Mary Lou White, Children's Services Manager, County of Lanark

Mary Lou has worked for Lanark County Social Services for over 37 years; initially as a Caseworker, then an SS/OW Supervisor and finally as Children’s Services Manager from 1999 to present. Throughout this time she has been instrumental in the development and implementation of many initiatives at a local level. In addition, she has made a meaningful and impactful contribution to provincial initiatives and priorities. She has participated on various OMSSA and Provincial working groups over the years including; the Children’s Services Network, Early Years Working Group and the Working Group on Child Care Funding in Rural and Remote Communities. Her level of knowledge in the overall human services field has allowed her to influence policy on a broad basis.

Her reputation as a collaborator is well established amongst her peers, co-workers, community and provincial partners. She has been a mentor to many and has had a major impact upon their professional development. Key stakeholders have always felt highly engaged and informed. Her ability to establish a progressive and productive network has led to many strategic opportunities being embraced. This has ensured quality service delivery being in place.

At the municipal level, she has taken part in many internal corporate and external community committees; including Corporate Values, Staff Support and Wellness, Lanark Planning Council, Best Start Planning, Youth Centre Coalition, Childcare Providers Network along with many others. She has had a key role in Emergency Management and in 2016 was instrumental in leading and managing an emergency exercise for the Social Services Department which resulted in significant enhancements to emergency response that better met the identified need.

One of Mary Lou’s passions has been the introduction of “Not Myself today” into the workplace. She has been a strong advocate for recognizing mental health in the workplace and championed this for all staff across the organization. Due to her efforts there has been an increased awareness that has improved workplace response to this struggle.

Mary Lou's leadership over the years has inspired and motivated many. She is well respected for her inclusive, visionary approach to human services delivery over the years.