Gracelyn McDermott

Cues and Views

Phenomenal Woman – Gracelyn McDermott, in brief.

Gracelyn McDermott

Home: Maryland.  Birthplace: Barbados, West Indies.  Profession: Marketing sales and business development.  Organization: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. Title: Vice President, Marketing Sales & Business Development.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers. Significant other: My husband, Tim.  Alma mater: Mount Saint Mary’s University (BA); Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School (MBA); Harvard Business School (Executive Leadership Program).

Recent recognition: Maryland’s Top 100 Women (2022); Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Distinguished Woman (2022).  Latest accomplishment: First African American and second female Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mount St. Mary’s University.  Latest contribution to others: Board Member for Vehicles for Change; Member of the March of Dimes’ Signature Chef Executive Leadership Team.  Hobbies: Reading, golf, hanging with the "Fam & Friends".  Last book read: Decide Happy, by Susan Denny Hall.  Recently viewed and recommended: The Crown (Netflix). Recent unique acquisition: A brand new bottle of Chanel #5.  

Personality profile: Enneagram 8; force of nature, strong presence and full of compassion.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Determined.  Moral compass: Happiness is a virtue.  How do you define a perfect friendship? No matter how long we’ve been apart, or since we’ve spoken, it’s as if we never skipped a beat.  What is your guilty pleasure? Red. Bold. Wine.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Nurses and teachers. Both cut from the same cloth and woefully under appreciated.  How do you relieve stress? Peloton #hardCORE.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Warm breeze, white sand, cool waves.

What was your first paying job? As a clerk at People’s Drugstore.  What book have you repeatedly read? Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? A work of art by Alma Roberts: The Sun Always Rises.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Jack Campbell, Former Provost of Mount St. Mary’s University.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? Focus on your education and you will go far.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? You have one job: make your boss’s life easier.  What company or organization do you most admire? Vehicles for Change.  They are all about second chances and making life possible for families with financial challenges.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

Improving access to affordable, quality healthcare for all.

What change would you like to see in the world? Achieving equity in health, in work and in life. What mega-trend most excites you? Artificial intelligence.  The possibilities are endless.  What mega-trend most concerns you? Artificial intelligence.  In the wrong hands, it can be dangerous.

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My father.  I have questions for him. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A writer.  I wanted to write stories like my childhood favorites: Judy Blume, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Ursula LeGuin and Maya Angelou. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My notebooks.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? With family and friends, drinking wine.  What advice would you give your younger self? It’s gonna be alright.  You are going to have loads of friends and you will never be lonely.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? My college years.  I would have walked a bit closer to the edge.

Personal mission: Leaving a legacy for my children and theirs.  Personal motto: Be yourself and believe in yourself.  It’s the one thing in which you are the true expert.  Favorite quote: “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude” (Maya Angelou). Desired epitaph: Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Wife, Mother and Friend – and, oh, how she danced!

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