LARS Board & Staff

These are the talented people who work hard every day to provide needed services to the Laurel community.

Contact Our Team

Join LARS' Board of Directors

LARS is currently looking for individuals with fundraising experience (sales), marketing / communications, and human resources experience to join its Board of Directors. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in your community and to work with a team of great people!

Board Position

Say Hello to Our Staff

Leah Paley • LGSW

Executive Director

Leah has been an influential part of the LARS team since 2011, serving as Director of Homeless & Emergency Services until 2012, when she was promoted to the position of Deputy Director. During this time she gained a real understanding of the needs of the Laurel community and a drive to ensure that LARS is meeting those needs. In May 2015, Leah was appointed by the Board of Directors to the position of Executive Director. Having overseen the daily operation of LARS’ Crisis Center, Leah has the right perspective to bring LARS’ vision to life as the agency develops its strategic plan for the coming year. She has heard the stories and struggles of LARS’ clients, and these first-hand experiences remain at the heart of her leadership.

Leah brings significant experience to her role at LARS, including management of statewide advocacy efforts for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Leah is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore where she received her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in Management and Community Organizing and a specialization in Social Action and Community Development. She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in the state of Maryland. Leah and her husband reside in Severna Park with their two small children, and loveable English Bulldog, Rosie.

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Stephanie Guzmán

Director of Client Services & Community Relations

Stephanie first joined the LARS team in June 2014 as a Case Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. During this time she made significant contributions to LARS’ strategic planning process, learning a great deal about the issues facing Laurel residents and helping to shape LARS’ role in addressing these issues. After a short hiatus to pursue graduate studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work, Stephanie returned with her MSW in August 2017 to serve as LARS’ Director of Client Services and Community Relations. Stephanie now oversees the operation of LARS’ Crisis Center and the Self-Sufficiency Program, leading the rest of the case management team in providing individualized, compassionate care to those who seek LARS’ help each day.

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Lauren Soummers • LGSW

Director of Supportive Housing

After graduating from McDaniel College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Lauren found her passion in the human services / non-profit field and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Clinical/Mental Health focus from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. Lauren provides supportive services and case management to chronically homeless and disabled individuals in order to help them live independently, and move towards self-sufficiency. She also oversees LARS’ Transitional and Permanent Housing Programs.

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Angelica Christian

Lead Case Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Inspired at a youth development program in inner city DC, Angelica quickly developed a passion for helping low-income families and individuals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and family science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Raised by Puerto Rican parents and driven by the desire to master the Spanish language, she obtained a certificate in Spanish Studies from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. This supplements her solid educational foundation centered around understanding the individual, the family, and the environment in which they interact.

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Alli Milner

Emergency Services Case Manager / Program Coordinator

A passion for adventure and helping others motivated Alli to move to Laurel after earning her bachelor's degree in Child & Family Studies from John Brown University. This same motivation has led Alli to participate in two service projects in Guatemala, volunteer as an intern at Bethany Community Church, and pursue her position at LARS. Through her position at LARS, it is Alli's desire is to help others find stability and safety amidst hard stages of life. When she is not at work Alli loves to be the best aunt she can be to her nieces and nephews both here in Laurel and in her hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

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Audrey Vaught

Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator

While earning her degree in Criminal Justice at University of Maryland College Park, Audrey was inspired to pursue a career in Social Work. Audrey received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in clinical mental health from The University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work in 2015. Before becoming the Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator at LARS, Audrey spent a year providing in-home case management and support services to families and children with behavioral needs. Audrey is a Laurel resident and is thrilled to be working for an organization that impacts her local community.

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Maria McLean

Development & Marketing Associate

After graduating from Temple University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Maria decided to direct her passion for helping people toward a different career path. During her year of service as an AmeriCorps member, she gained experience in Development and Communications while working for an education non-profit. As the Development and Marketing Associate, Maria is excited to support LARS’ mission to help low-income and homeless individuals achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

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Say Hello to Our Board

Board Officers

Tricia Katebini, President

Clifton Larson Allen LLP

Ruhan Guonah, Vice President

Columbia Bank

Gary Hall, Board Secretary

St. Mary of the Mills Church

Rick Askins, Board Treasurer

U.S. Senate, Office of the Sergeant At Arms

Board Directors Members listed alphabetically

Don Ausherman

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Dot Brownlie

Laurel Presbyterian Church

Bob Conley

First Baptist Church

Tom Dernoga

State of Maryland

Larry Krieger

Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church

Kimberly Prescott

Prescott Consulting

Jenny Wall

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

Leah Young

Oseh Shalom