Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to this year’s Alumni Award winners. The UMBC Alumni Association proudly honors distinguished alumni and faculty for their accomplishments and dedication to UMBC. Today we’re talking with Gib Mason ‘95, economics, about his career working as the Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation by improving the UMBC Training Centers.
Q: Why did you choose to attend UMBC, and how do you continue to be involved with the university?
It had been a decade since I had left my first foray into the University setting, and I was looking for a place to finish my education. I was interested in learning more about economics in order to better support my business. My decision to attend UMBC started as a skill building opportunity, but ultimately led to a five-year relationship that drove me to sit for the CPA exam as a result. My current involvement with UMBC is multi-faceted. I serve as a board member for the Alex. Brown Entrepreneurship Center, where I partnered with faculty fellows to develop the Minor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I presently teach and develop curriculum for both the FYS and ENTR program, and act as a faculty advisor within the INDS program. I have also facilitated strategic planning for multiple departments within UMBC. In addition, I provide leadership development training for all members of the UMBC community.
Q: Is there a particular class or professor at UMBC who really inspired you?
Elizabeth Gerkin taught my very first class (Accounting 101) and in turn, inspired me to extend my stay at UMBC. Brad Humphreys was another inspiration for me. He was an economics professor who provided me with a much broader perspective of the influence and impact of finance on communities. My experience at UMBC is what inspired me to want to teach and complete a Master’s degree.
Q: Please tell us a little about the trajectory of your career and what you are working on now.
There are three concepts that encapsulate my career trajectory: entrepreneurship, opportunity, and passion. Entrepreneurial pursuits, belief in the opportunities in organizations for growth and change and development, and underlying under that is a rabid passion for what I get the opportunity to do. Currently, I’m working on putting UMBC’s Training Centers in a position to live into its fullest potential. Really, that’s about developing the people of our organization, which will allow us to increase our reach and the reputation of the University. Within my work for our Center for Leadership and Innovation, I also have the opportunity to enable other organizations to live into their fullest potential.
Q: What has been the greatest success in your career? The greatest challenge?
The greatest success of my career was the rolling up of the B4students foundation into Big Brothers and Sisters. The greatest challenge has been balancing the dichotomy of being both a CPA and an MSOD. My career has a lot of breadth, with significant depth in two very different areas. It’s a healthy challenge – I fight with myself all the time.
Q: What are your proudest personal achievements?
My service to youth over a 30 year period, including 25 years of coaching little league baseball and basketball, 17 years of board service for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the development of the B4students foundation, and the last 8 years focused on the development of undergraduates at UMBC.