Contents: UU World Back Issue

Three UUA officers to be elected

Delegates to the 2005 General Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas, will elect three key UUA officers: president, moderator, and financial advisor. The Rev. William G. Sinkford, UUA president, is running for a second and final term. Gini Courter is running for moderator, a position she has already held for a year and a half following the mid-term resignation of former moderator Diane Olson. Dan Brody is running for financial advisor to succeed Larry Ladd. All three are running unopposed for four-year terms.

Jane Greer profiles the three nominees below. Candidates for denominational boards and commissions will be profiled in the May/June issue.

Each certified member congregation of the UUA is allotted a number of delegates based on the size of its membership.

William G. Sinkford - President

The Rev. William G. Sinkford, elected UUA president in 2001, is running for reelection.

One of the president's prime responsibilities is to represent the denomination in the public arena. "My first priority has been to raise the public visibility and voice of our faith," he says. "From marriage equality, voter participation, and reproductive choice to the genocide in the Sudan, Unitarian Universalism's voice has become a credible liberal religious presence in the national discourse."

Sinkford has traveled widely in pursuit of this mandate. He waious leaders who met with Iraqi clergy in Amman, Jordan, in 2003. Later that year he represented Unitarian Universalists at a meeting of Religions for Peace held at the Vatican. He was a guest speaker at the NAACP's eighth annual religious summit in Atlanta. He represented the denomination at a Chicago meeting convened by the National Council of Churches to discuss the consequences of war. In November 2004 he participated in a Washington, D.C., press conference sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice on the topic of "Defining 'Moral Values.'" He has received coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, and the Today Show.

Sinkford has also represented the UUA to its constituent congregations. In the course of his term he has visited congregations in more than 30 states, conducting services and taking part in church celebrations. He says his role as spiritual leader and pastoral caregiver has become an important part of the job especially in the wake of events such as 9/11, the Florida hurricanes, and the tsunami.

Among the accomplishments Sinkford claims as president are the creation of an internship for young adults in the UUA's Washington, D.C., office; the institution of a new religious education credentialing program; the design and implementation of new growth strategies; the revisioning of the UUA's antioppression work; and the successful completion of the association's largest capital campaign, which raised $32 million. He is especially proud of the new initiative begun at the 2004 GA to bring congregational leaders together. "Throughout my ministry as president, I have trusted that if we could bring Unitarian Universalists and UU congregations together we would discover that there is a coherent center to our faith," he said. "We are beginning to believe it."

Sinkford is a graduate of Harvard University. After completing his degree he entered the business world, where he held management positions with Avon Products, Gillette, Johnson Products, and Revlon. He also formed his own company, an experience that he says taught him what it was to be a CEO. After many years in business, he decided to enter the ministry, earning an M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1995. He received fellowship as a community minister the same year. Before being elected UUA president, Sinkford served seven years as the UUA's director of congregational, district, and extension services.

In his next term, Sinkford says he "is committed to raising a liberal religious voice in our deeply divided nation, working with our young people to revision our youth ministry, continuing efforts to support the vitality of our congregations, and helping UUs deepen their faith and make more effective our witness to justice."

Sinkford is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Gini Courter - Moderator

Gini Courter is running for UUA moderator. Gini (who asked to be referred to by her first name) was elected by the board of trustees to serve as interim moderator in October 2003 after the resignation of Diane Olson, who had been elected moderator in 2001. Gini was elected to complete the final year of Olson's term by the 2004 General Assembly. She is running for a full four-year term.

The moderator presides over the annual General Assembly and meetings of the board of trustees. It is the UUA's highest volunteer position.

A native of Flint, Michigan, Gini was raised a Methodist but left the church at age 14. For the next 13 years, she explored different religions. At the suggestion of a friend, she visited a Unitarian Universalist church and immediately felt a connection. In 1985 she joined the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint, where she quickly became active, serving on the board and building committee.

Gini then volunteered to serve on the Michigan District board (now part of the Heartland District) and was elected finance chair. She also became involved in promoting UU growth in her area and conducted several "Beyond Categorical Thinking" workshops, which help congregations reflect on diversity and their ministerial needs. In 1995, she was elected to the UUA board of trustees representing the Heartland District, a position she held for eight years. During her time on the board, she served for eight years on the UUA finance committee, chairing the group for three of those years, and was liaison to the Electronic Communications Committee, the Annual Program Fund Task Force, and the General Assembly Technology Task Force.

"My experience on the board was life-changing, valuable, and authentic," she said in a 2003 interview. "There were times when I disagreed with the board's direction. But the board was exceptionally committed and well led so there was a place for me to raise concerns in a way that made me feel both valued and heard." In 2003 she became secretary of the GA Planning Committee.

Gini believes that she brings many strengths to the job including a deep passion for UU polity, solid networking skills, risk tolerance, and a preference for broadly shared leadership. "I have also been told that I run a good meeting," she adds. She is committed to growing Unitarian Universalism and sees GA as an excellent venue for achieving this. "I want to create a GA experience that is as spiritually rewarding as possible so that all who attend are well-equipped to return home, roll up their sleeves, and do the work of the congregation," she said in an interview.

Gini is an information technology consultant and a recognized speaker on office collaboration and productivity tools. Currently serving a multiple year consultancy at a Michigan-based Fortune 1000 company, she is the author or co-author of 28 books on information technology.

Gini is currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse in Traverse City, Michigan.

Dan Brody - Financial Advisor

Dan Brody is running for the position of UUA financial advisor. The financial advisor is charged with advising the president and the board of trustees on financial policy and on ways of maintaining the Association's financial health.

Brody has extensive experience in financial management and planning. He is currently vice president of the Boston-based Keefe company, an urban planning and real estate development firm. In this position he is responsible for preparing financial analyses, environmental impact documents, and developing Web sites. Before starting the job at Keefe in 2002, Brody was assistant dean for financial management and planning for eleven years at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As chief financial officer for the school, he was responsible for overseeing a $100 million budget.

Before starting at the Kennedy School, Brody worked as deputy state budget director for the state of Massachusetts from 1987 to 1989. In this capacity he developed and implemented the state's operating and capital budgets totaling $13 billion. Before this, he was assistant state bud-get director and budget analyst.

Born in New York City and raised in a Philadelphia suburb, Brody is a 1971 graduate of Harvard University and has a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Brody has served in many volunteer capacities. He is a member of the board of directors and the Web site manager for Newton Conservators, in Newton, Massachusetts, a citizen's group advocating to keep the town's open spaces. He has also served as treasurer for Brigham Community House, a drop-in center for teens, and on the board of directors at the Riverside Children's Center, both in Newton.

At the First Unitarian Society in Newton, where he has been a member for ten years, Brody has served as chair of the board of investment and of the planned giving committee.

His involvement with Unitarian Universalism began when his older child, Isaac, who was then 12, announced to the family's surprise that he wanted a Bar Mitzvah. After some discussion it was revealed that Isaac really wanted a place to discuss spiritual issues. So began the family's longterm involvement at First Unitarian Society.

Brody considers communication skills-in addition to his broad financial experience-as one of the important strengths he would bring to the position of financial advisor. "I've worked in complex organizational settings," he says, "often in positions where my effectiveness depended entirely on my ability to listen to others, to reconcile opposing viewpoints, and to persuade people to follow my advice."

Brody believes that growth is one of the greatest challenges facing the denomination. "We need to encourage growth in the denomination by creating new congregations and by increasing our visibility among people, especially youth and communities of color, whom we've had difficulty attracting in the past."

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
UU World : 52-53

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