Entrepreneurs / Hiring

Power Moves: Omar Muhammad will serve as the first Black board chair of TEDCO

Plus, a Q&A with Kira Caban on her move from Protenus to head of strategic communications with Instawork.

Omar Muhammad is chair of TEDCO's board of directors. (Courtesy photo)

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

‘The board of directors at TEDCO, Maryland’s quasi-public agency supporting early-stage companies, elected Oma Muhammad as its new chair. Muhammad, a longtime leader in the community who leads Morgan State University’s Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center, will be the first Black chair of the board at the 23-year-old organization.

“I don’t take this opportunity for granted. Working with other board members several years ago, we were able to provide diversity by investing in entrepreneurs (African American and women) and staffing. It is an honor to take the role of chair for this innovative and driven organization,” Muhammad said in a statement. “After the challenges posed on all of us last year, we plan to find more ways to support our entrepreneurs as we navigate this new economy.”

Muhammad succeeds Myra Norton, who this year became CEO of Baltimore-based Arena Analytics, following a two-year term.

He becomes board chair following last year’s appointment of Troy LeMaile-Stovall as executive director. Having served on TEDCO’s board since 2015, Muhammad was on the board during the search process that resulted in LeMaile-Stovall’s hiring. It came after a critical state audit that led to new legislative oversight, and a wave of executive departures.

“His energy, passion and creativity will amplify TEDCO’s mission to new heights,” LeMaile-Stovall said of Muhammad. “And having both he and I as black men leading TEDCO at this juncture of history isn’t an accident. I can’t wait to work with him and the TEDCO Board to bring real wealth expansion and inclusion to more Marylanders.”

In all, a 19-member board oversees TEDCO. The slate of board officers also includes:

  • Vice Chair Chung Hei Sing, of Applied Derivative Research
  • Treasurer Michael J. Howard, of MJH Group
  • Secretary Jennifer Elisseeff, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


After more than five years with Fells Point healthcare compliance analytics firm Protenus, Kira Caban recently moved to a new role as head of strategic communications at digital talent marketplace Instawork.

Founded in 2016, Instawork connects local businesses and skilled hourly workers. It currently works in 25 markets, and has 1 million users on the platform. The company recently closed a $60 million Series C, and has open roles (including a PR manager, Caban notes) in cities around the country.

Caban was an early employee at Protenus, and is now taking a foundational role with Instawork as it builds out communications. For more on the move, we sent a few questions her way. Here’s a quick Q&A:

Why did you decide to take this new role now?

I was with Protenus for over five years — starting when there were only 10 of us in a room, post Series A, and leaving when there were over 100 employees and Protenus had become the nation’s leading healthcare compliance analytics platform.

Kira Caban. (Courtesy photo)

I wasn’t looking for a new opportunity, but an exciting opportunity found me. When Instawork approached me about building the strategic communications arm of the company, I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave Protenus. This was a company I helped build and team members I consider friends, but I had a strong team in place and we had built a robust communications program that was delivering really great results. Once I looked at what we had accomplished and that the team had really hit their stride, I knew it was time to apply my experience and skillset to another fast-growing startup that was making a big impact.

What prior experience do you feel prepared you for this position?

Having joined Protenus in its early days, I had to learn to juggle many responsibilities at once. In the beginning, I was responsible for marketing, communications, public relations, thought leadership, and more. Understanding and building these foundational elements of a quickly growing company was a great learning experience in how to manage priorities, set appropriate expectations, and determine which projects would quickly deliver the most impactful results.

Through the years, I discovered and nurtured my passion for strategic communications and public relations. I found that I had a knack for what the industry needed and how to leverage our subject matter experts to provide our audiences the guidance and information they needed to be most successful. (I’m a tried and true people person, which definitely helps when communications is your focus.)

In a nutshell, what are you responsible for in this new role?

At Instawork, I will be heading up strategic communications. Like Protenus and other startups I’ve worked for in the past, they haven’t had someone in this position before — and that’s exciting! I get really excited to see a blank slate in front of me to build a communications program that will elevate Instawork. At a high level, I will be responsible for introducing Instawork to audiences that haven’t heard of them yet and to be their biggest cheerleader — shouting from the rooftops all the great things the platform and team are doing to close the labor demand/supply gap for hospitality and light-industrial industries. Keep your eyes peeled, if you haven’t heard of Instawork work yet, you will now!


Brian Harvey. (Courtesy photo)

Highlandtown-based supply chain automation company Barcoding, Inc. recently made a series of hiring and promotion moves.

The headline news, per a news release: Longtime team member Brian Harvey was promoted to director of enterprise engineering. The 19-year employee is an expert in enterprise mobility management, and leads a team of engineers.

The company Krystal Cotriss was promoted to lead designer and content strategist, heading up new initiatives in the digital space and around new products.

Additional recent new hires in recent months include:

  • Christopher Doyle, who joined as director of operations in Baltimore
  • Dave Jennings, formerly of Brinks US and Dunbar Armored, came aboard as a senior support specialist
  • Steve Schauer is adding connected capabilities as IoT systems engineer
  • Coleman Devlin and Doug Gourley joined as enterprise account managers to expand the company’s presence in the Mid-Atlantic and West Coast, respectively.


Kate Ossello. (Courtesy photo)

Pigtown-based venture studio Early Charm continues to grow, as the team recently welcomed Kate Ossello as lab associate.

She’ll be working with Early Charm’s portfolio companies focused on drug design to develop DNA libraries and antibodies.

A native of Montana, Ossello holds a master’s degree in bioethics from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked in a lab associate role at Columbia-based Ravgen Diagnostics.

“Kate’s focused research in clinical, prenatal genetic testing plus her broad experience in the lab makes her a much-needed addition to our growing team,” said Ken Malone, Early Charm executive officer, in a statement.

Companies: Protenus / Early Charm Ventures / TEDCO
Series: Power Moves

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