Frederick County Graduates First Future Minority Business Leaders Class

The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) announces the graduation of the inaugural class of future minority business leaders who participated in the 8-month long Future Minority Business Leaders program. OED created the program as way to help grow minority business leaders through resources, networking and business education that inspires future leaders.

“The growing diversity of Frederick County is one of our great strengths,” said Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. “We are committed to creating an environment where everyone can be successful, and where there is opportunity available for everyone to achieve their dream. Ultimately we want a community of minority business leaders to help mentor the next generation.”

The program began in March 2017 and included classes on a variety of business topics related to business needs such as, leadership traits, funding sources, marketing, hiring issues, making connections in the community and more. Class members were selected based on their resume and interest in leadership in Frederick County. “This class demonstrated an exemplary enthusiasm for Frederick County,” said OED Director Helen Propheter. “They committed one Friday a month and heard from a variety of expert speakers that donated their time and knowledge to the class. We are proud to recognize the first class of graduates and as they transition to 2017 alumni, we’re already looking forward to meeting 2018 class,” said Ms. Propheter.

During the graduation ceremony, Judy Buchanan, co-owner of Frederick Natural Health Center gave a speech on the importance of great leaders. Ms. Buchanan was voted class valedictorian by the class members. Frederick County Chamber of Commerce President & Elizabeth Cromwell also announced the winner of the scholarship awarded to a graduating member for the Chamber’s Leadership Frederick County program. Kevin Brown was selected from a drawing as the winner.

The 2017 Frederick County Future Minority Business Leaders graduating class includes:

  • Cely Argueta, BNG Consulting
  • James Baker, United Way
  • Kevin Brown, Student, Hood College
  • Judy Buchanan, Frederick Natural Health Center
  • Mia Collins, Mia Collins Stylist
  • Darline Gibson, Student, Mount Saint Mary’s University
  • Melanie Long, About Face Training LLC
  • Jay Martinez, Fidelity Direct Mortgage
  • Michelle Nusum-Smith, The Word Woman LLC
  • Sandy Pucciarelli, Premier Accounting Solutions LLC
  • Marlon Ramirez, Student, Hood College and Police Officer, Montgomery County
  • Thomas Sligh, North Frederick Neighbors Magazine
  • Rafi Soule, Quaicle Technology and Consulting
  • Anusha Srivastava, We PLACE LLC
  • Kenyan Summers, Student, Frederick Community College
  • Li Zhou, Chinese Immersion School

For more information about the Frederick County Future Minority Business Leaders program, please contact Sherman Coleman, OED Business Development Specialist at 301-600-2137 or visit