Washington, DC (October 15, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has elected four new members of its national Board of Trustees, and has elected four leaders to serve as officers of the Board.

The Board of Trustees plays a critical role at UCP, helping to guide the organization and its efforts to educate, advocate and provide support to people with disabilities across the country. With 18 members, including four officers, the Board is a diverse and active group that works together to move UCP forward toward its goal of creating a life without limits for people living with disabilities.

Selection of Officers

Edward G. “Woody” Connette, an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, will lead the organization’s Board of Trustees as its new Chair, replacing outgoing Chair Bruce Merlin Fried, the DC-based Managing Partner of law firm SNR Denton.  Connette has long had an interest in public policy and litigation related to disabilities, health care and mental health. In his legal work, he has fought to protect the rights of people living with disabilities and challenged the living conditions and institutionalization practices in North Carolina and Tennessee. He is involved in several professional organizations and has also served on the Executive Board and as President of the National Patient Advocate Foundation. Connette’s volunteer work with disability groups stretches back more than twenty years, and he played a critical role in the merger of UCP and Easter Seals affiliates in North Carolina and went on to become Board Chair for the newly created Easter Seals/ UCP North Carolina and Virginia.

“On behalf of United Cerebral Palsy, and all of our affiliates, I am delighted to welcome Woody as our new Chair for our Board of Trustees,” said Stephen Bennett, former President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “Woody has been a valued part of UCP for more than two decades, and his commitment and dedication to bettering the lives of people living with disabilities is inspiring. We look forward to his leadership in the years ahead.”

“It is an immense privilege to be selected for this position with such a great organization,” said Connette. “United Cerebral Palsy is internationally recognized as a leader in the disability community, and I will do my best to help create a better day for those living with disabilities every day.”

Connette is joined by three other volunteer leaders, including:

·       Ian Ridlon, who has been selected as the organization’s new vice chair.  Ridlon is general counsel and director of Legal Services at the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust. Mr. Ridlon has been involved with United Cerebral Palsy on the state and national level for over 15 years.  On the state level, he has been the Board Chair for several terms and has also chaired two other non-profit organizations created by the affiliate that provide independent living facilities for low income individuals with developmental disabilities. On the national level, he has previously served on the Board of Trustees and is a recipient of the 2004 Chairperson’s Award.  He has also served on numerous committees and was previously the chair of the nominating committee and the by-laws committee. and has served as a Board member for UCP of Rhode Island

·       Mark Boles will serve as the organization’s treasurer.  He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Frisco (Texas). With nearly 30 years experience as a healthcare executive, he has been involved with United Cerebral Palsy on the local, state, and national levels for more than 20 years, having received the Ethel Hausman Volunteer of the Year Award in 2003 and the UCP Chairman’s Award in 2004.

·       Pamela Talkin will serve as secretary of the Board of Trustees.  Talkin was sworn in on July 16, 2001 as the tenth Marshal of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Talkin is the first woman to hold the position. She was elected to UCP Board of Trustees in 2011.

New Members

These new leaders are joined by five new distinguished Trustees who were elected at UCP’s international conference this past April.  They include:

·       Michael Burke Jr., a co-founder and principal of Thrive Office, an innovative, shared workplace community based in New York City.

·       Ruth Gullerud, who retired in May as the Executive Director of UCP of West Central Wisconsin, in Eau Claire, where she has worked since 1977.

·       Melvin “Chip” Hurley, an executive with Berkeley Research Group, LLC, and former chair of the board of UCP of Central Maryland.

·       Linda Maguire, co-founder and consultant with Maguire Associates, a research-based consulting firm that has served educational clients around the world for the past 29 years. She is currently the vice chair of UCP MetroBoston and has received much recognition for her work with the UCP network.

·       Rob White, the Chief Executive Officer of Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Sydney, Australia, who has decades of leadership experience in global civil rights movement for people with disabilities.

“We are grateful to these new officers and Trustees for agreeing to serve United Cerebral Palsy in such an important leadership role,” Bennett said.  “Our Trustees are one of the main reasons that UCP is able to serve hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities each year, and we are excited to begin a new year with their leadership contributions.”

# # #