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Power Moves: Former City Councilman Leon Pinkett is the new executive director of BARCO

Plus, Arena Analytics has an AI ethics advisory board, a Baltimore-based growth equity firm is promoting a Millennial Media alum to a leadership role, and Westminster's McDaniel College is adding an entrepreneur-in-residence.

Sakana Walls on a call with Nataki Oliver Courtesy photo

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us:

A former Baltimore city councilman has a new role leading an organization creating space for the city’s artists and makers.

Baltimore Arts Realty Corp. (BARCO) named Leon Pinkett, III, as its new executive director. BARCO is a nonprofit real estate development corporation that owns and oversees spaces including the Station North makerspace Open Works and art center Motor House. Pinkett has served on the organization’s board for four years. He will now lead administration, strategy and real estate projects at the organization, which has a staff of six people.

“His experience working on transformational real estate developments and projects, his ability to unite various people and groups, and his commitment to strengthen Baltimore at the community level make him the ideal leader for BARCO going forward,” BARCO Managing Director Laurens “Mac” MacLure said in a statement.

Pinkett served for four years on the Baltimore City Council. He represented the 7th District, an area that includes parts of West and North-Central Baltimore. Pinkett ran unsuccessfully for City Council president in the 2020 primary election. Prior to being elected to the city council, he served as deputy assistant mayor within the mayor’s office of economic and neighborhood development, and served as representative to the mayor’s office on the city planning commission.


A Baltimore-based growth equity firm is promoting a Millennial Media alum to a leadership role.

Mike Avon.

Mike Avon. (Courtesy photo)

ABS Capital named Mike Avon as managing general partner of the investment firm. He will oversee the group focused on tech and business-enabled services, based out of its newly created D.C. office. He will be one of two managing general partners for the firm, alongside John Stobo, who is based in San Francisco.

Avon initially joined ABS Capital in 2015, after serving as CFO at Millennial Media, the Baltimore mobile advertising darling that IPO’d in 2012 and was acquired by Verizon in 2015. He also founded D.C.-based ICX Media that year. Initially serving as CEO, he continues to serve as executive chairman of the video analytics company.

With Avon’s promotion, ABS Capital also said previous managing general partner Phil Clough will become chairman, and serve as a general partner. Additionally, Robyn Lehman was appointed to CFO after serving on the firm’s finance team since 2000. Former CFO James Stevenson retired at the end of 2020.

Thirty-year-old ABS Capital has current investments in Baltimore’s Audacious Inquiry, as well as cybersecurity companies including Alexandria, Virginia-based GuidePoint Security and executive education program ExecOnline.


Westminster’s McDaniel College is bolstering its innovation program with a new name and addition of an entrepreneur-in-residence.

Jennifer Yang.

Jennifer Yang. (Courtesy photo)

The McDaniel Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship combines courses and off-campus learning. Formerly known as The Encompass Distinction, it’s open to students in any major. Dana Ferraris, a chemistry professor, is serving as interim director of the program.

In addition, as entrepreneur-in-residence, the program is bringing on Jennifer Yang. She has founded multiple ventures and worked across strategy, management and technology consulting roles over 23 years. Most recently, Yang founded Covalent Spirits, a craft distillery on Westminster’s Main Street.

In the role, Yang will offer guidance to students in the program, and assist students interested in competing in the college’s annual innovation challenge.


Downtown Baltimore-based HR technology company Arena Analytics created a new AI ethics advisory board this month.

The external board is made up of experts in academia, the technology industry, and ethics. Arena is applying AI to workforce challenges, including reducing bias and forming teams. With advances in its machine learning technology, the company is now looking to gain a deeper understanding of the “ethical risks and opportunities” associated with it, and integrate ethics into its operations.

Here’s how CEO Michael Rosenbaum explained the board in a statement:

“Our labor market practices have — for too long — prevented organizations from assembling the most effective workforces and impeded individuals from moving into the roles where they will be best. By deploying technologies that were developed in the intelligence community and other industries, we have been able to reduce bias massively and organize the labor market in a manner that is both more just and more efficient.

“With the insights, questions, and counsel of this advisory board, we can ensure we are grappling effectively with the numerous ethical and moral questions that inevitably arise from these kinds of leaps in technology. And not only will we then be able to leverage these advancements most appropriately and thoughtfully, but perhaps also we can participate in a national discussion on the ways we think about and manage these technologies as a country and a society.”

Board members include:

  • John Sumser an analyst specializing in AI for HR, and founder of HRExaminer, who will lead the board
  • Cheryl Boyer, director of diversity services, Berkshire & Associates
  • Meredith Broussard, professor of data journalism, New York University
  • Jill Finlayson, director, Women in Technology, UC Berkeley
  • Anne Hill, ethics professor, interfaith minister and delay claims analyst
  • Jamar Johnson, director of delivery assurance and HR digital technology strategy at Comcast
  • Katrina Kibben, CEO and founder 3 EarsMedia
  • Michael Krupa, senior director, People & Communities, Cisco
  • Victorio Milian, HR consultant, photographer, writer, humareso
  • Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart HR
  • Tamara M. Rasberry, owner of Rasberry Consulting, LLC
  • Richard Rosenow, senior manager of talent acquisition analytics, Uber
Series: Power Moves

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