Human Support Services


Human Support Services / Board Member Bio  / Mary Beard, HSS Board Member

Mary Beard, HSS Board Member

Mary Beard

There’s no denying that grandparents are special. Something about the bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is a bit magical.

Being a grandparent means being playmate and caregiver, protector and friend, teacher and student.

In this way, grandparents tend to become experts in the interests and needs of their grandkids. For some grandparents, that may mean taking on the role of novice paleontologist when their grandchild becomes obsessed with dinosaurs. Or maybe grandma decides to learn all the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s album, just to stay in touch with her granddaughters.

For others, being a grandparent means advocating for programs and services that will enrich the lives of their grandchildren and countless others.

Such is the case for Mary Beard of Waterloo. She became involved with Human Support Services (HSS) after two of her grandchildren were diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

“My granddaughters have impacted my life in every way possible, from realizing the blessings they are, to worrying about their future,” Mary said. “The work HSS does with developmental and intellectual disabilities was a natural fit for me to get involved.”

Mary has served on the development committee of HSS since 2022. In January 2024, she was appointed to the Board of Directors.

One of the reasons Mary joined the board was to provide opportunities that will brighten the future for her grandchildren. Like all grandparents, she wants to help them live life to the fullest. In her dual roles as HSS board member and grandparent, she says she will work to make that dream a reality.

She also brings a wealth of experience from a career in Information Technologies and business analysis to the board.

Professionally, Mary worked in the criminal justice arena for nearly 35 years at Regional Justice Information Service (REJIS) in St. Louis. REJIS provides IT solutions for public sector and criminal justice entities. Starting as a computer programmer, she gradually transitioned to being a Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP).

In this position, she interviewed clients and designed computer applications which enabled them to work efficiently and safely. This experience has led her to ask questions and make people think a little further about an answer or solution, a trait that will be useful when considering HSS initiatives.

“I am an analyst at heart,” Mary said. “I am constantly thinking about how people and systems and entities can work better. I ask a lot of questions to fulfill my need to understand.”

This is not the only time Mary has taken an active role in an organization in order to gain a better understanding and lend a helping hand.

As a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Mary served on the Board of Christian Education and as a Confirmation mentor when her children were growing up.

She interviewed nearly 50 people in Monroe County to obtain their life stories as part of the Monroe County Bicentennial Committee. Those stories are now published in the two-volume From Tablet to Tablet books, which were edited, reviewed, and compiled by Mary and fellow co-chair, Dennis Knobloch.

Mary also spearheaded the first-ever Midwest Meet and Greet for the Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (MWS) Foundation. Mary’s eldest granddaughter lives with MWS.

When Mary saw a need to gather families facing this rare syndrome together for support, she organized, raised funds, and hosted the event at the St. Louis Zoo.

She is ready for a new challenge to serve her hometown and community through HSS.

“Truly, it is simply amazing realizing all that HSS does,” said Mary. “I am always learning about the scope of services that HSS offers, the number of people employed by HSS, and the dedication of the leadership that inspires each and every person to keep making HSS better.”

Just as her children, grandchildren, family, and friends know how lucky they are to have Mary in their corner, the staff and clients of HSS, along with the entire community, are just as lucky to have Mary’s support as we move forward with our mission to help everyone live their best lives.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about joining the committees or board of HSS, contact Courtney Hunter at