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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

A Woman of Passion: Alicia Wilson, VP of Economic Development for JHU

Alicia Wilson, Vice President of Economic Development for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore, Maryland is passionate about making a difference in the community and ultimately helping people to live better lives. 

In her post, Wilson leads a core team focused on developing and implementing Hopkins’ institution-wide strategies and initiatives as an anchor institution in and around Baltimore. She also oversees economic and neighborhood development, healthcare, and other efforts that focus on the elevation and expansion of Hopkins’ commitment to the city.  

“I have really derived a lot of joy and fulfillment from being able to wake up every morning and think about how to harness the amazing and transformational impact of Johns Hopkins,” said Wilson. “Excellence in both healthcare and in education, along with harnessing the platform of Johns Hopkins for the betterment of people. For me, that’s really an exciting opportunity.”

As the nation celebrates Women’s History Month in March, a time commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history, Wilson took time to reflect on this special time of the year. 

“I think that each and every moment of significance in our history, a woman was there, causing it to happen, making it happen, or playing a part in fulfilling the implementation of whatever happens,” said Wilson. “If it’s a good significant moment, a woman was there.

“But often, we do not get to hear her story within history. And so, it’s good that we get to pause and reflect on women, but we should pause more than one moment of the year. But it’s great that we get to pause for at least a month of the year to really focus on the role and significant impact that women have and have had on a day-to-day basis not only in our lives, but also on neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, the country, and the world in a targeted way.” 

The 39-year-old trailblazer is also making her mark in women’s history. Wilson was recently selected as Chair of the CollegeBound Foundation, becoming the first CollegeBound Foundation alum, first woman, first African American and youngest Board Chair in the 30-year history of the organization. For more than 30 years, the CollegeBound Foundation has helped Baltimore City students realize their dreams of a college education. 

“I would say that being the Chair of the CollegeBound Foundation is probably one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do in my life,” said Wilson. “The CollegeBound Foundation really was a program that not only ensured that I got to college, but also allowed for so many of my peers to attend college. Being able to serve an organization that served me so well is very fulfilling. It shows that people from our community when given the tools and resources, have the ability to achieve great heights and to be leaders in our communities.

“Things like college tours and fellowships are investments that pays exponential dividends. I’m so honored that I’ve been able to have a measure of success, and I’m even more grateful that I didn’t do it on my own, and that I can point to organizations within Baltimore that were difference-makers for me. And now able to serve those organizations and hopefully make a difference for another generation of leaders is tremendous.”

Prior to joining Hopkins, Wilson served as Senior Vice President of Impact Investments and Senior Legal Counsel to the Port Covington Development Team and as a partner at the downtown Baltimore law firm of Gordon Feinblatt. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.   

Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and in 2019, she was profiled in Forbes magazine as the “The Black Millennial Lawyer Making Michelle Obama More Accessible to Baltimore’s Youth.” In 2018, the National Business Journal featured Wilson as one of the nation’s Top 50 Influencers under 40 and Black Enterprise produced a feature on Wilson for her work in securing the $660 million tax increment financing for the Port Covington Project.   

“We now get to see women that represent themselves in The White House and Fortune 500 corporations,” said Wilson. “The groundwork was laid for them by women whose names sometimes don’t get called at all…mothers, and leaders in their churches, neighborhoods, and communities.

“I’m grateful for the tremendous accomplishments of women of all segments of our society that are wrapped up in the reflection that we’re able to see at the highest levels of our government, corporations and in nonprofits. This groundwork was laid by another woman that came before me that allows me to now occupy this space and to be able to take up the mantle and to help prepare the next generation.”  

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