A look ahead with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s newest Board Chair, Misty Allen
May 23, 2023
After being elected as Board Chair for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Misty Allen took a moment to sharing more about herself, her background and what she is looking forward to as she takes on her new role as Board Chair.
Tell us a bit about yourself, both personally and professionally.
Personally, probably the first thing people quickly learn about me is I am obsessed with my furbaby, Winston, a portly 17 pound miniature schnauzer who likes to talk back, so we have lots of conversations.
My partner, David, and I love to golf together, and we love day hiking, we’ve outgrown overnight camping adventures these days! The beauty of this region provides ample opportunities for me to recharge my batteries in nature.
I also love my job. I am passionate about my work, which involves connecting people and organizations to leverage the collective assets of our community in achieving common goals. Whether it’s facilitating introductions between individuals or advocating for collaboration between businesses like Comcast, community organizations, government entities and thought leaders, the most rewarding aspect of my job is connecting people and witnessing the impact these connections can have.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming the Vice President of Government Affairs at Comcast NBC Universal?
I have been fortunate to work in industries — starting with the energy sector and now focusing on telecommunications — at really transformative periods.
I joined the energy industry right out of law school with an Iowa utility company at a time when the industry was undergoing deregulation, granting end-use customers the freedom to choose how they purchased energy commodities. I really cut my teeth in the regulatory arena doing this work.
Next, I transitioned to the electricity production side of the industry, where I spent 12 years witnessing the deployment of major air quality control technologies and experiencing significant changes in the wholesale energy market.
Now, in the telecommunications industry, I find myself amidst another transformative period with accelerated investments in universal broadband throughout the country. Our world is one where absolutely everyone must have the opportunity to participate in our digital world — and as technology continues to advance at an astonishing pace, it presents tremendous opportunities to promote economic equity and ensure that every individual, regardless of age or socioeconomic status, can fully participate in our digital world.
What are a few things that make you so especially proud to work for Comcast NBC Universal?
The people, first and foremost. I have an especially deep appreciation for my team and the relationships we have built. While every company experiences its share of missteps along the way, I genuinely believe that Comcast is committed to making a positive impact on communities, prioritizing customer experience, and fostering a company culture rooted in inclusivity and belonging.
How did you first become involved with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce? What inspired you to take on a leadership role within the organization?
Back in the 2006 era, my journey with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce began when I joined the Legislative Committee. The Chamber truly is the representative voice of the business company when it comes to policymaking. We need to have that voice at the table, and I want to help amplify the voices of the entrepreneurs and small businesses, along with the large enterprises in Maryland.
As the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s newest board chair, what hopes do you have for the work ahead for the organization and its leaders?
Firstly, I aim for the Chamber to continue serving as the leading voice of the business community in the legislature. Secondly, I hope to foster excitement among our members about the future of business in Maryland. And lastly, I strive for our remarkable staff to widely share the enthusiasm they have for the future of the Chamber and the business community.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Maryland businesses today?
Through conversations with colleagues and industry professionals, I believe that workforce and skills are among the most pressing challenges facing Maryland businesses. While there are immediate concerns related to the economy, ongoing labor shortages, and public safety, it is crucial to consider the long-term outlook. In the years to come, we need to prioritize addressing workforce-related issues to ensure the sustained growth and success of businesses in Maryland.
Part of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to create a state and environment where all businesses and their communities thrive. Why is that so important? What work is the Chamber doing to fulfill that mission?
A thriving business community translates into job opportunities, higher wages, an improved quality of life, and a stronger, more interconnected community. Businesses line our main streets, support youth sports teams, contribute to vital organizations and community initiatives, and play an essential role in the fabric of our society. But, businesses face challenges — from high costs to workforce shortages and beyond — and they need help addressing those challenges so that they can succeed.
Our goal is to create a Maryland where businesses and their communities thrive. To do that, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is constantly working to strengthen advocacy efforts and to develop programs, coalitions, inclusive partnerships, and public policies that make Maryland better for business. We also are working ensure that people and policymakers are aware of the great work businesses are doing for their communities and the challenges they face.
How does the Maryland Chamber of Commerce work with businesses, partners legislators and policymakers to advance the interests of businesses in the state, and how do you see that relationship evolving in the future?
To borrow a powerful word that I’ve heard Gov. Moore use when talking to the business community, it is partnership. Looking ahead, we envision an evolving relationship where the Maryland Chamber of Commerce becomes an even stronger partner to policymakers.
We will continue to deepen our collaborative efforts, forge stronger alliances, and enhance our ability to educate policymakers about the needs and priorities of businesses. By fostering an environment of open communication and shared goals, we can drive positive change for businesses in the state.
What is something surprising or fascinating that you’ve learned about the Maryland business community and wish that others knew?
I don’t know if it is surprising, but I do wish others knew just how innovative and agile Maryland businesses are and how the amazing men and women employed by Maryland business drive that innovation and agility — truly the backbone of our economy but our communities. Maryland businesses are at the forefront of driving economic growth, generating employment opportunities, and shaping the future of our state.
We’re looking forward to continuing to benefit from Misty’s leadership, enthusiasm and perspective as she steps into the role of Board Chair.
Misty Allen is a public affairs executive who has a passion for helping people, communities and business succeed. Misty serves as the Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Comcast NBC Universal, where she manages relationships with policymakers and community organizations in the Beltway Region. She previously led state and local government affairs at Baltimore Gas and Electric and served as Vice President of Asset Management at GenOn Energy Inc. Misty is a Creighton University graduate with a Juris Doctor degree and a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Administration. In addition to her work on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Misty also serves on the Board of Directors for Christmas in April — Prince George’s County (MD), Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Broadband Association of Virginia (VCTA).