Maryland New Directions' Executive Director, Grace Lee made the opening remarks and introduced client speaker Brandi Bell, who told how Maryland New Directions and Connections Friday helped her find her current job as Project Manager at Smith Growth Partners, a business consulting firm in Baltimore. After Brandi's inspiring words about the power of networking and MND's services, Grace introduced Mr. Peter Franchot who presented Ms. Goetze with the special "Comptroller's Medal" and thanked Ms. Goetze "for founding a great organization."
While Mr. Franchot is now the chief fiscal officer of the state of Maryland, he did not always know what direction his own career journey would take. The Comptroller grew up in New England and attended Amherst College. Interested in getting involved with McCarthy's presidential campaign and the anti-war efforts in the late 1960's, Mr. Franchot dropped out of school in his sophomore year and became a student organizer. In 1968 however, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served for two years. Mr. Franchot credits his experience serving with teaching him the discipline and accountability that made him a better and more responsible individual. "It was rough but [serving] really straightened me out." After his two year term, Mr. Franchot returned to college and after graduation took a job for a small environmental group in Vermont. "The success of the organization depended on my energy," Mr. Franchot said of this first position. It was a very important experience for the Comptroller and helped him know he wanted to go to law school.
After attending law school in Boston, Mr. Franchot came to Maryland for the first time in 1980. While working in downtown Washington D.C., Mr. Franchot connected with a congressman after a letter he wrote for the Times and two years later, was invited to be the congressman's chief of staff. Even though Mr. Franchot knew nothing of the work involved in being a chief of staff, his boss had liked his confidence and chemistry and wanted him anyway. He worked for 6 years in this role, building his finances until he was able to buy a house in Takoma Park, Maryland. "I couldn't have been happier," Mr. Franchot said.
After Mr. Franchot's presentation, Ms. Goetze presented the Comptroller with a special certificate recognizing him as an Outstanding Maryland Career Person and key to MND. The event ended with photo opportunities with the Comptroller and networking among guests, clients, and staff. Thank you to everyone who attended this special Connections Friday and a special thanks to Mr. Franchot for taking the time to share his personal career journey and tips to success with everyone at MND!