The Commission is comprised of eighteen women appointed by the County Executive to serve a two-year term. These Commissioners are a diverse group of women living in various parts of the county. Together they bring a wealth of expertise and dedication to helping enrich the lives of the women and families of Anne Arundel County.
Jessica O'Kane - Chair
Jessica O’Kane is an attorney whose law practice focuses on Immigration. She is first generation American as her father emigrated from Northern Ireland. Originally from Nanuet, New York, she re-located to Maryland in 2005. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, Anne Arundel County Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is on the Board of Directors for the Piney Orchard Community Association. She is also on the Pro-Bono Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She has several pro-bono cases of her own involving domestic violence and Immigration. Jessica earned her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo and her law degree from New York Law School. Jessica and her husband love to travel. They took advantage of an opportunity to live in the United Arab Emirates for two years with their two children and had an amazing experience. She has backpacked around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Scotland. Jessica and her husband, James Fraser, reside in Odenton, MD with their 2 children and are active in their community.
Barbara Tymkiw – Vice Chair
Barbara Tymkiw, a resident of Crownsville, Maryland, currently works for Executive Health Resources as a physician advisor. She is a licensed physician in Maryland and a fellow of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. For 23 years, she practiced primarily at Anne Arundel Medical Center providing medical and surgical care to women. After starting with a local HMO, she went on to open a solo practice in 1992, providing individualized care with her love of obstetrics, and taking care of women from adolescence through the postmenopausal years. She also worked as a consultant for Planned Parenthood. She is passionate for women’s issues involving political freedom, social issues, health care, and education. Her new career has fostered interest in how to best address the needs of the aging population. She has done volunteer work for the March of Dimes and is a strong supporter of Hospice of the Chesapeake, Friend’s Foundation, Maryland Therapeutic Riding, and SARC.
Barbara received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbia University. She graduated from medical school at the University of Louisville and completed her residency at the University of Maryland. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Art Little and has an adult daughter who majored in business entrepreneurship. Barbara’s interests include music, travel, photography, and a love of books, dance, yoga, and horses.
Suzanne Boisseau - Secretary
Suzanne Boisseau is a project manager for The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, where she has managed new construction and renovation projects in the Baltimore metropolitan area. She is active as a board member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Baltimore Chapter, mentor to high school girls, and on the advisory council of Owings Mills High School’s Career Technology Education program. Suzanne received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland.
She grew up in Glen Burnie and now lives in Piney Orchard with her family.
Rita Ann Reimer - Associate
Rita is a retired government lawyer with a substantial background in women’s rights. During her 35 year Federal career, she worked for a U.S. Senator, the Congressional Research Service, the Federal Judicial Center and the Federal Election Commission. She then worked for Maryland Department of Legislative Services for two sessions. She served on the Library of Congress’ Women’s Committee and was a domestic relations counselor for the Women’s Legal Defense Fund for many years. She also served on the Board of Directors of a transitional women’s shelter in Washington, DC. With a CRS economist colleague, she worked (volunteer) to help women learn and assert their financial rights.
Rita holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Delaware, a JD from George Washington University, and an MALS (Liberal Studies) and Advanced Certificate (2nd MA) from Georgetown University. Her two theses addressed women's economic rights in the United States and in Sweden. A disabled person, she also works to support disability rights.
Rhonda Toney – Financial Officer
Rhonda Wilder Toney has lived in Anne Arundel County for over 40 years and graduated from Andover High School in 1985. After graduating from high school, she was a foreign exchange student in the Netherlands. She earned her degree in pharmacy at Duquesne University and developed the first fitness health and wellness classes and programs for women at Duquesne’s AJ Palumbo Center.
Rhonda is employed as a Clinical Consultant Pharmacist. Her strengths include advertising, marketing and promotions. She has devoted her professional career to public health initiatives, obesity prevention, fitness programming, and medication education.
Rhonda has served in a number of leadership positions, as the Secretary of the Women of Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tennis Director of St. Andrews Swim and Tennis Club, on the Board of Directors for the Anne Arundel County Tennis Association and the Annapolis Area Tennis School. She was commended with the ASPIRE Leadership award and was presented with official citations for her efforts. She was awarded the Marguerite Mills Volunteer of the Month Award. Rhonda is a Girl Scout Leader and a United States Tennis Association Captain. In her spare time she loves playing tennis and spending time with her family.
Gale R Stephens-Wheeler received her B.A. in Business Administration and a Masters in Adult Education and Distance Learning both from University of Phoenix. Her career extends from Michigan where she worked as a high school teacher of Computer Applications, Marketing, Career Exploration, and Web design. Here in Maryland she continues her work in education at Anne Arundel County Public Schools, as well as an Adjunct Instructor with Prince George Community College.
Her professional interest and focus is teaching both adults and young adults in the concepts of Language Arts and Special Education. Her time is also shared by working in the community providing resources to homelessness, employment, and resume writing. This passion is one of the main reasons for joining Commission for Women, so that she could become more of an impact to social change with women’s issues. That commitment has followed her since working in Michigan’s State department in a teen family life unit. Mrs. Stephens also volunteers with Anne Arundel County’s Chapter-Continental Societies, working as this years’ treasurer. Other professional affiliates are Area on Aging (Michigan & Maryland) and Parent Network (Michigan). During her down time, she spends time working up a new business concept of writing obituaries, as well as enjoying being a “Glam Mother” to her many grandchildren.
Sherrie Burton Smith
Sherrie Burton Smith is a Due Diligence Associate with TRACE International, an anti-bribery due-diligence company located in Annapolis. She was the Director of Guide Operations with Watermark, the Assistant Director with the Office of Training and Performance Improvement at Anne Arundel Community College and the Tour Guide Trainer for the guides at the United States Naval Academy.
Sherrie is a past president of the Junior League of Annapolis and a past Governance Director with the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). She has served on the Board of Directors with the Annapolis Opera, Scholarships for Scholars and the Annapolis Fine Arts Foundation. She is an Elder with First Presbyterian Church and served as Moderator of Presbyterian Women in the Church at First Presbyterian. In addition, she served as president of the Germantown Elementary PTA and was a member of the Annapolis High School Booster Club. She has a BA in English and an M.Ed. in Special Education. She has been adjunct faculty at Anne Arundel Community College, a tutor with Children’s Potential and a special education teacher.
Sherrie lives in Annapolis with her husband, Robert R. Smith, a lawyer in Annapolis. Her daughter, Lindsay, lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE and her son, Andrew, lives in Baltimore.
Laurie Mason is a resident of Anne Arundel County. Originally from the State of Connecticut she moved to the Washington DC/Maryland area in 1987. Laurie is currently a Certified Human Resources Professional (PHR) with over 20+ years of human resource experience. Her concentration for the past few years have been primarily in the employee benefits area but she has extensive experience in many other areas of human resource management as well.
Laurie currently holds her (PHR) Professional in Human Resources Management and SHRM-CP Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional, certification designations and is currently attending Anne Arundel Community College to complete her studies for her Associate of Applied Science in Business Management degree.
Laurie works full-time as a Benefits Project Manager/ Implementation Consultant for ADP and also works part-time as an Aqua Aerobics Instructor at LA Fitness where she teaches fitness classes for the community. In her spare time, Laurie works as a Consultant assisting clients with finding employment, to include resume preparation, job search and interview coaching.
Laurie enjoys spending time with her family and working on various community projects. She has one adult nephew who she helped to raise as her own son and has just received her first grandchild. Her interest includes cooking, computers, gadgets, and working with clients and youth.
Laurie’s community service background also includes other volunteer interest: Baltimore Sexual Abuse/Domestic Violence Hotline Counselor – DSS, CPR Instructor - Ordinance Road Detention Center Glen Burnie, MD and President of (ASHRM) Arundel County Society for Human Resource Management. She also cooks and prepares meals for the church during the holiday time for the homeless.
Sharon Elliott is a resident of Annapolis. She is a Program Manager for the Department of Justice in the Office on Violence Against Women. Her work includes oversight of funding and services provided to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Sharon has devoted her career to housing equality, economic justice, and self-sufficiency initiatives.
She is an active volunteer with the Banneker-Douglass Museum, also serving on the Exhibits and Collections Committee.
Sharon is the owner of Elliott Executives, a Business Support and Consulting Firm.
Jeannie Haugh is a retired educator who worked with children and families as an elementary school principal, counselor, and teacher. She was employed in public schools in the US and independent international schools in Beijing, China, and Bangkok, Thailand. Her childhood was spent in many postings in America and overseas as my father was in the military.
College years were spent at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where Jeannie received a BA in Education and an MEd in Counseling. Post graduate education occurred in local colleges in the Seattle area and the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
Volunteer service and community involvement have always been a value in her life. While living in Tacoma, WA, Jeannie served as board president of Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare and was a member of the Junior League of Tacoma, along with several education associations. Since moving to Annapolis she has volunteered with the Community Outreach group of New Annapolitans, the Volunteer Center of Anne Arundel County, and Team Racing for Veterans, a non profit that focuses on utilizing sports to help injured veterans recover and heal from combat wounds.
Jennie lives in Annapolis and loves how fortunate she is to be so close to her three grandchildren who reside in Davidsonville.
Isabella Pazaryna - Student Associate Commissioner
Isabella Pazaryna is a current senior at Severna Park High School. She has lived in Anne Arundel County her whole life, splitting her time between Annapolis and Severna Park. Interested in history and global politics, she plans on majoring in international relations in college and continuing to law school to study international law. In addition, Isabella takes classical voice lessons at the Peabody Preparatory of Johns Hopkins University and hopes to pursue voice and music in college as well.
Isabella also pages for the Maryland General Assembly and is the captain of her high school's mock trial team.