Troy A. LeMaile-Stovall

A Powerful Look at TEDCO’s Guiding Council

By now, the ecosystem should know my love affair with words and their history. I believe we tend to overuse some words causing them to lose their meaning and original intent, and sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves of these origins.

For example, let’s look at the word “board” from the website

In late Old English or early Middle English the sense was extended to include "table;" hence the transferred meaning "food" (early 14c.), as "that which is served upon a table," especially "daily meals provided at a place of lodging" (late 14c.). Compare boarder, boarding, and Old Norse borð, which also had a secondary sense of "table" and an extended sense "maintenance at table." Hence also above board "honest, open" (1610s; compare modern under the table "dishonest").

A further extension was to "table where council is held" (1570s), from whence the word was transferred to "leadership council, persons having the management of some public or private concern" (1610s), as in board of directors (1712)

So “board” has evolved from table and food to a place where the “council is held” to the term used today to describe a “Board of Directors.” So, as I reflect on my TEDCO journey, I’ve found that having that “council” where “counsel” and guidance is provided fully describes the TEDCO Board of Directors. Our statute calls for 19 members – 14 appointed by the Governor, 2 from the Speaker, 2 from the Senate President, the Commerce Secretary as ex-officio. At this time, we have 16 members.

Many of those 16, gathered for a Board retreat in August-2023. The retreat was led by Tim Lavery of Wrench & Socket and began by Tim asking each of the Board members to give a word of the skill/capability they offered to the TEDCO Board. Since we are exploring words, let’s look at the origins to the words, “skill” and “capability.”

Let’s start with the word “skill.”

Skill: early 12c., "knowledge, divine wisdom;" late 12c., "power of discernment, sound judgment; that which is reasonable," senses all now obsolete, from Old Norse skil "distinction, ability to make out, discernment, adjustment," which is related to skilja (v.) "to separate; discern, understand," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo- "divide, separate" (source also of Swedish skäl "reason," Danish skjel "a separation, boundary, limit," Middle Low German schillen "to differ," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schele "separation, discrimination;" from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut")

In other words, “skill” is about knowing something (“knowledge”) and being able to use/leverage/adjust that knowledge.

When looking at the word “capability,” it can be a little tricky; examining the root word – “capable” – is needed for a full understanding.

Capable: sufficiently able, having power or capacity, qualified," 1590s, from French capable "able, sufficient; able to hold," or directly from Late Latin capabilis "receptive; able to grasp or hold," used by theologians, from Latin capax "able to hold much, broad, wide, roomy;" also "receptive, fit for;" adjectival form of capere "to grasp, lay hold, take, catch; undertake; take in, hold; be large enough for; comprehend" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). Other late 16c. senses in English, now obsolete, were "able to comprehend; able to contain; extensive."

Capability: "quality of being capable, ability to receive or power to do," 1580s

So, possessing a capability means possessing and control/handle (“grasp”) power (superpower??). So, Tim’s question was asking the Board to ponder what knowledge and power they possess and control that can be leveraged/used/adapted to the betterment of TEDCO (and the ecosystem)!

So, let’s look at these powers:

Board Member Capability/Skill It brings the power of

Omar Muhammad, Chair

Liaison Connecting/building tissues
Ellen Flower-Fields, Vice Chair Inquisitive Searching for the optimal
Kathie Callahan Brady, Secretary Cheerleader Storytelling with enthusiasm
Jeffrey Rhoda, Treasurer Experience  Knowing what happened before 
Eben G Smith, Assistant Treasurer Perspective Viewing all angles 
Myra Norton, Immediate Past Chair Translator  Aligning meaning to thoughts, words and actions 
Dr. Rondall Allen Strategy Having a plan and the means for the plan
Maryland Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson Win Focusing on success
John Bohanan Strategic Acting intentionally with the plan (See above)
Thomas Bundy Creativity  Thinking purposely non-linear
Dr. Cliff Coppersmith Facilitator Bringing together those that need to be brought together 
Matthew Lee  Overcome  Letting nothing get in the way 
Amita Shukla  Intuition Knowing what lies ahead 
Chung Hei Sing  Perspective  Seeing what others may not be seeing 
David Tohn Planner Preparing the preparations 
Robert Wells  Execution Getting it done

It is this collection of powers that will allow TEDCO to stitch, scale, and story tell to create a higher level of stickiness for Maryland-based tech and life science companies. In doing so, these powers create a Maryland economy that is sustainable – capable of being continued or maintained at a certain level, 1500 – and inclusive – "characterized by including a great deal, leaving little out," c. 1600.