2024 Election — Candidates and Biographies

Congregational Election

 

By: Connie Hall

 

Our Annual Congregational election took place on Sunday, March 24 following the service.  The Nominating Committee is pleased that we were able to recruit very qualified candidates for all the open positions. Their names and biographies are on below.

Thank you to all members of the Nominating Committee in their hard work finding the candidates, and for all the church members who volunteered to become Officers.  We have listed all the candidates we endorse from the Nominating Committee and include their biographies.  If you have questions please contact:  Connie_Bloch@yahoo.com

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Ram Kakarala – President

I am both a Hindu and a Unitarian Universalist.  I became a UU because it welcomes all religious backgrounds, and because the UU principles help me in my search for spiritual growth.  My wife and I were married by a UU minister over 30 years ago.  My daughter found our church, FUCSJ, for us when we moved back to the Bay area after years in Singapore.

I have enjoyed volunteering for the church in various roles, including as a sound operator, a worship associate, a member of the Covid task force, a member of the Board, and for the last 3 years, as the Board President.  I also help maintain the church website.

I enjoy running, cycling, and recreational mathematics.  I am trying to learn to play the ukulele and guitar.

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Arthur W. Henrick – Treasurer

I popped into the world in Perth, Australia (no convict blood by the way).  My father completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1966, then we migrated to the United States in 1967.   I went to Palo Alto Schools and then graduated with a BS in Biochemistry at UC Davis in 1986.   I worked in 1987 at Syntex (Chemist) and then moved on to other jobs that involved Medical Devices since 2000.

I’m presently employed as a Senior Staff QA Engineer, New Product Design.   I attend many meetings a week and keep tabs on many projects for the Quality Department (RAQA).   My job is to spot issues early and make sure documents, reports, plans are followed and done correctly.

I have been married to Susan Miller since 1987 (Dec 31st) and have 2 lovely adult children.   I have lived in Sunnyvale, CA since 1986.    My hobbies involve growing food, planting flowers all over the place (Naked Laby Bulbs) but mostly reacting Civil War as a Federal Union officer, attend Dickens Fairs on and off,  Roman Living History since 2000 and now Leader of a new Roman Unit, Legio II AVG.  I’ve have fought in WW 2 and WW1 reenactments as Allies with real tanks… fought the Tiger Tank seen in Saving Private Ryan Movie.   I collect Paper Money from 19th to 21st Century, Coins from the Roman Empire present times and enjoy Science and Economics.   I have been Treasurer for Non-Profits in the past and run a tight ship.  I have been attending this church since 2004.. mostly with my lovely Wife.

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Vote for 2 Positions

Meredy Halen – Board Member

I wish I could tell you that I came to FUCSJ after a long spiritual quest.  I didn’t.  I first stepped foot into the sanctuary 25 years ago as part of a singing group at a memorial service.  I was struck by the beauty of the place and wondered what a Unitarian was.  Shortly after that, Bruce was moving to San Jose and wanted to find a church.  Fortunately he DID know what a Unitarian was … we tried it and never left.  I was glad to find kindred spirits, and to discover that I no longer had to hide my skepticism of Christianity.

I’m now retired from a lifetime of work; first as a professional Girl Scout, then many years of project work in the tech industry, and finally as an elementary school teacher.  I have two daughters and 4 grandchildren who keep me entertained.  I love hiking, traveling and singing – especially acappella.  My music ranges from “doo-wop” to bedside singing with the Threshold Choir.  And of course, singing at church!

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Ruby DelgrosBoard Member

I have been attending FUCSJ since my mom brought me here as a pre-schooler and this faith has become extremely important to me over the many years of participating in church. I volunteered, worked on, and spearheaded many projects for the church from the time I was in middle school, including but not limited to the partner church teas, summer camps, holiday plays, youth services, pilgrimage trips, and overnights. I also was on the council for Young Religious Unitarian Universalists of the Pacific for over four years, wearing many different hats, so I have lots of experience as a part of a UU governing body!

I value our Unitarian Universalist principles and sources greatly, and I believe it is important to highlight the voices of those not always at the table, particularly BIPOC, trans folk, and young people in the church. I bring a different perspective to the table from church members that found UUism as adults because I was raised in it, and I hope to utilize that perspective to help our congregation grow and help all our friends feel welcome, seen, and intentionally included.

I love music, singing and dancing. I grew up doing musical theater and I have one song on Spotify. I try to spend as much time as possible with the people that I care about and fill my life with connection and understanding. I am always trying to learn new things and be the best version of myself.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve this congregation.

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Vote for 2 Positions

Sundar Mudupalli – Co-Personnel Officer

I grew up a Hindu Brahmin in India. I first learned about FUCSJ on an AIDS walk with Julia Rodriguez in 1988 and started attending shortly thereafter – intrigued by a church with no dogma. I have been a member since 1995. I helped organize the church’s resistance to the Iraq Wars (I & II) and served on the board of the church. I have been a worship associate for many Deepavali services. My children Vineet and Nilesh were raised in this church (our village). I have been serving as the personnel officer since the board appointed me March 2023. I am excited to share this responsibility with K’Ailsa Rowan.

In my professional life, I am a Silicon Valley software engineer / manager / consultant wearing different hats for over 3 decades. After a decade in software engineering and marketing, I co-founded a consulting services company which was sold to a large systems integrator. After a challenging 5 years looking for my next role, I am now a consultant for Professional Services at Google Cloud. I have a Masters degree in Computer Science and believe I am at best an advanced beginner in everything I do.

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K’Ailsa Rowan – Co-Personnel Officer

K’Ailsa Rowan (she/her) has been a church member since early 2003. During her tenure as a member she has been involved with the Welcoming Congregation initiative, Worship Associates, Spanish-Speaking Ministry, Dances of Universal Peace, Beloved Conversations and other anti-racism work, and Small Group Ministry, among others.

K’Ailsa has a corporate background during which, at different times, she has been in charge of hiring and training, giving performance reviews, supervising a team, and (unfortunately) firing. She has had formal training in developing an interview process that minimizes bias, and chaired a hiring committee that hired and on-boarded multiple employees in a 6-month period. She’s had to counsel someone out of a position that was a bad fit, and that person ended up leaving in an amicable fashion. Since becoming a licensed therapist, she has continued to do management-related tasks. From 2015-17, she chaired a university department and was responsible for faculty recruitment and hiring, supervising, giving feedback, and other related personnel tasks there. And as a small business owner who has had employees, K’Ailsa has also developed and documented employment policies to structure a work environment that supported employees while meeting legal and ethical standards.

K’Ailsa would bring this depth of experience and teamwork to our church’s personnel processes. She hopes to work closely with Sundar as co-personnel officer and with our leadership and staff to help us maintain effective and compassionate working relationships.

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Vote for 2 Positions

Francisco Hernandez – Nominating Committee

My wife, Susan, and I began attending First Unitarian in 1995. Because we

came from different religious backgrounds we started looking for a religion that would be compatible with our combined beliefs. Unitarian Universalism satisfied those beliefs and we were married by the Unitarian minister of Palo Alto in 1986.  After our two boys were born our search for a church brought us to FUCSJ.

I have volunteered as a Sundays RE teacher and a mentory for the OWL and Coming of Age Programs. I enjoy fixing things and have participated in the “Service is Our Prayer” maintenance days for the building. My wife and I have served as Worship Hosts for a number of years. In 2013 I began my four year service as “Program Officer” (now called CEO) of the POC (now called OMC).

I am now retired and enjoy traveling. Since June of 2023 I serve on the Nominating Committee as a replacement for Rob Strong who left to work with the Senior Minister Search Committee.  I am a candidate to continue in this position in our upcoming election cycle.

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Ines Zapiola – Nominating Committee

Ines has worked in the Social Services and Mediation fields for 35 years. For the last 8 years she’s been with the county’s Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services, working as an Adult Custody and Child Welfare Ombuds.

Ines and her husband Steve Madden became members of the church in January 1993. Ines was involved in the creation of UUHH–Unitarios Universalistas de Habla Hispana, a Spanish Speaking Ministry. Both Ines and Steve taught Kinder to Middle School RE classes for over 10 years when their children Sofia and Federico were younger. Ines is part of a Small Ministry group and has been a Worship Associate for many years.

Ines is very grateful for the growth this church community has provided to her and her family. The UU Values and Principles have provided and continue to provide a moral framework to lead her life and her family. She would be honored to serve a second term as a member of the Nominating Committee.

**Election Results on 24 March 2024**

All candidates above have been elected.