Karen Kortsch, President (-2026)
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An active member of North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, IL, Karen also volunteers for several other organizations working to advance gender equity, including the American Association of University Women, National Organization for Women, and National Nurses United. Karen has been a board member of International Convocation of UU Women from June 2018 and its president from June 2020 - June 2024.

A registered nurse, she worked with the mentally ill at Capt. James Lovell Federal Health Care Facility in Chicago, Illinois.

Dana Lusk, Vice-President/Newsletter (-2024)

Dana, originally from Texas, moved to Cedarburg, WI from the Denver, CO area with her husband, Dan and three dogs. Her daughter and grandson joined them later in Wisconsin as well. She is a lifelong, second-generation, Unitarian Universalist and grew up in a primarily atheist/secular Humanist household. In the early 1980’s she took her first ‘Cakes for the Queen of Heaven’ class at First UU Church of Houston and discovered Earth-based, Womyn’s spirituality. She is a recently retired Registered Nurse/Nurse Educator, serving on the faculties of University of Denver, Regis University, and Marquette University in Milwaukee. She received a BSN from The University of Texas, Master of Science, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Regis University in Denver CO. Additionally, she is an Army Nurse Corps Veteran serving in active duty and active reserves. Prior to retiring, Dana was also a Healing Touch (HT) practitioner.  HT, or Therapeutic Touch is an energy healing modality generated by light touch, which was developed by Janet Mentgen, RN a nurse from Boulder, CO in 1997. 

Aside from being in the loving presence of her wonderful family, what brings Dana the greatest joy is spending time playing traditional Irish flute as well as folk and classical flute.  Her first college major, prior to nursing, was music performance.  She has played in Irish sessions and venues around the Houston and Denver areas as well as performing with her all-female Celtic band, The Rolling Crones.

Pat Hyams 2021Patricia Hyams, Secretary/Newsletter (-2025)

I live in Lincolnshire, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago, about 20 minutes from the Wisconsin border. I am a long time member of North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield. I have five gorgeous grandchildren. I sometimes feel I have waited my entire life to be a grandmother. They all live in the area and I am blessed that way. I grew up in rural southwest Wisconsin and still feel the call of the Driftless Area of my childhood. I am a retired fourth grade and music teacher. I love to travel and discover and appreciate our beautiful planet. I am honored to be the Secretary on the Council. I am a pagan, vegan, musician, and happy to be alive.

Janet Adams, Treasurer (-2025)
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Janet Adams found the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet about 17 years ago when she was asked to teach a yoga class there. Currently retired from Joliet Junior College where she was a career counselor, she likes to spend her time gardening, reading, singing in choir, and playing the piano. As a retiree, she has plenty of time to spend working on the Women's Connection council.

Nyx Firebourn, At Large (-2024)

Sage Hagy, At-Large (-2024)

Sage Hagy is a seventh generation Unitarian Universalist, tracing her roots to 19th century cleryperson Hosea Ballou. A longtime member of North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois, she volunteers with several local and regional educational and social service charities. Her interests also include being an avid reader and reviewer mystery and detective fiction, through which she enjoys friendships with both international and emerging authors, and the art of conjuring (performance magic).

Kathy Miller, At-Large (-2026)

Tracy Jayne McCaffreyTracy McCaffrey, At Large (-2024)

I’m Tracy Jayne McCaffrey and I have been a member of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield, Illinois since 2013. Born and raised in Springfield, I have a BA and an MA in philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and I recently retired after 23 years at the Illinois Department of Revenue.

I’m a pagan and a pantheist. Nature is my true church and I enjoy visiting the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois and Lincoln Memorial Garden here in Springfield. The first UU Women’s Connection retreat I attended was in the fall of 2015. I try to make it to the spring and fall retreats every year. As an avid fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, I really enjoy the fall retreats in Racine, WI which is home to the Johnson Wax headquarters as well as Wingspread, the home of Hib Johnson and now used as a conference center. I have visited many Wright sites in the Midwest as well as Pennsylvania and Florida. I could talk about Wright and architecture in general all day long!

I enjoy photography, retro computers, and relaxing/sleeping as much as possible. I have been on the council for the UUWC for a couple years and I enjoy the fellowship that the Women’s Connection provides. Being queer, I have been active in the LGBT community having been on the Board of Directors for the local LGBT community center and have facilitated their Transgender Support Group. In 2012 I was a volunteer for the Obama reelection campaign and then as a member of the local Organizing For Action team in central Illinois. In 2013 I had the opportunity to hear President Obama speak at Knox College (and I got to shake his hand!).

Gretchen Ohmann, newsletter/website (-2026)

Gretchen is a long-time UU. After holding various leadership positions in her local congregation, she joined the Central MidWest UU Women and Religion Committee where she served as treasurer, conference liaison, and webweaver, then part-time office manager, computer trainer and archivist. She began on the Continental UU Women and Religion core group as CMwD representative, and is now one of the co-convenors. Gretchen also worked several years as Administrator for SW UU Women and served one term on the board of the UU Women's Federation. Now retired from her day job as Technology Coordinator for the UUA MidAmerica Region, she is part-time Marketing Director for the International Convocation of UU Women, and also designs and hosts web sites. She believes that gathering and connecting women is one of the keys to re-balancing power in society, along with reverence for Mother Earth and the interconnected web of our existence.

Elections are held at the Annual Council Meeting in early December and Council women serve terms from January-December. If you;d like to serve on the Council, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Many thanks to past Council members!

Kathleen Miezio

kathleen miezio 2017I am a member of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, and have been a member of several fellowships and smaller UU churches for the past 40 years. I participated in "Cakes for the Queen" when it was introduced and never looked back.

My mundane life centers around my family — I have 6 lovely grandchildren, Progressive politics, and my desire to protect and honor Mother Earth. I work at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where I am a Professor in the Engineering Management Program.

Kathy Riley, At Large

kathy riley 2017Hi Everyone! I’m Kathy Riley, and I was honored to be on the Women’s Council. I have been attending the UU Women’s Retreats for several years. Gathering with women who truly care and support each other is something every woman should have in her life, and I’m so glad I found all of you!

So, a little bit about me. I turned 50 no₹long ago... woohoo! I live in Mundelein, IL and am married with two children. My son is in his 20s and recently married and my daughter is a teenager. I have a full-time left-brained corporate day job but I’m more passionate about creative/metaphysical things. I love to read and write (poetry, unpublished novels, rituals). I love yoga and crocheting (can’t knit a thing though, lol). I am an intuitive/medium and have multiple Reiki certificates (Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Crystal Reiki Master, Karuna Reiki Level II) and am also a certified Crystal Healer. I have 6 tattoos, 3 of which I designed myself and have special meanings. I was raised Catholic, but have chosen a Pagan path for my life. A personal goal for me is to get more involved in direct action regarding the social issues I am passionate about.

I hope to see all of you at retreats and have an opportunity to get to know you better. Blessed Be.

Diana DeWeese, At-LargeDiana DeWeese

I served on the UU Women’s Connection Council from 2020-2023 and 2014 – 2019.  I have been a member of the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield for a long time.  I enjoy drumming, singing in the choir and being the registrar for our week long Ecology Camp at ALUUC.  I also enjoy photography and sewing – having made several quilts in the past 5 years.

My husband and I have lived in the same house for almost 45 years.  As teenagers, my children found this to be very boring!  But having lived in 17 different homes/places growing up, I thought a little stability would be best.  Wrong again!  After we retired, my husband and I have taken a few trips to Europe to “find our roots”.  Oh, did I mention I am heavy into genealogy.

Debbie Czarnopys-White, At Large

I live in Southern Illinois and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Wildlife and nature surround us and have been a blessing. I continue to volunteer as a master naturalist and master gardener. Learning about the many things I still don’t know about has become a real fascination to me.

Volunteering at a no-kill shelter now and previously walking dogs at an animal control shelter to help socialize them have been teaching tools for me as well. All creatures need affection and what I give them, they more than return to me.

Karin Janowski, At Large

I was born and raised in Germany, and moved to Chicago, my husband’s home town, in 1970. We have 2 children who are in their 40's and 5 grandchildren. I’m a member of the Unitarian Church in Hinsdale and the Prairyerth UU Fellowship, which has members all over the country. Having retired from International Banking and an assignment as a special education teaching assistant at our local inclusive grade school a couple of years ago, I now spend my time volunteering for various organizations and enjoying the freedom to travel when-ever I want to. My last big trip was the same pilgrimage to Crete that Pat Hyams also enjoyed.

I became involved with women’s groups after moving to Western Springs and attending a Drum Making Workshop at UCH in the early 90’s. It literally changed my life and created a balance to the male corporate world I worked in. I became part of a group of 13 women who used Jamie Sams’ The 13 Original Clan Mothers to explore and learn about Native American spirituality. After this it was just a short step to Womens' Spirituality and finding the Church I always belonged to.

Heather McMeekan, At Large

Heather McMeekan is an artist, activist, kite enthusiast, and proud Mom to two teens and one dog. With a passion for education, politics, human rights, labor, and healthcare access for all, she advocates and trains advocates in the use of social media for social good. Heather is the founder of the Macomb Kite Festival and the Macomb Community Drum Circle, the Macomb “Liberal Lunchers” Brown Bag lunch, as well as several other community & social media organizations and groups. She is a former paramedic, emergency room technician, and EMS Instructor. Her graphic design work and writing has been viewed by millions of people around the world. She holds a master’s degree in Health - Community Health and has worked as a webmaster at an Illinois university. Heather lives in central Illinois.


Juli C
Jennifer E
Janice B 
Jenny Ross
Brenda W
Tori K
Dorothy BB
Buffy Lael-Wolf
Nicole N
Tracy Z
Cheryl S
Pat Goller
Kathy Salzano
Karin Janowski
Sue W
Linda H
Peggy P
Cathy Kline