2017–19 Board of Directors
Review meeting minutes for information about Board deliberations and learn more about board position responsibilities.
Learn more about AAUW Board of Directors’ policies and responsibilities in the policy book.
AAUW Board of Directors
Julia Brown, J.D.
AAUW Board Chair
Julia Brown, who is a member of the AAUW Las Cruces (NM) Branch and AAUW Oakland-Piedmont (CA) Branch, is a life member and Legacy Circle member. She has served in a variety of AAUW positions at the national, state, and branch levels. Julia has also served on a number of local, regional, and national boards.
Julia is a lawyer and results-driven professional with extensive experience in executive management, financial management, nonprofit formation, and governance as well as compliance enforcement. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where she was law class president. She has served in the U.S. Army and worked in corporate America and at all levels of government in Oklahoma, the District of Columbia, California, and New Mexico.
As the county manager for Doña Ana County, New Mexico, she has been responsible for the day-to-day operations, as well as policy implementation and the oversight of 850 employees. Julia is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State and a Women of Achievement Award from Legal Momentum (the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund). In late 2016 she was presented with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer and community service.
Peggy Ryan Williams, Ed.D.
Board Vice Chair
After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, a master’s in education from the University of Vermont, and a doctorate from Harvard, Peggy Ryan Williams enjoyed a 36-year career in higher education—19 as a college president. She was the first woman president of Ithaca College in New York.
Peggy served on the AAUW Board of Directors from 2011 to 2015 and recently cochaired the CEO Search Committee. Her other women-focused board service includes chairing the American Council on Education Commission on Women, the Vermont Women’s Fund, the Sacred Heart School of Montreal, and Vermont Women in Higher Education.
In 2016, Peggy helped conduct a Women’s Leadership Forum for 80 women higher education administrators in Saudi Arabia, and she belongs to the International Women’s Forum. Peggy is also the recipient of the Donna Shavlik Award from the American Council on Education for demonstrating a sustained and continuing commitment to the advancement of women.
Joanna Amberger is a certified financial planner and the founder of 3 Financial Group, an independent financial services firm with offices in Hawaii and California. She developed her business model around empowering women by helping them take control of their financial futures and devotes personal time advocating for women’s issues. Joanna is the president of the AAUW Honolulu (HI) Branch and sits on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her MBA from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Sue Barley has been an AAUW member for more than 35 years and is a member of the AAUW Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch, the AAUW St. Louis (MO) Branch, and the AAUW Greater Naples (FL) Branch. She serves as the Greater Naples bylaws chair and the St. Louis finance officer, bylaws chair, and AAUW Fund chair. Sue is a member of the AAUW Legacy Circle Team and is the AAUW Committee Appointments Task Force chair. She previously served on the 2009–11 Breaking through Barriers major gifts campaign committee, the 2011–13 AAUW Leadership Corps, the 2011–15 AAUW Fundraising Committee, and the Charting the Course Honorary Advisory Committee. Sue is a dedicated community volunteer, currently serving on the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis board. She has volunteered with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri for more than 40 years and is currently a Girl Scout Gold Award consultant.
Janet Bunger served as a director and the finance vice chair for the 2015–17 AAUW Board of Directors. She is the chair for the Finance Committee and the Investment Committee. Janet is a member of the AAUW Wasatch (UT) Branch. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wyoming and another bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Utah; she has worked in public accounting and as a financial adviser. Janet is a longtime volunteer in the Salt Lake area — serving on the Utah Girl Scouts board and the Utah Symphony Guild board, as well as supporting other organizations. She has been actively involved in Real Women Run, a coalition of organizations in Utah that promotes and trains women to run for office.
Melody Jackson, Ph.D.
Melody Jackson is an entrepreneur and educator who has spent the past 30 years committed to improving the lives of others through research, education, and information. She has earned a bachelor’s in religion, an MBA, and a PhD in business administration and is currently pursuing a master’s in higher education. Melody is the owner and chief executive officer of a small business, a U.S. Army veteran, and has served on several boards. Her vision for AAUW is to increase organizational visibility and impact ensuring we are the global litmus by which the empowerment of women and girls is measured.
Melissa Johnsen is a member of the AAUW Colorado eNetwork Branch and was a member of the AAUW Lakewood (CO) Branch and the AAUW Kirkwood-Webster Groves (MO) Branch. In 2014 she participated in a Colorado AAUW Tech Trek exploratory effort. Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis. Her 25-plus-year career with Fortune 500 companies included the roles of chief information officer, chief technology officer, and the vice president of IT operations, among others. Melissa acted as the chief executive officer for a nonprofit for healthcare technology and has served on a number of nonprofit boards for social justice and health care in Missouri and Colorado. She established two university endowments that support young women in science, technology, engineering, and math and the education of physicians in reproductive health.
Karen Kirkwood is a member of the AAUW St. Paul (MN) Branch and the AAUW St. Cloud (MN) Branch. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She has served AAUW as a branch and state president and has held various board and committee positions. She is currently a cofundraiser for the St. Cloud Tech Savvy events. Karen was a member of the successful Charting the Course campaign. She has been employed as a special education teacher, a legal advocate for a battered women’s shelter, the owner of a home-based small business, the office manager for the Minnesota Education Association, and a mental health practitioner for toddlers with autism. In addition to her AAUW experience, Karen has served on several volunteer boards and committees in her community.
Dot McLane, Ph.D.
Dot McLane is a member of the AAUW Lansdale (PA) Branch and the AAUW Empire State (NY) Virtual Branch and is also the president of AAUW of Pennsylvania. She has served as the chair of the AAUW Branch Program Resources Committee and the AAUW STEM Task Force, served on the AAUW Public Policy Committee, and served as a director on the national AAUW Board of Directors, 2011–13 and 2015–17. Dot earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, her master’s and doctorate from Drexel University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as a part-time public school secondary biology/chemistry teacher.
Eileen Menton is the president of AAUW of Maryland and a board member of the AAUW Baltimore (MD) Branch. She has served as the secretary and Educational Foundation vice president for AAUW of Maryland, as the president of the AAUW Laurel (MD) Branch, on the Committee Appointments Task Force, and on the Charting the Course team. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington College and her master’s degree from the University of Maryland University College. Eileen has been a legal systems manager at the U.S. Justice Department and is a business analyst at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. From 2008 to 2014 she was the president of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, which provides grants for women and girls around the globe.
Susan Nenstiel is a life member and the current president of the AAUW Allentown (PA) Branch. She served on the Charting Course Committee, as a vice president for development, as a director of the AAUW Educational Foundation, and as the chair of the Conference of State Presidents. A past AAUW of Pennsylvania president, Susan has served in several capacities on the state level and in both the AAUW Hazleton (PA) Branch and Allentown branch. Susan is a member of the AAUW Legacy Circle and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University, an MBA from Wilkes University, and a master’s in pastoral counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary. She is currently the finance manager for Lower Macungie Library.
Leah Sakacs currently serves as director of the Younger Women’s Task Force (YWTF) Youngstown (OH) Chapter. She previously served as the parliamentarian and programming vice president of the AAUW Long Beach (CA) Branch, as the finance director of the YWTF Long Beach (CA) Chapter, and as the president of the California State University, Long Beach, Student Veterans of America chapter. At Youngstown State University she earned bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and anthropology. She served in the Air Force Reserve for four years and is currently pursuing a master’s in applied anthropology at CSU Long Beach. Leah also currently serves in the AmeriCorps program at Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning Valley, Ohio, where she chairs the Volunteer Engagement Committee.
Cheryl (Cherie) Sorokin, J.D.
Cheryl (Cherie) Sorokin is a member of the Governance Committee, a life member of AAUW, and a member of the AAUW Marin (CA) Branch and the AAUW California Online Branch. She holds a bachelor’s in Spanish and a master’s in education from Indiana University and a J.D. from Northwestern University. She taught Spanish at the university, elementary, and high school levels prior to attending law school. After graduating from law school she practiced law for Bank of America, eventually becoming group executive vice president and corporate secretary with significant legal and business responsibilities. Cherie is a published author on corporate governance and now consults on governance matters with Veaco Group. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Marin Villages, San Francisco Pocket Opera, and Dominican University of California’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Advisory Council.
Mardy Stevens has been a cochair of the AAUW Branch Program Resources Committee and a Leadership Corps member. She is a member leader trainer and an AAUW Start Smart facilitator. She is a member of the AAUW Gresham Area (OR) Branch, the AAUW Huntsville (AL) Branch, the AAUW of Oregon Online Branch, and the AAUW Medford (OR) Branch. Mardy earned her bachelor’s from Pacific Lutheran University, her master’s from San Francisco State University, and a school administrator’s certificate from Portland State University. She has served on numerous boards in Oregon and in the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Japan.
Mary L. Zupanc, M.D.
Mary L. Zupanc is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of California, Irvine. She is also the Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology at UCI/Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the Director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, and the program director for the UCI Pediatric Neurology Residency Program. She has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals and has authored several book chapters, particularly on epilepsy and epilepsy surgery.
Mary serves on the executive board of the Child Neurology Society and is on the board of directors for the Child Neurology Foundation. Mary has dedicated her career to patient care and advocacy, pediatric neurology education, clinical research, and advocacy for pediatric public health issues.