• General News

Announcing Nominees for the Board & Nominations Committee

April 27, 2018

Our 9 nominees, from L to R / top to bottom: Joe Merenda, Anne Turner, Wangari Kamau, Rodrigo Braña, Joan Riggs, Tod Chernikoff, Catherine Malinin Dunn, Julie Petruzzi, and John Woodward.


Nominees for the Board of Trustees

Assistant Treasurer:  Joe Merenda

Joe Merenda has been treasurer of the Alliance for 4 years, including the current fiscal year.  He and his wife Martha joined CLUUC in 2012, seeking opportunities to be more active in a progressively-oriented community of people seeking to make a difference in their lives and those of others.  Joe’s education was in chemical engineering at Cooper Union and he received an MS from Stanford. His focus shifted toward environmental issues. He was privileged to be one of the charter employees of the new Environmental Protection Agency, and worked in a variety of technical, policy, regulatory, and managerial positions.  He has had over 25 years in senior management, managing employees, developing budgets, and working in collaboration in committees.  He served several years as Deputy Director of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, with 800 employees and a budget of $95 million.  After retiring he spent a few years providing computer and accounting support to his wife’s real estate sales business.  He is willing to learn more about and participate in the wide range of issues the CLUUC Board deals with.

Assistant Secretary: Anne Turner

Anne Turner has lived in Montgomery County with her husband Jim for over 30 years.  They raised their children, Abby and Zach, here, both of whom participated in Cedar Lane’s RE program.  She’s spent most of her adult life teaching in some way, initially teaching foreign languages at the middle and high school levels.  She’s been involved in RE at Cedar Lane for many years as part of the Haunting House team.  She has also spent more than 20 years learning about special education and the challenges faced by children with special needs and advocating on behalf of these children and their families.  For at least 2 decades she participated on the MCCPTA Special Needs Committee and the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), including serving as co-chair of each of these 2 committees for several years.  I was involved in the creation of MCneeds, a grassroots advocacy organization that works to support and improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families in the county.  In recent years she and her daughter have worked with Children’s National Medical Center in DC to improve doctor-patient and family communication in order to improve patient outcomes.

At-Large, 3 year terms:  

Wangari Kamau

Wangari Kamau is an active member at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist.  Here at Cedar Lane Wangari currently heads the Book Club focusing on writers of the inequality debate & writers of color, she serves as a Worship Associate, and is also a member of Mosaic Makers which focuses on making Cedar Lane a more diverse spiritual space.  She is a member of the Human Rights Commission with the City of Rockville in Montgomery County and volunteers as a mentor with Future Links Mentoring, a non-profit in Montgomery County that works with immigrants between the ages of 18 to 25.

Wangari’s professional background is in global training & development where she designs, delivers & facilitates programs. The programs targeting a global workforce range from diversity & inclusion incorporating unconscious bias, mentoring, onboarding, induction, leadership development & technical learning.  Wangari has a Master’s Degree in Business & Management, certification as a Global Professional Human Resources (GPHR), certification in advanced e-learning design, certification in Knowledge Management and Innovation, and is a certified Communicator & Leader through Toastmasters International.  She speaks English, Swahili and French.

On life’s journey Wangari is a seeker and always curious and willing to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Rodrigo Braña 

Rodrigo Braña (Rod) has been attending CLUU since 2013, and a member since 2016. He was the Cedar Lane volunteer with the Immigration Film Festival serving as Programming Director in 2014-16. Rod participated in the public art action “I am a Racist,” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter DMV, and shared his impressions with CLUU.  He is a volunteer with the Movement for a People’s Party (MPP), which works for a humanistic political-social platform. Rod also serves on the board of a Montessori School of McLean, where he was instrumental in helping the school negotiate a lease with the church congregation that owns the land, and helped with a large expansion project at the church property. 

Rod is a regular participant in story-telling at the Bethesda Writer Center, enjoys the outdoors, running, mentoring and is a passionate animal lover. He was born in Chile and grew up and went to school in Chile, Argentina and the US.  He holds a bachelor from USC in Architecture and a Master’s Degree from MIT in Architecture and in Real Estate. 

Joan Riggs

Joan came to Cedar Lane in 2010, and found a home here. She lives in Rockville Town Center and enjoys walking to neighborhood activities. Originally from Hawaii and raised in Kansas, Joan migrated to Washington for grad school at Johns Hopkins SAIS. She is an IT Project Manager in the healthcare field. She is also a member of the investment committee for Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities. Joan volunteered in RE childcare for many years, delighting in the toddlers’ antics and watching them grow. She has been a member of the Cedar Lane Grounds team since joining the church, and currently is the team lead. She also serves on the Capital Assets Planning Committee as well as the Capital Campaign committee. It would be her honor to serve on the Board of Trustees.

At-Large, 1 year term:  

Tod Chernikoff

Tod Chernikoff and his wife Lisa joined Cedar Lane in 2000. He has previously served multiple terms on the Nominating Committee and on the Personnel Committee, as well as being an RE teacher for almost a decade. He is also a member of the AV Ministry Team. Tod has been involved in the field of records and information management and information governance for over 20 years. He has served as a municipal records administrator and archivist, and a corporate records manager but mostly as a consultant to government agencies and private sector business. He is currently a Managing Consultant for IBM Services, working with US Government clients. Tod, who was raised in the Jewish tradition and first came to Cedar Lane with Lisa while they were dating. Their child, Anne, also a member of Cedar Lane, was raised in the church and has been active here for many years.

Nominees for the Nominating Committee

Catherine Malinin Dunn

Catherine Malinin Dunn has been attending Cedar Lane for about 15 years.  Like many others she and her husband John originally joined Cedar Lane primarily for the religious education program.  They are proud that their daughters Natalia (10th grade) and Raia (7th grade) are growing up here. In addition to the RE program, things she loves about Cedar Lane are its rich sense of community and its sustained commitment to social justice.  But more than anything else, she loves that Cedar Lane gives them the opportunity to think about “the big questions.” It’s more than an opportunity, it’s an active encouragement and even a prodding.  Many of us struggle to get through hectic workweeks, with endless to-do lists and plates that are heaped overfull with nary a chance to stop and catch our breaths.  But breathing is essential to life and the oxygen flows freely at Cedar Lane, beckoning us to breathe deep!

As far as her involvement at Cedar Lane, she has taught in the RE program (2nd grade Treasure Hunting, 8th grade OWL, and 9th grade Coming of Age).  She’s served on the Kiplinger Committee and, in the past, has enjoyed the silent retreat on our church grounds and the family retreat at Camp Tochwogh.  

Julie Petruzzi

Julie joined Cedar Lane in 2017 but is a lifelong UU, having grown up in the UU Church of Annapolis.  Julie is the CEO of Chesapeake Hearing Centers, an audiology practice that has seven offices in the state of Maryland.  Prior to her current position, she served as Senior Director for China Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  She has a B.A. in economics from Smith College and an M.A. in international affairs and economics from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Julie is passionate about international travel and learning about other cultures and languages.  In her free time, she enjoys going on adventures with her husband and their two young daughters - Samantha and Erica - who are active in RE at Cedar Lane.

John Woodward

John and his wife Ginger Moodie-Woodward started coming to Cedar Lane in 2005 and became members in 2007.  His daughters Lilly, 17, and Natalie, 15, grew up in the RE program while John frequently manned the RE welcome table.  John has been a member of the Grounds Team since 2009 and served as Chair for several years.  Outside of Church, John is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and enjoys photography and playing guitar.