The Nominations Committee is pleased to present the following slate of candidates for the positions to be voted on at the Annual Meeting on January 30:

Board of Trustees (3 year terms)

Allan Brain


Ellen Norton

Ellen Norton was born in and grew up in Chicago. She moved to Houston in 1975 and has lived here since. She received an MBA in 1978 from University of Houston, then worked as a project and team manager in Information Technology until her retirement. Ellen has been a Unitarian Universalist since 1995 and has been a member of Emerson since 2017. She is currently chairperson of the Social Action Council (SAC). She led Emerson’s UU the Vote campaign in 2020. She has been involved in multiple SAC projects and currently represents Emerson on the Houston area UU Afghan Refugee Support Project. She has also been a member of the Outreach Committee in 2020 and 2021, is a member of the Adult RE Committee, and volunteers as a Greeter on Sundays. She is married to Andy Savidge and they have a son, Kevin.

Charitable Outreach Committee (3 year terms)

Mark Andersen

Mark Andersen joined Emerson UU Church in 2006. His first service to the church was as an usher, later becoming the usher coordinator. From 2010 to 2012, he was an active participant of the Leap of Faith ad hoc committee. Two of its recommendations were to reorganize the church structure and hire a part-time membership coordinator, both of which have come to pass this year. His covenant group completed a major service project by coordinating the Southwest UU Conference (SWUUC) when Emerson hosted it in 2012. He served on the Board of Trustees from 2016 through 2018, where he helped initiate the governance task force and served as liaison to the membership committee.

Shelley Gottschalk (1 year to complete a term)

I am a native Houstonian and have worked all my adult life in Houston. My years working for the Institute of International Education fed my interests in people from other countries and cultures. I managed volunteer and fundraising activities, and worked with the many international graduate students in the area and the diplomatic corps. Later, I moved to the for-profit sector working for the Houston Chronicle in public affairs. My clients were local non-profit organizations applying for advertising and event sponsorships. This was a good opportunity to get to know the many multi-ethnic organizations in the community. I am retired and enjoy volunteering with a number of local organizations including The Women’s Home, Rice University Friends of Fondren Library and the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library Dean’s Cabinet. Hobbies include reading and traveling. I am married and have four cats. Adopting the fourth cat was my husband’s idea!

Nominations Committee (2 year terms)

Carol Trout

I hope to serve Emerson as a member of the 2022 Nominating Committee. I have volunteered in several capacities since joining Emerson in 2016. Initially, I helped with administrative tasks to support our ESL/ELL program and became its director in 2019. Other responsibilities have included Membership Committee (chair 2018), Sunday greeter, Spring Service Auction 2018 and 2019, Homecoming celebration, Nominating Committee 2018 and 2019 and currently Emerson’s Transition Team assisting Rev. Michelle LaGrave.

Professionally, I am retired from a 35-year career in non-profit management and communications. I am married to longtime Emersonian Larry Huelbig.

I welcome the opportunity to help guide our church's future by again serving on Emerson's Nominating Committee.

Robin Sickles

Robin Sickles has been a member of Emerson UU church since 2002. He served as the Chair of the Adult Education Committee for over a decade. He has served in various capacities and on various other committees at Emerson, including the Board of Trustees, Committee on Ministry, Stewardship Committee, and is currently on the Finance Committee. He taught at Rice University from 1985 until he became an Emeritus Professor July 1 of this year.