Mary Ellen Russell
Mary Ellen Russell was appointed Executive Director of the Maryland Catholic Conference in November 2008. The Conference represents the public-policy interests of the Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, which include the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. Mrs. Russell has also served as an associate director and deputy director of the Conference since joining the staff in 1995, focusing primarily on coordinating legislative advocacy efforts affecting Maryland’s Catholic and other nonpublic schools.
Mrs. Russell is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, a board member of Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, and past co-chair of the Maryland State Superintendent’s Nonpublic Schools Workgroup. Mrs. Russell also worked for several years as Assistant Secretary for Parental Advocacy at the USCCB.
Mrs. Russell holds an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and a B.A. in English from Boston College. She and her husband live in Annapolis, where they have raised four sons. Her husband is a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and serves at the Catholic Community of South Baltimore.
Andrea Garvey, Esq.
Associate Director, Respect for Life
Andrea Garvey began serving as the Associate Director for Respect for Life at the Maryland Catholic Conference in November 2013. She advocates for the life and the dignity that is inherent at all stages of human life, from conception to natural death.
Mrs. Garvey brings with her several years of congressional and governmental experience. She holds her Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University. She is admitted to practice law in both Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Garrett J. O'Day, Esq.
Associate Director, Education and Family Life
Garrett O’Day joined the Maryland Catholic Conference as Associate Director for Education and Family Life in June 2013. He advocates for Maryland’s more than 50,000 students attending Catholic schools.
Mr. O’Day graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Thereafter, Mr. O’Day earned a Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law. Prior to joining the Maryland Catholic Conference, Mr. O’Day practiced law in New York. He is admitted to practice law in both New York and United States federal courts.
Chris Ross, Esq.
Associate Director, Social Concerns
Chris Ross serves as the Associate Director of Social Concerns. He advocates for economic and social justice policies which protect the poor and respect each individual’s inherent human dignity.
Mr. Ross became involved in Maryland politics in 2006 when he served as campaign manager for successful primary and general campaigns. He then assisted in advocacy efforts for both early childhood education and the Earned Income Tax Credit. He worked as a legislative aide during the 2011 session.
Mr. Ross earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Loyola University Maryland and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Maryland.
Kathy Dempsey has been working in Washington, DC and Maryland in the areas of government, public policy, communications and the Catholic Church since graduating from The University of Texas in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government relations. Prior to joining the Maryland Catholic Conference in June 2010, Mrs. Dempsey worked several years for the Archdiocese of Washington as assistant director of communications and director of public relations and marketing for the Catholic schools.
Mrs. Dempsey began her career on Capitol Hill and also served in the executive branch. Moving from government to the Catholic Church, she then spent a number of years with the Washington Theological Union before working for the Archdiocese.
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Mariann Hughes has worked as Communications & Outreach Coordinator at the Maryland Catholic Conference since September 2011. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Journalism from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Her background includes television and print news, publishing and communications.
Prior to the Conference, Ms. Hughes worked as a designer at a Virginia newspaper, and then as a communications associate at the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. She grew up in Michigan before attending Franciscan University.