At a ceremony recognizing the generosity and achievements of individual volunteers and organizations in April, Mary Lasky was honored as Howard County’s Volunteer of the Year. Dedicated to strengthening the community through her volunteer service, Mary Lasky has been recognized for her qualities of leadership, energy and expertise as showcased through her work with the Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) since its beginning, and serving as chair of Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center during a time of growth and significant transition. She has also served as the co-chair of the Leadership Premier steering committee helping guide the program to meet its goals of preparing effective community leaders.

Mary is the Program Manager for Business Continuity Planning at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.  She has been in her role at APL since 2005 and is recognized as an international expert on the subject of emergency preparedness and disaster response. She is a member of the LHC Premier class of 2010. Following her graduation from the program, Mary not only took her place in community leadership roles but quickly became a key volunteer in planning the Premier program sessions for future classes.

Mary became involved in the Community Emergency Response (CERN) from its beginning in 2002 under the leadership of The Horizon Foundation. CERN, a public-private partnership that links government leaders, first responders, nonprofits and volunteer organizations, grew out of a partnership with the Horizon Foundation, county government and other agencies following 9/11. She subsequently led CERN through the process of becoming a 501(c)3 organization and became the first chair of the board of directors. During her tenure, she led the effort to disseminate emergency information to the county’s non-English-speaking communities through a universal pictorial card available in libraries, churches and county agencies.

Mary joined the board of Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in 2011 and was elected President in 2013 at a critical time in the agency’s development. As president, Mary led the board’s strategic planning process mapping out a long-term plan which included opportunities for expansion in the agency’s new facilities – the expanded shelter in Columbia and the Leola Dorsey Community Center, which houses the Grassroots Day Resource Center and 35 single efficiency apartments for formerly homeless individuals.

As co-chair of the Leadership Premier steering committee, Mary’s insight and program evaluation skills have been invaluable to the steering committee and subcommittees, enhancing their work with important data which is used to determine future programing. “The information from surveys has been remarkable,” says Mary. “Leadership Howard County is truly making a difference in leaders and what they are learning about the county. This work is guaranteeing results.”