Meet AARP Maryland's newest Executive Council members!

Posted on 12/04/17 by Michael Kulick

AARP Maryland has a team of volunteer leaders who want to bring their commitment and talents to making a real difference in the lives of people in Maryland – to help shape goals and policies that will influence the 50+ and their families across the state, this team is our executive council. We've brought on three new members to the executive council and we can't wait for you to meet them!

Jim Campbell, Incoming State President


Jim Campbell comes to the AARP Executive Council with a long career in public affairs. From 2003 to 2017 he served as senior manager at Johns Hopkins University School of Education working in both communications and government relations. He arranged for presentations by leading education experts before policy-making committees and recently he organized a national conference bringing together some of the top scholars in the country to present their research on equality of educational opportunity. The event, which received press attention, featured the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Beginning in 1979, Campbell served for 24 years in the Maryland House of Delegates. For eight of those years, he chaired an education policy committee and helped to pass some important policy initiatives including additional funding for schools and legislation supporting teachers and principals.

He also served on the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners from 2006 to 2010.

For the past decade Campbell has been a regular contributor of opinion pieces for the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post on topical education issues including the importance of early childhood programs, inequality in education and to the importance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Campbell is a member of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, AARP, Nature Conservancy, Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum and Hampden Family Center.


Dr. Gybrilla Ballard-Blakes


Dr. Gybrilla Ballard-Blakes is an adjunct professor at Webster University. She previously held the position of the chief of the Personnel Security Section for the Executive Office for the U.S. Attorneys. Ballard-Blakes has served as a guest speaker for the Federal Government Oversight Manager’s courses and Administrator Officer’s conferences, as well as several US Attorneys conferences. She has acted as a Personnel Security Adjudication Expert for all US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation field offices, and has acted as a Personnel Security Adjudication Expert for the 94 US Attorneys offices. Ballard-Blakes is author of the book Give Your Parents A Standing Ovation, For Caregivers Of Elderly Parents. She is also a writer and promoter of the stage play based on the book. Ballard-Blakes has been a guest on several media segments, such as the 2017 WUSA Channel 9 Great Day Washington Memorial Day show, on Military Women Leaders and Outstanding Women in Leadership, and on a 2017 Comcast show on AARP’s senior programs on caregiving, brain health, and Life Reimagined.

She is the executive director for “Pep Rally for Peace in the Streets. Ballard-Blakes has been a guest speaker at several outreach programs, such as the “Pep Rally for Peace in the Streets (PRPIS)” and acted as a keynote speaker for the Prince George’s County Alzheimer’s Awareness Rally and for the chamber of commerce in Camden, SC on elderly caregiving. Ballard-Blakes is a member of the 2017 AARP and John Hopkins Focus Group on dementia. She has also spoken at several churches, libraries, book signings, senior centers and community gatherings on Alzheimer’s, brain health, Life Reimaged, dementia, and elderly caregiving. Ballard-Blakes is an AARP Virginia and Maryland Diversity Ambassador Volunteer, a member of the AARP Brain Health Speakers Bureau, an Alzheimer’s Association, National Capital Chapter Committee Member, and Dementia Friendly American (DFA) County Leads Committee Member.

Ballard-Blakes participated in the Joint Security Task Force Center/Personnel Security Research Center (JSTC/PERSEREC) Personnel Security initiative, the US Office of Personnel Management Suitability Working Group, the Joint Reform initiative of qualify improvement in adjudicative processes, the Performance Accountability Council (PAC) Training Subcommittee, and the Security Adjudicator Working Group (SAWG) as a senior personnel security subject matter expert. Ballard-Blakes has provided several security related briefings and training on Capitol Hill.

Ballard-Blakes served as a personnel security specialist instructor for the Defense Security Service Education and Training Academy. She was responsible for developing and presenting expertise training and security awareness throughout the U.S. and abroad, to Department of Defense (DOD) military, civilians, contractors, and other federal agency personnel. Ballard-Blakes is currently a full adjunct professor at Webster University (Joint Anacostia-Bolling, Joint Base Myers-Henderson Hall, Joint Base Andrews, and Fort Belvoir campuses for over 16 years). She was a nominee of the 2016 Kemper Outstanding Teacher Award. Blakes was awarded the Webster University 2016 National Capital Region Faculty Member of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service. She also worked for Washington Headquarters Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense as an adjudicator, personnel security specialist, security awareness expert, total quality management liaison, and special security contact officer, who managed the Department Of Defense Congressional Program and all presidential commissions and advisory boards relevant to the United States Department of Defense.


Betty Romero


Betty Romero is an active member of the community who has volunteered with education, health, and advocacy groups, charities, and youth sports. She has also worked with both the public and private sectors in areas as diverse as law, commerce, and finance. Romero served as Chief Operating Officer for, a pioneer legal information provider in Latin America with offices in Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. During her tenure, she led the efforts to penetrate markets that needed to be educated on a new tool – online searching of legal content – strategically working with partners, and forging alliances with computer hardware and software companies, Internet providers, and professional associations.

Previously, Romero served as Director of the Office of the Government of Puerto Rico based in Argentina. Before joining the government, Romero began her career in the financial services industry as an Investment and Wealth Advisor. She enjoys traveling and family time.

Romero was born in New York, raised in Puerto Rico, and moved to D.C. 25 years ago. She resides with her husband in Bethesda, MD, and has three grown daughters.


We welcome and thank our newest members for their dedication and passion!

This story is provided by AARP Maryland. Visit the AARP Maryland page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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