Founder, Main Street Connect
Jillian was an educator, staff trainer and technology coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools for several years prior to founding The Diener School in 2007. The Diener School, located in Rockville, serves students with learning and other challenges from kindergarten through 8th grade. Since Diener’s inception, they have worked with over 258 families. Jillian served as the head of school from 2007 to 2013, and is actively involved and currently sits on the board of trustees and is the Honorary Capital Campaign Chair.
Jillian has volunteered in many different capacities for several organizations ─ including CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Montgomery County, Children’s National Medical Center, and Bullis’ 5K Buddy Run benefitting special needs children and adults in our local community.
Jillian’s passion is to enrich the lives of children and adults living “in the margins” in our community. She received the 2009 Community Leadership Award from Jewish Women International (JWI), the Abe Polin Humanitarian Award from the Bender JCC in 2016 and has received several other honors and awards from local organizations including Community Bridges, Vis Arts and The Bullis School. She is also a proud graduate of Leadership Montgomery’s Class of 2013.
Jillian served as a member of the board of directors for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes(currently Makom) for 6 years, Jillian also served on the disabilities inclusion committee of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, The Developmental Disabilities Administration Task Force and Jubilee’s Housing Task Force.
Jillian and her husband, Scott, are most proud of Main Street, an inclusive, affordable and accessible apartment building and community center located in Rockville. They are also excited about their latest initiative, The Epilepsies Action Network, to support surveillance, research and funding for those suffering with Epilepsy.
Jillian and her husband Scott reside in Rockville and are the parents of Danny(28), Jack(26), Nicol(24) and Ethan(22).
Artist & Printmaker
Award winning artist and printmaker Joseph “Craig” English is a longtime resident of Montgomery County’s historic Washington Grove. His colorful, original paintings and serigraphs have become part of life in our region and his works have been shown and sold online and at art festivals throughout the country.
Craig fell in love with the possibilities of the silkscreen while a young teenager and began developing his bright vision for a life in art. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Art, Craig went to work for a Chevy Chase-based ad agency. In 1972, while working his way up to the agency’s art director, Craig and his wife, Mary Lou, converted a bedroom in their small Bethesda apartment into a studio and he began creating art after work and on weekends.
“The messages I received in the beginning stages of my fine art efforts were consistent,” Craig says. “Everyone told me ‘You cannot make a living as a fine artist.’ I never let that attitude deter me.”
Three years after setting his sights on creating fine art, Craig was doing well enough to be his own boss and built the Washington Grove studio where he still works today.
Craig has been a key mover in bringing art to Montgomery County’s youth, through permanent artwork at numerous MCPS elementary and secondary schools, and with a pilot program that brought art instruction into the county’s juvenile detention facility. His art work has helped fund churches and charities that provide services for the homeless and the developmentally challenged. His works have raised money for the Bethesda Big Train baseball team, and honored retired County Executive Ike Leggett.
Today, Craig’s Montgomery County creations are in the permanent collections of the Virginia Museum, the Baltimore Museum, the Chrysler Museum, and the Museum of Western Virginia, as well as in corporate collections and American embassies around the world. He takes great delight in seeing his works go to the homes of Montgomery County neighbors and hearing from longtime customers. He believes in making art affordable and accessible.
“I love knowing that my work has enhanced the lives of others,” Craig says. “I have been able to make a living as an artist, and I am especially proud that both my daughters share my values and are employed at nonprofits where their efforts are a blessing to their communities.”
Co-Founder, Total Wine and More
Congressman David Trone was elected in 2018 to serve Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties. Congressman Trone serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, and Budget Committee, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including addiction, criminal justice reform, the mental health crisis, medical research, and education.
David grew up on a chicken and hog farm with his mother, a public school teacher, and his father, a WWII veteran and member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Though the family lost the farm to bankruptcy, David was given an opportunity through education. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Wharton School of Business.
It was in graduate school that he opened his first store selling soda and beer. Through a lot of hard work, that single store grew into a business with 250 stores in 28 states and 12,000 employees nationwide. Total Wine and More, headquartered in Maryland, is now the largest independent retailer of wine and spirits in the country. It is this expertise in business and management that David brings to his time in Congress.
In 2015, David established the Trone Center for Justice and Equality to focus on problems in the US criminal justice system. The Trone Center includes the National Prison Project, the Criminal Law Reform Project, the Racial Justice Program, and the Capital Punishment Project, which played a major role in the Washington State Supreme Court case that abolished the state’s death penalty because it was racially discriminatory.
In Congress, Rep. Trone is co-founder and co-chair of the Second Chance Task Force, and co-founder and co-chair of the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. In 2020, he spearheaded the passage of legislation to repeal the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students, and worked tirelessly to get signed into law well over a dozen other criminal justice and addiction-related measures during his time in Congress.
David believes that success means nothing if you don’t give back. That’s why he has personally supported important causes throughout Montgomery County and the region, including Suburban Hospital, the ACLU, American University, and others.
David and his wife June have four adult children and one grandson. They live in Potomac.
Chairman & CEO, Opus8, Inc.
Mr. Tien Wong is a tech entrepreneur, CEO, and angel investor. He is CEO of Opus8, Inc., a private investment and advisory firm which helps companies and alternative investment fund managers raise capital. Tien is Chairman of Lumious, an EdTech company which provides advanced tech training and learning analytics development to Fortune 500 customers.
In 2012, Tien created the Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum, an international community of over 25,000 founders, CEOs, angels, VCs, and other business leaders. The community hosts large bi-monthly in-person regional investor and entrepreneurship Forums, as well as the world’s largest monthly virtual pitch events. Over 1100 early stage companies have presented since inception with around 50% having raised funds from investors through the CONNECTpreneur platform.
In 1991, Tien co-founded and served as Chairman & CEO of CyberRep, Inc. until its acquisition in 2003 by Affiliated Computer Services, a “Fortune 500”company. CyberRep was one of the world’s largest private CRM outsourcing companies, with 2,300+ employees and $80 million in revenue. CyberRep received INC. magazine’s “Inc. 500” recognition for 4 consecutive years as one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA.
Tien received the 2001 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for Greater Washington and the 2003 EY Performance Excellence Award. He was inducted into the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. He has been a Washingtonian magazine “Tech Titan” for the last 7 years. Tien is a 2-time Washington Business Journal “Power 100” selection, a 3-time SmartCEO Magazine “Smart100” CEO, and a community service honoree as a member of Greater DC Cares “Class of Change.” He is a founding member of the Inner Circle and a frequent guest lecturer on entrepreneurship, leadership, venture capital, and private equity at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University, where he is an Entrepreneur in Residence.
Tien was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to the Maryland Venture Fund Authority which oversees $84 million in venture capital allocations; he serves on the Boards of Directors of the Association for Enterprise Growth (Chair), Junior Achievement of Greater Washington and the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. He is a Mentor at the Mach37 Cybersecurity Accelerator and Conscious Venture Labs, and a member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council at The Universities at Shady Grove.
Past Board work includes: Trustee of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Treasurer and National Board Member of the Professional Association for Customer Engagement; Chairman of the Executive Leadership Committee of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship; and Board Member of the Maryland Tech Council, Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., Startup Maryland, Association for Corporate Growth, and the Potomac Officer’s Club. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.