Executive Team

Pat Sasse
Pat SasseExecutive Director
Patricia Sasse is a Howard County resident of 20 years who relocated from Buffalo NY to work as a staff member at the Social Security Administration headquarters in Woodlawn MD. While there she was selected to participate in one of the agency’s leadership development programs, learning about various parts of the organization during the term of the program. As a long-term employee of SSA, she served in several increasingly responsible management positions until she retired from her final position as the Deputy Director of SSA’s Call Center in Baltimore.

Shortly after her retirement, Pat began volunteering at various nonprofits in Howard County and began to expand her knowledge about nonprofit management. In 2009, she was hired to be the charter Executive Director of the Bright Minds Foundation, which is the HCPSS Educational Foundation, just newly formed at that time, where she served for nine years. Under Pat’s leadership, the Foundation grew from a startup nonprofit to one widely recognized for promoting equity for Howard County public school students via many programs developed together with the Board of Directors.

After this most recent retirement, Pat continued to engage with local community organizations performing philanthropic work. Because of her experience in leading a start up nonprofit, Pat was drawn to the idea of creating a new nonprofit dedicated to helping her peers navigate the various options and opportunities available to them at this exciting stage of life.

Pat is the co-founder and Executive Director of This Point Forward and is happy to be working on the organization and creating meaningful programs along with Mary and the current Board of Directors. Pat feels that her truly relevant experiences benefit the team as they strive to develop programs that are most helpful to others seeking to determine what’s next for them.

Pat is a graduate of the Leadership Howard County Premier Class of 2010. She has served as Chair of several Leadership Premier training committees, as well as a member of their Recruitment and Selection Committees, and has been a member of the Association of Community Services Education and Training Committee. She has also served on the Community Foundation of Howard County’s Grants Review Team and Scholarship Review Team. She is currently a member of the Women’s Giving Circle Diversity Education and Inclusion Committee.

Pat has one son who teaches in Montgomery County and two small grandsons that she loves to spend as much time with as possible.

Mary Thompson
Mary ThompsonExecutive Director
Over five years ago Mary was introduced to the Encore movement – a movement that inspired individuals in the 50s to view this stage of life as an opportunity to build purposeful engagements that align with their time, talent and treasure. As co-founder and co-Executive Director of This Point Forward, she is excited to see her and Pat’s vision of a safe space to explore these opportunities come to fruition.

Mary recently became a 2nd act entrepreneur. In 2019, she founded ReFrame Financial Planning, a fee-only Financial Planning and Advisory firm in Howard County. Mary started ReFrame Financial Planning to help individuals build financial and purpose-driven transition plans for retirement. Mary specializes in guiding clients through the next chapter of their lives by balancing their financial and personal resources to align their values, passions, and purpose. Prior to founding ReFrame, Mary worked for over 10 years at a local Advisory firm where she was a Partner and Senior Advisor. Financial Planning is a mid-life career change for Mary. Prior to beginning a career in the financial advisory industry, Mary spent 10 wonderful years at home with her children. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Mary was an Assistance Vice President for Putnam Investments where she was responsible for the management of IT operations at the main headquarters in Boston and two international offices. She was the client services liaison between the Investment Management group and the IT division responsible for managing business partners’ expectations for the implementation and delivery of new IT initiatives.

Mary received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with minors in Business and Computer Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. She holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM certification. Mary is also a graduate of the Leadership Howard County, Premier Class of 2015.

Mary lives in Ellicott City, MD with her husband and two children. She is active in her community where she volunteers regularly. Mary is an Advisory Board member for the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County and Conscious Capitalism of Maryland.

Board of Directors

Bill Gray
Bill GrayPresident
Co-Chair Workshops Committee
Co-Chair Retirement Transition Committee

Bill retired after 37 years from the Social Security Administration as the Deputy Commissioner for Systems where he managed the agency’s technology. After retirement, Bill wanted to use his skills, talents and knowledge for the next phase of life, so he formed a business where he consulted for several companies and government agencies.

Bill loves to travel, so one opportunity that he took advantage of was to develop a program and teach an Information Technology (IT) Executive course to IT professionals from across the world in Turin, Italy each summer. Afterwards, he and his wife would travel through Europe.

After he retired from Social Security, Bill also wanted to make a contribution to his community, so he engaged in several volunteer activities. Both of his children had received an outstanding education from Howard County Public Schools so, to help pay back, he joined the Bright Minds Foundation (the educational foundation of Howard County Public Schools) and eventually served as Board Chair. He also helped his local community by serving as chair of a Village Board in Columbia for several years. In addition, he judges for the National History Day contest at College Park, and handles service dogs at libraries, schools and hospitals for Fidos for Freedom.

When Bill retired, he would have appreciated a service that could help him explore and reimagine ideas and opportunities to align his passions with his time and talents. To provide this opportunity to others is his reason for pursuing This Point Forward

Ellen Flynn-Giles
Ellen Flynn-GilesSecretary
Ellen Flynn Giles has been an independent data analyst and technical editor for more than 30 years. Over that same period, she served the Howard County Public School System – including 20 years on system advisory committees and the PTA Executive Boards at her four children’s schools, 10 years as Chair of the BOE’s Community Advisory Committee, and, most recently, three terms as an elected member of Board of Education. She now sits on the board of the Bright Minds Foundation and continues her longtime commitment to supporting student opportunities through Battle of the Books, National History Day, the Spelling Bee, Simulated Congressional Hearings, and Unheard Perspectives, and on advisory committees for HCPSS Local CTE, Apprenticeship MD, and Fine Arts programs.

A graduate of Leadership Howard County, Ellen serves as a member of LHC’s General Membership Committee. A strong advocate for the arts, humanities, and service in the community, she currently serves on the boards of directors of the Friends & Foundation of the HC Library System, HC Arts Council, HC Historical Society, and Inner Arbor Trust, and as an active member of the HC League of Women Voters and Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County.

In contemplating retirement and her next adventure, Ellen is looking forward to exploring options and opportunities for her own time and talents, and to helping others do the same.

Tanya Rapacz
Tanya RapaczTreasurer
Chair Finance Committee

Tanya helps clients work towards financial security as a Senior Financial Advisor at Arthur Stein Financial. She has been a Certified Financial Planner™ since the year 2000. She also provides as-needed financial advice to the local military community. In addition, she mediates and facilitates as a consultant to business owners.

Tanya is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Howard County. She is also on the board of Conscious Capitalism of Central Maryland and serves as chair of the Governance and Membership committees. She has previously served on the boards of Project Literacy of Watertown, Massachusetts, and Wellesley Student’s Aid Society, both as director and as chair of the investment committee.

She lives in Ellicott City with her husband and two children. She enjoys hiking, biking, and birding.

Tanya advocates planning for longer life expectancies and making these longer retirements as satisfying as possible. She sees working with This Point Forward as an opportunity to help retirees in our community explore options for meaningful paid and unpaid work.

Bob Martin
Bob Martin
Co-Chair Workshops Committee
Chair Board Development Committee

Prior to closing his consulting business, Bob had over thirty years of experience helping individuals and organizations lead change to improve performance and business results. For almost twenty years, he operated his own consulting/coaching practice working with a wide range of clients and industries – for profit, non profit and government. Prior to that, he was an internal consultant with Verizon where he led change interventions resulting from two major mergers working at every level of the organization. Bob specialized in helping clients assess and change their approach to business and leadership in addition to designing and deploying initiatives for improving the overall work climate and business results.

For almost 20 years prior to his Verizon consulting role, Bob held leadership positions of increasing size, scope and responsibility in Information Technology. He was responsible for leading design and implementation of medium to large scale projects in finance and operations.

Building on his professional career, Bob has served on the board for several local not-for-profit organizations, including ACS and as a founding board member of NeighborRide. He is currently on the boards of Wintergrowth and This Point Forward .

Tony Trenkle
Tony Trenkle
Chair Medical Financial Education Committee
Co-Chair Technology Committee

Tony retired from the Federal government after twenty-eight years, last serving as Chief Information Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Shortly before his retirement, Tony hired a career counselor to help him better evaluate his job options post-government. Based on that evaluation, Tony decided to work for IBM as a healthcare industry expert. Several years ago, Tony left IBM to start a part-time consulting practice, which has given him more flexibility and time to pursue other interests, both volunteer and leisure.

Tony has found the retirement phase of life is a continuous learning journey, not a single destination. He has begun to travel more and pursue increased fitness capabilities. Tony’s major volunteer passions include promoting good government and supporting various public policy initiatives. He is active in the Senior Executives Association (current and ex-Federal executives), including mentoring young government leaders. He also volunteers with HIMSS, a national health technology association, where he sits on their public policy committee.

Based on his own experience, Tony realizes that many people need assistance with future life choices as they near retirement. The mission of This Point Forward fully aligns with Tony’s desire to support an organization that will help others achieve happiness and renewed purpose, however defined, in their next phase of life.

Cindi Mitchell
Cindi Mitchell
Co-Chair Retirement Transition Committee
Co-Chair Technology Committee

Cindi is the Founder and Chief Talent Finder of Blue Flaire, LLC. Cindi started Blue Flaire’s Search and Recruitment practice with a client-first approach to solving problems that comes from 20+ years of recruitment experience. She works with clients across many industries and has particular expertise with small to mid-size organizations. She works in many sectors including healthcare technology, information technology, insurance, federal contractors, and small business enterprises. Cindi is known for her networking, experience with Maryland organizations, broad and deep knowledge, friendliness, and follow-through on work deliverables.

Cindi is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and is involved with various community and professional organizations including Howard County HR Society, in which she served as President. She is also the Chair for the Ambassador Team of the Howard Tech Council, Member of the Women in Tech Steering Committee for Howard County and Advisory Board Member of the Center for Re-Engagement.

Cindi has held HR management positions in software development and other federal contracting organizations. In all settings, she built leadership teams from the ground up. Cindi has hands-on experience in recruiting and has effectively recruited and managed all levels of professionals, including executive level searches.

Cindi attended the University of Maryland University College with a focus in Business Management and Arundel Community College with a focus in Business Administration. She participated in the Premier class of Leadership Howard in 2010.

Lynne D'Autrechy
Lynne D'Autrechy
Technology Committee, Marketing Committee, Web Developer

Lynne has a background in Computer Science and has worked in the tech field for many years. She has experience working for large corporations, doing software development and research in a university setting and most recently as an entrepreneur. She is the owner and CEO of Buzzquake Marketing, a full-service website design/development agency and digital marketing company.

In addition to her professional service, Lynne has also volunteered for many nonprofit organizations including the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, the Howard County Food Bank, the St Johns Community Association and Individual Differences in Learning.

Lynne is approaching retirement age and spends time thinking about what she will do in the next phase of her life. She would like to stay active and engaged and put her skills to work helping others. Lynne’s interest in This Point Forward comes from wanting to help others in her age group continue to use the skills and experience they have developed throughout their lifetimes to be vital participants in their community.

Roger Desai
Roger Desai
Roger serves as president of RSD Financial, with over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Roger received his Bachelor of Science degree in business management at Towson University.

Roger’s designations include, Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), and Certified Financial Educator (CFE).

In 1993, Roger started as an account representative with Horace Mann Educators Corp. During his 3 years with Horace Mann, he provided clients with life, health, property-casualty insurance, annuities, and retirement planning. From 1996-1999, Roger was a registered representative with Edward Jones & Co., providing investment advisory services to individuals and small business owners. In November 1999, Roger joined Securities America, Inc. (SAI) a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC to start RSD Financial, LLC.

Roger served as a Board Member for Bridges to Housing Stability for several years. He is currently serving on the WPM board and has now been appointed to the This Point Forward board.

Roger spends many evenings teaching investment classes at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) and Howard County Community College. He enjoys sharing his experience and abilities with others, believing that everyone should know the basics of investing and should have a financial strategy for their future.

As an independent financial planner, Roger can focus on his clients by customizing investment portfolios to match their needs. He has a strong recognition of the special challenges that face retirees, who need to carefully strategize their investments to enjoy the freedom that retirement brings. His clients most appreciate the level of service and communication he maintains with them which helps them reduce the stress of money management.

Roger currently resides in Howard County with his wife and children. In his spare time, he enjoys being involved in the local community, as well as playing tennis and volleyball.

Aurelio Rojas
Aurelio Rojas
Aurelio Rojas is a senior partner in AFRTCR LLC, a consulting firm specializing in systems security, communications and leadership training, and project management. Mr. Rojas retired in 2015 after 42 years of federal public service where he served in multiple positions in the field and headquarters. He is a high performing executive with 35 years of management and expertise in project management, organizational structure, communications, and executive presentations leading cross functional teams. He worked with local governments, federal agency executives, and congressional offices on a variety of issues. He received numerous awards including the Commissioner’s Citation for excellence in addressing critical policy issues. While employed, he mentored numerous employees and continues to do so even in retirement.

Since 2015, he has served as a Guardian ad Litem in the Miami area. He works with at risk children in Family Dependency Court. He is certified as an educational surrogate and actively in working with potential human trafficking cases.

Raised in the Miami area, Aurelio graduated from Hialeah high school in the top 10 percent of his class. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Aurelio began his government career in the Miami-Dade area. A native of Cuba, he worked extensively with the burgeoning Hispanic community, interviewing clients and delivering presentations on financial issues. As an office manager, he reached out to all members of the community he served and made frequent presentations. He was also an officer on various community boards.

While in the local office, he developed employee improvement plans, increased computer skills through training and enhanced methodologies to improve performance. His office was identified as the best office in the area.

In the Baltimore headquarters, he worked with congressional offices, was selected to participate in a leadership program, served in various executive positions, and was a senior advisor. During this period, he was a point person on litigation, developed several training initiatives for national distribution, and led multi-component organizations in development and implementation of computer-based products and policies.

Aurelio continues to develop his passion for learning and training. He is enhancing his knowledge of advanced project management skills and working with various volunteer organizations.

Marci Brand
Marci Brand
Marketing Committee

In 1990, Marci founded Creative Marketing Concepts, Inc., an outsource marketing department for owners, developers and managers of apartment communities. The company soon became a “go to” resource for anyone needing marketing consulting, trouble shooting, training and marketing assistance (both print and digital). In 2020, Marci and her all female team of talented marketing warriors celebrated the company’s 30th anniversary by starting a division dedicated to assisting small to mid size businesses to grow and thrive. Creative Solutions CMC provides the advantage of 30+ years of marketing and business development experience combined with a track record of innovative problem solving skills.

In 2020, Marci also trained and certified as a High Performance Coach and now helps clients discover the clarity needed to get to the next level of performance in their business and personal lives.

Passionate about helping women achieve their goals, Marci was named an Emerging Leader by the SBA in 2018 and most recently was nominated for the Forbes 50 over 50, celebrating women who have taken on new challenges and new directions after the age of 50.

Kevin Howard
Kevin Howard
Kevin grew up in downtown Baltimore in the 60’s and 70’s, a pivotal period of change — and hope — for the city. He graduated from the University of Baltimore in 1983 and earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation in the mid-90’s. He started his CPA firm, Kevin T. Howard, CPA/PFS, P.A., in 2002 and acquired an investment advisory business, Flying Cloud Money Management, LLC, at the same time.

“It’s my firm belief that people of all backgrounds have much to contribute to our society regardless of socioeconomic status or age. It is in the act of focusing outward and actively using one’s skills, talent, knowledge and heart that we stay connected with our neighbors and our community. It’s how we remain relevant outside of our families and existing loved ones to expand our circle of friends. It’s also important to turn inward; to focus on our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is important to have fun, play and forget the burdens of this world for periods of time. For each person, this balancing act is highly personal. I am part of This Point Forward to help be a resource to people to help figure it out.”