Two staff members of The Institute for Community Living (ICL) — Katherine Hammer, VP for Community Support and Residential Services and Courtney Policano, PROS Director — were honored by the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NYC) at their 7th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner, which was held on December 5, 2013 at the Jing Fong Restaurant in Chinatown, NYC.

Ms. Hammer received the Mid-Career Leaders Award for providing exemplary leadership qualities and a unique commitment to improving the communities she serves. She joined ICL in 2010 as the Program Director for the Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS), a comprehensive individualized treatment and rehabilitation program in Brooklyn for adults with serious mental illness, helping them gain the skills needed to live independently in an apartment, find and maintain a job, and develop a supportive community.

In 2012, Ms. Hammer was promoted to her current role as Vice President and oversees eight programs including PROS, ACT Teams, Residences, and Supported Housing. She has a doctoral education in social work from Smith College, a MSW from Our Lady of the Lake University, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I began my career over 23 years ago, helping victims of domestic and sexual violence,” says Hammer. “That work greatly influences me today in supporting ICL’s mission to help people overcome barriers to their emotional, mental and physical well-being. I am humbled and inspired to receive this award, and to continue to work with ICL to create social change.”

Ms. Policano received the NASW Emerging Leader Social Work Leader Award for her leadership, dedication and promising future as the Director of the PROS program. She joined ICL in 2010 as the PROS Intake Coordinator and was promoted to Director after two years. In her current role, Ms. Policano oversees 250 participants and 30 staff members and is responsible for the program’s operations, finances, clinical services, and for developing strategies to improve systems of care. She has an MSW from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Taylor University in Indiana.

“I am surprised to be receiving this award,” says Policano, “and I am most thankful to ICL. They took quite a risk in hiring someone like me without a lot of social work experience. I got where I am today thanks to the exceptional mentoring and support they have provided me.”

“The fact that both Courtney and Katherine were selected from a strong pool of nominees attests to the quality and commitment of the ICL staff,” says Benjamin Sher, ICL’s Associate VP for Training and Staff Development. “Our organization is extremely proud of them both.”