Halle Van der Gaag Receives SmartCEO Brava! Award

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Brava! Award
Halle Van der Gaag and T.J. Mullen at the SmartCEO Brava! award ceremony.

[Note: guest post from T.J. Mullen, chairman of the board of directors at Blue Water Baltimore]

Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about women business leaders, and how we need more of them. At Blue Water Baltimore, we’re fortunate to have one such leader at our helm.

On July 10th I was very pleased to accompany our CEO and Executive Director, Halle Van der Gaag, as she received a Baltimore Brava! Award. SmartCEO gives the Brava! Award to a select group of women who “are exemplary leaders of their companies and in the community who encourage local philanthropy, mentor fellow CEOs and set their companies on a path to tremendous growth.”

Halle was nominated for the award in part for her work managing the successful merger of five local watershed organizations to create Blue Water Baltimore – a logistical and organizational challenge that proved to be no small feat.

At the same time, Halle increased Blue Water Baltimore’s revenue, helped the organization achieve major restoration and legislative successes, and developed innovative clean water programs to improve Baltimore communities and educate local citizens. Of the 25 awardees, Halle was the only one representing an environmental organization.

When I asked Halle how she felt about receiving the award, she said was honored to be among such a diverse group of women and thought it was a great opportunity to bring the environment into the business community.

“Nonprofits run like any business,” Halle said, “particularly when it comes to managing the money of your investors or, in Blue Water Baltimore’s case, of our donors and members.  To run an effective business, you’ve got to build public trust so you can make wise investments. At the helm of Blue Water Baltimore, we do the same thing.”

We think Halle’s certainly done a good job of putting Blue Water Baltimore on the map, not just as a clean water leader, but as a top-notch and high performing business operation as well.

Here’s to Halle! All of BWB’s board and staff are proud to see our own nonprofit exec make the list of Baltimore’s finest female business leaders in 2013.