GET TO KNOW YOUR NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Suzanne Stassevitch- President
Voter Service is a first love, especially with first-time voters and the speaker’s bureau. At LWV of San Franciso (LWVSF), 1st VP for Voter Services, Suzanne represented the League on the SF County Ballot Simplification Committee, provided access to voting materials city-wide in English, Spanish and Chinese through local newspapers, and coordinated vote-by mail- promotions and ranked choice voting education. As a member of the League of Women Voters of California Board in 2009 – 2013, she participated in a statewide education campaign supporting application and processes of the newly established California Independent Redistricting Commission. In 2012, Suzanne led a team to resurrect, revise and publish the LWVC Guide to California Government.
Moving full time to NYC in 2013, Suzanne fulfilled an ambition to work as one of the LWVUS Observers at the United Nations. Her focus at the UN was on education and outreach to LWV members nationwide with a ‘think globally, act locally” program.
She has served on the Board of Directors for the LWVNYS since 2017 with eyes on the future of the organization; updating processes, website platforms and National meetings and as well as a member of the LWVNYS nominating committee. She also serves on the board of LWV of the City of New York and as a LWVUS Shur Fellow, promotes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our organizational and programmatic planning.
Suzanne has worked and supported the arts her entire life; she never met an art she hasn’t tried or liked. She holds graduate degrees in Theatrical arts and her career, before the League, was primarily in the Costume and Wardrobe Departments in the San Francisco Bay Area Theaters, Ballet and 23 years with San Francisco Opera. Since 2001 her activities have been redirected toward Adult Literacy, the League of Women Voters and study/practice to development of her own work in textiles arts.
She believe the League’s mission is as vital today as it ever was and would like to be part of retooling the League to meet the challenges of today and to engage more people in ‘Making Democracy work” for everyone. Working with the League has offered her many opportunities to work in different communities, take on tremendous challenges, and experience personal growth for which she is deeply grateful.
Judie Gorenstein – 1st Vice President/Voter Services
After retiring from social work, Judie was looking for something meaningful to do and joined the LWV of Huntington in 2004. She soon became a co-chair of the voter service committee at LWV of Huntington and voter service chair of LWV-Suffolk County. In 2008 she was elected President of her local League and served in that position until June 2017 when she stepped down in order to have more time to spend with her five grandchildren, as well as time to devote to LWVNYS. This March, she moved to Hastings on Hudson and already has attended a Hot Topics Breakfast and met with some board members of the LWV of Rivertowns.
Judie had been extremely pleased to have been on the LWVNY board since 2010. Initially she was citizen/education youth program director and then in 2015 she was nominated and elected to be first VP of LWVNYS and Voter Service Chair. Judie has always seen voter services as core of the league’s mission. (It was what attracted to her to become active in her local and then county league.) As voter service chair, Judie saw her primary role as helping local leagues, MALS and ILOs run successful voter registration drives and candidates nights. She engaged members of leagues with surveys (which she was pleased so many completed), teleconference calls, workshops and also a voter service google group. With politics becoming ever more partisan than ever, the challenge of not only being nonpartisan but perceived in that way increased. Leagues were encouraged to share their successes, their formats for candidate nights, invitation letters to candidates, as well as policies for taping. They have also been encouraged to share problems they encountered and concerns in order that leagues could learn from one another and the LWVNY could learn what local leagues needed to maintain the gold standard we have earned when it comes to voter registration and candidate events.
During the last two years, Judie with the help from other board members and of course from our local leagues, edited Road to the Voting Booth Part II and created a tool kit for candidate events and voter registration drives. She also encouraged leagues to put more effort in turning out the vote as well as creating good working relationships with their county board of elections. With the passage of new election laws in NY this year (including early voting to begin this October), Judie sees more opportunity for LWVNY and all our local leagues to work with our board of elections in educating the public. The LWVNY has long lobbied for the election reform, which will certainly in the long run make voting easier and enfranchise more voters, but change and transition always present challenges. If elected as voter service chair and 1st VP for 2019-2021, she looks forward to working with additional board members to meet all the challenges we face. Road to the Voting Booth and other voting material will need be updated to reflect the new reforms. This will be an ongoing process as reforms take place over the next several year and will take coordination but Judie believes “together we can and will do so much.”
Sally Robinson –2nd Vice President/Issues & Advocacy
Sally started in the LWV Scarsdale and served as its president while simultaneously a member of the LWVUS Task Force on Trade Policy Update. After that she was New York State League Grassroots Lobby Director and then 1stVice President/Advocacy and Issues in 2003-04, has held that job again starting in 2009 and served as state League president 2012-2015.
Sally is from the small town of Waller, Texas and was the first person in her family to go to college. After graduating from college and law school on the East Coast, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a tax lawyer. After her third child was born and she moved to Scarsdale, she switched to volunteer work, primarily with the League and as Chair of the Planning Board.
Sally is currently a member of the City of New York LWV where she moved in 2006 and completed a graduate tax degree at NYU Law School. She just moved from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village with her husband, a college and law school classmate. They have plans to spend time both in the winter (skiing) and in the summer (golf) in their new second home in Utah now that they are empty-nesters.
Regina Tillman – 3rd Vice President
Regina Tillman became a member of the LWV Albany County in the Fall of 2016, responding as many did to the times, by seeking a structured way to respond to continued voter apathy. During that first year of membership, she sat in on the Board of Directors meetings, served on several of the Albany League’s committees, and took advantage of any training being offered as well as attending the NYS League Convention in Syracuse. One of the first tangible steps she took to assist the local league was to introduce to the Membership Committee, and to the BOD, a model of volunteer management referred to as I.S.O.T.U.R.E. This is a model that, when adopted, promises to aid in improved retention of volunteering members.
In June of 2018, Regina was tapped to become the 1st Vice President/Administration of the LWV Albany County. She also took the helm of her personal favorite committee, as Membership Committee Chairperson, vacated at the same time. Under Regina’s leadership, the Membership Committee had doubled its meeting frequency in order to tackle issues of member recruitment and retention, place their member interest form online to reduce the paper and mailing required, routinely plan Membership Meetings for the Spring and for the Fall, and address the BOD on volunteer management. Before June 2019, the committee plans to begin crafting an action plan for the LWV Albany County to pursue a more diverse and inclusive membership. She also is heading a LWV Albany County Fundraising and Development Committee, which she created with local BOD approval.
A native of Buffalo NY, Regina left for Cleveland Ohio in 1978 to begin on a path that would engage her for many years, beginning with a Coordinated Internship and MS degree program in Human Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center. The VAMC in Buffalo made her the first job offer so “moving back home” with her husband and then 4 year old son in tow, she become a federal civil servant with the organizational mission of caring for “those that bore the battle”. Career opportunities allowed her to live in other areas of the northeast... Montrose NY... Providence RI... before landing in Albany NY in 1994 as VAMC Clinical Nutrition and Food Service Department Program Manager while taking on new responsibilities in the realm of hospital administration. Her VAMC career then transitioned into a 10 year association with the cooperative extension system, affiliated in NYS with Cornell University, and she continues to volunteer with a farmers market located in the primarily rural upstate county of Schoharie.
Seeing the role of workplace culture from different geographic locations while selecting, supervising, and managing a broad range of job categories, allows Regina to tap into her life experiences for the benefit of the League. She sees it as a win-win as she also gains from her association with the wide array of talent that League membership encompasses.
Jennifer Clark – Secretary
Jennifer is currently Vice President of the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region. She joined the LWV of Mid Hudson Board in 2017 after moving to New York and has also been heading up her local league’s programming committee, working with other members to host such programs as “Fake News, Attacks on the Media, and the First Amendment,” “Running for Office,” and the “Voters’ Rally Breakfast.”
Originally from Poughkeepsie, New York, Jennifer got her under graduate and graduate degrees from Clark University before going to the University of Wisconsin Law School. After obtaining her law license, she spent several years clerking at a municipal court in Manhattan where she was tasked with learning the NYC campaign finance law, and then training the judges in the subject area. Jennifer left that position to take a clerkship with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Her decision to move was prompted by three high profile cases the court was set to hear: a case challenging a voter ID law, a case challenging domestic partnerships, and a case challenging anti-union legislation, known as Act 10. It was her work on the voter ID case that brought the League of Women Voters to her attention; they were the one challenging the law. When she moved back to New York, Jennifer promptly contacted the local league to volunteer. Currently, Jennifer is an assistant county attorney for the County of Ulster, where she researches proposed local laws, defends the County in civil suits, and is of counsel to various county boards and commissions.
Lori has been a Not-For-Profit accountant for 30 year and currently works full time for The Buffalo History Museum. She has always been passionate about good government and ran for Chautauqua County Legislature in 1993. Lori lived in Phoenix AZ for 15 years where she worked as an Election Site Inspector every chance she could. She has been a member of the Buffalo Niagara League since 2013 and serves as the Treasurer. Lori is delighted that she “gets to” lead Water Aerobics twice a week at the Buffalo Jewish Community Center. Lori is delighted that she “gets to” lead Water Aerobics twice a week at the Buffalo Jewish Community Center.
Sheila Miller Bernson- Director At-Large
Sheila has served as Co-President of the LWV of New Castle with Jennifer Mebes Flagg since 2010. She joined the New Castle board as Voter Service Chair in 2007 after she moved to Chappaqua, having spent almost twenty-five years overseas in Turkey, South Korea, the Netherlands and Lebanon. While overseas she worked as a foreign legal consultant at Kim & Chang in Seoul and as a Grants Officer at the Office of Grants and Contracts at the American University of Beirut. Sheila currently works as a volunteer attorney at Pace Women’s Justice Center’s Family Court Legal Program representing victims of domestic violence. In 2016, Sheila was awarded the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Sheila graduated from Pace Law School (JD), and Sarah Lawrence College (BA). She has one son who lives in Denver. She and her husband, John, live in Armonk, NY.
Jane Colvin – Director At-Large
Jane E. Colvin joined the League of Women Voters of the City of New York in 2006, one of the first things she did after selling her house in suburbia and moving into New York City. She immersed herself in League activities, becoming a member of the Legislative Action Committee and the Development Committee, and working on the Inside newsletter and other publications. She served as a member of the Management Team from 2008-2010, as Secretary from 2012 - 2014, and as Treasurer from 2014 - 2018.
After 31 years of working in international and private banking at Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank, Jane determined that in the not-for-profit world, there were greater rewards than those associated with earnings per share. She joined The HealthCare Chaplaincy as Director of Marketing and Communications and subsequently, worked for The Interfaith Center of New York as a Development Associate in charge of special events and fund raising.
Jane is an active congregant at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist church where she’s been a member since 2006. She’s worked on the Nuclear Disarmament, Adult Education, and Nominating Committees and currently heads the All Souls Caring Team, dedicated to providing practical assistance to fellow members in need.
She has a BA from Cornell and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. A perpetual student, Jane has gone back to school, auditing classes at Hunter. She has a wonderful married son and daughter-in-law who live in California and spends her free time enjoying Manhattan.
ErinLeigh Darnley- Director At-Large
ErinLeigh grew up in dairy country east of Cazenovia, NY in a farmhouse that was once a tavern on the underground railroad. Growing up, ErinLeigh‘s mother was a special education teacher at a public school and her father was an education administrator for SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry.
She graduated from Jamesville-Dewitt High School and earned a Bachelor Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Self-employed for over 20 years and recently retired, she volunteers with the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Fayetteville-Manlius Schools and the League of Women Voters. ErinLeigh has 3 children; the creative boys are 14 & 11 and her daughter is a spunky 8-year old. Her husband is an entrepreneur specializing in residential & commercial elevators, wheelchair lifts, and stairlifts. With her family, she enjoys camping in the Adirondack Mountains and boating on New York’s Finger Lakes. She also enjoys history, used books, jewelry, periodicals, and the NYS Fair.
ErinLeigh has been a LWV member for 3 years. With the League, she is Budget Director for Syracuse Metropolitan LWV and was on the NYS Budget Committee. In 2017, she was a delegate at NYS Convention in Syracuse, NY. In 2018, she attended LWV National Convention in Chicago, IL. In 2019, ErinLeigh was one of twenty LWVUS delegates attending the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York, NY. She is also on the LWV US International Cases and Conventions Team.
ErinLeigh is dedicated to the League’s Legislative Agenda and can be spotted at local voter registration events, lobbying for election reform in Albany, or speaking to small groups about the ERA or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. She says, “I am looking forward to a future of thinking globally and acting locally with the League of Women Voters. Thank you for the opportunity to learn from and work with you on the state level.”
Kate Doran – Director At-Large
Kate Doran has been a member of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York since 1977. After moving to the city, and deciding she needed to be a more informed voter, Kate joined the “Brooklyn Evening,” branch. (In 1977 there were at least 3 branches of the LWVNYC in Brooklyn alone.)
Kate was a board member of the LWVNYC from 2010 to 2018; for the first 2 years serving as Chair of the City Affairs Committee. Currently Kate is the off board Elections Specialist, and a member of the Voter Service Committee. Kate became an Election Day poll worker in 2004. From 2006 through 2016 Kate was a Poll Site Coordinator. She closely monitors the NYC Board of Elections, attending their weekly meetings and reporting out to League Members, and various policy groups.
Kate graduated in 1974 from Ithaca College, with a BA in English. She has worked in government, banking, and private tutoring of middle school students. Kate enjoys reading, sewing, yoga, and volunteering at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is also a passionate recycler, and strives to live a zero waste life. Kate and her husband own, and manage, Total Tennis, a year round tennis and racquet sports resort in Saugerties, NY. They have 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren.
Crystal Joseph – Director At-Large
Back in 2013, as she was researching the importance of civics, learning and contemporary movement building, Crystal was pleased to learn that the League of Women Voters was still leading the charge. After speaking with a league member, she was invited to a meeting and learned about all the amazing activities taking place in her local league around the importance of voting. As a member of both the Membership and Education Committees of the New York City League, Crystal used the knowledge of her fellow committee members to assist in completing research for her master’s thesis on movement building in the 21st Century. Crystal is a proud City University of New York (CUNY) graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science from Baruch’s Marx School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s of Arts in Urban Studies with a concentration in Public Administration from the School of Professional Studies. Presently, she is a doctoral resident at Concordia University-Portland pursuing an Ed.D. in Transformational Leadership. Crystal also serves as Vice President for the New York City League. When she is not studying or working with my students, as a program coordinator with the City University of New York, Crystal enjoys a good high intensity kickboxing class or visiting her second favorite urban haven, Philadelphia, PA.
Carol Mellor – Director At-Large
Carol Mellor joined the State Board of the League of Women Voters of New York after having served as President of the LWV of the Hamptons for four years. Carol has been a member of the Hamptons local League since she moved to the East End of Long Island; she also served on the Board of Directors for two years before becoming president. She was a member of the national study committee on the National Popular Vote.
Carol is a member of the New York State Bar and is admitted to practice before the federal courts in the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York, as well as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Her practice has, in the past, included litigation of constitutional issues, criminal appeals work and municipal employment law. She now specializes in will, trusts and estates.
Nancy Rosenthal – Director At-Large
Nancy joined League in 2008 after attending a monthly general meeting and being asked to join! Soon after, Nancy found herself President of her local League, Southwest Nassau, and later Co- President and then President of the ILO of Nassau County. Nancy has worked at the national level with the LWVUS Governance Committee, 2016-2018, and has served on the LWVNY Budget committee since 2015 as both a member and chair. Nancy's #1 pet project is vote411.org; in Nassau County she handles the input of information on and from candidates, with lots of help from many members; she savors Nassau County having a 95% plus response rate from candidates in each election. A close second pet project is having members throughout Nassau County register new voters at naturalization ceremonies in Islip with grant money received through LWVUS the last three years!
Nancy owns a metals business in Brooklyn, NY that her father-in-law started in 1948. She began her journey to New York, starting in Northern California then to Kansas City, Missouri and in 2004 to Hewlett, New York (Long Island). While in Kansas City, Nancy was President for several years of the Westport Citizens Action Coalition. Her background includes a few teaching credentials, teaching the blind and visually impaired, and then as a Feldenkrais Practitioner (physical therapy). Nancy has two children, both physicists, working to change the world through science! And if you can't find Nancy easily, she is probably riding her bike, skiing, hiking, or gardening......
Dare Thompson – Director At-Large
After teaching English and social studies for several years, Dare spent a quarter century as an executive director of several small to mid-size arts organizations including an art center in central NY, the statewide arts advocacy organization in Ohio, and the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow. Her primary volunteer activity since 1972 has been the League of Women Voters, which she joined in Swarthmore, PA. She was the state president in Rhode Island, first vice president in Ohio, and has had two stints on the New York state board. She served as secretary in the mid-80s and these past four years she has served as president. She has also been president of four local Leagues (including Utica-Rome and Mid Hudson Region in NY) and has served on two LWVUS planning committees. She is currently representing the League on the NY Women’s Suffrage Commission chaired by Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. Besides her League work, she is an active Quaker volunteer, both locally and statewide, and is particularly proud of the role of Quakers in launching the U.S. women’s suffrage movement right here in New York. She lives in Marlboro in Ulster County with her husband, Doug, an LWV member since men were admitted in 1974.