On October 11, 2021, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce welcomed seasoned executive Mary D. Kane into our senior leadership role as president and CEO. Mary brings with her an impressive track record of building strong relationships and elevating the organizations she leads. We asked Mary a few questions about herself, her career and her priorities for the chamber.
You’ve had a rich career, and many of our members may recognize you from your time in public office as Secretary of State in Maryland from 2003 – 2007. How did that position prepare you for this role at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce?
In most states, the Secretary of State oversees elections – not so in Maryland. Our SOS is nominated by the Governor and confirmed by a vote in the State Senate. The position is responsible for registering charitable organizations in Maryland, notaries public, extraditions, use of the Great Seal and the Maryland flag, the Division of State documents, the Governor’s Sub-cabinet on International Affairs and Maryland Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking. In most of these duties, I interacted with the Governor’s office, various state agencies, and members of the General Assembly on a regular basis. In all instances, I was working for Maryland citizens.
As President and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, my job is to represent our members before the Governor’s office, state agencies and the General Assembly on the issues that concern businesses in Maryland. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my former colleagues and building new relationships while advocating for a healthy business environment in Maryland.
Tell us about your time as executive director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?
Advocating for business is a passion of mine. There is a direct connection between strong, successful businesses and strong, healthy, successful communities. At the U.S. Chamber, I worked on building a national program to hire veterans, education and workforce development, financial literacy, and the campaign for free enterprise. I am looking forward to bringing this experience to the state level in Maryland.
What is one great lesson that you have learned during your career?
The one great lesson I have learned is to “never say never.” If you had told me in college that I would run for office or become the Secretary of State for Maryland, I would have thought you were crazy. I wanted to be a lawyer, but not a prosecutor as I was in Montgomery County, Maryland. I dreamed of traveling the world as a tourist, but I never thought I would lead an international organization promoting citizen diplomacy in places such as Kenya, Nigeria, Estonia, China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, and Peru – just to name a few. And then most recently, I was asked to build the National Museum of American Diplomacy at the US Department of State and become the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees for my alma mater, Mount St. Mary’s University. All these opportunities I would have never predicted early on in my career, but I believe that they have prepared me to now lead the Maryland Chamber of Commerce with a unique perspective.
What are your priorities for the Chamber as we head into our next legislative session?
My goals and priorities for the Maryland Chamber are to effectively represent our 5,500 members before the Administration, the General Assembly, Congress, and national agencies by emphasizing that strong businesses are the backbones to thriving communities.
On a personal note, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
I love to spend time with my family and friends, particularly at the beach. I like to play golf, although I have not played in a while. And I love to read. I read everything I can and when I am not reading, I am listening to audio books and podcasts.
Read coverage of Mary’s appointment in I95 Business here.
Questions for Mary? Contact her here.