First Lady Dawn Flythe Moore

Maryland First Lady Dawn Flythe Moore was among the speakers sharing their insights during the symposium “Reimagine the Possibilities.”

Photo: Dawn Flythe Moore, first lady of Maryland, speaks during the UMBrella symposium.

"To some, it was impossible, but to you, it was completely possible," Tisha Edwards, JD ’01, MSW ’00, remarked, praising Dawn Flythe Moore, first lady of Maryland, for her yearslong dedication to her ideals, her family, and people across the state.

Her comment came during the University of Maryland (UMB) Women’s History Month Symposium, “Reimagine the Possibilities,” sponsored by the UMBrella Group: UMB Roundtable on Empowerment in Leadership and Leveraging Aspirations.

The March 6 event, which featured Edwards in conversation with Moore during a morning keynote address, was kicked off by UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, who welcomed nearly 200 participants to the annual event.

“February was Black History Month. March is Women’s History Month. We get to celebrate both,” Jarrell said before highlighting the accomplishments of the morning’s speakers, including Moore’s roles as philanthropist, campaign strategist, and the first Black first lady of Maryland and Edwards’ academic connections to the University as well as her position as Gov. Wes Moore’s secretary of appointments.

Following Jarrell’s remarks, Edwards opened the keynote discussion by touching on her almost decadelong friendship with the first family before asking Moore to recount her path from private citizen to state’s first lady.

Moore shared insights into her background, describing her journey from New York to Maryland, where she attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and her initial foray into state government, where she worked for then-Maryland Secretary of State John Willis. As she spoke about her current role as the state’s first lady, Moore expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside her husband. She also acknowledged the fears and uncertainties she encountered during Wes Moore’s campaign but added that the decision to run for office was a joint one.

“I married a public servant. And I believe in relationships, you have to let people do what they desire to do,” she explained. “We decided that together, we would make this run for office. And here we are.”

Moore touched on her roles in campaigns for former Gov. Martin O’Malley, JD ’88, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, as well as her time as chief of staff for Anthony Brown during his stint as lieutenant governor. The experience gave her unique insight into how a campaign for governor would impact her life as well as those of her husband and children, which is why she called upon the support of what Moore called “a whole family of troops,” including her mother, mother-in-law, and other relatives.

During the conversation, Edwards broached the subject of self-doubt with the first lady, noting, “We talked about your strength, your courage, your leadership. I want to talk about being vulnerable. And as women, I think we all know, there are moments when we're in the room, and we're questioning ourselves, our preparedness.”

Moore pointed to imposter syndrome, remarking that everyone in the audience had experienced it in some manner, and she connected the feeling to her journey in politics.

“I'm used to being a staff person. I'm used to being an advisor. But sometimes I sit at the table, and I'm like, 'God, everybody's looking at me,' ” Moore said, and she acknowledged the importance of Governor Moore’s encouragement during such moments.

"You are where you are supposed to be, and you are in the room because that's where you belong. This is not some social experiment. This is not an act of benevolence,” she recounted, reflecting on her husband’s words of support. “This is because you really have something to offer.”

Read more about the event and watch a video at UMB News.


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