The most recent chapter of my career was in corporate sustainability—advocating for investments, policies, and innovations that reduce our collective impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. I was fortunate to do this meaningful work for Kohler Co. for nearly 15 years before deciding to retire in late 2019. After two years of retirement, I felt there was still more I could contribute, so I decided to return to work in May as the director of sustainability for Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling. This puts me in the middle of issues such as plastics recycling, sustainable use of water resources, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and more. I’m also the chair of the Wauwatosa Sustainability Committee, a volunteer advisory committee to city government. Recently, I’ve been struck by similarities between environmental sustainability and anti-racism/anti-oppression work. Both involve changing systems/organizations where decisions are made in ways that harm or disenfranchise others, whether they be those with marginalized identities or future generations. Much needs to be done to bring about a sustainable and equitable society. I believe Unitarian Universalism provides a strong grounding for this work.
I’m new BOT member Jeannie Baker. You’ve seen me around at the coffee service, which is a funny job for me because I don’t like coffee! Please come up and tell me what you think about our beverages. That big percolator scares me!
I’ve also been on the Worship Ministry Team and am a long-term member of the Stewardship Committee. As a Stewardship Committee member, I was very involved with the recent Cottage Meetings. If you’ve comments about those meetings, I would be pleased to listen because we may do a similar thing next year and improvement is always the model. I’ve been on the BOT before, but I’m happy to be back now with a different energy, both for myself and for the church. I was also a part of the Interim Search Team, and I’m excited to welcome, along with all the rest of you, our new minister in August.
My husband, Phil Kroner, and I have been a part of UUCW for at least 15 years. We came because we wanted our two sons to be part of the youth program but we stayed because we became part of the community and began to value all that it brings. My favorite thing about UUCW is the opportunity to expand my way of thinking about social, spiritual, and community ideas. I often leave our services and activities with a new, inspired outlook.
I’m a recently retired lawyer, and I’m taking advantage of retirement to get serious about learning Chinese, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. I take classes at UWM and take advantage of lots of other Chinese language opportunities. Is it easy to learn a foreign language at my age? No, it is not. Some days it’s like trying to drive a nail through a brick! I also like to knit, weave, play Mahjong, read, and watch “art” movies. The Oriental Theatre is my happy place.
This is a challenging time for UUCW – lots of changes and challenges and concerns. There are opportunities here, though and I’m looking forward to being part of the re-energized, reorganized church. If you see me at service, please stop and say “Hello” and tell me what you want the BOT to know about your experiences at UUCW and about your vision for the future. We are the church, and the more the BOT can know about you, the better.
Lisa Larson joined UUCW in 2008 with her husband Kal Larson. Their 2 boys Kwin(27) & Kenn(25) grew up in the church. Lisa has taught Religious Ed. been a member of The Split the Plate Committee, Co-chaired the Silent Auction and attends Women’s Book Club. Prior to retirement Lisa taught K-12 Physical Education & Health in the WA-WM Public Schools where she worked on state & local committees, attended & presented at conventions and coordinated Jump Rope for Heart (raising over $40 thousand dollars in the prevention of heart disease). Her favorite activities are biking, camping, gardening & reading. She also enjoys attending Thai Chi & Watercolor painting at the Brookfield Senior Center. Lisa is the Senior Olympic State Champion for her age group in the 40K & 20K road races and competes at Nationals. She is a member of Tour de Friends, a local women’s bicycle group (80 plus women). Lisa is especially drawn to UUCW because of its principles. As past President this year she plans to continue to bring her energy, sensibility, collaborative skills & enthusiasm to the UUCW Board of Trustees.
After college, Pam Beattie worked as a model and commercial actress with Milwaukee and Chicago Agencies. She was an active member of AFTRA/SAG and the Vice President of the Milwaukee Society of Models. Pam taught personal development classes to youth throughout the community including Journey House and MPS before becoming the director of John Casablancas. She retired from this position four years ago. Pam was also a member of PFLAG and served on a Parent Advisory Board for the Elmbrook Schools.
Rick and Pam have been married for 46 years. Their biggest joy is visiting their four adult children and two grandchildren who live all over the country. They came to UUCW seventeen years ago, looking for a spiritual community that shared their values. Over the years, Pam has been involved with the RE Program, UU Circles, Auctions, Workshops, Managing the Annual Trustee Awards, and this past year working with the Ministerial Transitions. Pam is honored to be serving her fourth year on the Board.
Kristin began attending UUCW in 2008 after moving to the area with her husband, David Gross, joining as a member in 2017. She subsequently served on the Earth Ministry team and helped coordinate the Milwaukee Riverkeepers Earth Day clean up in 2019. She has been an RE volunteer prior to COVID-19 when children, Henry and Harold, participated.
The Busse-Gross family enjoys tent camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, biking – pretty much anything outdoors in nature. The family camping tradition is an important occasion for us to reconnect with each other and with nature. We always come home thankful for the roof over our head (especially if it rained while camping), the comfort of a mattress, and hot water for a shower.
Professionally, Kristin is a pharmacist by training and now enjoys a position as an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy. She also runs a regulatory affairs program in the Office of Research to support investigator submissions to the FDA and serves as a chair for MCW’s Institutional Review Board, which evaluates research projects to ensure the protection of the rights of human subject participants.
She looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the church in this new role to engage with members in new and meaningful ways, and hopefully with a little grace.
Colleen Gresk learned of Unitarian Universalism while attending Marquette University, and she became a visitor at First Unitarian Society. She graduated with a degree in sociology and minors in history and Spanish in 2016. She began attending UUCW the very next weekend. Colleen became a church member in 2017 and joined the Women’s Book Discussion Group. She is now also a member of the Adult Choir, the Personnel Visioning Committee, and the Safety & Security Committee. She enjoys participating in the Tap Roots monthly discussions as well. Her favorite hobby is genealogy with a focus on social history, especially as it pertains to local history.
Larry Hawley joined the church in 2006. He participated in Dinners in the Home, ran a joint chess club between Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church and UUCW, and has taught in the Religious Education program for 8 years. He enjoys participating in our campus clean-up days and traveling to Nicaragua with his son and his daughter as part of two different Nicaragua Brigades. He became involved in a leadership role by serving on the Vision 2020 Long Range Plan committee. He was active for a three-year term on the Board of Trustees and has been Membership chairperson since January of 2016. He has also led many programs at the 4 different schools that his children have attended. Currently, he is the Treasurer of the Eisenhower High School Choir Parent Organization. In the past, he has worked as a CPA for a Chicago public accounting firm and has been a high school math teacher. He looks forward to helping bring the Build the Vision plan to fruition.
Lynn Kapitan has been a member of UUCW since 1991 and is a former professor of art therapy. Her spiritual perspective is informed by a life-long commitment to social action and cross-cultural learning, and a deep love for how language can bridge differences.
I have been attending UUCW with my wife Melissa Musante since 2018 and we became members in 2019. A number of challenges brought our daughter, Petra, to Tonawanda Elementary and new friends were made. The parents of Petra’s new friend group are long-time members of UUCW; they have become fierce friends of the entire family, just as Petra did with their children.
Our family is active with the church’s EarthSpirit Team, organizing regular seasonal services to celebrate the wheel of the year and nature’s importance to us all. And Petra is active in RE & OWL to deepen her spiritual growth and friendships with our congregation’s youth.
I have worked in the IT industry for 36 years, with a focus on serving organizations whose work makes Milwaukee and Wisconsin better places. I have been a musician my entire life. I am currently playing bass clarinet with the Brookfield Civic Band and electric bass professionally with a variety of bands including Milwaukee’s Premier African Band, Sindoolaa. I am so excited to bring my skills to the board and look forward to working with UUCW’s congregation.