NEAFCS 2019 Slate of National Office Candidates
Lora Lee Frazier Howard, Immediate Past President & National Nominating Committee Chair

The NEAFCS National Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following slate of officers for your consideration. The committee worked hard to contact these candidates and provide the encouragement and information needed to secure their applications. We believe you will find them all highly qualified. Please remember that we have a no campaigning for office policy! 

The Central and Southern Region Director candidates will give their three-minute speeches and be elected by voting delegates during their respective Regional Meetings and Awards Luncheons on Tuesday, October 1 which take place from 11:15 am to 1:15 pm. All other candidates will give their speeches during Opening Session on Monday, September 30 (2:30 – 5:00 pm). They will be elected by voting delegates during the NEAFCS Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, October 2 from 2:15-4:15 pm.

If you are a voting delegate for your Affiliate, it is your responsibility to read through these position statements. Encourage others in your affiliate to do the same, and decide as an Affiliate which candidate you support for office. Candidate applications will be available for review at the Candidate Display near the Registration Desk and during the Exhibits at Annual Session.

The position statements follow:

Position Candidate/

Why would you like to be a
candidate for this office?

If you were elected, what would be your top priority/goal for your term?

Dianne Gertson 



Our members have inspired me to be actively engaged in our Association and serving has been an honor. Together, let’s dialog, dream, discover and champion the future of our Association. I seek your support, service, and passion for NEAFCS and pledge the same to you. I am willing to devote the time, energy and hard work to continue the excellent work of my predecessors. I strongly believe in our association and believe that we enjoy wonderful benefits in the professional development, recognition, and networking opportunities afforded our members. Our member benefits survey indicated that a great majority of our current members will retire within ten years, we need to provide mentoring opportunities for our newer members to continue our longstanding legacy. I have served as an officer at the district, affiliate and state level. This past year, I have had the honor of serving on the national level with NEAFCS and the outstanding board serving our members. As a Board, we work tirelessly to assure accountability, transparency and integrity as we provide opportunities for professional growth and development that our members need as leaders. Looking back at the history of NEAFCS, we have grown accustomed to change and been on the cutting edge of education. To continue our mission and leave a legacy of inspiration for generations to come we need to continue to provide professional development to our members which will enhance those skills and competencies embracing technology and media. I look forward to continuing service as NEAFCS President‐Elect. On a personal note, my two terms on the board have given me the opportunity to meet and work with people across the nation. Many of these have become close, personal friends. In addition to the friendships, they have helped me to grow professionally and for that I am ever thankful.

Future, Focused. Leaders empower others to embrace and advance the organization’s vision. I welcome opportunities to build consensus, maintain focus and work to assure that our resources are managed to maximize outcomes. Our members are our strength. As our profession evolves, I will ensure our Association responds by providing the resources and inspiration our members need to thrive. I will work with the NEAFCS Board to strengthen partnerships with external organizations such as JCEP, AAFCS and the FCS Alliance as they share a common mission and vision with NEAFCS. As an organization, we need to communicate the value of Family and Consumer Sciences to our administration and communities. We each possess special skills, knowledge and abilities that can help advance our association. I will encourage members to use their special skills at the local, state and national levels by attending Annual Session, applying for awards, joining committees and considering elected offices. I will continue working with the board to evaluate and improve membership benefits.


Ellen Bjelland


I am seeking the position of President-Elect because, at this stage in my career, it’s time to give back. It’s time to use my talents and gifts to support the people and the organization that have given so much to me over the decades of my Extension career. To paraphrase the words of servant-leadership scholar Robert Greenleaf, it’s time to serve others…

As much as possible, my priority will be to encourage others to be involved in the organization. Whether at the state, committee, regional or national level, there is much to be gained by stretching ourselves and taking on the various ways of serving within our association. This means each of us needs to examine our personal gifts and determine where they can best be applied. Serving our association can lead to personal and professional growth by gently nudging us to be healthier, wiser and more attuned to the needs of individuals, families and our communities. I invite you to join me on this journey!

Barbara Wollan

It was an honor to be asked to apply as a candidate for national office, and my first reaction was a combination of excitement and nervousness. Being treasurer of a large national association is a serious responsibility, and I had to give it some thought. Fortunately, as I reflected further and discussed it with others, I concluded that I am equipped for the task. Although NEAFCS is a larger, more complex organization than any in which I have previously served as treasurer, the duties of treasurer are a good fit for my skills and experience. I am also confident that our experienced professional management team would provide the support I would need to carry out my duties, as well as the opportunity to learn a great deal in the role. 

My excitement about the possibility of taking on this role comes from the opportunity to make a contribution at the national level to an organization that is important to me, and to have a voice in the directions our association takes over the next two years. In addition, I would greatly value the opportunity to build new relationships and work closely with the terrific leaders that make up the board.

My first goal, of course, would be to learn. I would consult closely with Danielle and others at the management firm to get a fuller grasp on our association processes and priorities, and I would also make the most of opportunities to meet with the Endowment and Finance committees and learn from the experienced members of those groups.

Ultimately, of course, a treasurer's top priority is to maximize association resources through sound budgeting, expense management and income planning. I would work to ensure that the finance and endowment committees met and had full opportunity to be involved in the planning. In addition, a secondary goal of a treasurer is to provide transparency through clear financial reports and occasional narrative updates as needed.

In addition to being the association Treasurer, however, I would also be a member of the board, and in that role my goal would be not only to provide board members with the financial information needed in planning and decision-making, but to also contribute useful non-financial insights and ideas related to the issues at hand, as appropriate.
Vice President
Awards & Recognition

Julie Garden-Robinson

My career in Extension is deeply rooted in service, and I believe I have gathered a wide range of experiences and perspectives from my service efforts at the local, state and national levels on Extension and non-Extension activities. I have served as the National Vice President for Public Affairs for the past two years, and I have found that I have learned a great deal and worked closely with people from around the United States to get the important messages out about our profession. After completing this role, I believe I have more to contribute and perhaps some new ideas to integrate in the Awards category.

I have knowledge of the operations of NEAFCS, and I have worked closely with the executive management team during the past two years. We have made some changes that have increased the efficiency, I have participated in both the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) program and the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) program. I believe I have gathered valuable experience that would help guide me if I were elected in this role. 

I would look forward to continued work with the board to think of innovative ways to accomplish our responsibilities. I would enjoy mentoring others to apply for awards and recognition. I bring energy and dedication to the roles that I fulfill, and I challenge myself to be innovative in my approaches, whether that means greater use of technology or other means to excite our membership, especially the next generation, and those we reach. I enjoy tracking trends, doing research and communicating sound messages as a member of diverse teams.

I would like to increase the number of people who apply for awards and determine a way to recognize their efforts beyond the awards programs at conference. I think this could be accomplished through expanded use of social media and other means to let people know about their accomplishments and how these can be applied in other states. Perhaps there are other approaches we could try for the awards night. I would enjoy exploring the possibilities with a team.

As another goal, I would see ways to recognize participants beyond the two meetings at the conference, if they choose to have their information shared on social media. In my current role, as Vice President for Public Affairs, my team and I have had excellent participation and feedback from the Impact Statements that tell our story throughout the U.S. For example, many of the programs listed on the Impact Statements are award-winning programs, and enhancing the outreach would in turn increase awareness that "Extension" is a "system," a nationwide network of educators that do great work. We don't want to be the "best kept secret" so sometimes we need to let people know our accomplishments. My second goal would be to reach out to other national Extension leadership groups to highlight the important work of this association. I have begun this work through my efforts with the "Say Yes to FCS" campaign coordinated with AAFCS. We need to avoid working in isolation from each other, whether by subject matter or by association. For example, I served on the National Chronic Disease Prevention Team.

Vice President Public Affairs

Mary Liz Wright


I have benefitted both professionally and personally from my membership in NEAFCS. I have learned from the webinars given by our members and have used the website as a source of great information. I have attended three annual sessions and have come home each time armed with tips, tools and material that have helped me in my position. I have enjoyed the networking and sightseeing that are always an interesting component of the annual sessions. I have made friends and widened my professional "net" by being a member of NEAFCS. I am a proponent of giving back to your community and I feel that it is my turn to give back to the NEAFCS community.

To continue with the good foundation laid down by my predecessors in compiling the Impact Statements and making sure that our (NEAFCS affiliates) impact is shared with legislators and stakeholders. The Impact Reports provide vital information for educating our legislators and their staff in what Extension does and why it matters! 

Begin a discussion on moving the Living Well Campaign to another month so as not to conflict with March National Nutrition Month.

 Southern Region Director

Lorrie Coop


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – President John Quincy Adams, former U.S. President

Throughout my Extension career, being a member of NEAFCS has provided me with outstanding professional development and recognition opportunities. I have enjoyed traveling to new places, meeting new people, and learning new things. While taking part in those opportunities, I have also learned that being a member is about more than just attending meetings. The people I’ve met and the professional satisfaction I’ve enjoyed have inspired me to step forward and serve our members in a new and meaningful way. One way to do that is by running for office.

It would be my honor to represent the Southern Region and continue the efforts of those before me by working closely with the national board, affiliate presidents and committees to lead the way in providing opportunities for our members to grow professionally. I am willing to devote the time, energy and effort needed to inspire our members to reach their professional goals.

My top priority would be to serve as liaison between the Southern Region and the Board, making sure the affiliates are kept informed with current, accurate information and encouraging members to take part in professional development opportunities, serve on committees and mentor each other to strengthen our leadership abilities. I would also serve as a voice for the affiliates by sharing their thoughts, ideas and accomplishments with the board in a timely manner.
Central Region Director

 Lisa Barlage


A successful Extension Professional blends a mixture of Teaching, Creative and Scholarly Work, Research, and Service in their career. Our professional association provides members an avenue to share:

  • Research conducted – through journal publications or presentations on interventions and best practices.
  • Creative and scholarly work – curriculum developed, resource materials, online/social media
  • Teaching – through best practices and award opportunities
  • And Service 

Giving back to our profession and association through serving as an Executive Board member would allow others to use the benefits I have gained over the years from my NEAFCS membership and work for Ohio State University Extension. I feel that I have a career where I have blended these four main professional roles and I can guide other professionals as they move through their careers as well. From a young age I have always been encouraged to serve, and I love doing it. I don’t mind getting up in front of others, pulling teams together to work on projects, and I love mentoring new professionals.

As an Executive Board member I would hope to continue with the successes of those who have served before me and look for new ways to assist members and our state affiliates. Mentoring new professionals while continuing to meet the needs of those like myself, who have been around for a while, is always a challenge. The results from surveys, evaluations, committee and affiliate reports, insight from the national office staff, and member comments all provide information that can help us meet the needs of our members and continue to support our Family and Consumer Sciences profession.

Central Region Director

Vanessa Hoines


I am seeking a challenge.  During my 34 year career in Extension, I have been very involved with professional associations both at the state and national level, working on numerous committees, stepping in to help with judging award applications, helping with organizing professional development opportunities in our state, leading public relations campaigns and encouraging colleagues to become more involved in their association. This is my opportunity to step into an officer role at the national level, a new, exciting and intriguing challenge.  

I am passionate about NEAFCS. Together, members form a strong foundation and voice for our profession. Involvement in our association allows members to share program ideas, deal with complex issues nationwide and support each other in our efforts. If given the opportunity, I would work diligently to lead the members of the Central region.

Creating Connections and Encouraging Involvement 

As a regional director, my top priorities would be to create connections and encourage involvement. I would connect with affiliate presidents and members in the central region through conversations at Annual Session, online meetings with presidents, electronic communications and simply picking up the phone to connect with officers and members. Many times members are waiting to be asked to become involved but before that can happen, a relationship needs to be built. Members are missing out on the opportunity to share their skills with their association. I would work to build relationships with members and help them to find a good fit for their skills within the structure of the association.