administration). Richardson went on to earn his law degree from the University of Baltimore.
Kevin Rudolph is proud to assist the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as the senior policy analyst on the Government Affairs team.
Rudolph’s ability to comprehend the impacts of policy on both the state and federal level as well as his expertise in labor, healthcare, transportation, taxation, education and cyber security to name a few, make him an integral part of the team. In supporting the Maryland Chamber, Rudolph sits on the Governor’s Workforce Development Board’s Cyber Security and IT Task Force and is sought as a policy expert by various state commissions and councils.
A native Californian, Rudolph got his start in politics as a field organization for a competitive congressional race in southern California. After finishing college, Rudolph moved to Chicago where he worked as an associate inspector in the City’s Inspector General’s Office, investigating allegations of fraud and official misconduct among the city’s employees and elected officials. Rudolph subsequently moved to Washington D.C. where he spent time as an aide in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rudolph holds a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago, with a certificate in health policy, and a Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science and religious studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Outside of policy and politics, Rudolph teaches and tutors in Washington DC.
Whitney Harmel is a dedicated philanthropist and volunteer who joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in December of 2017 as the director of strategic partnerships.
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.”
Laura Toraldo joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in the fall of 2016 as the director of marketing and communications. She was promoted to senior director of marketing and communications in the spring of 2018. She comes to the Maryland Chamber from National Geographic, where she worked for nearly 10 years—most recently as their multimedia editor.
Toraldo has a plethora of global experience from her time at National Geographic. As multimedia editor, she was part photo, layout, web and text editor, rights clearance manager, social media manager and in-house graphic designer for the 38 internationally published versions of the magazine. She provided oversight and quality control for the local content in print and online. Toraldo also provided guidance and support for the international digital and social channels to improve approach, boost interest, and increase following.
During her tenure at National Geographic, Toraldo also held the positions of photographic liaison and editorial coordinator. As photographic liaison, she designed and edited layouts, revised text and maintained quality control for local material published in the local-language international versions of National Geographic. As editorial coordinator, she was the driving force behind story ideas and design of the quarterly newsletter—updating partners on events, achievements and upcoming cross-platform initiatives in the international and Washington, DC, offices.
Toraldo studied digital design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Delaware. Prior to National Geographic, Toraldo worked as a staff reporter for the Coastal Point newspaper in Ocean View, Delaware.
Chloe Mazzone joins the Maryland Chamber directly from graduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park where she obtained her master of public policy with a concentration in international development policy. She first joined the Maryland Chamber in June 2017 as the legislative intern on the government affairs team for the summer.
Throughout schooling over the past two years, she has held a number of internships in international development, supporting economic empowerment and business development endeavors. She has interned in policy oriented positions analyzing legislation and performing research for new business opportunities.
Before returning to school, she worked on the development team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, planning events for the board of visitors and supporting day to day development operations. She also lived in Los Angeles, California for a year, working in marketing and communications.
As a native of Maryland, she is excited to be back at the Chamber to help job growth and increase member involvement in the business environment and policymaking in her home state.
Mazzone earned her Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, with concentrations in Europe and international law and organization, and a minor in marketing.
Mary Duggan joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as its communications specialist in June 2018. Prior to her full-time role, she was a marketing & communications intern.
Preceding her time at the Maryland Chamber, Duggan had several experiences in the creative field. Most notably, she was a graphic design intern at Penn State football and a top design firm in Nashville, Tennessee.
Though Duggan enjoyed her time in Music City and Happy Valley, she is an Annapolis native, who was born and raised in Maryland. As she returns to her hometown, she embraces this new chapter as her career begins.
Montana Robertson joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in January 2018.
Originally from Toronto, Robertson comes to the Maryland Chamber from New York City, where she earned a masters of arts in media studies.
Prior to her time at the Chamber, Robertson’s previous work experience predominantly lay in the world of film and television, where she worked for a production company that produces factual television content for networks such as the BIO channel, DiscoveryID, and the History Channel. She has also worked as a freelance videographer and assistant director for multiple productions.
Robertson says she is excited to continue to create and produce multimedia with the communications team at the Maryland Chamber.
Santiago Luna comes to the Maryland Chamber after experiences like serving in the Peace Corps. The Maryland Chamber’s new member services coordinator was raised in Miami, then earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations with a focus on Middle East and Central Asia studies.
During his undergraduate career, he spent a year living and studying in Dubai to further his experience in the area. Upon graduation, Luna served in the Peace Corps Morocco as a youth asset builder, teaching Moroccan youth advanced English and beginner’s French.
Luna obtained his master’s degree in corporate communications from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. He is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
Marie Rau 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 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.
Elizabeth Sothoron joined the Maryland Chamber of Commerce as executive administrative assistant in October 2016 and was promoted to executive office manager in October 2017. Prior to coming to the Maryland Chamber, she served as a special event, trade show and exhibit account manager for Hargrove Inc. for nearly five years. There, Sothoron was responsible for ensuring the efficient production and installation of about 60 annual events, trade shows and exhibits throughout the country. These projects included large conferences/expos, government summits and extravagant galas.
Prior to her position at Hargrove Inc., Sothoron served as head of production, personal assistant and office manager for Tara Guérard Soiree Event Planning and Design in Charleston, South Carolina for four years. There, she assisted in the coordination and creative design of corporate affairs, elegant destination weddings and fundraising galas.
Sothoron earned her Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.