2012-13 Board of Trustees
The responsibilities of the Board are specified by the church bylaws. Board members are elected by a vote of the congregation and serve three-year terms. They have the ultimate fiduciary and policy-making authority for the church with the exception of calling ministers and approving the annual budget.
Contact the Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
President: David Bach was elected to the Board of Trustees in the 2012-13 church year; he chaired the Strategic Planning Committee and served as the Board’s liaison with the Nominating Committee. David is a thoughtful, strategic, collaborative, and results focused leader who brings a wealth of experience to the role. He has over thirty years of nonprofit management experience serving as Vice President and COO of Scholarship America, Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education, Acting Director of MacPhail Center for the Arts, and Development Director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and currently as Development Director for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. He has served on numerous national and local boards including the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and education committees for the Walker Art Center and Minnesota Orchestra. He has been active at First Universalist as a canvasser for annual pledge drives and as a long-time member of the trumpet section of Universal Jazz and soloist for Sunday services. He completed thirteen years on the Management Committee for Camp Unistar where he served in a number of key leadership roles related to the direction of the Camp. He formerly served on the PSD Financial Advisory Committee. David and his wife, Narissa, are long-term members of First Universalist; they proudly raised two daughters in the church community and believe First Universalist helped prepare them to live successfully in today’s multicultural world.
Vice President: Karin Wille was elected to the Board of Trustees in the 2012-13 church year and served on the Governance Committee. She joined First Universalist in 1977 and has been a member for most of her adult life. She has served First Universalist in many different capacities, including as an RE teacher, previous Board of Trustees member, Unity Summer and Youth Cultural Exchange volunteer, congregational President, and as a member of committees on ministry, personnel and finance. Most recently she co-chaired the congregation’s Sesquicentennial celebration. Karin has also served as a Prairie Star District/UUA Compensation Consultant and as a member of the Twin Cities President’s Roundtable and the Midwest Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy. Karin practiced law for over 30 years, most recently with the law firm of Briggs and Morgan. She has worked with the boards and staff of several non-profit clients on strategic and policy issues in her practice and as a volunteer. Karin and her husband Mike have 4 children and 6 grandchildren; her daughter serves a UU church in Massachusetts. Karin ‘s interest in the Board of Trustees is grounded in her desire to continue to give, receive and grow at First Universalist as our Strategic Plan is defined and implemented. She brings keen problem solving skills and a strategic perspective to the Trustee role along with her wealth of experience.
Secretary: Pamela Vincent has been a member of First Universalist since 1991. She has held a variety of leadership roles including chair of the Pastoral Care Council, chair and founding member of Worship Associates, President of the Association of Universalist Women, and chair of the annual Winter Solstice Planning committee. Pam has recently completed her second term as a member of the Nominating Committee. Other church activities have included small group facilitator, labyrinth circle, welcome team, choir, and the Sesquicentennial Celebration Steering Committee. In her professional life, Pam is a certified Project Management Professional, and in that role oversees timelines and budgets, develops strategies, and pays a great deal of attention to details. Pam feels this is a critical time in the life of the church, as we embark on an ambitious strategic plan. The advent of policy governance continues to shape how congregants become engaged in the life of the church, and how groups develop and interact with staff. She brings a sense of collaboration, and a sense of organizational history. While embracing the new, she is mindful of preserving our heritage.
Treasurer: Paul Robinson is a UCC preacher’s kid who enjoyed the community of church growing up but says that “he could never get his head around believing in Jesus.” He often thought about how great it would be to have a church where people could be together spiritually, help one another and others, and grow as a community without having to adhere to a specific dogma. He was extremely happy to find First Universalist. Paul and his wife, Sara, have been coming to First Universalist for more than 18 years. During this time they got married, worked through a few careers, and had four kids, Gerhardt (13), Keegan(11), Oskar(10), and Kaisja(6). Given his young family, he is particularly interested in keeping a strong religious education program and increasing ways for kids to have a meaningful role in church life. Paul has a master’s degree in public administration. The last position he held in government was as a City Administrator. For the past nine years he has worked in the private sector, managing residential land development projects. Paul is a strong problem solver who brings considerable experience working on challenging issues with a variety of community and stakeholder groups.
Dan Berg was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2008 and is serving his second three-year term. He served as Secretary in the 2011-2012 church year, and has served three years on the Finance Committee. He has also served as interim Vice President during the 2010- 11 church year. Dan joined First Universalist in the mid-1990’s with his wife, Welcome Jerde. He frequently teaches the 9th grade “Coming of Age” class, and has been an advocate for youth leadership in the church and the community. His daughter, Hannah, has just completed her freshman year at Ithaca College. Dan is a Philanthropic Services Advisor at The Minneapolis Foundation, where he is in his 15th year working with charitable families and institutions. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was Director of Development at the Minnesota Opera. Dan is also a founding board member of Parents United for Public Schools, Minnesota’s independent network of citizen advocates for sufficient funding and effective, research–based reform in our public schools. Global travel is a priority for Dan, Welcome, and Hannah, and they share a commitment to peace and justice through community service.
Lark Weller was appointed to the Board of Trustees in February 2012 to fill a mid-term vacancy. She recently finished serving as Chair of the Pledge Team. As a part of her three-year service to the Pledge Team, Lark worked to align this faith community’s shared values and covenants with its giving. In addition, she helped to coordinate our first Day of Service, and has also served as a Coming of Age mentor, a greeter, usher, and a small group member. Professionally, she is trained as an urban planner with much attention to stakeholder involvement and strategic planning facilitation. Lark has the ability to both keep the eye on the “big picture” vision and goals, and to pay attention to grounding those in strategies that make them achievable. Lark has been a member of First Universalist for four years. As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, she believes that ours is a faith tradition that holds the potential to create a positive, progressive world—even more than we have to-date. She believes we can be even more successful in building a bright future when called by our faith community to live according to our values in a deep, authentic way and is committed to continuing to work within First Universalist toward that collective authenticity.
Jill Braithwaite has been a member of First Universalist for 10 years. She has served the church in many capacities, including as an RE teacher, Welcome Team member, small-group participant and facilitator, and Adult Education Committee member. Last year, Jill served on the Strategic Planning Committee, helping to craft a vision for First Universalist’s future. Jill has 20 years of professional experience in publishing, editorial leadership, new product development, branding, and strategic planning. Working at the intersection of the art and the business of publishing, Jill has helped businesses grow by meeting customer needs with innovative product solutions. She has also served on the board of her condominium association for several years. In addition, Jill is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree at United Theological Seminary, with a concentration in theology and the arts. Jill believes in Unitarian Universalism’s saving message of love and hope, and she sees First Universalist as a phenomenal force for positive transformation in people’s lives and in the world. She is excited to work with the Board on implementing the strategic plan and on opportunities and challenges around growth. Jill brings to the board a combination of creative, big-picture thinking and a focus on measurable outcomes. She believes churches must be open to new approaches to how we operate in the world, while also maintaining our core identities as uniquely spiritual communities rooted in strong traditions. In her spare time, Jill enjoys hiking, arts events, playing tennis, knitting, and the Minnesota State Fair.
Cindy Marsh and her husband, Wendell, joined First Universalist in 2005. She has chaired the Nominating Committee from 2009 – 2013, served on the Search Committee that called Reverend Justin Schroeder to First Universalist, and served as a group facilitator for Mission Possible and Strategic Planning. She also participates in Circle Suppers and small groups. Cindy is a psychologist who retired this March after 31 years of service at Personnel Decisions International, a global leadership solutions consulting firm. At PDI, Cindy held several executive leadership positions including President, Region EVP, EVP HR, and Coaching Practice Leader. Her consulting practice at PDI focused on leadership assessment and development, executive coaching, and board effectiveness. Cindy currently serves on the Board of a financial services company, and previously served on the Board of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. She looks forward to becoming a Trustee at First Universalist as we continue to give, receive and grow together in what will undoubtedly be exciting yet challenging years ahead given our growth and ambitious strategic plan. Outside of work and church, Cindy and Wendell enjoy film and arts events, gardening, biking, and travel along with family activities, frequently involving their three nieces.
Dick Niemiec and his wife, Joan, have been members of First Universalist since 1975. They raised their three children in the church. He served as a Foundation board member in the 1980s and more recently as a leader of the Day of Service project at Tubman for three years, a member of the Cummins Internship fundraising group and as facilitator for the 2002 long-range planning. He retired after thirty-four years as senior vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota; one of his responsibilities included serving as chief compliance officer and staffing the board governance committee. After retirement he served as interim president of his alma mater, Beloit College, and continues as a member of its board of trustees. He has served on non-profit boards including the American Red Cross national board of governors, the YMCA of Greater St. Paul general board and the boards of Tubman, Walk-in Counseling and the Minnesota State Community Colleges. On these boards he frequently served as chair or vice-chair, and has extensive experience on governance and audit committees. Dick believes he can serve the church as a member of the board of trustees through his financial and governance expertise as well as a commitment to teamwork and consensus building.