Ms. Watchen Harris Bruce Selected as a Member of The Leadership Class of 2022

Baltimore, MD – February 1, 2022 – Watchen Harris Bruce, President & CEO of Baltimore Community Lending (BCL), has been selected as a member of The Leadership Class of 2022. Ms. Bruce is one of 64 regional leaders to be selected for The Leadership’s 38th class, joining more than 1,800 alumni who have preceded them.

Ms. Bruce has more than thirty years of banking, finance, economic and business development, affordable housing, and leadership experience. This experience has been both national and international. Prior to taking leadership of BCL in January 2020, Ms. Bruce served as CEO of Africa New Frontier, Inc. (an entrepreneurship, and financial inclusion company), Chief of Party/Country Director of the USAID Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) project (an access to finance and business development project in Liberia), Sr. Financial Management Consultant for Affordable Housing at NeighborWorks America, in addition to several senior banking & finance management positions at national banks and in government in the United States.

“We are thrilled to kick off our 38th class and to convene a wonderfully diverse and talented group of extraordinary individuals who are leading throughout the Baltimore region. The Class of 2022 joins a legacy of leaders in Baltimore who have contributed significantly to Baltimore, strengthening our organizations and the civic fabric of our community. Through their experience together, these leaders will further strengthen their capacity to mobilize others to catalyze change throughout the region,” shared David Sachs, Executive Director of The Leadership.

The Flagship Program is a 9-month experiential leadership program that develops participants in three areas:

  • Deepening their understanding of Baltimore’s history, challenges, assets, and people
  • Strengthening their capacity to lead, particularly in a civic context
  • Forging substantive relationships with fellow class members to provide a platform for collective action

 “I am honored and excited to join this incredible group of leaders, and to develop new skills and explore ways I can build more collaborative teams to make an impact on our organization, Baltimore Community Lending, and in our community. I look forward to learning from others and building relationships that will help me grow in my leadership,” said Ms. Bruce.

To complement its nearly 40-year old Flagship Program, The Leadership created Leading Now, a portfolio of expanded offerings designed to help those leading through the transformational change unleashed by the events of the past several years.

The Leading Now Gateway program introduces a new leadership model for today’s reality, providing participants with cutting-edge skill frameworks and tools to drive creative problem solving and equitable, systemic change.

Leading Now Conversations, a series developed for The Leadership’s alumni, features a wide variety of guests sharing insights they’ve learned through their own experiences of leading.  Featured guests have included Mayor Brandon Scott, Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson, American Visionary Art Museum Founding Director Rebecca Hoffberger, Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa, and Ceasefire Co-Founder and Baltimore Community Mediation Center Executive Director Erricka Bridgeford.

To learn more about The Leadership, its programs and how to apply, visit

About Baltimore Community Lending

With over 30 years’ experience, Baltimore Community Lending (BCL) is a local CDFI that supports the revitalization and strengthening of under-served Baltimore neighborhoods through innovative and flexible financial assistance designed to promote community development. The small business division of BCL addresses the primary barriers to credit by providing flexible loan terms, technical assistance support, and an ecosystem of small business lenders and bankers, while the real estate division works with different types of borrowers and provide financing to develop affordable housing, community facilities, and mixed use developments. More information is available at