No. 3: Agora

Named after the public gathering spaces of ancient Greece where ideas and goods changed hands, Agora Inc. is dedicated to the exchange of knowledge. A holding company for publishers of more than 300 consumer newsletters and books on finance, health, travel and other special-interest topics, Agora boasts global readership of 1 million and has outposts around the world. The company publishes material both practical and philosophical, from advice on purchasing airline tickets to the writings of Charles Darwin and Adam Smith. Although diverse in subject, all of Agora's publications share a common theme: "thinking independently and taking responsibility for your own life." The workplace is run according to that maxim as well; employees are welcome to express new ideas and insights and enjoy a fair degree of autonomy. "The Agora environment fosters creativity and innovation," said one. "Agora encourages open communication between employees, cultivating trust [so that] employees feel comfortable to generate their own ideas no matter what their title or longevity is with the company. Agora gives just enough support without stifling employees' creative freedom." The 675 staff members at the Baltimore corporate headquarters, located in several historic mansions in Mount Vernon, also can take advantage of perks including exclusive parties during First Thursdays concerts and an on-site, no-cost gym replete with personal trainers.
Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun
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