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Engagement Cluster





Commission for Women


Chandra Walker Holloway

Maria Montserrat Alvarado
Linda M. Amendt
Natalia Farrar
Lorna Forde
Debra A. Bright Harris
Maliha Ilias
Nick Martinez
Barbara S. Mintz
Manar S. Morales
Farah Nageer-Kanthor
Safia Qadri
Heather J. Reichardt
Karmen Rouland
Katie Smith


Chandra Holloway
Chandra Walker Holloway was elected President of the Montgomery County Commission for Women (MCCFW) in June 2012. Ms. Holloway is an attorney with a law practice in downtown Silver Spring which specializes in family law matters. Ms. Holloway graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and has worked in the area of civil litigation for more than ten years. Prior to starting her own law practice, Ms. Holloway worked in the area of antitrust litigation at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP. Ms. Holloway also practiced in the area of general civil litigation while working for Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP and the Counsel Office for the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO).

Ms. Holloway practices law in Maryland and the District of Columbia; she is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, Montgomery County Bar Association and D.C. Family Trial Lawyers Association. She has also served as member of the Montgomery Taskforce on Teen Dating Violence and as a committee member for the Montgomery County Choose Respect Teen Dating Conference.

Ms. Holloway is a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She serves on the MCCFW as a commissioner endorsed by the Potomac Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Holloway is also a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Montgomery County Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. She currently resides in Burtonsville with her husband and twins.

Maria Alvarado
Maria Montserrat Alvarado was appointed to the Commission in July 2011. Montse has a B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University and a Master’s degree from the George Washington University’s School of Political Management concentrating in Advocacy Politics. Currently the Director of Operations for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Montse leads initiatives in development, communications, events/conference planning and administrative/financial management. Montse is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian and is a competitive classical and jazz vocalist. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Shepherd’s Table, a homeless shelter in Silver Spring, MD and contributor to the online women’s magazine AltCatholica. She is a resident of Chevy Chase, MD.

Linda Armendt
Linda (Lin) Amendt has been a scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over 25 years, and an amateur socio-cultural anthropologist all her life. Lin graduated with an MS is Reproductive Physiology from Alabama A&M University. She has been an LGBT, Women’s, and Civic Activist since 1972. She co-founded the FDA LGBT employees group, FDA GLOBE, in 1992, and served as its President from 1998-2012. She was a co-founder of Equality Montgomery, and has been a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) since 1972. She is a member of HHS’s LGBT Coordination Working Group, and the HHS “Healthy People 2020—LGBT Task Force”, where she contributed to the production of a web-site on Lesbian Health care Disparities.

Natalia Farrar
Natalia Farrar was born and raised in Russia and moved to the United States in 1997 with her family. While working as a senior bank sales analyst in DC, in 1998 Natalia became a founding member of Rotaract Club of Washington D.C. Before being appointed to the Commission for Women in 2013, she served on the Upcounty Advisory Board and Shady Grove Advisory Board. She is a Precinct Chair and a Treasurer for District 19 Democratic Club, and is active in the PTA. A 2013 graduate of Emerge Maryland, Ms. Farrar has a Master’s degree in Business and Management and works as a Realtor.

Lorna Ford
Lorna Phillips Forde, a 25 year resident of Germantown, MD, was appointed to the Commission in July 2012. Through her various affiliations, she has a long history of serving and advocating for women and children in the community. She is a Small Business Owner in Montgomery County and a Certified Contracts Manager with over 20 years of professional experience in Finance and Contract Management. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh and a Certification in Contracts Management from the Florida Institute of Technology. She has previously served on the Deputy Superintendent’s Minority Achievement Advisory Council, Co-Chair of Measurements, currently serves as Chair of Community Partnerships on The Menare Foundation Board and is a member of LeadershipMontgomery, Women Business Owners of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County (MD) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (serving as President 2009-2013).

Debra A. Bright Harris is the Acting Associate Dean of Student Services at Montgomery College (Rockville Campus).  Previously, she worked for 13 years as the Director of Admissions and Student Services at George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. She holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from George Washington University and a Masters of Education from Harvard. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the "leadership experiences of black women in community colleges." She is a member of the Montgomery County (MD) Alumnae Chapter Delta of Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women - Potomac Valley Section. She is a resident of Silver Spring.

Maliha Ilias
Maliha Ilias holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Population, Family and Reproductive Health from Johns Hopkins University. Her doctoral thesis focused on the effect of perinatal depressive symptoms and anxiety on birth outcomes in low-income African American women. She has a great deal of work and research experience in public health in general and in women’s health in particular, including a summer 2006 internship sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the Health Services Academy of the Pakistan Ministry of Health. She is currently working as a Health Specialist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where she helps manage the preclinical services contracts for the Bacteriology and Mycology Branch. Her past experience includes teaching at an Elementary School in Philadelphia and working as a journalist in Pakistan. Ms. Ilias lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two children. She is fluent in English and Urdu/Hindi.

Nick Martinez moved to Montgomery County in 2002 after completing his B.S. at Colorado State University in 2000. Nick is a Financial Advisor and partner at Edward Jones Investments, with his office in North Bethesda. He is the regional Growth Leader for the firm and has mentored numerous junior Financial Advisors. Nick is a member of the Rotary Club of North Bethesda, which provides scholarships and educational materials to County students. He currently resides in Silver Spring.

Commissioner Barbara S. Mintz
Barbara S. Mintz retired from a legal career with the federal government as an Administrative Judge with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) where she decided cases involving employment, discrimination and labor issues. Prior to becoming a judge, she litigated cases before the MSPB, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the EEOC. She obtained her JD from the George Washington University School of Law and has an undergraduate degree from Temple University in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting. During the past decade, she has served in various capacities, most recently as President, of the Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA). JCA is a Montgomery County-based non-profit organization which seeks to help older adults of all backgrounds in the Greater Washington, D.C. region maintain their independence, dignity, vitality and self-respect through a variety of programs, including transportation, elderly day care, training in personal and employable skills, and intergenerational activities.

Commissioner Manar Morales
Manar Sweillam Morales is the President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. Ms. Morales is a national expert and long-time advocate of women in the legal profession. She is a frequent speaker and author on workplace flexibility and the advancement and retention of women. Prior to founding the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, Manar served as the Executive Director of the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR). As Executive Director, she led all of PAR’s initiatives, programs, and operations. She played an integral role in forming the Diversity & Flexibility Connection, a series of discussions between prominent general counsel and law firm chairs leading to best practices for the retention of diverse attorneys including those working on reduced hours or flexible work schedules. Ms. Morales began her career as an employment litigator representing clients in all aspects of labor relations and employment law. In addition, Manar is an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University. She has taught classes in Labor and Employment law and Entrepreneurship at Georgetown. Manar is a 1997 graduate of the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University and a 1993 graduate of Cornell University.

Farah Nageer-Kanthor
Farah Nageer-Kanthor was appointed to the Commission in July 2013. Ms. Nageer-Kanthor has a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. She currently works as an independent grant writing and program development consultant to non-profit organizations in the region and is also involved in international development activities focused on women’s health and violence against women. She has worked on the issue of HIV/AIDS and women’s health in Washington, DC and overseas for over seven years. She is a volunteer with Compass, DC and a member of the advisory board of Development Connections, Inc. Ms. Nageer-Kanthor lives in Silver Spring.

Safia Qadri
Safia Qadri was born and raised in Kashmir, India. She immigrated to the United States over 35 years ago. From [2003] Safia worked on a volunteer basis at the Medical Clinic at the Muslim Community Center, a free clinic with a mission to serve the needs of the area’s uninsured. After serving in the clinic itself for five years, Safia was elected to be a member of the MCC’s Board of Directors. During her time, the clinic worked to successfully serve unmet needs of women in the community, namely OBGYN services, breast cancer screenings, as well as counselling for domestic violence. For the past 6 years, Safia has also served on the board of Montgomery Cares, further expanding her familiarity and knowledge of the needs of women in Montgomery County.

Heather Reichardt
Heather Reichardt was appointed to the Commission in October 2013 and is a long-time resident of Montgomery County. She is a Director in the Real Estate Tax Department of Marriott International, Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland. Heather serves as the Chapter Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of RICS Americas and has previously led the program committees for national property tax conferences held by IPT (Institute for Professionals in Taxation). Both of her children attended MCPS and are now in college. During their school years, Heather was active in MCCPTA, PTA, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. This is her first county-level appointment. She graduated from American University with a BS in Business Administration and from Johns Hopkins University with a Masters degree in Institutional Real Estate Investment.

Commissioner Barbara S. Mintz
Dr. Karmen Rouland, appointed to the Commission for Women in July 2013, serves as Data Specialist in the Division of Specialized Education at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, DC. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan and her M.S. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Rouland is Owner and CEO of Sage Advise, LLC, an educational consulting firm. She is the recipient of many honors and awards including the University of Michigan Department of Psychology Dissertation and Thesis Grant; the University of Michigan Judith and Howard Sims Medal for Outstanding Research Paper; and was recognized in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Dr. Rouland was initiated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2004 at Howard University. She is a member of the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she serves as Chair of the Political Awareness and Involvement Committee. She resides in Silver Spring, MD.

Katie Smith
Katie L. Smith serves as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet of Colorado. Ms. Smith began her career on Capitol Hill as an intern on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under the chairmanship of the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, she held the positions of Publications and Events Coordinator at the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and Communication and Academic Programs Coordinator at the Women & Politics Institute. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from American University, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University. In addition to her professional career, she volunteers regularly at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, D.C. as a reading tutor. She is also a former partner with College Bound-DC where she mentored high school students in the college preparatory process. She is a resident of Silver Spring.