More than 10 years ago, Mary Inkrot came across a parish bulletin announcement that caught her eye.
Given her previous and varied employment experiences -- which included working as a research associate, an editorial assistant, coordinator of public outreach and director of education -- Inkrot was interested to see that the Mount Carmel Guild was looking for volunteer grant writers. She responded to the announcement, not knowing that it would eventually lead to full-time employment. After serving in various capacities over the years, Inkrot has been named executive director of the diocesan organization in Trenton that provides outreach to the less fortunate.
“Mount Carmel Guild has a wonderful history that spans close to 100 years in providing basic care to persons in need throughout Mercer County,” said Inkrot.
“I want to continue to do that good work as we go into our second century of work,” Inkrot said. She will succeed Marie Gladney, who will retire Dec. 31 after more than eight years of service in that role.
Brenda Rascher, diocesan executive director of Catholic Social Services, offered welcoming remarks to Inkrot saying, "It was inspiring for me to learn that Mary began her involvement with Mount Carmel Guild as a volunteer. I think it shows a deep belief in the misison of the Guild, and reflects a solid foundation in her ability to take on a position as the newly named executive director. I look forward to working with Mary as she takes the mission of the Mount Carmel Guild into the future."
Inkrot is a resident of Pennington and member of the town’s St. James Parish, where she is involved with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word ministry. She and her husband, Tom Downey, have been married 23 years and have two children – Jack, a freshman in Purdue University, and Lizzie, a sophomore at Hopewell Valley Central High School.
Inkrot holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and French from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, and a master’s degree in applied history from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. Her previous employment includes working as director of education for the Shaker Museum in South Union, Ky. While at USC, she also worked as coordinator of public outreach for the university’s Savannah River Archaeological Research Project and also had the opportunity to bring writing, editing and publicity skills to her editorial assistant role for the publication of The Papers of Henry Laurens also while at USC.
After arriving to New Jersey in 2006, Inkrot worked as a research associate for three years at Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
In the midst of raising a family and maintaining a career, Inkrot also became active with the Guild as a volunteer grant writer, which then opened the door to her becoming the business manager, a position she held for almost nine years. As business manager, she helped with planning the agency’s fundraisers, including the gala that’s held each fall; organizing volunteers; performing operational duties such as payroll, purchasing and bookkeeping, and overseeing human resources and employee benefits.
When Inkrot was promoted to the position of assistant director in August 2016, her duties broadened to collaborating with Gladney in developing budgets, grant reporting and writing, communications and personnel, in addition to her business management responsibilities.
As the new executive director, Inkrot will be in charge of a team of seven full-time and three part-time employees, a board of trustees and scores of volunteers as well as donors who offer continuous financial support to the Guild’s mission of reaching out to the less fortunate through its two main services, the Emergency Assistance program and the Home Health Nursing program. The Emergency Assistance program typically provides a three-to-five day supply of food, emergency prescription assistance and utility assistance, while the Home Health Nursing program provides in-home nursing to seniors with the goal that they can remain in their own home.
While Inkrot has been a caseworker with the Emergency Assistance program and has experience interacting with clients in need of food, she said she looks forward to working more closely with the Home Health Nursing staff who visits about 60 patients in their homes each month.
In her 10 years with Mount Carmel Guild, Inkrot has found the work to be challenging yet rewarding, saying that she is “grateful to be able to be with the poor and be among the people who help to serve them.”