Position: President of ExecuSuites I-270, an office business center in Rockville.

MaryEllen Gluck did modeling for a manufacturer, bookkeeping for a paper recycler, delivered newspapers for a local paper, started her own sewing business, did office work at an architecture firm and a venture capital firm, and then sales and marketing at a nutraceutical company. She reached out to ExecuSuites I-270 as a client, but ended up with an offer to be groomed to take over the company.

What is your leadership style?

I wish they had a word that came in between micro and macro management. I don’t believe in micro managing. And macro managing is too hands off. The whole point of leadership is [that] I should be able to be me.

How do you facilitate that?

One of the things I do is try not to say I’m too busy. To avoid that happening, I carved out time for my assistant once a week. She has that spot with me once a week. I could be standing at her desk talking to her 15 times a day. But once a week she has that sacred hour, and we lock the door.

Where did you learn that?

I worked for a person that did that. My favorite boss, who was a partner at the law firm, was a brilliant woman who no matter how busy she was, if you had a question she stopped whatever she was doing and thoroughly gave you an answer you deserved.

Culture is very important to you. How do you work to create a culture in a business?

You don’t impose a culture. You can grow a culture. A culture is what makes your people comfortable and makes them want to show up every day and work with you. Secondly, what is everyone doing to grow that feeling? People dress professionally here not because I demand it, but because it’s their place. They need to own the place.

Reading any business books?

I was on a run of business books, but I’ve taken a break from them.

— Interview with Vanessa Small