Client Feature: Helping Lower-Income Families in Howard County Move Up
Howard County's Association of Community Services (ACS) has engaged
Synergies to find ways to help lower-income families surmount employment barriers. Synergies and the Earning Power Committee of ACS's Self Sufficiency Board are identifying barriers that prevent households earning $50,000 or less from achieving income self-sufficiency.

The Committee is currently interviewing employers to learn about their
employees and their challenges, and will soon interview employees in this
category. The findings will enable the Committee to develop strategies designed to lead to family-supporting jobs.

Interestingly, parallel initiatives are being launched in the Baltimore region based on the Brookings Institute Report: Building from Strength: Creating Opportunity in Greater Baltimore's Next Economy. Sponsored by the Annie B. Casey Foundation and presented at a forum organized by the Federal Reserve Board, the report is a blueprint that highlights five regional industries with best potential to drive economic growth and suggests ways to enable low-income workers to find good jobs in those sectors. County Executive Ken Ulman contributed to the report.

ACS and the Earning Power Committee are considering how the Report's
findings and the data from the interviews can be linked to provide answers to Howard County's workforce development issues. The full report in PDF format can be found under Publications here.
In The News:

Howard County Women's Hall of Fame Honors Mary Ellen Duncan

In March, 2012, Dr. Mary Ellen Duncan, co- founder of Synergies Consulting Group, was named to the Howard County Women's Hall of Fame. This event, celebrates the accomplishments of extraordinary women in Howard County, each year as part of Women's History Month.

Dr. Duncan, president emerita of Howard Community College, is an educator and an activist for the advancement of women. Within Synergies, Mary Ellen's practice focuses on non-profit institutions, particularly institutions of higher education. Dr. Duncan's expertise is sought as a consultant in quality management with an emphasis on accountability and assessment, fundraising and capital campaigns, and executive coaching.  


In upcoming issues, Mary Ellen will write about fundraising tips and methods to motivate your team and board of directors to raise money for the organization. Find more on Dr. Duncan's background by accessing her bio at


Joanne and Mike Davis Recognized for Community Leadership 

Joanne Davis, co-founder of Synergies Consulting Group, and her husband, Michael Davis, Senior Partner of Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny, LLC were awarded the 2012 Leadership Legacy Award from Leadership Howard County. According to LHC, "the Leadership Legacy Award exists to celebrate a Leadership Howard County graduate or friend whose sustained service to Howard County has added enduring value to the community. Individuals honored with this award have a long-standing commitment to civic involvement and have proven instrumental in creating real and continuing positive change for our citizens."  


Joanne Davis joined with Mary Ellen Duncan in 2008 to create Synergies Consulting Group and invited the other three partners to join SCG. She has corporate and operational experience in two major Maryland banks. She also was head of human resources for the 1700 employees of Howard County Government. Working with the University of Maryland Center for Quality and Productivity, she managed the Baldrige-based U.S. Senate and Maryland Excellence Awards.  


Joanne's broad professional and volunteer experience has prepared her to lead and assist on several SCG projects.   Clients have applied her knowledge in human resources to bring thoughtful solutions to many of the issues that challenge managers and leaders.

Note from Ann Gallant:

Welcome to the First Synergies Consulting Group e-newsletter, a periodic publication designed to present fresh management ideas and best practices to community and business leaders who subscribe to the newsletter.


Nearly four years ago, five experienced executives gathered to ponder how we could apply the experience and expertise of our 100 + years of business and community service to advance the missions of organizations who were making Maryland a better place to live and work. We shared a proclivity to action and solutions, a love of our community, respected professional experience and energy to continue working beyond our initial professional tracks. We did not share business backgrounds but found that our experience in executive management, community development and non-profit management, law and legislative relations, organizational effectiveness and quality management, and marketing and communications could work synergistically to help organizations work more efficiently and effectively.


Working for and with our clients, Synergies focuses energy, expertise and experience to build more effective organizations.


We have launched this newsletter to help those of you who manage non-profits, who serve on boards or volunteer for community organizations, who fund community organizations, and/or who find yourselves in positions of leadership and influence. We will respect your time and try to publish well-written, actionable information. We will avoid overwhelming you with data or useless information. And, of course, while we hope you will want to read, save, and pass along these features, we will respect your choice to unsubscribe if you choose. We hope you will give us a few issues before you decide to move this to the virtual recycle bin.


And we would love to hear from you.

About Us

Synergies Consulting Group provides the leadership and management experience to help clients build more effective and profitable organizations. Our experience informs our solutions.. We listen closely to our clients and devise solutions to meet their specific needs. For more information visit