Board Members

Celeste Kennedy

President

Community UU Church in Plano, Texas

Celeste is currently the President of the SWUUW’s Board. Celeste has been President of NTUUC (North Texas UU Congregations) and serves as Chair of the NTUUC Education Committee which plans conferences and training events.  She has held various Board and Program Board positions at Community UU Church in Plano, Texas, where she has been a member for over 20 years. In her “other life” Celeste holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and has been a trainer, program developer and administrator for the telecom and healthcare industries. Connecting people to interests and developing opportunities for people has been one of her focuses throughout her career. She has worked on PR for organizations and has produced brochures and other marketing publications.

Chloé LaPorte

President-Elect

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, TX

Chloé has been a Unitarian Universalist her whole life, growing up in the UU Church of Las Cruces, NM. As an adult, she was an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, where she was an RE teacher,  member of the choir, and High School Youth Group Leader. Chloé and her mother attended their first SWUUW Conference in 2012, and has attended a total of four since then. She is thrilled to be joining the board. Chloé is a social worker for the Girls Empowerment Network in Austin, TX where she lives with her partner.

Chloé LaPorte

President-Elect

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, TX

Chloé has been a Unitarian Universalist her whole life, growing up in the UU Church of Las Cruces, NM. As an adult, she was an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, where she was an RE teacher,  member of the choir, and High School Youth Group Leader. Chloé and her mother attended their first SWUUW Conference in 2012, and has attended a total of four since then. She is thrilled to be joining the board. Chloé is a social worker for the Girls Empowerment Network in Austin, TX where she lives with her partner.

Mary Kirwin

Past-President

First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Worth, TX

Mary attended her first SWUUW conference in 2000 in Dallas after registering at the last minute following her father’s death earlier that month. Going to a UU women’s gathering felt like a good choice in that moment. As a regular attendee to subsequent conferences, Mary was later recruited to join the SWUUW Board and served three years as Director At Large. She rejoined the Board in 2018 as President-Elect. Mary is an active member of First Jefferson UUC in Fort Worth since 1994, serving the congregation in many areas including RE teacher, on the worship committee, board of trustees and President for two terms. Currently, her passion and spiritual outlet is Choir both at church and in the community.  Mary and her husband Kimmel have raised two sons, Casey and Matt in the church.

Liz Nielsen

Treasurer

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, TX

Liz joined the SWUUW board in 2017 as the Treasurer. She attended her first SWUUW conference in 2010 in Dallas. She is a member of First UU of Austin. While in college, Liz was an intern at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office in New York City for two years, where she worked with UU congregations around the country as the Envoy coordinator. After graduating from law school, Liz served as legal counsel for a large nonprofit organization for several years. Currently, Liz is an estate planning attorney in Austin, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Liz Nielsen

Treasurer

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, TX

Liz joined the SWUUW board in 2017 as the Treasurer. She attended her first SWUUW conference in 2010 in Dallas. She is a member of First UU of Austin. While in college, Liz was an intern at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office in New York City for two years, where she worked with UU congregations around the country as the Envoy coordinator. After graduating from law school, Liz served as legal counsel for a large nonprofit organization for several years. Currently, Liz is an estate planning attorney in Austin, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Vicki Verinder

Secretary

Community UU Church in Plano, Texas

Vicki Verinder joined SWUUW board in 2016 and is now serving as Secretary. She has been a member of Community UU Church, Plano, since 2012 and was part of the Harvest the Power leadership class. Vicki is currently a member of Women’s Alliance, the Stewardship Committee, and serves as a Greeter. She is also on the Board of Trustees, being elected Personnel Chair at Community in 2020. Vicki and her husband Gene have lived in Plano since 1972 where they raised their two sons who, along with their families, live out of state. She is now self-employed as a freelance Notary Public and Signing Agent.

Nancy Foreman

Board Member At-Large

Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, TX 

Nancy Foreman joined the SWUUW Board as Member At-Large in 2017. She has been a member of Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church since 1996 and a Unitarian Universalist (UU) at four churches since 1986. She is active on the Horizon Justice Team and their Calling Circle.  Nancy has served at Horizon in many roles including Board President. Her activities in the wider UU world include the North Texas UU Congregations Social Action and Awards Committees. She is a veteran of many events in the UUA Southern region, including eight Southwest UU Women’s Conferences, starting in 2000. (She counted the t-shirts.) Nancy has attended the Dwight Brown Leadership Experience, The Point UU Retreat (formerly known as SWUUSI) and seven General Assemblies. She has two grown children, a daughter and a son, and received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Nancy Foreman

Board Member At-Large

Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, TX 

Nancy Foreman joined the SWUUW Board as Member At-Large in 2017. She has been a member of Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church since 1996 and a Unitarian Universalist (UU) at four churches since 1986. She is active on the Horizon Justice Team and their Calling Circle.  Nancy has served at Horizon in many roles including Board President. Her activities in the wider UU world include the North Texas UU Congregations Social Action and Awards Committees. She is a veteran of many events in the UUA Southern region, including eight Southwest UU Women’s Conferences, starting in 2000. (She counted the t-shirts.) Nancy has attended the Dwight Brown Leadership Experience, The Point UU Retreat (formerly known as SWUUSI) and seven General Assemblies. She has two grown children, a daughter and a son, and received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Katie Womack

Board Member At-Large

UU Church of the Brazos Valley

Katie Womack joined the SWUUW Board as Member At-Large in 2014. Katie has been a member of the UU Church of the Brazos Valley (UUCBV) since 1981, serving as President of the Board three terms and Chair of the Religious Education Committee at least five years. She and her daughter attended their first SWUUW conference in 2003. Katie is a 2000 graduate of the Dwight Brown Leadership Experience. She is a trained OWL (Our Whole Lives) instructor. Currently she is active on her home church as President of the UUCBV’s UU Women’s Federation Chapter. Professionally, she is a researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She considers the SWUUW Conference one of the highlights of each year and is honored to serve on the SWUUW Board.

Becky Warren

Board Member At-Large

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco

Becky has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco since 1994. She attended her first SWUUSI in 1997, bringing her young son along for many years. He enjoyed the Lake Murray youth camp, and she taught early morning water aerobics at Lake Texhoma. She has also enjoyed several SWUUW conferences through the years. She has been a board member of UU Waco, taught youth RE, sung in the choir, and been social action chairman. Her social action community background includes Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, and Communities in Schools. She received teacher certification and taught special education classes in middle school for 13 years prior to retiring in 2019. Through it all, she’s continued to teach water aerobics at the Waco Family Y. This is her 28th year with the Y. Her husband, Keith, is a psychologist in private practice and teaching at Baylor. Her son and his wife live in Jersey City, NJ, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Becky Warren

Board Member At-Large

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco

Becky has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco since 1994. She attended her first SWUUSI in 1997, bringing her young son along for many years. He enjoyed the Lake Murray youth camp, and she taught early morning water aerobics at Lake Texhoma. She has also enjoyed several SWUUW conferences through the years. She has been a board member of UU Waco, taught youth RE, sung in the choir, and been social action chairman. Her social action community background includes Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, and Communities in Schools. She received teacher certification and taught special education classes in middle school for 13 years prior to retiring in 2019. Through it all, she’s continued to teach water aerobics at the Waco Family Y. This is her 28th year with the Y. Her husband, Keith, is a psychologist in private practice and teaching at Baylor. Her son and his wife live in Jersey City, NJ, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Karen McGinnis

Board Member At-Large

Karen joined the Amarillo UU Fellowship in 1991. While living in Amarillo she attended her first SWUUW conference in Shreveport, LA and was permanently hooked! Karen served on the Fellowship’s Board of Directors including as Secretary and President. In 2005 Karen moved to San Angelo, TX where there is no UU church or fellowship. Her connection to UU women through the annual conference became even more important. Between conferences she attended many retreats at UBarU Retreat Center to sustain and nourish her soul. She served 7 years on the SWUUW board beginning as a Member at Large and finally stepped down after her duties as President ended. During her term as President the SWUUW By-Laws were rewritten and approved by the membership. In 2020 she was once again asked to join the board and currently serves as Member at Large.