Bill Glass, a beloved member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs staff for more than 30 years, including a recent 14-month stint as the center’s interim executive director, is retiring on June 30.
Glass, who came to CCP in 1992 after earning his master’s in communication from Cornell University, is known for his empathy, his compassion, his ability to find joy in the mundane and his calming presence, as well as his work in every aspect of health communication programming — strategic planning, program development, marketing and fundraising, training, media production, and monitoring. Over the years, he successfully oversaw business development opportunities that brought hundreds of millions of dollars of work to CCP to inspire healthy behaviors across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States.
Glass, 59, likened his time at CCP to “catching lightning in a bottle,” but says the time has come for him to discover the next phase of his life.
“You can imagine the choice to leave such a fabulous place was not an easy one and comes after a great deal of reflection,” he said upon announcing his retirement. “For my entire time at the center, the passion for our work has burned brightly and carried me happily through all the challenges. Now I find myself needing to recharge and explore what other paths might be out there.”
At CCP, Glass began as a program officer focusing on sub-Saharan Africa and soon moved to Ghana, where he worked as a technical advisor. When he returned home to the United States, he served as CCP’s deputy regional director of Africa for a decade from 1999 to 2009 and became director of strategic communication programs after that.
He began serving as the deputy director starting in 2018. When CCP’s longtime Executive Director Susan Krenn retired in 2022, Glass stepped in as interim executive director and was on the search committee that chose current Executive Director, Debora Freitas López.
“When he came back from Ghana, he was really interested in pursuing new business opportunities and ever since, he has been immersed in expanding CCP’s portfolio from dissecting proposals to superbly negotiating with potential partners to crafting visionary executive summaries,” says Alice Payne Merritt, also a CCP deputy director. “Bill’s energy and zest resulted in hundreds of winning bids.”
While his contributions to CCP’s expansion have been countless, when asked, staff always come back to his open-door and open-arms policy. Not only do they praise him for being an able leader and terrific mentor to many, but for his willingness to listen, to be a brainstorming partner, an eager sounding board and even a shoulder to cry on.
“I have always valued Bill for his kindness, his humor, his caring, and his support,” says CCP’s Lisa Cobb, interim director of strategic communication programs, a job Glass has held since 2009. “For me, certainly, but for everyone at CCP, it comes through so clearly. In all my years at CCP, I’ve had his example to look up to, teaching me how to be a manager and a leader, for which I am grateful.”
Jen Boyle, CCP’s team leader for Liberia, Malawi and Kenya, says Glass is “always available, for anything, any time. Bill has been the epitome of a leader throughout the time I have known him, but especially the past 18 months where he led the organization through huge change and made it feel as if all would be okay in the end.”
Glass and his wife, CCP senior program officer Paula Stauffer, have two college-age children.
Cassandra Mickish Gross, CCP’s director of business development, calls Glass “a great listener and mentor.”
“He’s coached me through major job and life changes over the last several years, and he has been a tireless advocate on my behalf,” she says. “He has always made it clear that family comes first and welcomes my kids’ cameos on our Zoom calls.”