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
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.