2023 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]
Board Chair Kelly Quirk: 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Robert Marchman has taken an active role in community life since moving to Maplewood in 1991. He is a founding member of the Coalition on Race and he has served as chair in 2004, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In June 2010, Robert joined the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the premier securities industry regulator, as Executive Vice President and Head of the Market Regulation Department’s Legal Group (the Group prosecutes violations of market rules and federal securities laws). He served as the Executive Vice President/MRD Legal Section at FINRA. Prior to that time he was responsible for managing the New York Stock Exchange Regulation’s Enforcement Division and Regulatory Risk Group. Robert currently serves as the Senior Policy Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion, a newly created role within the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission's Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). Mr. Marchman 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. He also assists the agency's ongoing efforts to promote financial literacy and inclusion in underserved portions of the investor community. 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.
Mikki Murphy has been a South Orange resident since 1993 where she and her husband raised their three children. Since that time, she has followed and participated in the initiatives of the Coalition including hosting a Don DeMarco dialogue in 1998. She is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community at Far Brook School in South Orange, NJ. There, she oversees initiatives that impact all of the school’s constituent groups; faculty, administration, parents, and students through dialogue, training, and curriculum. A signature effort is the school’s annual diversity conference, Widening the Lens, which has brought together independent school communities to discuss and take action to further equity and inclusivity around race and other identifiers for the past 6 years. Since joining the Coalition, Mikki has participated on the History and MLK committees. In addition to the Coalition, Mikki is a member of the Essex County Chapter of The Links, Incorporated where she currently serves as Financial Secretary and Co-Chair of the Services to Youth Facet, and the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee of Northern New Jersey.