What’s on her mind


When it comes to aging, Mary Becker wants you to feel at home Interview BY Martha Thomas      Portrait BY Mary C. Gardella November/December 2017 As the aging in place manager for the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence, Mary Becker helps to ensure that older adults have access to... Read more →


Maryland’s 2017 One Book honoree shares insight on feminism, celebrity and raising a daughter Interview BY Martha Thomas     Portrait BY Mary C. Gardella September/October 2017 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of three novels along with her nonfiction books, “We Should all be Feminists” and “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto... Read more →


Edith Cord’s unimaginable childhood has led her to gratitude Interview BY Martha Thomas     Portrait BY Mary C. Gardella June/July 2017 Edith Cord, 88, spent six years as a child and teen fleeing and in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. After the war ended, she made up... Read more →

High Flier

JEAN MOON CAME TO COLUMBIA IN HER 20s. SHE’S BEEN A STRONG INFLUENCE EVER SINCE Martha Thomas March 2017/April 2017 Jean Moon moved to Columbia in 1971 and a few months later started freelancing for the local newspaper, the “Columbia Flier.” She quickly worked her way up to become general... Read more →

Rainbow After the Storm

Maureen Sweeney-Smith’s job went from promoting to rejuvenating Ellicott City INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas      PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella December 2016/January 2017 Maureen Sweeney-Smith has been the executive director of Ellicott City Partnership since February, 2016. She served as the executive director of the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce... Read more →


LAURA LIPPMAN USED HER HIGH SCHOOL YEARS IN COLUMBIA AS MATERIAL FOR HER NEW NOVEL November/December 2016 Novelist Laura Lippman, a former reporter for the “Baltimore Sun,” published her first of 12 Tess Monaghan mysteries in 1997. She has also written several stand-alone novels; her most recent is “Wilde Lake,”... Read more →

Defining TOUGH

RAYNA DUBOSE IS A LIVING EXAMPLE FOR THE YOUNG ATHLETES SHE COACHES SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas      PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella After coming home to visit her parents in Columbia in 2002, then college freshman Rayna DuBose returned to Virginia Tech feeling a little run down and collapsed... Read more →

Green Acres

KELLY HENSING WANTED TO FEED HER FAMILY. SO THE SUBURBAN GIRL STARTED A FARM. INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas    PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella JUNE/JULY 2016 Kelly Hensing, 41, runs a farm on 3.5 acres in Dayton, leasing another 80 acres in Fulton and Woodbine. She and her husband, Rob,... Read more →


Melissa Farley’s exercise moves might be familiar to magazine junkies. INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella MARCH/APRIL 2016 Melissa Farley, founder of Fitrition, a company that emphasizes the connection between fitness and nutrition, began her career as a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet at the Kennedy Center... Read more →


JOAN DRIESSEN HAS SOME IDEAS FOR VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES YOU’LL LOVE INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas     PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella DECEMBER 2015/JANUARY 2016 Joan Driessen is the executive director of the Association of Community Services of Howard County (ACS), an organization that has informed, connected and advocated for the... Read more →

Space Mom

AS THE MISSION OPERATIONS MANAGER, ALICE BOWMAN HELPED GUIDE NEW HORIZONS INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 Alice Bowman, 54, is the first female MOM at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics lab in Laurel. As the Mission Operations Manager, Bowman helped to guide the New... Read more →


BRENDA VON RAUTENKRANZ HARNESSES HORSES’ EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Mary C. Gardella SEPTEMBER /OCTOBER 2015 Brenda von Rautenkranz’s business, Fit for Life, offers personal training and motivational speaking. She’s familiar to many in Howard County for her video program “Fit and Fabulous,” about healthy eating and... Read more →


AMY ADLER FOUGHT FOR YES ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Colby Ware Amy Adler, who grew up in Columbia, was the western Maryland regional organizer for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign. According to colleagues on the campaign, her fieldwork was an important factor in the... Read more →


INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY André Chung Truth be told, the Sorg family inspired this issue of “Her Mind” devoted to sisters. When attorney Linda Sorg Ostovitz accepted the Business Women’s Network Woman of Distinction award a year ago, her three sisters – and their father – were seated... Read more →


. POSTED IN WHAT’S ON HER MIND INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas   PORTRAIT BY André Chung The Daughters of Abraham began in Boston soon after September 11, 2001. A group of women from different religious backgrounds had gathered for interfaith worship and to explore ways to foster cultural understanding. They came... Read more →


WHAT’S ON HIS MIND INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas     PORTRAIT BY André Chung Milton Matthews became president and CEO of the Columbia Association in June. He was most recently the CEO of the Reston (Virginia) Association, a planned community with more than 65,000 residents. He has also worked as... Read more →


MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM KNOWS YOU CAN FALL IN LOVE WITH A HOUSE INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY André Chung Mother-daughter real estate partners Laura and Lisa Kittleman are principles in the Ellicott City-based Kittleman Realty Group, founded by Laura and her husband, Tom Yeatts, in 2003. Recently, Lisa was featured... Read more →


FOR KIM MANFREDI, YOGA IS JUST PART OF LIFE INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Lisa Shires Kim Manfredi started Charm City Yoga in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood in 2000. Since then, the company has grown in Baltimore and the surrounding region. The seventh studio opened in Rivers Corporate Park... Read more →


WOMEN GET AND STAY ON COURSE   INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Lisa Shires Barbara Polonsky, licensed clinical social worker, has run her private practice, LifePath Counseling Services, LLC, since 2005. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a master’s degree in social work, Polonsky works with woman... Read more →


AT 95, MILLIE BAILEY HAS ALL SHE NEEDS. BUT SHE KNOWS OF PLENTY WHO DON’T. INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas   PORTRAIT BY André Chung Vivian “Millie” Bailey was born in Washington, D.C., in 1918, but her mother moved the children back to her hometown of Tulsa, Okla., when Millie’s father... Read more →


BEFORE THEY GIVE UP, SAYS JULIE LENZER KIRK, SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS LEARN TO SHIFT COURSE. INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas   PORTRAIT BY Meredith Tankersly Julie Lenzer Kirk is the Executive Director of the Howard County-based Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. She founded her first company, Applied Creative Technologies, Inc. an IT solutions... Read more →


KIM MUSSER ‘S STATE FARM CLIENTS OFTEN BECOME HER FRIENDS INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY Meredith Tankersley Kim Musser has been with State Farm Insurance since 1990 and worked her way up to agency field consultant, and eventually to a post at the State Farm Headquarters in Bloomington, Ill.... Read more →


THE HORIZON FOUNDATION’S NEW HEAD IS FIGHTING OBESITY ONE TABLESPOON AT A TIME   INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PORTRAIT BY André Chung Nicolette (Nikki) Highsmith Vernick is executive director of the Horizon Foundation, a philanthropic organization established in 1998 as a result of the merger of Johns Hopkins Medicine with... Read more →


TIFFANY SOTO MAY BE A WORLD-CLASS SIPPER, BUT AT HOME, SHE PREFERS TO SNIP INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas    PORTRAIT BY André Chung Tiffany Dawn Soto is the Beverage Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Soto also studied in Japan to become... Read more →


Dr. Renee Foose started her job as Superintendent of Howard County schools on July 1, after serving as Deputy Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. In her two decades working in education, Dr. Foose has led numerous initiatives to help close the achievement gap while preparing students for college and... Read more →


JESSIE NEWBURN AND THE COLUMBIA ASSOCIATION WOULD LIKE TO ENGAGE WITH YOU INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas Jessie Newburn has lived in Columbia for most of her 48 years – her family moved to Thunder Hill when she was 7. Now a resident of Oakland Mills, Newburn describes herself as a... Read more →


WITH THE GIRLS, WITH YOUR SPECIAL SOMEONE, OR FOR A FAMILY AFFAIR, HERE ARE A DOZEN-PLUS OPTIONS FOR FUN STORY BY Mary T. Robbins Phelan 12 Things To Do When we set out to find the top 12 places to get out and have some fun, we realized there are... Read more →


RESOURCE CENTER . POSTED IN WHAT’S ON HER MIND WHEN IT COMES TO HER CAREER, ANITA BROCCOLINO HAS A LOT TO DRAW ON INTERVIEW BY Martha Thomas PHOTOGRAPH BY André Chung Anita Broccolino is director of fundraising and special events for the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. She began her... Read more →