Flip Flop Festivus 2017

Mrs. County Executive

by Joslyn Wolfe

Petite with intense, striking brown eyes, Jaki Ulman is a behind the scenes powerhouse. A subcontracts manager for IBM, a mother of two beautiful little girls (Maddie 11 and Lily 6) and, did we mention, the wife of Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Jaki Ulman - Mrs. County ExecutiveMeeting her husband during her junior year in college at the University of Maryland at College Park, she recounts how her marriage to him was built upon a friendship. " He was a legislator for the Student Government and I was the treasurer," she says with a subtle smile.

"Back in our earlier years together, I learned about the importance of being flexible." For Ken and Jaki, being together was a result of will and determination. "After undergrad, I went to Syracuse University and earned my Masters in Public Administration," she says. "He went to states like Iowa and Wyoming and worked as a field coordinator for the Clinton/Gore campaign." Jaki also speaks admiringly about her husband as she recounts the juggling he did when he worked in Annapolis while attending Georgetown's Law School at night.

And flexibility is the main ingredient which makes up Jaki Ulman's daily mantra: she telecommutes for IBM, is active in both her daughters' school activities, and is largely responsible for creating family time-now that's project management. "Ken works 24/7; we make it work," she says emphatically. Despite the demands on her time, Ulman keeps a clear perspective teaching her children valuable life lessons. "Our girls love the Howard County Food Bank and hosting various holiday drives at our home. My goal is to do whatever I can to teach them to be great human beings," says the third sister of four.

And her interests extend outside of her commitment to her family. "I feel passionate about being a public servant. Ken is the bridge that connects me to the community and for that, I am grateful to be his support and companion." Ulman's eldest sister, Michelle Grim finds her awe inspiring. "She has a great heart," says Grim. "She's very strong and extremely organized. I don't know how she does it, juggling so many things." But Jaki Ulman accepts her many roles with exceptional humility, she insists she's just passing on what she learned. "If I can be a fraction of what my mother is, she is so loyal and thoughtful.. then I have done something right."

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