Robert Sharps joined the Baltimore Curriculum Project board in September 2021 for a simple reason: he was asked. His friend, BCP board co-chair Mike Niccolini, tapped Rob, who is chief executive officer and president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., for his financial acumen, his love of public education, and his passion for building a better Baltimore.
In our new Meet the BCP Board series, we chatted with Rob about why he serves.
Q: What does it mean to you to serve on the BCP board?
A: “BCP’s mission aligns with a number of my personal priorities and principles: the essential importance of education; investing in and empowering passionate and talented people; leveraging data to improve decision-making; and working toward a better future for the city of Baltimore.
First, education is a priority for me. My mother and both of my grandmothers were teachers. My uncle, who was influential with me as a child and young adult, was a principal and had a PhD in Education. My father, who was not an educator, was one of the founders of the Southern Garrett High School Alumni Association, which sponsors several programs to bring the resources and perspective of alumni back to the school and ‘pay it back’ in a way.
I believe passionately in the value of education and the ability of educators to have a huge impact on the lives of young people. I have seen and experienced first-hand the ability of a great teacher or professor to get the best out of young people. I lived this with Jim Zimmerman and Dave Mayfield, my high school calculus and physics teachers, respectively, [in Garrett County, Md.], in addition to a number of great professors that I had at Towson University.
I wasn’t always a motivated and focused student. When I look back, I owe much of the success I experienced later in life to the way these people ‘woke me up,’ if you will, by showing me how to be intellectually curious and to challenge myself to think on my own. Critical thinking is so important, especially in a world where there is so much information, and it is so easy to get a platform or an audience.
Being an educator can be rewarding, but in too many instances it is under-appreciated. Teaching is extraordinarily hard work.”
Q: Why did you choose to serve on the BCP board?
A: “For all of these reasons, I have prioritized education when I give my time and resources. I chose BCP in particular because their model is effectively addressing the challenge of delivering strong educational outcomes in some of Baltimore City’s toughest areas. They have a proven model that is based on research-based approaches to education and intense teacher training and development.
When you go to a school like Hampstead Hill Academy and see the impact that the school is having on the community and the leadership of principal Matt Hornbeck, it is pretty powerful. It makes you want to get involved.”
Q: How did you learn about BCP and how did you get involved on the board?
A: “I know Mike [Niccolini, BCP board co-chair] mostly through racquet sports, tennis and paddle tennis. He invited me to lunch with a few other board members including Victor Abiamiri and George Hess in the summer of 2021. It was clear to me that they believed in BCP’s mission. Given my day job and the importance of my family, I try to be selective about where I commit my time—so agreeing to serve on a board is not something that I do lightly. After exploring it further, I decided to join.
The first board meeting I attended was in September 2021 at Pimlico Elementary / Middle School, but it was during COVID so the students were just coming back into the classroom. I was really impressed with how the staff was dealing with bringing kids back into the school and the urgency to make up for ground lost during the pandemic.”
Q: How is your service on the BCP board different from your other volunteer activities?
A: “I didn’t have a direct connection to BCP before I got involved. In my other volunteer activities with Towson or St. Paul’s [School, where his sons go], there was a clear connection to my own or my family’s education. I am still relatively new to the BCP board and in my second year [of my tenure]. I am focused on learning about the organization and determining how I can best contribute.”
Read the recent interview with Rob in the Evergreen Advisors newsletter in which he talks about BCP.
Read about what’s next for the BCP board by co-chairs Mike Niccolini, President of MCM Capital, LLC, and George Hess, President of Hess Shoes and founding BCP Board Chair.
About Rob Sharps
CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and chair of the company’s Executive, Management, and Management Compensation and Development Committees Joined T. Rowe Price in 1997 as an analyst. Followed by roles including Lead portfolio manager of the Institutional Large-Cap Growth Equity Strategy, Co-Head of Global Equity, Head of Investments, group chief investment officer, president of T. Rowe Price Group and most recently named CEO & President in January, 2022.
During his portfolio management tenure, T. Rowe Price was twice named LargeCap Growth Equity Manager of the Year by Institutional Investor magazine.
Prior to T. Rowe Price completed an internship as an equity research analyst at Wellington Management and was at KPMG Peat Marwick as a senior management consultant
B.S., summa cum laude, Accounting, Towson University; M.B.A., Finance, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School; Chartered Financial Analyst® Designation
Board service: In addition to his service on the BCP board, Rob is a former St. Paul’s School Trustee and chair of the Investment Committee and former member of Towson University’s College of Business and Economics Alumni Advisory Board