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Unitarian Universalist United Nation's Office Advisory Board

When the Unitarian Universalist United Nation’s Office (UU-UNO) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) merged in early 2012, the merger agreement specified the creation of an Advisory Board. At the recommendation of Peter Morales, President of the UUA, the purpose of the UU-UNO Advisory Board is to give advice and support the UU-UNO. Under the Chairmanship of David Overton and the UU-UNO Director, Bruce Knotts, each Advisory Board member has selected a UU-UNO program to champion and support.

Member Biographies

Derick Bowen

Derick Bowen is a development economist and data scientist with over 10 years' experience in economic analysis, project management and experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluation.  He has designed, managed and evaluated projects in the agriculture, land, gender, microfinance and education sectors, and has collaborated on projects in Ghana, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda and Vietnam. His recent research has investigated the gender gap in agricultural productivity, the relationship between personality traits and agricultural productivity, the welfare effects of a contract farming program, the effects of a public information campaign on the inclusion of women on land titles, and the effects of agglomeration on firm productivity. Derick holds a Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. A lifelong UU, Derick attends All Souls Church Unitarian near his home in Washington, D.C. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing yoga and spending time with his family, who are based in New Jersey and Jacksonville, Florida.

Specialties: Economic Analysis; Experimental and Quasi-experimental Impact Evaluation; Econometrics; Project Management; Data Collection and Processing; Agricultural Development; Land Tenure; Gender, Advanced STATA Statistical Analysis Software, Project Planning and Implementation.

Lisa Bredbenner

Lisa grew up in South America. There was only one Protestant Church in any given city in which her family lived, so she only knew of non-denominational churches. When she joined her UU Congregation, it was not a leap. She moved to the U.S. to attend NYU. When she graduated, she began working for her brother-in law who was opening up a new dental practice in downtown New York City. The office has grown into a multi-doctor practice since 1981 and she has grown with it. She is head of personnel and she also became the bookkeeper. The Board of Trustees of the building that the office resides in asked her to do the bookkeeping for them as well. She has a lot of interaction with various city agencies and mediates issues between Condo members.

Lisa joined the UU Congregation of Monmouth County in 1996 when her children turned 2. She served on the Board as RE Chair, VP of the Board, and President of the Board. During her tenure on the Board, she helped change the governance structure to a more manageable one that is more in line with the Carver model. It was so successful, the Metro NY District asked her to speak at several of their seminars about this change. She then served on the Nominating Committee of the Metro District, and soon became Chair of this committee. In 2011, she joined the UU UNO Spring Seminar committee. She served as Chair that year. The title was “Empower Women for a Better World.” The office did not have enough funds to bring Queen Esther over from Ghana, so Lisa threw a fundraiser at her home to raise the amount needed. They exceeded expectations and were able to not only bring Queen Esther to New York to speak at the Seminar, but enough for her to speak at other venues about “Every Child is Our Child”. She has served as Chair of the Spring Seminar Committee 3 times (including this year), and served on the committee in other capacities as well. In 2012, she served on the UU UNO 50th Anniversary Committee. Peggy Montgomery and Lisa spent many afternoons in the “bell towers” of All Souls putting together a timeline of this wonderful organization!

Lisa is an avid tennis player and sculls on the Navesink River in the spring and summer.

Charles Du Mond

Charles Du Mond, married to Barbara, with two daughters: Jennifer and Emily.

Barbara and Charles joined the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) in 1993. He started his religious life attending “generic” Protestant churches on Air Force bases. His father was in the Air Force for the first 12 years of Charle's life and they lived in England, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, and California.

In college, Barbara and Charles started attending Quaker meetings. She had grown up as a Lutheran. They joined the Iowa City Monthly Friends Meeting when we were both in graduate school at the University of Iowa. They were married under the care of the Meeting in 1982. During their time in Iowa City, they both served as Clerk of the Meeting. Their Meeting also partnered with a local United Church of Christ (UCC) church to provide sanctuary for a Guatemalan refugee family.

In 1988, the Du Monds moved to San Mateo, after receiving their graduate degrees. At first, they attended the Palo Alto Friends Meeting, but found the community focused on activities in Palo Alto, so they looked for a new spiritual home, compatible with their beliefs and active in their neighborhood. Some friends suggested the UU church. For many years, Charles described the UU church as a kind of United Nations of Religion, and he was a Quaker representative in this multi-faith church. Sometime in the last five years, he stopped using that phrase and now he simply describes himself as a Unitarian Universalist.

Charles has served in leadership positions at UUSM for the past 15 years (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary). He has chaired the Pledge Drive and other fundraising events. When he made the change to policy-based governance, he served on the first Coordinating Team. He has a continuing commitment to religious education at UUSM, teaching all grade levels, Coming of Age, and OWL for junior high students (even AYS before the OWL curriculum was developed).

Charles has served on the UUA President’s Council for 4 years. For the last 2 years, he has been a member of the steering committee for that group. He is also on the discernment committee for the next UUA major fundraising campaign. His Unitarian Universalist experience includes many multicultural experiences and challenges. UUSM has a partner church in Ulay, Philippines. The Du Monds visited Ulay in March 2011 and supported the community as they performed a community capacity building workshop. In May 2012, they traveled to Ghana with the UU United Nations Office delegation and the monitoring trip for the Every Child is our Child program.

Professionally, Charles has a Ph.D in Statistics and he has worked in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry since 1988.

Raymond Firmalino

Raymond Firmalino is originally from Los Angeles and now resides in New Haven, Connecticut where he serves as Assistant Director of the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to Yale, he worked at Harvard University in student affairs and focused on inclusion and equity.

As an Intern with the UU-UNO, Ray led many of the Office's LGBTQ human rights initiatives, and supported the women's human rights program as well. Following the UU-UNO, he was a Duke Humanitarian Action Fellow with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland addressing issues of global violence against women. He has worked for a variety of organizations in his career, which share the common goal of social justice.

He holds a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley, an MSW from Columbia University, and is finishing up a Masters in Higher Education Administration at Harvard.

Mary Ann Lang

Mary Ann is a founding partner of North Star Vision Group (NSVG). The purpose of NSVG is to enable organizations and professionals to provide people who have impaired vision with accessible and appropriate services and products. This includes consultation to develop high quality low vision clinical and rehabilitation services through low vision training/awareness initiatives. North Star is currently engaged in projects in the Middle East, South America, and Europe.

Mary Ann retired from her position as Vice President for International Programs for Lighthouse International in 2005. She had been with the Lighthouse since 1976, serving consecutively as director of children's services, professional training, client programs, the National Center for Vision and Child Development, and the Lighthouse International Center on Low Vision.

In addition, Mary Ann has been a university educator of professionals in the United States and Chile in the fields of psychology, education, and blindness and visual impairment. Among the topics she has addressed are: the impact of visual impairment on people and their families; the interface between impairments and environments; and the development of low vision care worldwide.

She received her M.S. in special education from Hunter College, her M.Phil.and Ph.D., both focused on psychology, human development, and education, from the University Center and Graduate School, City of Univeristy New York (CUNY). She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of People who are Blind and Visually Impaired, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and an honorary member of the Pan American Society on Low Vision.

Mary Ann is a member of Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City. She served as a member of the UU-UNO Board of Directors from 2006 to 2010. In this capacity, for the most part, she focused her attention on developing grant proposals to raise funds for the general operations of the office and its programs. Mary Ann has two daughters, Diane and Linda, and five grandchildren, Benjamin, Jonathan, Anna, Nicolas, and Alexander.

Marilyn Mehr

Dr. Marilyn Mehr is a teacher, psychologist, writer and social activist. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, taught physicians and health care professionals Behavioral Sciences, at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California Medical School and then at Glendale Adventist Family Practice Residency Program. She joined the University of Kentucky Medical School as a Professor of Family Medicine in 1993 for three years.

For approximately the last ten years, Dr. Mehr devoted herself to writing and social activism. She has written a book, The Courage to Achieve, with Betty A. Walker, Ph.D., published by Simon and Schuster in 1994, and published numerous research articles in professional journals. Her most recent publication is a novel, Holding the World Together, about her Mormon ancestry.

In 1997, she joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork, Long Island, NY, and shortly thereafter, became Co-President. She served as the President of board of the UU-United Nations Office for five years and has recently joined the Board of All Souls, New York.

Jan Nolte

Jan Nolte officially became a UU in 1989 when she joined the Community Church, in White Plains, New York. It was a vital spiritual home for Jan and her young family for 14 years and she gladly served Sunday mornings in RE, on the RE Board, the Ministerial Search Committee and organized countless potlucks and barbeques. For the past 14 years Jan has been an active member of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in NYC.  Her daughters remained active UUs through the High School Youth Program and then headed off to college. Her daughter Kyra worked as a Pelican on Star Island for 2 summers.  Today, Jan is a founding facilitator and current head of the Small Group Ministry Program at All Souls. She has served as an usher captain and was a facilitator for the BOT’s recent Vision 2020 mission initiative.

Professionally, Jan Nolte is the founder and president of The Influential Voice a leadership communication coaching and training firm. She is a Certified Executive Coach, international speaker, conservatory trained actor and member of Actors’ Equity.  Jan grooms executives worldwide by developing their unique voice and authentic style so that her clients bring their best self to every interaction. Prior to starting her own firm, Jan was on the acting conservatory faculty at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase.

Jan also serves on an advisory committee to The Open Door Family Medical Centers and Foundation in Westchester NY. For fun, Jan and her life partner, Brad, enjoy city adventures, family, kayaking, cooking, gardening and travel.

David Overton

David and his wife Mary live in Austin, TX and are members of the first UU Church of Austin.

The Overton family first became involved with the UU United Nations Office when their daughter Liz interned in the Office during her undergraduate years at Barnard College. David's wife, Mary, then served on the UU-UNO Board for several years, and during that time David helped the Board to develop strategic plans.

Mary and David have also been enthusiastic supporters of the Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) program since its beginning, and were fortunate to be able to travel to Ghana in May of 2012 to visit the Queen Mothers and the students that ECOC supports.

David recently retired from a long career in the corporate world, where his focus was strategic planning and customer research. He is now applying those skills to the non-profit world. David serves on the Board of Mercy Ships, a global non-profit that operates a hospital ship in West Africa. He also led the effort to establish the Jericho Road program in Dallas. Jericho Road was started by UU churches in Massachusetts, and matches professionals in the church with non-profits in the community who need those professional skills. Jericho Road Dallas is now up and running very effectively thanks to a strong board and a very capable Executive Director.

David is a partner in Opus Faveo Innovation Development, a venture development firm based in Dallas. They work with entrepreneurs and management teams to help them build successful, innovative companies.

The Overtons have two children: Liz, who is a lawyer with a firm focused on developing estate plans for families with special needs children, and Tom, who is a manager with the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Kent Price

Now retired, Kent was principal writer for the chief executives of the public university systems of California and Maine and Executive Editor at the Washington, D.C. think tank, Resources for the Future, Inc. He is the editor of five books on energy, natural resources, and environmental quality, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

He has twice served his congregation as President and currently edits and writes its monthly newsletter. He was Vice President of the former Northeast District Board of the UUA.

As a 2007-2011 member of the former UU-UNO Board of Directors, he served as Recording Secretary for three years and Vice President for two. He produced in 2007 the informational brochure that remains the organization's principal introduction to the public. Long interested in the nexus of problems under the rubric of “Climate Change,” he is a member of the UU-UNO Climate Change Initiative and looks forward as an Adviser to continuing that association.

Kent and his wife, Anne, live on forty-three wooded acres in rural Hancock County, Maine. They are members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine.

Eric Sivin

Eric Sivin is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he majored in political science and international relations, and of NYU School of Law. He practiced law in New York City for ten years as a commercial and corporate litigator, and then switched careers to become became a legal recruiter. He ultimately founded and managed a prominent legal search firm, specializing in consulting with and assisting major law firms in their strategic growth and partner and practice group acquisitions.

Along with his wife Judy and daughter Jessica, he has been a member of All Souls Unitarian Church since 1997. At All Souls, Judy has been a teacher in the RE program, and Jessica, now a senior in college, participated in and the program from third grade through high school.

Eric was the founding member and chair of the All Souls Task Force on Gun Control. He served on and chaired the RE Committee and then for six years was a member of the Board of Trustees, with particular focus and issues involving governance. He served two terms as President of the congregation.

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