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New Interim Director Brings Diverse Startup-Acceleration Focus to Southern Management Leadership Program

July 24, 2020 – Harry Alford III, the co-founder of a D.C.-based venture development firm, and a UMD adjunct professor, is the new Interim Director of UMD’s Southern Management Leadership Program.

Art Activism students in DCA UMD alumnus, Alford has built a career centered on supporting diverse entrepreneurs and driving innovation opportunities. Most recently, Alford co-founded Humble Ventures, which accelerates diverse startups. At the same time, he has been teaching “Strategies for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” in the Southern Management Leadership Program.

The Southern Management Leadership Program supports and develops students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and an enthusiasm for starting a business venture, leading a company, or changing the world. Through mentorship, guidance, and scholarship support, the program aims to identify, encourage, and graduate ethical leaders who want to energize and give back to their local communities.

Alford succeeds SMLP director Gül Branco, who commented: “It has been such a pleasure working with Harry in the past few years. I am confident that under his innovative and visionary leadership, the SMLP and its students will continue to flourish.”

Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies William A. Cohen commended Branco for her exemplary leadership of the program since 2014, and added: “Harry Alford’s proven success in nurturing achievement and driving venture development inclusivity will help bring students an extra step closer to creating new ideas, new companies, and new opportunities. He will build on the close connections he already has with many of our students and faculty.”

Alford received his Bachelor’s degree in 2007 in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, where he also played lacrosse before playing professionally. Alford holds an MA in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University and an MBA from Babson College.

Alford’s previous experiences include managing day-to-day operations and program management for an incubator focused on veteran-owned startups and building a sports e-commerce startup into a profitable business.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running in this new position,” said Alford. “My instructional work with Southern Management Leadership students has been deeply gratifying, and I look forward to taking that involvement to the next level as Interim Director.”

For more than a decade, the Southern Management Leadership Program has helped develop local community leaders through a scholarship and intensive mentoring program at Prince George’s Community College, Montgomery College, and the University of Maryland. The program was founded by Suzanne Hillman (President and CEO of Southern Management Corporation), the late David Hillman, and their family as a way to enrich the education of students in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

These communities are where Southern Management got its start more than 50 years ago, and where the company’s deep roots have stood firm ever since. The mission of the Southern Management Leadership Program is to develop strong leaders who will use their education and experiences to make positive and lasting impacts in their hometowns.

“Southern Management is thrilled to welcome Terp Harry Alford as the interim director. Harry’s long affiliation with the Southern Management Leadership Program and relationship with our outstanding students will ensure a seamless transition that maintains the excellence of a program that means so much to the region and to our Southern Management team,” said Suzanne D. Hillman, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Management Corporation.

Southern Management Corporation is one of the largest privately owned residential property management companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Southern Management owns 77 apartment communities with approximately 25,000 apartment homes. In addition, it owns and manages commercial office buildings, hotels, and conference centers throughout the Baltimore/Washington area and a ski resort and conference center in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

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