Big Fish

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Big Fish Q&A with Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur

0 Written by: | Monday, Apr 07, 2014 8:38am



Gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur’s platform is so unapologetically progressive, it makes some of her fellow Maryland Democrats look downright right wing. Her position on marijuana is to outright legalize it. She proposes a broader expansion of pre-kindergarten programs and a higher minimum wage increase than either of her party rivals, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. And her stance against hydraulic fracturing in the state is utterly unambiguous. Read More →

Big Fish, Health and Fitness

Moving the Goal Posts: Catching Up with Molly Shattuck

5 Written by: | Monday, Mar 24, 2014 12:15pm


Molly Shattuck has grabbed the attention of Baltimoreans ever since becoming – at the age of 38 with three young children – a Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleader, the oldest in NFL history.

We watched her appear on the reality television show “Secret Millionaire” in 2008, as she and her mother, Joan, lived for a week on “welfare wages” and passed out checks totaling $1 million to needy residents of a small town in rural Pennsylvania. Three years later, she released an exercise video and started a website called Vibrant Living, showcasing a healthy-lifestyle approach that she lives and advocates.  Now, the recently separated wife of former Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck has written Vibrant Living, the book. (Available at and Read More →

Big Fish, Featured

Big Fish Lawrence Lanahan on Journalism, the City, and “The Lines Between Us”

0 Written by: | Monday, Mar 10, 2014 12:00pm


Freelance radio and print journalist Lawrence Lanahan, senior producer of Maryland Morning from 2010-2013 was the project leader for “The Lines Between Us,” WYPR’s an ambitious year-long project about inequality, race, class, and community in Baltimore. The series recently won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award – the broadcast journalism equivalent of a Pulitzer.

“The Lines Between Us,” was lauded by Columbia University as an “exploration of housing, education, jobs, history and social networks - described not only by the experts but by those who earn their expertise through lived experience – this series performed a real service to the people of Baltimore.”

Along with being rising star in journalism (“not a growth industry” he says to anyone considering it for a career; it’s more of a calling) Lanahan is a new father, and a musician. His first album in ten years drops this summer, and its going to be soulful. Can anyone say trifecta?

Give this man a microphone. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Interview with U.S. Treasury Under Sec. Mary Miller

2 Written by: | Monday, Feb 24, 2014 11:00am

Under Secretary of the Treasury Mary Miller

Under Secretary of the Treasury Mary Miller

Mary J. Miller, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Treasury, is the first woman to hold that position in the institution’s history. The longtime Guilford resident is “responsible for developing and coordinating Treasury’s policies and guidance in the areas of financial institutions, federal debt financing, financial regulation, and capital markets.” She also currently serves as Acting Deputy Secretary for the Treasury until the confirmation of former Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation Sarah Bloom Raskin as the first female Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

“Secretary Geithner was serving at the time of the highest number of women at top jobs at the Treasury ever,” Mrs. Miller says.   “I’ve felt lucky to have this opportunity.” Read More →

Big Fish, Featured

John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium, Talks About Fish, the Environment and a Healthy Chesapeake

1 Written by: | Monday, Feb 17, 2014 12:30pm


John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium since 2011, wants you to know that “three of your next five breaths come to you courtesy of phytoplankton, the tiny marine plants that produce most of the planet’s oxygen.”

With me, he talked about the interconnectedness of every thing on the blue planet, moving from the West Coast to Baltimore, the importance of education that happens outside of school,  his favorite sea creatures including oysters and the mantis shrimp (which is having a pop-culture moment) and the powerful influence of wonder.

The three truths he’s learned remind us that there is profoundly bigger picture: “Hope is the world’s most powerful motivator.  Everyone is downstream of someone else.  We humans are not Earth’s only experiment. ”

What is the goal of the Aquarium?

Our mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.  These treasures can be places, animals, plants, ecosystems, habitats, and communities—both human and non.  Ultimately, our vision is to fundamentally change the way humanity views our life-giving, interconnected, world ocean.

What would you like visitors to come away knowing?

That the ocean and all its tributaries—from the magnificent Chesapeake Bay to a backyard pond or stream—are both relevant to their lives and essential to their ability to live healthy, thriving lives.  Further, that the opposite is also true: an unhealthy planet marked by scarcity and diminished diversity is not one that will support humans.  We have a historic opportunity to make this connection and do something about it, but the clock is ticking. Read More →

Big Fish, Culture, Featured

Meet the New Head of the Contemporary, Deana Haggag

5 Written by: | Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 1:00pm

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Olivia Obineme

At 26, many young adults are just starting to figure out what they want to do with their lives, or at least how the heck they’re going to support themselves. Then there’s Deana Haggag. In June of 2013, the 26-year-old was appointed director of the newly named and recently re-opened Contemporary. The former Contemporary Museum had suspended operations in May of 2012 after failing to raise funds for a new location. A newly minted graduate of MICA’s master’s degree program in curatorial studies, Haggag stepped up to head the museum, which is now nomadic. Sans a brick and mortar location, it will focus on presenting experiential art throughout the Baltimore community via collaborative programming with a variety of artists. In other words, it’s up to Haggag to steer this anchor-less ship in a fiscally responsible manner while delivering contemporary art experiences that will attract and energize audiences. Recently, I caught up with Haggag to find out how this bright, witty twenty-something plans to execute such a lofty plan.

You were an art history and philosophy major at Rutgers before pursuing your MFA at MICA in curatorial studies. Are you a practicing artist, a champion and appreciator of art, or both?

I am definitely not a practicing artist. I can barely write my name legibly. I happen to love the arts. I love defending the arts. When I applied to art school, I also applied to law school. Art school was a pipe dream. People told me lawyers aren’t getting jobs, there are too many lawyers, so you may as well do something you love.

As part of your master’s degree thesis, you worked with Gallery CA, a 90-unit artist residence in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, to better define the mission of the gallery for its residents and the broader community. Elaborate on that a little, and explain how that experience prepared you for this position.

City Arts is the building where Gallery-CA lives; it’s one of the first models of subsidized housing for artists. When the gallery was built, it didn’t have a solid plan for how it would work. When I went to school at MICA to study curatorial arts, someone had pitched activating the space. I worked closely with the building’s owners, and the larger Baltimore arts community, toward this goal. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Lifeline

Catholic Relief Services Director Talks About the Business of Charity

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 12:07pm


carolyn woo

Recently named one of the “top 500 most important people on the planet” by Foreign Policy magazine, Carolyn Woo took the reins in 2012 as head of Catholic Relief Services, headquartered in Baltimore.  As the official Catholic international humanitarian aid organization, (Catholic Charities is domestic) Catholic Relief Services has over 5,000 employees in 91 countries serving more than 100 million people annually. Its mission  — based on need, without regard to race, nationality or religion — is to “promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.” With annual revenues of $823 million, CRS is currently 39th on the Forbes list of the largest U.S. charities. Its offices, at 228 W. Lexington Street, are in what was once Stewart’s department store.

Dr. Woo came to CRS from the University of Notre Dame (not to be confused with Notre Dame of Maryland University on Charles Street) where she served for 12 years as the Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. While there, she brought the undergraduate business school up to its current number one ranking (Bloomberg Businessweek) while maintaining its Catholic mission. Her expertise in the areas of corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, and management bring a new, more financially-based perspective to the enormous and far-reaching charity.

Dr. Woo has an interesting personal story as well. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she attended a Catholic school run by the Maryknoll Sisters, American nuns who devoted their lives to overseas service.  Influenced by these women, she came to America against the wishes of her family, having raised on her own the money for one year of schooling. She attended Purdue University, where, after the first year, she won a scholarship for international students, and graduated with highest honors with an undergraduate degree in economics.  She stayed on at Purdue to earn a masters degree and a Ph.D., as well. Read More →

Big Fish, Culture, Featured, Food & Drink

David Simon on Great Food, Pure Writing, and the Politics of Eating

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 10:41am

David Simon

Photo courtesy the MacArthur Foundation

Don’t get jealous, Baltimore — David Simon loves New Orleans, too. Just… in a different way.

Though Simon’s most lasting geographical tie will probably always be Baltimore — this is where he lives, and much of his work is set here — the writer/producer/benevolent pessimist has a huge spot in his heart for New Orleans. That’s where he’s been spending much of his time in recent years, since it’s the home his most recent HBO show, Treme. As the series winds down (its final episode is slated for December 29), Simon is doing his best to pay tribute to the place he’s called Baltimore’s sister city.

While Treme celebrated New Orleans music, Simon has now turned his eye on the city’s remarkable food scene. Simon and the Treme team paired up with famed food writer Lolis Eric Elie to pen a Treme-themed cookbook, featuring dozens of recipes that draw from the city’s diverse food culture. Recipes include everything from crawfish ravioli from rising star chef Janette Desautel, slow-roasted duck from Gabrielle, and sweet potato turnovers from La Spiga. And yes, of course, there’s a recipe for Sazerac. (In case you’re worried, Baltimoreans, Simon isn’t a total convert. He still believes that we know how to cook crabs better: “The crab is much more vibrant when it’s steamed,” he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune last year.) Simon and Elie will be appearing at Johnny’s in Roland Park on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 2- 4p.m. for a book signing. (More info on the book signing at the bottom of the story.)

We grabbed a few minutes with Simon to ask him about the role of food in his life, among other things:

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.

“I’d agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.”

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?

Tell some good, honest stories, raise a couple kids into good people, and leave the world a little better than I found it.

What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?

Experience some of life, pay attention to the lives of others, and then, when you’ve acquired some understanding, write purposefully.

What is the best moment of the day?

Reading, if there is time and the day isn’t otherwise ruined.

What is on your bedside table? 

Right now?  “Sister Carrie” Drieser on a reread.  And “The Financier” by him as well.  Also a couple of New Yorkers and a compendium of I.F. Stone essays that is a few years old.

What is your favorite local charity? 

In Baltimore, the Ella Thompson Fund of the Parks and People Foundation of Baltimore.   In New Orleans, the Roots of Music or the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

What do you hope readers (and cooks!) will take away from the cookbook?

If they live in New Orleans, some small increment of local pride at being part of the only improbable city in the United States.  If they live elsewhere, some small, incremental notion that they need to come here and share and honor some of what New Orleanians have managed to create and sustain.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the cookbook?  Read More →

Big Fish, Culture, Featured, Lifeline, Money & Power

David Warnock Wants to Fix Baltimore and is Looking For A Few Good Ideas

2 Written by: | Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 9:30am


David Warnock

David Warnock, venture capitalist, foundation head, art collector, doesn’t want your money. He wants your mind.

There’s a new non-profit in town – one with an interesting mission. The Warnock Foundation wants to be a “platform for innovation,” sifting through the sands of social entrepreneurship for truly great ideas – large and small — that have potential to help the economically disadvantaged and move Baltimore forward.

“Our goal is to connect the people with influence and the people with ideas” says founder David Warnock. “We want to create an environment where entrepreneurism can thrive.”

Ok, sounds great, but how does it actually happen? Recently, the Warnock Foundation conducted a survey asking Baltimoreans what they love about the city, what their concerns are, and ideas for how to make it better. We recently spoke with David in his Inner Harbor offices at Camden Partners, a Baltimore-based private equity firm, to find out the results of the survey, how it impacts the mission of the Warnock Foundation, and how he thinks it can make a difference to Baltimore.

You grew up during difficult economic times in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and attended the University of Delaware and University of Wisconsin. You came to Baltimore in 1983 to work for T. Rowe Price.  Soon after you took your first steps into community involvement. What was that experience like?

Through a group called Project Raise, which was sponsored by the Abell Foundation, I became a mentor to a young African-American boy named Winzell Hinton. He was 12 years old at the time, a great kid. We were close for several years, but eventually he drifted away, drawn into the drug culture of East Baltimore. One day when he was 15, I got a call from his mother saying Winzell was at the hospital — he’d been shot, and he had shot another boy. Eventually he was sentenced to a long prison term.  I felt then, and still do sometimes, that I had let him down.

Did you stay in touch?

No, we lost touch completely. But 22 years later, he called me up out of the blue. He was out of prison, had a good job, and he simply called to thank me and say he’d never forgotten me. It’s something I will always remember, both seeing him lost to the streets and getting that call to hear I’d made some difference after all. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured

Stevenson University Pres Kevin Manning Transforms School from Tiny Commuter College to Residential University

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 10:00am

Kevin J Manning

Kevin J. Manning, PhD, is turning heads in Baltimore’s higher education community. Hailed by The Daily Record as an “Influential Marylander,” the president of Stevenson University has spearheaded a major makeover of the college—beginning with its name change—since taking over former Villa Julie College in 2000. He’s turned it from a tiny commuter college to a primarily residential university and doubled its undergraduate student body while maintaining its focus on career readiness.

An enlarged endowment of $55 million helped drive the school’s expansion, and the school also raised $20 million, undertaking between 2005 and 2009 its largest fundraising push ever. The campaign received leadership gifts from The France-Merrick Foundation, Joseph Keelty, members of the Stevenson board of trustees, key alumni donors, and several federal and state agencies.

Recently, we chatted with the 45-year higher education veteran. He shared the whats and whys behind the sweeping changes he’s overseen at the school, how Stevenson gets students to start thinking about life after graduation — as soon as they get to college — and more.

You have a B.A. in theater from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. How’d you end up a university president?

I’m a New Yorker, but I went to Webster University in the 60’s as it was completing a theater building that would become the St. Louis Repertory Company. There are three or four of these buildings built in the 60’s by well-known theater designers. I was a founding staff member of the company, where I did both administrative work and some acting. I graduated in 1967 and taught theater at Webster. After I got married, I decided it was probably not realistic to stay in theater. Since then, all I’ve done in one form or another was to be in higher education administration.

Your tenure at Stevenson University has been marked by change. Did you know from the start that you would be leading so many transitions at the school? 

When I came to Stevenson, keeping in mind this [higher education] is all I’ve ever done, I knew if we stayed the way we were we’d go out of business. Small commuter colleges just don’t have the resources that universities do.

Your mission to increase the size and scope of the college has come to fruition on many different fronts. Since 2001, enrollment of full-time students has jumped from 1,648 to 3,326; the endowment has risen from $24.6 million to $56.3 million, the sheer size of the school has jumped from 66 acres to 168 acres, and the number of staff has increased from 185 to 502. What’s been the impact of these expansions on interest from prospective students?

Between 2001 and 2013-14, applications have gone from 1,000 to nearly 6,000. And we now have record enrollments.

The new $7 million dollar, 3,500-seat football stadium that Stevenson erected—on its new Owings Mills campus, former site of the Baltimore Ravens training camp—clearly was part of an effort to transform the school from a commuter college into a residential university. What can you share about other aspects of Stevenson’s athletic programs?

We have a rather expansive extracurricular sports program. Over 750 students are involved in intercollegiate sports. We also have intramurals, probably 100 or so groups.

What are some lesser known innovations the college has undergone since you’ve been at the helm?

We’ve added a $2 million state-of-the-art mock courtroom and nursing simulated nursing laboratories. We just offered our first MOOC, a massive online open course. Started at Stanford, MOOCs are free courses. We offered a non-credit MOOC in forensic studies. We haven’t considered giving credit for MOOCs, but we have roughly six or seven masters and doctoral degrees online, in a hybrid model.

How has the university managed to expand during the period of fiscal uncertainty?

In 2008-2009, we froze all our budgets. We did not give salary increases. Everything’s related to enrollment or grants. Things are going well for us. It looks like we’ll be expanding next year. We would like to get to about 4,000 full-time students over the next five years.

Ever since Stevenson University was Villa Julie College, it’s been considered a ‘career-oriented’ school. How has the school maintained that reputation? Read More →

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