At our recent Annual General Meeting, Carolyn Albrecht, Sr. Director of Operations, honoured our CEO, Mary Zilney, for 10 years of service to Women’s Crisis Services. Here are some of her comments about our leader:

For Mary, it has been 10 years at WCSWR as CEO. Previous to this, she spent from 1991 to 1998 with this organization, 4 years as a residential relief worker and then 3 years on the board of directors.  In 2005, after some rather rough waters for the organization, Mary was hired as the leader.  In the following 10 years, Mary not only navigated rough waters, she turned the whole ship around. mary G

As an organization, we have become a strong, growing, recognized and respected agency, by our funders, our partners and our community.

Mary’s accomplishments have been many. She has never had a deficit and maintains a tight and disciplined budget.  She always meets deadlines. 

Service delivery has changed and improved. Partnerships have been created, have expanded and have flourished.  If it’s never been done before, that only spurs her to try it.  We have added Food and Nutrition coordinators, clinicians, pet and music therapy and a psychologist.  Mary’s mantra is “continuous improvement”.  There is no coasting here!  Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of her management team, like Mary saying, “Hey, I have a great idea!”

mary ttwwBecause she seems to need a challenge, in addition to all this, Mary applied her fierce determination and vision to garner significant community support for a beautiful shelter and office for our residents, staff and community. And now, never one to shy away from even more challenge, we are doing it all again for Haven House. These projects would not have happened without Mary.  You could say that she’s like a dog with a bone, if you were going to make dog references.

 Mary has high expectations of her managers and staff.  Mary’s highest expectations are of herself. 

Strong leaders look fearless, they look self assured, unshakeable, confident. But it is hard earned.  Behind the fearlessness, the self assurance, the confidence, we know that there are sleepless nights, we know that mary 2there is sacrifice.  We know that there is soul searching. 

Somehow, from that soul that she searches in the wee hours, emerges a passion that refuses to allow our community, our society, to ignore or dismiss or minimize the issue of violence against women, especially in the home.

So, I am asking you, that if you can find a way to recognize her gifts, to say thank you for her contributions, to encourage her, please do that today.

Mary, we congratulate you on 10 years of service to WCSWR.