As she explores “wearable wellness,” Linda Penkala values CMC’s “standout support”

Wearable wellness. That’s entrepreneur Linda Penkala’s latest endeavor, in the form of a small 50-cent piece patch on the skin that interacts with body heat, offering light to the body through photo biomodulation.

Penkala — also an author, wellness catalyst, licensed massage therapist, and former jockey — pointed out this technology actually dates back to the ancient Greeks. “It helps people feel better, look younger, sleep better, and have less pain, to enjoy life more,” she said. “The anti-aging, stem cell-raising technology has over 70 scientific studies to verify its efficacy as a holistic, safe, and non-drug option for healing. Professional athletes, the Navy, and horses have been recipients of this technology.

Called LifeWave, the patch is Penkala’s newest offering for her clients. And, she added, they need some healing, after high level of stress and anxiety from COVID-19. “It was a huge shift for families and children to all be home during that time, and then to reintegrate into life, school, daycare or jobs once again, which was a moment of reckoning for so many!” she said. “The needs now are for a sense of calm, peace, and self-care regulation to relax the central nervous system for balance.”

Penkala teaches meditation, breathing techniques, guided self-massage, and presentations of holistic health to help people navigate these new waters of wellness.

Penkala was surprised to receive the Woman-Owned Business Award from the Central Maryland Chamber. “I have never been recognized and honored by business peers in my life, so this was a total surprise and shock, actually,” she said. “Winning a race as a jockey is a thrilling moment, but only beating 12 other jockeys is way different than all the women business owners who I admire and respect who were also considered,” she said. “For my company, Optimum Health for Life, to be among so many talented women and members in the Central Maryland Chamber Hall of Fame will be tough act to follow!”

Within the CMC, Penkala said she values the depth and diversity of so many occupations and entrepreneurs who have forged through so many years to evolve, grow and serve. “This is how the CMC is a standout for support, starting at the top, with all the business functions, multi-chamber events, and meetings,” she said. “We get to know each other not only on a business level but a personal one too, as we are all here to help support each other.”

First Generation College Bound shares wins — and the challenges ahead

One thousand college achievers and counting. First Generation College Bound, Inc. — a community-based organization which offers youth and their families a “pipeline” of educational interventions — recently celebrated that milestone and, according to CEO and founder Joseph Fisher, plans to keep going. 

First Generation College Bound focuses on programs related to academic readiness, supportive services and guidance to achieve high school graduation, college admissions and earn a postsecondary degree.

One alumnus — Alonzo T. Washington — was appointed by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to fill a vacant Maryland Senate seat representing District 22 in Prince George’s County. Washington has said his priorities include improving educational outcomes for students.

As much as he’s happy with the successes, Fisher said he sees more needs than ever in the community. “Students are in need of empathy, discipline, and humility with integrity to achieve goals as social medial has become a distraction,” he said. 

Recipient of the BIPOC-owned Business Award from the CMC, Fisher said he was glad the award could help people focus on the needs and the results. 

“My favorite aspect of the chamber is being able to interact with my peers in the business who understand the challenges of running a business — and sharing business wins as well,” said Fisher.

Chief nerd — and mentor

There might be more people vying for the title “chief nerd.” And Chris Barber, chief nerd at Cheaper Than A Geek might be the reason. As the CMC Volunteer Award winner, he has helped the community in many ways, but he’s most proud of his company’s mentoring. 

Cheaper Than A Geek offers everything from small business IT support to in-home technology service. 

In local middle and high schools, the company also advises young people on potential paths that will lead them to rewarding, satisfying careers.

Barber almost missed the news that his company had won the very unexpected CMC Volunteer Award. “I almost didn’t read the email!” he said. 

The chamber has helped him form the relationships that make a difference in his life and his company. “My favorite aspect of the chamber is the connections they facilitate,” he said. “It’s rewarding both professionally and personally!”

With upgraded equipment and CMC networking, Minuteman Press is even more ready to roll

One of the so-called silver linings of the COVID pandemic? That’s when Andy Morsberger, partner at Minuteman Press of Baltimore & Crofton, got involved in the CMC. “When there were online chamber mixers, I started going to those,” he recalled. “I was looking to network during COVID.”

He couldn’t go anywhere, and the chamber provided an answer. Since then, he’s never looked back — and Minuteman landed the CMC Small Business Award.

“Somebody I know had won an award the year before, and I knew about these awards — but I had no idea I was being considered,” he said. 

Morsberger said it’s hard to name just one favorite aspect of the chamber. “I really like the quality of leadership, and all of the people I meet at chamber events,” he said. “That’s the core value of the chamber.”

He believes the CMC gives people like him a lot of opportunities. And some events, he added feel like field trips. “For example, I’ve always wanted to go to Tipton Airport, and the chamber offered a tour, and we got to talk to the people who run it,” he said. “We’ve also visited other venues, like the Maritime Institute, as well as many new restaurants.” 

Now that networking is back in person, Morsberger said his marketing efforts are back in full swing. “There are lot of events coming up this spring,” he said. We did some equipment upgrades so we can not only move faster but the quality has increased. We’re looking to do an open house later this year.”

At Turf Valley Resort, ‘our connections and relationships are priceless’

Two new championship golf courses. Upcoming new executive king suites at the hotel. Turf Valley Resort has some exiting new projects — but still with the same foundation of a family-owned business. 

Customers — both local and out-of-towners — have changed in some ways as the COVID-19 pandemic lifted, according to Pete Mangione, general manager. “Ultimately, we are in the hospitality industry; we are proud to serve our guests and make them feel comfortable during their stay here,” he said. “However, our guests’ needs have slightly changed as we are coming out of the pandemic.”

In some ways, Turf Valley Resort is getting back to pre-pandemic habits. “I think the cleaning and hygiene standards are here to stay; things that were happening before the pandemic may have been overlooked are now a staple in our procedures for housekeeping and public spaces here throughout the property,” said Mangione. 

Mangione said he was honored by the CMC Large Business Award since there are so many successful businesses and individuals in the running.

When asked his favorite aspect of the chamber, Mangione doesn’t hesitate. “The people!” he said. “Our connections and relationships are priceless to us as a family owned and operated business. We are here to serve our community and we are nothing without the partnerships of businesses in the chamber.”

Take a virtual tour of the golf course by visiting