United Journey Update
This article was originally published through the Win-Win-Win Substack
Welcome back to my United Journey.
On October 7, 2020, I released my original story, The Origin of Baltimore United. Here we are, three months later, and my story is continuing to develop.
Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported me since I joined this Win-Win-Win community.
The writing process for that original piece allowed me to open myself to the world and reorganize my thoughts on the potential impact of my school project.
The writing process for this piece has allowed me to analyze where I have come from and what I plan to do.
Today, I will provide you with updates on my goals and the development of Baltimore United. Some highlights from the last few months of 2020 include:
Fifteen editions of Last Week’s Wins
Six United Journey Featured Profile Stories
Hosted Baltimore United Leadership Council (BULC)
WHAT IS BALTIMORE UNITED?
Baltimore United is a model to change relationships and goals in business. This model promotes collaboration and accountability across the private and public sectors in order to attract attention to the influence of sports-based youth development (SBYD).
At the end of the day, success for Baltimore United is the ability to drive legislative action and hold government leaders accountable for supporting positive change.
Galvanizing community leaders through collaboration and a Three-Win mindset across industries will amplify the social impact of sports-related initiatives.
This is not an attempt to reinvent the wheel. I am not trying to be the best partnership broker, nonprofit manager, event manager, or marketing guru. I am trying to be the best at bringing the best people together for a common purpose.
I use the “hockey assist” analogy to best explain Baltimore United’s goals. In so many sports, the pass before the assist is vital, but unacknowledged in stats. I love making those passes when I play soccer, and I envision continuing that type of support through Baltimore United’s operations.
This movement is a call to action. It is a statement that an organization is open to collaborating in order to reach a common goal. Baltimore United’s role is to facilitate, encourage, and monitor these opportunities for collaboration.
BUILDING A BRAND
I am proud to say that I have been able to communicate with over forty professionals with experience in government, professional sports, nonprofits, event and entertainment management, community groups, and others in the private sector.
My goal from the start has been to continuously learn the landscape and spread the word about opportunities in Baltimore. Having crucial conversations allows me to authentically achieve my goal. Quantity is never better than quality, and I am grateful that my conversations allowed me to refine my thinking, not just fill a schedule.
Every conversation is a learning experience. Small opportunities can lead to even bigger ones, and building strong relationships takes time. Over the past few months, I have had the chance to support start-up leagues, introduce potential collaborations between organizations, create content, and brainstorm opportunities for 2021.
I was recently featured by Strong Future Maryland, an organization founded by President Obama’s Education Secretary, John B. King Jr. focused on advancing bold, progressive policies in the Maryland Government.
Storytelling and my writing have been the best ways for me to develop my brand since this all started as a school project back in 2019. The next necessary step for growth has been to validate my business model.
BALTIMORE UNITED LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The Baltimore United Leadership Council (BULC) is a group that believes in my mission of collaborating towards a better Baltimore. BULC is made up of 7 leaders in Baltimore who have provided me with mentorship and have become a strong development base for my movement.
Terry Hasseltine - MD Sports Commission
Jana Brooks - MD Stadium Authority
John Balkam - Third Win Group
Danielle Berman - Tackle What’s Next
LaToya Fisher - PeacePlayers
Kaitlin Brennan - Leveling the Playing Field
Pete DeCandia - Fund For Educational Excellence
On Friday, December 18th, 2020, the first BULC meeting was held virtually in order to introduce members to each other and enter the new year with a collective understanding of what Baltimore United means to me, its potential for each member, potential for the city of Baltimore, and for social impact investing as a whole.
I gathered this small community of leaders to amplify and inspire collaboration and social impact. I presented my development plan to this group as well as provided each member with individualized SMART goals related to Baltimore United collaborative projects and their respective organizations.
John Balkam - “Thank you Eric for bringing us together. I just want to say it has been awesome to see your journey from academic paper to actually bringing great people together for the betterment of Baltimore.”
This council will give me a chance to validate my standing among decision-makers in Baltimore and beyond. The unified brand this Council embodies will do more than just turn heads.
Danielle Berman - “I think it’s really awesome and I appreciate the opportunity to be here. I think the goal of essentially creating a legislative advocacy group is extremely powerful.”
The Council Members represent the pillars of opportunity for Baltimore United. These opportunities include exceeding target goals through collaboration. Whether the metric is more families reached, more athletes engaged, more social impact partners, or more private sector involvement; the motto is always - we will do it better together.
Terry Hasseltine - “I consider everyone in this group a huge connection to the legacy that will be Baltimore’s World Cup effort. It is not just about 2026, but it is about how we leave Baltimore anchored in a better position for many years afterwards.”
This process is constantly evolving. There will always be developing aspects of Baltimore United. The core focus, however, will always be driving collaboration and telling the story of positive change.
Currently, I am not under contract to be a consultant. Yes, in the future I envision locking down a compensation structure that features retainers and commissions for agreed-upon targets, as well as hosting professional learning events similar to the AIM Sports Conference.
The layout for a “membership” in Baltimore United includes the creation of individualized SMART goals focused on amplifying programs and unifying Baltimore through enhanced initiatives and increased connections.
I have decided at this time that there is no contribution requirement to become a member. This decision came from the fact that COVID and societal challenges are not going anywhere anytime soon. If I can position Baltimore United as a support system and accountability partner in the short-term, the movement will carry on, the number of support partners will increase, and the brand will become sustainable long-term.
2021 ACTION ITEMS
Alongside the continuing development of relationships, my main action items for 2021 include achieving the SMART goal targets in place with BULC members and building on the content I release.
In addition to my confirmed twelve United Journey featured profile pieces, I will be publishing an investigative field journal that reports on issues in Baltimore and what is being done and what can be done to develop solutions.
Keep an eye out in late April for another personal United Journey update!
Win-Win-Win also has exciting news coming soon! Hint - Get your ears ready!
Thank you for reading my United Journey update. Today, I am asking for your support in spreading the word that there is a new way of operating in Baltimore, one that thrives on developing relationships and creating memories.
All of our problems will not be solved after reading this. However, we take a huge step in the right direction by understanding our potential to lead this new way forward and leave positive legacies.