Over the last 18 months or so, about a dozen Baltimore entrepreneurs have been meeting once a month. One month, the members of Maverick Charm City will talk about how to grow their businesses. The next, they’ll talk about entrepreneurial approaches to solving the city’s problems. On other occasions, according to cofounder Joe Mechlinski, they’ll just have fun.
Since it is affiliated with a larger group of entrepreneurs called Maverick1000, the local outpost has connections to a high-profile group of international business leaders, which in turn has held events with leaders like Sir Richard Branson, Russell Simmons and Tony Hawk, among others. Overall, Maverick is based on three “pillars” — growth, impact and fun.
But Maverick Charm City is unique in the network in that the group is also focused locally.
“We’re using those pillars down at the local level to really emphasize how important the entrepreneurial community is,” said Mechlinski, who is the author of the book Grow Regardless and CEO of management consulting firm EntreQuest.
They went on a ride-along with Baltimore police officers. They’ve also advised and raised capital for organizations like the Living Classrooms Foundation, Betamore, National Federation of the Blind and Kennedy Krieger Institute. While they provide those services, the group is not an incubator or an accelerator.
“We just want to help the helpers,” Mechlinski said.
They’ve also had some fun at local spots like Union Brewing. And in May, members of the group met and discussed entrepreneurship with Branson at his island in the Caribbean, Necker Island. Mechlinski said the conversation provided a lot of insight to bring back home.
The group originated after Mechlinski met Maverick1000 founder Yanik Silver about two years ago. The international org decided to make Baltimore the first site of its network of local groups, called Maverick Local. Other cities are expected to add groups in 2016. Mechlinski also hopes they can collaborate with other Maverick Local groups to share lessons that help those cities.
Maverick1000 is “in the right room globally,” he said. “But, the question is, these folks who are certainly very influential and have lots of resources, there really is no arm locally to get the work done.”
Along with Mechlinski and Silver, members of the group include:
- Mario Armstrong, TV host and founder of NeverSettleClub
- Veronica Cool, CEO of Cool & Associates
- Luke Cooper, CEO of Fixt (née Peach)
- Aaron Copeland, president of alignstaffing and Connections Therapy Center
- Zach Fine, president of Holly Poultry
- K.C. Hopson, CEO of EventRebels
- Doug Horensky, president of Varia Systems, Inc.
- Kevin Lowe, owner of LINQ Services
- John Magiros, VP of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and cofounder of Volunteering Untapped
- Shelonda Stokes, CEO of GrieBO Media
- Tim Thompson, CEO of AKJ Books
- Brian Le Gette, CEO of ZeroChroma
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