Candidates for the OLLI Board of Directors 2023
Candidates OLLI Mason Board of Directors 2023
I retired in 2018 after a career as a support contractor for the US Navy. As a logistics analyst, I managed, supported, and documented the Navy’s processes for providing “beans and bullets” to support and maintain their ships and personnel. Working in that world meant analyzing complex issues, creating the most efficient ways of dealing with them, and ensuring that all the players understood the process and were on the same page. I believe this experience will enable me to contribute to the work of the OLLI Mason Board of Directors.
Today’s OLLI Mason is complex in two senses. Organizationally, it involves various activities carried out by a mixed “crew” of employees and volunteers, with substantial financial and technical support requirements. It is also complex because of the current external environment. The COVID-19 episode upended our basic educational model. It caused significant problems but also created a whole new set of opportunities for us in the form of small Zoom classes. We are still digesting the consequences of these changes and how we should reconfigure OLLI Mason to best take advantage of them. This will involve long-range planning, organizational adjustments, and rethinking some of our legacy processes and assumptions.
As a current Board member, I hope to continue in that role and apply my professional background as we chart OLLI Mason’s course into the future. I’ve already participated as a member of the Governance Committee on a significant rewrite of our Policies and Procedures manual, which gave me a good understanding of how our organization operates.
I have also served as a parliamentary advisor to the Board and will continue contributing to its work. I believe that OLLI Mason has an exciting future in store, and I look forward to being part of it.
After graduating from George Washington University with a BA in History, I began a 21-year odyssey as an Air Force wife. It included exciting assignments in the states, and an exciting three-year tour in Japan, which resulted in a deep interest in Asian history and culture. Along the way, I had four sons, the joy of my life.
The marriage ended. I moved back to the DC area and began a new phase of life: teaching. For 31 years, I taught History and Psychology in Fairfax County Public Schools. As a Virginia and the National Council for Social Studies member, I frequently presented at annual conferences. Summer opportunities for teachers allowed me to study at Churchill College of Cambridge University and Nottingham University and on summer trips to many countries in Asia. During this time, I earned MAs in English and History at GMU.
I retired in 2019 and joined OLLI. I have presented in Psychology and History: two single sessions on George Marshall, three on Korea, one on Mary McLeod Bethune, and at least two on Putin. I am planning proposals for three sessions in Fall: one on Korea, one on Marshall/MacArthur, and an updated session on Putin; and four proposals for Winter: Martin Luther King and John Lewis for January, King’s birthday month, and Ida B. Wells and Mary McLeod Bethune for February, Black History Month.
Zoom came to us by necessity, but it offers many opportunities. People can still participate even when temporarily incapacitated, on vacation, or living far away. We could enrich OLLI by offering a special Zoom membership at a lower annual fee for folks who could only participate via Zoom for whatever reason. To encourage social interaction, the lounge could be enhanced. Food frequently draws folks. Book donations might be added. Rather than go straight to the donation bin at the library, books could be available free for any OLLI folks interested in them. Care must be taken to keep that from becoming a dumping ground. In-person activities can be increased, as the current catalog does. The Fairfax County Department of Aging could be invited to give a presentation on its services, paired with OLLI folks who have researched retirement possibilities and could advise others on what to look for.
I earned a BA from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Rockhurst University.
Unlike most other candidates, I didn’t have a long career in one field. I had several jobs before turning to volunteerism after I had children. Most significant included Equipment Scheduler for Xerox in Oakbrook, IL, New York, NY, and Boston, MA. As an order technician with Butler Manufacturing in Kansas City, I read builder specs/blueprints for the pre-engineered metal buildings and spoke to the builders about potential discrepancies. I then became customer service manager for Swift & Co. distribution center. I wrote “how to” manuals for Xerox scheduling and Swift for computerized order entry.
My volunteer career started in Kansas City with the National Council of Jewish Women. I initiated projects, planned events, and served on the board. In Akron, Ohio, I restarted the National Council of Jewish Women. With the help of one other member, I recruited members, handled the money from the national organization, published the newsletter, and helped the organization get back on its feet. I became president and, for five years, chaired a gift wrap operation at a large mall. I was on the national nominating committee and chaired the first small section meeting in New York.
After moving to Sarasota, FL, I again turned to NCJW. I was assistant treasurer, financial treasurer, and ultimately co-president. It was in Sarasota that I became acquainted with OLLI. OLLI provided the necessary mental stimulation and allowed me to make many new friends.
OLLI Mason helped me decide where to live in Northern Virginia. It was a godsend during Covid and has continued to be a source of education and friendship. I joined the OLLI Zoom help committee.
Currently, I am the co-chair of the member engagement committee, which writes handwritten notes to new members. I put together stationary packets and maintain the spreadsheets of the new members and the writing assignments.
Those who know me know I love to do research as well as spreadsheets and tend to think “outside the box.” My varied background would enable me to be an asset to the OLLI Board. While I could contribute in most areas, my preferences are program and strategic planning. We will continue to have much competition, so we must keep providing a superior product.
Hopefully, you will allow me to prove that your vote was well-placed.
I earned a BS in Electrical Engineering (Duke University) and a Master of Science (MS) in Aeronautical Engineering at the US Naval Postgraduate School. I graduated from the 5-month Defense Acquisition Course at the Defense Acquisition University. I spent 20 years as a Naval Aviator and 32 supporting Naval Aviation acquisition.
As a member of GMU OLLI since 2017, taking many classes, I became an OLLI Board of Directors member and worked to make the environment viable. I am an Officer of the OLLI Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG) and a member of the Zoom Help Team, helping assist OLLI with Zoom, making our classrooms Hybrid Zoom capable. I have also assisted many members in understanding their computers and Zoom so that they could participate in Zoom classes. Zoom is here to stay!
Recruiting, welcoming, and making members feel comfortable in classes are essential parts of retention for our financial stability. As a member of the Member Engagement Committee, I have written letters to new members welcoming them and answering their questions. I’ve also recruited some new members through conversations. I helped man our OLLI Table at the Springfield Town Center 50+ Expo speaking with many to inform and recruit. As an Outreach: Website Advertising Committee member, I am helping gather ideas and information to improve our current brochures and catalogs and make our website easier to use.
I was the 2022 Election Committee Chair. Our five-person committee recruited nine competent candidates, advertised their capabilities, and increased voting by 30% to elect new Board members and officers. As Co-Chair of the OLLI Walk & Talk Club, I enjoy locating walk routes & leaders, organizing walks, and publishing trip tales afterward. We socialize to ensure our walkers enjoy the atmosphere and appreciate the trails. We have dramatically increased our club 6-fold to 60+ members.
I want to continue my efforts as a Board Director for a second term to help us progress to our “new normal." We must continually balance the economic equation of member numbers, cost profiles, and exciting classes with talented instructors for Zoom, hybrid, and in-person to meet our OLLI member's needs and expectations while being financially responsible along the way. A Challenge for the Future that I can contribute to.
I am a native Virginian. After receiving my engineering degree from Howard University, I worked for a major energy corporation with a career spanning 40 years, primarily in the planning and implementing of large capital projects. My expertise was in contracting for the design and construction of these projects, including bid solicitations, contract negotiations, and occasionally resolving disputes and claims. I also have experience in cost (and schedule) estimating and control. My work covered domestic and international projects and carried me to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, S.America, and Canada, including assignments in Europe and Canada.
I have experience and skills in problem-solving, leading teams of individuals from diverse business backgrounds and cultures, and listening to other points of view to achieve resolution. My professional background is “outside of the beltway” and working in a corporate environment, thus offering a different perspective than many OLLI members whose backgrounds are in government, military, or education.
I have been a member of OLLI for over 15 years. I have been intrigued by the broad background of OLLI members, their span of interests and expertise, and their connections to outside experts. I’ve enjoyed the diversity of lectures and subject matter presented by OLLI members and external experts. Just as satisfying, I enjoyed the social aspects, including good conversation before and after classes. The many road trips organized by OLLI were also a plus. Pre-pandemic, OLLI was unique and was growing and expanding. I was a road warrior, taking classes at all three sites.
Then came the pandemic. Through the efforts of OLLI’s leadership and the technical team, OLLI was able to switch gears almost seamlessly from 100% in-person classes to 100% virtual and now offers many hybrid courses.
OLLI survived the past three years but lost some of its Mojo. With the pandemic behind us, many hope that OLLI can regain some of the attributes that define OLLI and make us unique. We want our Mojo back. Key issues facing us include the need to reinvigorate OLLI and recapture its sense of community, exploit hybrid classes and re-establish the personal connections and socialization afforded by in-person classes and social interactions and get OLLI back into a growth mode while maintaining cost awareness.
I want to serve on the Board. My skills will augment the skill sets currently on the Board - helping OLLI redefine itself in the new norm while recapturing some of its lost identity. I’m hopeful we can get back on track and be a better OLLI, meeting the needs of some members through hybrid classes while regaining personal connections. I don’t have a silver bullet or secret potion, but I have the desire and drive.
I am originally from Akron, Ohio. I attended Kent State University, where I received a BA. While a student, I was actively involved in several campus organizations. I met my wife, Carolyn, there. She is also an OLLI member. I earned a JD from the University of Akron Law School.
After graduation, I was self-employed in general practice, emphasizing criminal law, primarily defense, and representing plaintiffs in civil matters. I volunteered for 14 years as a legal advisor for high school mock trial teams.
Among my activities, I served as a member of the Community Health Board and was on the board and served as an officer for a large Kiwanis Club. I also chaired fundraising projects for the club. Our club sponsored the construction of a low-income apartment building, among other projects. I served for five years as an elected precinct committee person and was responsible for appointing poll workers.
We moved to Fairfax in 2010, after retirement, to be near our children and grandchildren, all of whom live in Fairfax. I first encountered OLLI while wintering in Hilton Head, taking some incredible classes. When we began to look for housing in Fairfax, we knew we wanted to audit courses at GMU. We also discovered that Fairfax had an OLLI branch. That sealed the deal. We chose housing within walking distance of both campuses. We’ve been OLLI members for more than ten years. I currently serve as a member of the Landscaping Committee (aka Dirty Knee Club).
OLLI has given me so much. Service as a board member would allow me to give something back. We need to increase our membership and increase our fundraising efforts. Perhaps, we must work to increase our personal contact with each other since the challenge of Covid.
I know that the current board is already working hard to reach these goals. They are challenging but achievable goals, and I am prepared to join in that effort.
I’m a recently retired, relatively new, but quite active member of OLLI. In my past life, I worked for 13 years at a company offering technical courses to engineers in Global Positioning System (GPS) signal theory and receiver design. I then moved on to a company where I worked as a project facilitator in the Marketing Department and then as a contracts marketing manager. I later transitioned to a business analyst, then a project manager within the IT Department, working on a major enterprise system upgrade – collaborating with software developers and end-users in designing the system and training employees on the new program and processes.
Eventually, I led the entire IT Department and later circled back to lead the Marketing Department, always with an eye toward cooperative processes, cross-training, and team building. In short, education and learning have been underlying themes throughout my career.
When I retired in 2021, I learned about OLLI through AARP and was quickly entranced by the breadth of OLLI’s offerings, both in terms of courses and extracurricular. Having been involved for many years with the New Dominion Chorale, an all-volunteer singers’ cooperative, including serving on their Board, I was also impressed with the spirit of volunteerism that drives OLLI forward.
To do “my part” for OLLI, I’m currently leading a team on refreshing publicity materials for the Outreach Committee; I help distribute our course catalogs around the area; I’ve worked the OLLI booth at a senior services event and am part of the team looking for other such events; and I serve on the Excursions Committee, helping plan the activities that take place all around the area. I’ve also been an active member of the History Club, Theater Lover’s Group, and the Walk & Talk Club, as well as taking what feels like more than my fair share of OLLI courses each term!
As a Board Member for OLLI, I can bring both my deep love for learning and my experience in marketing to bear on helping spread the word about OLLI’s programs more thoroughly throughout Northern Virginia, reaching out to parts of the community we don’t currently serve.
I also want to help us leverage our recent virtual platform development to extend our reach outside the local area – across the DMV and beyond. Through extending our reach, I believe we can expand the diversity of our membership and offerings and help make OLLI Mason stronger and more resilient for the years to come.
Like many of you, I am a transplant from another state. I moved to Virginia in 1980 and, after a career in insurance, stayed home with my children for a few years. I took this opportunity to become involved in volunteer opportunities-- from the church choir and teaching adult religious education to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
I returned to my first career, teaching, and simultaneously received a Master’s degree in Education from George Mason University. I retired in 2019 after 27 years as a teacher for FCPS. I served as lead Social Studies teacher at my school for the last 20 years and the official Mentor for several teachers. I continued as a Mentor and school volunteer for a year until the pandemic closed the schools to volunteers.
I have continued as an active volunteer in the community and will be returning as an usher at Wolf Trap Farm Park for my 24th year. I taught Adult Ed English to English learners, via ZOOM, for almost 3 years of the pandemic.
For six years, I was a member and later chair of the Endowment Committee of my church. We initiated a campaign that more than doubled our Endowment Fund. I have volunteered as a Greeter and was asked to join the Pastoral Care Team at my church in 2019. We also worked in tandem with the Membership Committee to encourage growth.
I helped write a grant for funding to meet Covid protocols to reopen our church building, which also shares space with Spring Mar Preschool.
I have enjoyed the variety of opportunities available at OLLI. Most recently, I have been a part of the team of Moderators for the “What’s in the Daily News” club on Mondays, so I have been on both sides of the learning experience.
I think my professional and volunteer experience would be useful as a Board member in planning, engaging members in online and in-person activities, and promoting the GMU OLLI experience to the community.