10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 8
Meet the Baltimore area’s most intriguing
movers and shakers of 2020
CHINA BOAK TERRELL
43, CEO of American Communities Trust
China Boak Terrell shooed away the warnings that
she’d regret skipping her senior year at Oxon Hill High
School in Prince George’s County. Fiercely determined,
she accepted a scholarship to the Johns Hopkins University and dove into studies that led her to become a
Successful well before her 30th birthday, Terrell upended her career when doctors uncovered and treated
an aneurysm in her heart and dangerous blood clots.
After the doctors saved Terrell’s life, she couldn’t
shake one question: What would people say at her funeral? She was hit with clarity: “I wanted to build up
people and help rebuild communities.”
So she set out to transform her life. She became a foster mother while living in Minnesota and moved back
to the East Coast, where she went to work for the Washington, D.C., government to give herself time to gure
out how she wanted to redesign her life for maximum
good. Eventually, she went to Harvard University to earn
a master’s degree in public administration on a mission
to help solve economic inequality for Black and brown
WO M E N T O WAT C H
That mission led her and her family to Baltimore in
June 2016 when Terrell became chief executive ofcer
of American Communities Trust.
The national partner works to bring investment to
low-income, urban neighborhoods, all the while building wealth for the families who live there. For Terrell
and her team, one of the signature projects is the Baltimore Pumphouse, which is transforming a formerly
blighted property into a bustling hub for business and
food production at Wolfe and Oliver streets.
Scott Goldman, director of The 6th Branch, a nonprot that taps military veterans to serve communities,
said Terrell is developing investment strategies worth
millions of dollars.
“China is a force of nature,” Goldman said.
The pandemic has made her already hard job harder. But Terrell refuses to sit back and watch Black and
brown communities suffer the same years-long lag in
recovery behind whites that data predict the outbreak
will bring: “We have to speed up solving economic inequality.”
— Yvonne Wenger