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UMB Selects Leader for Community Promise Initiative

Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), has announced that Ashley Valis, MSW, has been named executive director, community initiatives and engagement.ý In this newly created position, Valis will report to Peter N. Gilbert, MSF, chief operating officer and senior vice president, and will lead UMB's Community Promise Initiative, coordinating and focusing the University's many community engagement programs to provide even greater service to UMB's neighboring communities in West Baltimore and downtown Baltimore.

"UMB has literally hundreds of outreach programs," Perman says. "By harnessing the power of all of them, Community Promise will see that groups and initiatives such as Promise Heights, Club UMB, and the Center for Community-Based Engagement and Learning have the greatest impact."

"Ashley Valis has the right blend of experience to effectively coordinate and guide our community outreach," says Gilbert. "She has a proven ability to work closely and build strong relationships with community leaders, and also to successfully advocate for their needs at all levels of state and local government."

Valis served most recently as assistant chief of staff to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. In that role, and previously as deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, she worked closely with communities across the state to advance the governor's priorities with regard to Smart Growth, natural resources, and planning. She also served as the governor's liaison with Maryland's mayors and county executives in the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League.

"In her eight years here, Ashley Valis has risen through the ranks to become one of my most valued aides and trusted advisors," says O'Malley. "To the people of Maryland, she has been a dedicated public servant, and a smart and steady voice in the fight for a greener, healthier, more sustainable Maryland."

Although she has commuted to Annapolis since graduating from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 2006, Valis resides in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Ridgely's Delight, and is excited to have the opportunity to return to the university and to serve the community that surrounds it.

"For decades, UMB faculty, staff, and students have been doing important work on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore. I look forward to partnering with them to broaden the University's relationship with local civic organizations, businesses, philanthropies, government, and above all, the neighborhoods throughout the City of Baltimore," says Valis. "As a leading anchor institution in Maryland, we have a tremendous opportunity to weave together the fabric of a stronger city."
Posting Date: 05/15/2014
Contact Name: Alex Likowski
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: alikowski@umaryland.edu