Arlene Johnson, USA,
President (2015-2018)

Arlene Johnson, President, International Women's Convocation

As president of Arlene Johnson & Associates since 1991, Arlene has provided professional services for clients in the areas of marketing/public relations, including political campaigns and nonprofit management. A native of Ireland, she is former president of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation.

A long-time member of All Souls UU Church in Tulsa, she is founder and first chair of the Oklahoma Women’s Network, where she helped build a coalition of 34 women’s organizations to advocate for issues of concern to women. In that position, she worked with the U.S.  Department of State and the U.S. Department of Labor to chair the regional conference of delegates in preparation for the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China.  She is a former state president of the American Association of University Women and state vice-president of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Active in reproductive justice issues, she has served as vice-president of the Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Arlene was a member of the Advisory Board for the first International Convocation which she attended in Houston and has also attended the second Convocation in Transylvania.   Previously she served on the IWC board as Vice-President and Secretary/Newsletter Editor.

Rev. Carol Huston,
USA, Vice President and
Convener, Third Convocation (2016-2018)
Rev. Carol Huston

The Rev. Carol Huston has been minister of Community Unitarian Church at White Plains since August, 2001, following a 9-year ministry in Michigan.  She has served in leadership positions in UU and interfaith ministry groups, including terms on the Executive and Continuing Education Committees of the UU Ministers Association.  Civic leadership around her congregations has included the Westchester Coalition on Worldwide Poverty and AIDS, the White Plains School Safety Task Force, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).  In 2004, Carol brought a proposed Study/Action Issue on “Women’s Rights Worldwide” to General Assembly.  When it failed to be adopted two years in a row, she and the other organizations that had gathered around this proposal turned their energies to planning for the 2009 International Women’s Convocation. As one who worked on a Women and Religion Committee in the 1980s and attended the Women’s Convocation in 1990, I have real hopes that UU women are ready for a new form of organizing which will include occasional convocation gatherings and on-going communication and inspiration on the Internet.

Phyllis Marsh, USA, Treasurer (2015-2018)phyllismarsh

Phyllis Marsh joins the ICUUW board from the UU Church of Annapolis, MD.  Advocacy and international friendships have been a big part of her life. Phyllis has had multiple careers including as a junior high school social studies teacher, and as a legislative assistant to two members of the U. S. House of Representatives. When her husband sustained a traumatic brain injury in 1989, she wrote the story of how a spouse deals with such an injury in order to help others.  Entitled “Building Satellites is Easier” , it was published as a NASA Technical Memorandum.  As a member of her county’s commission on disability issues, she helped produce a video that is now used throughout the United States to train police officers to interact with individuals with a brain injury. At UU Church of Annapolis, she co-chairs her church’s Women’s Rights Worldwide initiative. Since 2005, her church has been involved in relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines.  In 2006, UUCA supported the development of Buhata Pinay (Do It, Filipina), Inc., an NGO that now has programs on micro finance, health, and education on rights for the women of Negros Island.  In 2009, UUCA partnered with Barangay Doldol to establish livelihood programs.  The Doldol garment center was established in 2010.  In January 2012, ICUUW joined with UU Church of Annapolis and NEW Pathways to Enterprise to determine other livelihood projects, and Phyllis returns in September 2012 to be part of a training for the making of polishing rags and rugs that will provide an opportunity for income for the women. Phyllis sings in UUCA’s choir, cheers at many Navy football and basketball games, plays bridge, and travels the world whenever possible.

Nagy Gizella, Transylvania,
Secretary (2016-2017)


Nagy Gizella

Ms. Nagy is the Vice President of UNOSZ, the Association of Unitarian Women of Romania, and works at the Unitarian Church office in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania. A graduate of Tessedik Sámuel College, Hungary, she was formerly a primary school teacher. She founded the Unitarian Children’s magazine Dobbantó, and was co-founder of the Home and Care program for older women and men at the Unitarcoop Foundation. Gizella was the President of the Second International Convocation of Unitarian*Universalist Women and People of Liberal Faiths held in Marosvásárhely, October 4-7, 2012. Since then, she has been instrumental in engaging young and middle-aged women in congregational life, and is currently designing programs for the local Women’s Association. Ms. Nagy also coordinates a joint IWC-UNOSZ (National Association of Unitarian Women of Romania) leadership program for women in Transylvania. Previously she served on the IWC board as Secretary.

Tina Huesing, European Unitarian Universalists, Germany,
Director (2016-2019)
THeusing

Ms. Huesing joined IWC from the European Unitarian Universalists (EUU) in 2005, when she relocated from the U.S. to Germany, her country of origin. Tina served as the president of her U.S. congregation Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL and of EUU. From 2011 until 2016 she also served as social action coordinator for EUU. An independent business consultant with a PhD in values-driven leadership, Tina specializes in the people aspect of change programs that improve business results by better serving their customers. Tina also teaches human resource management at New European College in Munich, Germany. As a participant in the First Convocation in Houston and as a workshop leader in the Second Convocation in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, Tina is familiar with the goals of IWC and excited about the potential for positive change that becomes visible every time women meet. She has used the Global Sisters Process with EUU to identify and initiate a EUU social action project,
and supported the leadership school in Transylvania, a joint project of IWC and UNOSZ (the organization of Unitarian women in Romania). Tina is enthusiastic about serving on the board of IWC because IWC focuses on hands-on projects that will make lives better for women and ultimately for all. It is not only the goals that she finds exciting but also how they will be achieved – using a governance model that is based on empowerment.

Rev. Rebecca Sienes, The Philippines, DirectorSienes

The Rev. Rebecca Quimada Sienes was the 1st ordained UU woman minister of the UUCP (Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines) and is currently the Coordinator of the UUCP. She graduated from Meadville-Lombard. Rev. Sienes designed a program called BUHATA PINAY (translated as “Do It, Filipina”) to empower UU and non-UU women to address the issue of domestic abuse. BUHATA PINAY is committed to enable and empower women and their families in the following four areas: economic participation within a sustainable environment, education, health and safety and building leadership within the broader communities. In partnership with the UN Global Justice Committee (UNGJC) of the UU Church of Annapolis, Maryland, BUHATA PINAY, a joint comprehensive women’s development program of the UU women in the Philippines and non-UU women who are neighbors of a UU church, was officially organized last month.

Elgiva Dora Shullai, India,
Director (2015-2018)
Elgiva

Ms. Shullai has been actively participating in various Unitarian Church activities in Meghalaya, India, since childhood. She is a registered Nurse specializing in Surgical Nursing and served as an Officer with the prestigious Armed Forces Medical and Nursing Services until 2011. Now she is actively supporting philanthropic work and has been appointed Global Sisters Coordinator for the Seng Kynthei Unitarian Union, North East India. In this capacity, she has coordinated health camps, awareness programs, and very successful Global Sisters workshops in four Unitarian communities in Meghalaya (Kyrdem, Padu, Kharang, and Puriang). Last November, she organized the launch of a White Ribbon campaign to eliminate violence against women and children in Unitarian communities in North East India.

Kathy Burek, USA, Director (2016-2019) Kathy Burek

Kathy Burek served as Coordinator of the Global Sisters Process and as a member of the Right Relations Team at the First (Houston) Women’s Convocation in 2009. Kathy received the UUA Presidents’ Award for Volunteer Service in June 2014 in a number of areas for the UUA. She was Prairie Star District President and President of the District Presidents’ Association. In addition, Kathy joined the Steering Team that led to the creation of the MidAmerica Region, the UUA’s first region. She was a member of the UUA Employee Benefits Trust Board from its inception in March 2007 until the summer of 2015. She served as its chair for its first two years, and again in 2014. In her home congregation, Michael Servetus Unitarian Society of Fridley, MN, Kathy is a past president, long-range planning chair, RE teacher, and organizer of other activities. She recently completed service as the Co-Chair of the Ministerial Search Committee for her congregation.

Sharon van Duizend, USA,
Director (2016-2019)
Sharon van Duizend, USA, Director (2016-2019)

Ms. van Duizend is humbled to serve on the IWC board. As a child of immigrant parents, she has long embraced the global community and as such has welcomed “family” from more than 50 countries for up to a year in their home. Sharon’s professional training is in Art Education. She has exhibited her art locally in many UU churches, as well as in national and international galleries. Partner Church/Community Capacity Building engagement has been with her for many years, which also led her to IWC. Currently on the Outreach Team for the 2017 Convocation, she is deeply impressed with IWC’s inroads toward women’s empowerment and gender equality. They are a powerful tool for lasting change—and for sustainability.

Zsofia Sztranyiczki Kolozsvar (Transylvania) / Houston, TX
Executive Director
Zsofi Sztranyiczki

Dr. Zsofia Sztranyiczki is a born-Unitarian from Transylvania, now living partly in Houston, Texas with her American husband. She holds a doctorate in Linguistics, and currently works part-time as an ESL instructor at Rice University. She and her husband own a small tour company specializing in music and art, offering them an ample opportunity for travel. In addition to Hungarian, Romanian and English, she speaks French, Italian and Finnish. As a member of First Church Kolozsvár, she became involved in the partner church movement and served on the Partner Church Committee.  She was the lead facilitator of the Community Capacity Building workshops conducted by the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council in small Transylvanian communities in 2005-2006, working together with Dr. Richard Ford, community development advisor for the Partner Church Council. Dr. Sztranyiczki worked with Laura Nagel from early on in the planning and execution of the first Convocation. As the international coordinator, she provided key communications and visa, travel, and financial management to bring 25 international participants from 17 countries to the Convocation. As a member of the Second Convocation Organizing Committee, she was again the international coordinator, and was very active in the planning and execution of the Convocation. Together with Krisztina Páll, she also undertook the training of the Global Sisters facilitators and the coordination of the Global Sisters process. She believes that empowering women to participate in economy, leadership, political decision-making and education is the key to the long-term growth, security, and peace of the world: “together, by weaving partnerships around the world, we can help women to overcome barriers to reach their greatest potential.”

Laura Nagel, Program DirectorNagel

Laura Nagel was Administrator of the First International Convocation of UU Women held in Houston in 2009 and is Founding Executive Director of the International Convocation of UU Women, a nonprofit corporation. She is Past President of Southwest UU Women and the past Co-Convener of UU Women and Religion. She is presently on the board of directors of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula and has also served as President of the First Jefferson UU Church in Fort Worth, TX and as a Fundraising Consultant for the UUA. In 2004 she began doing international work through the Partner Church Council and was instrumental in conducting the first community capacity building program in Arkos, Transylvania. Laura is very committed to this grass roots democratic planning process which has been a foundational element at ICUUW’s gatherings and convocations for setting the organization’s priorities. She and her husband Harry have traveled extensively through IWC’s trips abroad to meet and work with U*U women in Romania, Philippines, India, and Bolivia. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research. She and Harry have two grown daughters, Samantha who lives in Dallas and Erica who lives in Oakland.