Board of Directors

The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center Board of Directors is made up of the following Maryland business and civic leaders:


Lynne Brick
Co-founder and owner, Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick’s Health Clubs
Cockeysville, MD

Lynne Brick is the co-founder and owner of Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick’s Health Clubs, one of the largest women-owned businesses in Maryland. Considered an internationally acclaimed fitness expert, she has presented lectures, workshops, master classes and fitness instructor trainings in over 25 countries. Brick has been featured in more than a dozen fitness videos and has also appeared in radio and television advertisements. She is the author of Consumer Guide's Step Into Shape and Fitness Aerobics by Human Kinetics. The recipient of many awards and honors, she was inducted into the Baltimore County Chamber Business Hall of Fame, appointed to the Maryland Commission for Women, given The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women award three times qualifying for “The Circle of Excellence,” and named “Maryland’s Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young. Her extensive charity work includes serving as a board member of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Board and and formerly served on several other boards. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Towson University, and is a former nurse at Maryland Shock Trauma.

Rita R. Colwell
Professor, Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD

Rita R. Colwell is a renowned scientist and educator, who was the first woman to serve as Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is also an advocate for women, especially those in science. A pioneer in the emerging field of biotechnology, Colwell is a professor in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and founded the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) in 1985. Dr. Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor and was named Science Envoy by President Obama. Dr. Colwell has been inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Patricia E. Cornish
Founder, President and CEO, PEC Financial Consulting
Potomac, MD

Patricia E. Cornish has over 30 years of leadership experience as a top performing Senior Executive with a strong background and proven expertise in business, management, finance and communications.

Pat is the Executive Director of ICGFM and is owner and President of PEC Financial Consulting. She was elected President of Business and Professional Women USA in 2000-2001 and Chair of the BPW Foundation in 2003-2005, engineering a major change in governance, structuring a strategic plan and spear hearing a major national survey and report entitled, “Workingwomen Speak Out” and a nationwide program WOMENomics.

Pat served six years as a Commissioner with the Montgomery County Commission for Women, elected as President for two terms, chairing the Legislative Briefing and the Status of Women in Montgomery County Committee producing the 2007 Status of Women Report. She was elected Chair of the Maryland Commission for Women in July 2012.

Pat represents the National Association of Commissions for Women serving on the Board of the National Committee on Pay Equity and was appointed as a Commissioner to the Maryland Commission for Women, where she serves as Co-Chair, Chair of the Legislation Committee and as Co-Chair of the 2010 and 2011 Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.

Pat also served on the Maryland BPW Foundation Board as the Endowment and Investment Liaison, the Board of the Fairfax Education Foundation as the CFO, and the Board of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named one of the Top 100 Maryland Women in 2006, 2008 and in 2011 entering the Circle of Excellence.

An accomplished trainer and public speaker, Pat has been interviewed on television and radio, across the country, on various subjects relating to women’s issues.

Catherine R. Gira
Columbia, MD

Dr. Catherine R. Gira is a highly regarded university administrator. She is the former president of Frostburg State University. Prior to that, she served as provost at the University of Baltimore. She has held leadership positions in numerous national and state professional associations, including President of the American Association of University Administrators, Vice-Chair of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, Chair of the Maryland Humanities Council, and the President of the Maryland Association of Higher Education. She was elected to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997. She is also an accomplished Shakespearean scholar and a respected teacher.

Joanne T. Goldsmith
                                   Owings Mills, MD

Joanne T. Goldsmith is currently president of Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills, MD. She served on the Executive Committee of Women of Reform Judaism and as secretary of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland. She is a board member for Doctor’s Community Hospital in Lanham, Md., and a member of the Council on Legislative and Regulatory Policy of the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA). She is also a member of the Workforce Investment Board in Prince George’s County where she is chair of the Business Industry Committee.  She was the first woman to chair the Maryland State Board of Education and the first woman to chair the National Association of State Boards of Education. In addition, she has served on the Boards of the Prince George’s Mental Health Association, hospice of Prince George’s County, and as a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Maryland. Goldsmith was the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Public Education and Religious Liberty, Vice President for John Hanson Savings Bank and Director of Community Relations for Doctors Community Hospital. She is included in the books, “Women of Achievement in Maryland History” and “Women of Achievement in Prince George’s County History.”


Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan
Senior Vice President and Secretary, Howard University
Washington, D.C.
As Senior Vice President and Secretary at Howard University, Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan manages the affairs of the University’s Board of Trustees and all official functions of the University.  A sought-after speaker and trainer, she has provided training for many organizations and companies, including the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Executive Business Women, National Black MBA Association, the National Bar Association, the National Medical Association, Junior League of Washington, the Urban League, D.C. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of State. After graduating with honors from Morris Brown College, she earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Temple University Law Center in Philadelphia. She is the President of the Community Foundation, Girls Inc., and the Girl Scouts. Her most recent awards include the “100 Most Powerful Women Award” by the Washingtonian Magazine (October 2009), the 2008 “Women Who Mean Business Award” by the Washington Business Journal and the “Power 150-People Who Make Things Happen” Award by the Washingtonian Magazine (2007). 

Ms. Sharon R. Pinder, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development
Ms. Sharon R. Pinder serves as the Director of MWBD to improve the success rate of minority and women-owned companies seeking to do business with the City of Baltimore by expanding contracting opportunities and increasing the procurement dollars spent with MWBE firms. Ms. Pinder served as the Special Secretary for Minority Affairs for the Governor of Maryland from January 2003 to May 2007. In that role, she managed Maryland’s minority business program and related procurement activities for 70 state agencies. Ms. Pinder worked with State agencies and legislators to craft and implement several pieces of important legislation supporting MBE businesses in Maryland. State agency MBE spending increased from 15% to 22% over three years during her tenure. Ms. Pinder worked as President of Early Morning Software from 2001 to 2003, a firm specializing in software development and web-based solutions for local, state, and federal agencies. During the 1990’s, Ms. Pinder worked as an Internet Development Manager for the General Electric Corporation, leading GE Information Services’ Internet market strategy. Ms. Pinder most recently led her own business consulting firm, the Pinder Group, helping small minority and women-owned business enterprises. She earned an MS Degree in Technology Management from University of Maryland, University College in 2001. Ms Pinder is the founder of The Center for Business Diversity and Inclusion. A 501(c)(3) organization with a purpose of accelerating the power of minority and women entrepreneurs.


Jo-Ann Mayer Orlinsky

Baltimore, MD

Jo-Ann Mayer Orlinsky served in various positions during her 23 years with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, including Chief Administrator of the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) program and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Labor. She is the current Chair of the MOSH Advisory Board. Active politically, she has worked as a staff member of the Democratic National Committee and as Special Assistant to then U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings. A former Chair of the Maryland Commission for Women and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Rape and Sexual Offenses, she has also served on the National Boards of WEAL (Women’s Equity Action League) and the American Jewish Congress. She is currently the Chair of Voices of Jewish Women, an email network of more than 150 progressive Jewish women, and is on the boards of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, the Baltimore Jewish Council, and the Greater Baltimore Chapter of Hadassah.

Rita L. Robinson, Ph.D., LCPC, NCC. NCSC
President, Creative Learning Enterprises, Inc.

Dr. Rita L. Robinson is a licensed professional counselor, educator, and consultant. She is a retired administrator from the Prince George’s County Maryland Public School System. Her broad professional career and experience include working as a public school teacher, counselor, pupil personnel worker, vice-principal, principal, Director of Pupil Services, Director of the Office of Equity Assurance, and Director of Staff Development.

Dr. Robinson is the co-owner of Creative Learning Enterprises, Inc. The corporation specializes in creative solutions for enhancing positive human communication, fostering positive growth and interaction, and developing educational products for improving the lives of their constituents. Her recent book “Daughters and Dads the Ties That Bind” is a wonderful collection of the stories of daughter and their fathers and lessons learned.

Dr. Robinson is currently an adjunct professor of graduate courses at Bowie State University and an independent contractor for the Anti-Defamation League. She also taught graduate courses at McDaniels College (formerly Western Maryland College) and the University of the District of Columbia.

Dr. Robinson has held administrative positions in various professional organizations. She is a former president of the Maryland Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development and the former president of the Maryland Association for Counseling and Development. She is on the Executive Board of a number of organizations; among them are the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, the Women’s Heritage Center and Museum, the Archdiocese of Washington Ladies of Charity, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

Dr. Robinson is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions from professional and non-professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels for her outstanding leadership and services.

Dr. Robinson has been married for 53 years to John N. Robinson Jr. They have four grown children and four wonderful grandchildren, Leah age 20, Steven age 16, John IV age 13, and Anthony age 10.

 Deborah R. Rivkin
                                 North Laurel, MD

Deborah R. Rivkin of North Laurel, Maryland, has been with CareFirst since December 2010. She is responsible for state legislative and regulatory activities in Maryland.

Deborah is very familiar with CareFirst’s legislative and regulatory issues, serving as Executive Director and chief lobbyist for the League of Life and Health Insurers of Maryland, Inc., the state trade association for commercial life and health insurers who operate in Maryland, for the past 21 years.
She also has served as retained counsel in Maryland for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health insurance coverage (including CareFirst). Among her clients was the AMERIGROUP Corporation, a managed care organization specializing in the delivery of service to Medicaid recipients and the Children's Health Insurance program.

Deborah is a graduate of the University of Maryland (B.S., cum laude, 1984) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., cum laude, 1987).
Deborah came to CareFirst after serving as Of Counsel to the Baltimore law firm of Funk & Bolton P.A. since 1993, where she concentrated in the firm's Government Relations Practice Area, with particular emphasis on the regulation of the life and health insurance industry. From 1987 to 1989, she was associated with the Baltimore law firm of Piper & Marbury. From 1989 until joining Funk & Bolton, Deborah was associated with the Baltimore law firm of Shapiro & Olander.
Deborah has been active in the community, serving as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce, the only regional chamber in Maryland. She also served on the board of HC Drug-Free, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower the community to raise drug-free teens.
Deborah has been nominated to serve on the Howard county Community College Foundation Board starting this fall. She will also be serving as Chair of Health Care Committee for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce next year.

 Sally T. Grant
Women's activist

Sally Grant was born in Maryland and for years has worked passionately in the field of women’s rights and civil liberties. She served as a role model for women and young girls by working in business and legal fields at a time when few women did.

In 1982, Governor Harry Hughes appointed Ms. Grant to the Maryland Commission for Women and he later elevated her to the Commission’s Chair – a position Ms. Grant held from 1984 to 1988. As Commission Chair, Ms. Grant encouraged other women to become actively involved in social issues by advocating for bills that established pay equity and flex time for State employees. She also had Commission meetings held throughout the state in order that women from across Maryland could participate and Commission members would become aware of geographically diverse issues. During her tenure, she led in the creation of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.

Ms. Grant continuously worked within many other service-oriented organizations, including both the Maryland and Baltimore divisions of the League of Women Voters, where she served as Vice-President of each. She was a founder of the Women’s Alliance of Maryland, and served as Vice President of the National Council of Jewish Women and the Girl Scouts of Maryland. Ms. Grant also worked as President of the House of Ruth and was involved in the Maryland New Directions, the Maryland Volunteer Network and the HIAS of the Associated Jewish Charities. In 1993, Ms. Grant became involved with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland by joining the Board of Governors’ Executive Committee. For ten years, Ms. Grant served as President of the Board, and continues to work as the Maryland representative to the ACLU’s National Board, where she is involved with the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee.

 Linda Mahoney
                                    Past President of Maryland NOW

Linda Mahoney was a 3-term  President of Maryland NOW, which in 2011-12 successfully organized and led a coalition to pass Maryland legislation to install a Harriet Tubman statue in the U.S. Capitol. Her work with the National Organization for Women culminates almost four decades of participation and support of political organizations in Maryland and Arizona. Her political activist background has been in program development, organizing and training volunteers, leadership development, coalition building and organizing election campaigns.

During her tenure as a statewide NOW officer and leader, Mahoney has repeatedly sought opportunities to showcase the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, reflecting her belief that young and old need toknow that it is individuals working in coalitions who successfully work for change. "Too many people sit around waiting for the Movement to happen, not realizing that it is individuals stepping up who improve people's lives. We are the movement."

Serving for several years on the Board of the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women [MLAW], a statewide coalition advocating for legislation on women and family issues, and the Steering Committee of the Women’s Legislative Briefing (Maryland), Mahoney also serves as political action liaison of the Prince George’s County Lesbian ZIP Code Group (an area-wide – MD, DC, VA - social group). In 2013, the Governor appointed her to the Harriet Tubman Statue Fundraising Commission.




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