Leadership Bios

2024 Community Coalition on Race Leadership Bios
Executive Director, Nancy Gagnier: Nancy develops pro-integrative strategies that help to build a community that is supportive of racial equity and inclusion. She brings professional and academic writing, non-profit development, public relations, strategic planning, community leadership positions, community organizing, teaching, and service on nonprofit boards to her role. In her time as Executive Director, she has designed anti-racism trainings; led a team of researchers in reporting on demographics over two decades to inform areas of challenge and success in integration; and developed strong partnerships within the community and beyond. Nancy can reached at [email protected] 

Executive Board

Robert A. Marchman, Board Chair: Robert has taken an active role in community life since moving to Maplewood in 1991. He is a founding member of the Coalition on Race, where he served as chair in 2004. From 2010 until 2019, Robert was the Executive Vice President and Head of the Market Regulation Department’s Legal Group at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the premier securities industry regulator. Prior to that time, he was responsible for managing the New York Stock Exchange Regulation’s Enforcement Division and Regulatory Risk Group. In 2019 the Securities and Exchange Commission appointed Robert as Senior Policy Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion. In this newly created role within the SEC's Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), he focuses on working with Commission divisions, offices, and advisory committees to develop and implement strategies to promote diversity and inclusion, both within the SEC and through external engagement with agency partners and market participants. Robert has had a long career in diversity and inclusion efforts in Corporate America and in nonprofits and has received numerous awards in recognition of his work to promote diversity management in the securities industry. Robert served as Coalition on Race chair most recently for 3 years in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Since then, he has served on the Conversations on Race team. 

Kelly Quirk, Immediate Past Chair: Kelly is a Program Director of Substance Abuse and Homeless Services at the Bowery Residents' Committee where she oversees a 32-bed medically monitored and medically supervised Detox unit. She is responsible for unit oversight, developing systems, and ensuring compliance. She has 12 years’ worth of experience in her field and significant experience in outreach to funders. She is one of the founding members of SOMA Action, is on their steering committee, and is a co-chair of Immigrants Rights. She participated in anti-racist work when she lived in the South. In both her work and her volunteer history, Kelly has significant experience in development and grant-writing strategies and is particularly interested in combining narrative and metrics-based strategies to support fundraising. Kelly joined the Coalition board in 2017, soon after which she started the board on an important investigation into future priorities. She currently serves as chair of the Finance & Development Committee and was instrumental in planning the annual dinner. Kelly has served as the Chair of the Community Coalition on Race for 4 terms and will serve on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past Chair 

Vice Chairs

Carol Barry-Austin is a founding member of the Coalition on Race and has dedicated her time and talents to the growth and success of the organization for over 20 years. She served as Chair from 2006-08 after serving on the Executive Committee since the organization’s inception and currently co-chairs the Schools Committee. Under her leadership, the committee has shaped community discussion regarding the Academic Achievement Gap by providing forums, parent advocacy workshops and Achievement Gap Study Groups. Carol is often cited for her consistent efforts on behalf of the youth of the community and her commitment to integration and fair housing. Her advocacy on behalf of students began early on with the PTA’s as President of the various schools her 3 children attended. She has represented the community throughout the region on panels to discuss integration and youth advocacy. Professionally, Carol served as a consultant for a New Jersey-based communications company and she spent fifteen years working for New York Telephone Company, designing and implementing communication systems for major New York corporations. Carol also shares her time with the Columbia High School Scholarship Fund, South Orange Civic Organization, and the Tuxedo Park Neighborhood Association. She and her husband have lived in South Orange for over 40 years.

Jeremy Dobrish Jeremy has lived in Maplewood since 2003 when he moved here from his hometown of New York City. He joined the Community Coalition in 2020 and is currently the Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee. He serves on the IAC Committee and has facilitated several virtual conversations. In addition to his work with the Coalition, Jeremy is a trustee of SOMA Action where he heads the Marketing Committee; he is on the EC of SOPAC where he has been on the board for 6 years; and he is on the Maplewood Arts Council. Jeremy is a Senior Creative Director at Proscenium Events where he writes and directs large corporate shows for brands such as Heineken, Charles Schwab, The UPS Store, and many others. He is also a theatre director, playwright, producer, and teacher. Most importantly, he has been married to his wife for 23 years and has two incredible children who are 21 and 16.

Anita Gundanna Anita joined the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families as Co-Executive Director in 2017. She has worked throughout her career to prevent and address violence against women and children, and to promote healthy families, primarily in minority and immigrant communities of New York City. Prior to her return to the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), Anita worked as a consultant with several small and growing community-based non-profit organizations mostly serving Asian American and immigrant communities. Anita holds a PhD from Columbia University School of Social Work. She conducts research on organizations, social movements, and coalition-building. She teaches program evaluation and advocacy to students in the master’s degree program in the schools of social work and public affairsAnita has lived with her family in South Orange for 8 years. She joined the Community Coalition on Race board of trustees in 2021 and has worked on Finance & Development. 

John Kerner John is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Corestream, the leading administrator of voluntary benefits and discounts in the US. He has over 20 years of professional experience and has held executive roles at both large media brands and startup technology companies, specializing in consumer marketing and communications. He serves as co-chair of the Marketing Committee. John was instrumental in the Coalition’s re-branding and targeted marketing efforts. He worked closely with the Consciously agency on in-mover marketing and new branding initiatives. He has also served as the Coalition’s Treasurer. John and his wife have lived in South Orange for nine years and have two sons currently at SOMS and Jefferson. Together, they started SOMA Kids Feed Kids, a volunteer organization for local youth and families to help provide support to families in Essex County that struggle with food insecurity. John also coaches youth baseball in SOMA. 


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