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Staff

Elizabeth Plummer
Director of Operations
EMAIL  ::  x100
Elizabeth Plummer is responsible for day-to-day operations of the congregation and it's properties. As a part of the Administrative Team, Elizabeth manages and oversees UTUUC's finances, human resources, network administration, fundraising, marketing and communications, building maintenance, partnerships, property rentals, archives, and volunteer management.

For more than 20 years, Elizabeth has worked for nonprofit organizations in financial management, fundraising, marketing and communications, web design and event planning for: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Chicago Foundation for Women, The American Veterinary Medical Foundation, The Institute of Food Technologists, and the Suburban Area Agency on Aging: AgeOptions. Elizabeth received her B.A. degree from Northern Illinois University.

Tina Lewis
Membership Director
EMAIL  ::  x102
As Membership Director, Tina Lewis serves as the lead staff member for membership recruitment and retention, volunteer and leadership development, and congregational life activities. Prior to her full-time position, she served as our  Interim Membership Director from October 2010 through June 2011. Tina and her husband Terry have been members of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 1999. As a volunteer, she served on the Religious Education Committee for eight years, three of them as co-chair. Prior to joining the staff at Unity Temple, Tina served a variety of schools and local organizations - including the Avenue Business Association, Parenthesis, and Girls on the Run - through event planning, fundraising and mentoring young people in the community, in addition to raising her two children, Ryan and Jillian.

Martha Swisher
Music Director
EMAIL :: x109
Conductor, voice teacher and artistic instigator Marty Swisher believes music is a near miracle of communication between performers and audience and that there is nothing quite so magical as the collective voice of a dedicated, unified chorus.

She previously served as principal conductor and music director of Chicago Children’s Choir, Jubilate Children’s Chorus, the DePaul University Community Chorus, the Northwestern University Women’s Chorus, and Les Petit Chanteurs in Leogane, Haiti. She has taught on the faculties of DePaul and Loyola Universities and the College of DuPage. She completed her Master of Conducting degree at Northwestern University, graduating in 2006.

Marty is a sought-after clinician who has led workshops in conducting, score preparation, choral warm-up, and interpretation for many choral groups in the Chicago area, as well as ACDA, MENC and UUMN. She has conducted, prepared choirs and/or performed in 23 productions of the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago and continues to serve on their board of directors – a true labor of love. But what she loves most of all is encouraging others to discover their fire within and never to stop stretching themselves as they reach to fulfill their artistic potential.

Rev. Colleen Vahey
Faith in Action Coordinator
EMAIL
Rev. Colleen Vahey was ordained as a UU minister in 2012.  Over the past 20 years she has served as a hospital chaplain, a religious educator, a college lecturer, and most recently as Assistant Minister at Countryside Church UU in Palatine, IL.  Born and raised in Wisconsin, Colleen has also lived in Australia, Switzerland, France, and Czech Republic.  She and her partner currently live in River Forest with their three children and three animal companions. She enjoys reading, kayaking, and spending time in nature.  

Tracy Zurawski
Office & Finance Manager
EMAIL  ::  x104

Ron Elling
Database and Finance Assistant
EMAIL :: x106

Jeanne Calabrese
Publications Coordinator
EMAIL :: x105
Please welcome Jeanne Calabrese as the new Publications Coordinator. Jeanne has many years of experience working as a visual communicator within educational, scholarly, trade and not-for-profit publishing markets. She has her own studio where she creates award winning designs in a wide range of formats, and her most recent focus in addition to design has been in sustainable agriculture. She has been cultivating her knowledge of local food systems and growing practices to gain a better understanding of how to impact positive change within this system. She is an urban orchardist, avid gardener and master food preservationist.

Darren Lewis
Building Engineer
EMAIL :: x108
Darren Lewis is responsible for the day to day facilities maintenance and upkeep of all three UTUUC properties. Darren has worked in and around Oak Park for over 15 years. He has been the maintenance engineer for both the Shaker and the Oak Leaves buildings on Lake St while maintaining the Oak Park and Forest Park strip malls. Darren received his technical training at what is now called Coyne College in HVAC and electrical and has an associates degree in construction management from Western IL University.

Peter Engel Storms
Organist/Pianist
Peter Engel Storms joined our staff in September 2009. He began studying piano at age 5, and first played for Sunday services in junior high at a small church near his home in rural Northern Illinois. Peter studied English and Anthropology at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he accompanied classes and recitals and also performed with the Chapel and Collegiate Choirs as well as Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. Since moving to Chicago in 1996, Peter has established himself as a theatrical music director and sound designer, working with many equity and non-equity Chicago theaters. He also tours with Irish tenor Michael Londra. During the day, Peter is a database administrator for a non-profit organization in Chicago.

Heather Godbout
Youth Coordinator
EMAIL  ::  x107
In her role as youth coordinator, Heather Godbout plans and facilitates youth ministry activities in the congregation with a talented team of volunteer advisors, including Sunday morning programming for our ninth graders through the Coming of Age program, and most principally with our tenth through twelfth graders through our senior high youth group. Heather was a volunteer youth advisor at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Park Forest, IL prior to becoming the youth coordinator at Unity Temple in 2007. With almost two decades of youth ministry experience, Heather has also served on the District Youth Steering Committee of the Central Midwest District, and currently serves as a youth conference consultant for the MidAmerica Region. Heather is also the moderator of the MidAmerica Youth Advisor Network, and has been trained by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Leadership Development Conference facilitator. When not involved in youth ministry, Heather is the literacy coach at Crete Elementary School in Crete, IL. Heather; her wife, Amanda Thomas; and their daughter Briana Craig live in south suburban Homewood, IL.

Val Ridenour
Religious Education Assistant
EMAIL  :: x115
Val provides administrative and hands on support for lifespan religious education programming at Unity Temple.  Val brings strong organizational skills through her experience in management as well as her experience in caring for children through her work as a nanny and a volunteer. Val and her husband Joshua have been members of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011. As a volunteer, Val teaches OWL and has been a member of the Religious Education Committee since 2017. Prior to joining the staff at Unity Temple, Val has assisted a variety of families offering her services as a nanny. Before Val began her career as a nanny, she was the Bakery Team Leader for Whole Foods Market and Bakery Coordinator for Giant Eagle. She and her husband live in Oak Park with their two children. Outside of work Val enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time with her family.

Joan Cinquegrani
Freelance Rental Manager
EMAIL
Armed with the experience she gained working in non-profit events for several years, Joan Cinquegrani established Five Grain Events (which is derived from her married last name:  in Italian cinque means five and grani means grains) in early 2010.  Since then, Joan has worked hard to build a reputation for Five Grain Events by successfully executing more than 250 events over the past nine years.  Five Grain Events clients have ranged from brides and grooms looking for help with their wedding days, to corporate conferences, street festivals, and contracted venue management relationships for well-respected venues in the Chicagoland area.  The Five Grain mission is to support clients during the planning process by creating open lines of communication and providing a wealth of resources to ensure success.  Though raised in Oak Park, Joan now lives in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and three young daughters.