Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Equality Maryland, Inc. Board of Directors

Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, Chair 

Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota.  She received a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University and an M.S.W. from Catholic University. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  Prior to attending rabbinical school, she was a clinical social worker for 23 years.  Rabbi Bernstein was a lay leader and past president of Temple Sinai in Washington, DC. She works for the Union for Reform Judaism as the teacher and coordinator for Introduction to Judaism classes in the greater Washington, DC area, and is a chaplain with Jewish Social Services. She is the Study Guide writer for The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. She also is adjunct rabbi at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va.

Rabbi Bernstein was Yom HaShoah guest scholar at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City and delivered the Celia and Audrey Resnik Memorial Lecture at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland: “By the Merit of Righteous Women: Women of the Wall and the Redemptive Power of Female Audacity in Jewish Tradition.”  Rabbi Bernstein serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and Jews United for Justice.  She lives in Bethesda with her husband, Henry Winokur, and is the mother of Sara and Joseph Bernstein.


Karen Blood, Treasurer

Karen Blood has been an entrepreneur almost since birth, counting herself lucky to have been born in time for the digital age. She founded her first IT company in 1979, grew it, sold it and is now on her fourth, GraceBlood LLC, delivering business integration services and consulting to supply-chain companies nationwide since 2003. Active in national, state and local politics including election as a delegate for Western Maryland to the Democratic National Convention, Karen has served in leadership positions with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Way Station Inc (a Sheppard Pratt subsidiary), and Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore. Karen and her longtime partner, Amy Grace, live in Baltimore and enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren and eleven nieces & nephews.



Tim Williams,  Vice Chair 

Tim Williams has over 25 years of experience in public policy and management of non-profit organizations. He serves as Managing Director for a large environmental association based in Alexandria, VA. In this role he represents the association before legislative and regulatory bodies and works to involve the association’s members in the policy process. Tim has managed large coalitions and has been responsible for the successful completion of grant-funded programs in excess of $10 million. A lifelong Marylander, Tim grew up in Prince George’s County and received a BS degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park. He worked in state and local political campaigns and as a legislative staffer for the Maryland General Assembly and the United States Senate. He has served on the Boards of a cooperative preschool and a neighborhood association, a County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Equality Maryland Legislative Committee. He is also a member of Foundry United Methodist Church. Tims is most proud of his two daughters, one a public special education teacher and one a college senior and teacher-to-be. Tim and his partner Jessie Scribner, live in Anne Arundel County.


Equality Maryland Foundation Board of Directors


Isabella Firth, Chair

Since 1994 Isabella (Izzy) Firth has been president of Mid-Atlantic LifeSpan, an association comprised of 300 senior care organizations that deliver housing, healthcare, and related services to over 45,000 seniors in Maryland & D.C. Member organizations include continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living, senior housing and community-based programs. LifeSpan is the largest and most diverse senior care association in the mid-Atlantic region and is affiliated with several national senior care associations including LeadingAge and ALFA (Assisted Living Federation of America). LifeSpan is the parent of several subsidiary organizations including The Beacon Institute which provides education and training to senior care professionals and seniors in the community, and LifeSpan Products and Services, which saves senior care organization’s money through group purchasing programs. Izzy received her Bachelor’s degree in American Government from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Prior to coming to LifeSpan, Izzy staffed the Maryland Senate Finance Committee in Annapolis, Maryland.


Marilee Lindemann, Secretary

Marilee Lindemann is an associate professor of English and director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies ( at the University of Maryland, College Park. Maryland’s program in LGBT Studies is nationally distinctive in that it stands on its own rather than being housed within a larger department. Lindemann has served as director since the program was founded in 2002. She earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has taught at Maryland since 1992. She has published extensively on novelist Willa Cather and other queer American writers. Her more recent scholarly work is focused on how blogs and other social media tools are transforming the ways we read, write, think, and create change in the 21st century. Her blog, Roxie’s World (, is an experiment in comic punditry that often takes up LGBT issues and concerns. She has served on the editorial boards of American Literature and American Quarterly and held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Association of University Women, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In 2007, she was awarded the Michael Lynch Service Award from the Gay/Lesbian/Queer Caucus of the Modern Language Association in recognition of her contributions to building LGBT/Queer Studies. Since 1986, Lindemann has lived in Takoma Park with her partner, Martha Nell Smith.



Valeria Carranza, At Large

Valeria Carranza is a first generation Salvadoran-American, who is passionate about organizing, mobilizing, and advocating for her community. As a local activist, Valeria has spoken at the University of Maryland, Radio America, and Western Maryland Democratic Summit on the intersectionalism of LGBT and immigrant communities.

In recognition of her leadership in advancing progressive issues, Valeria was chosen by the Front Line Leaders Academy as one of twenty young professionals from across the nation.Valeria currently serves as the Legislative Assistant and liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA). In her former role as Deputy Chief of Staff to Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, Valeria advised the Councilmember on legislative and policy-making decisions; this was in addition to staff management and community outreach. Valeria has also done legislative research and constituent outreach for U.S. Congressman Mark Schauer (D-MI). Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Valeria earned the Center for Progressive Leaders Fellowship and interned in The White House under the Obama Administration.

Valeria and her fianceé, Lauren Wetherell, have put their roots down in the Long Branch community of Montgomery County, MD.


Woody Derricks, At Large

Woody Derricks attended college at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He earned his degree in Government and Politics with a Minor in History.  Shortly after graduation, he and his now wife, Heidi, moved to northern California.  While in California, he started work as a financial advisor.  Since then he has served as an advisor, a mentor, and as a manager.  He started Partnership Wealth Management in 2005 and has his CFP® and Accredited Domestic Partnership AdvisorSM designations.

In addition to being a member of the Equality Maryland Foundation Board of Directors, he is a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (Bronze Pioneer), a Partners member of HRC, the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, the first member of Maryland’s Green Registry, Pride Planners, the Canton Community Association, the treasurer of the Canton Dog Park, and the founder/president of Paws for a Cause, Inc.

Woody and his wife enjoy camping, hiking, and traveling with their dogs, Fenway & Roxy.  They recently welcomed their first child to their family.



Dick Fredericks, At Large

Dick has more than 45 years of experience in marine salvage, transportation and environmental protection. He serves as President of Maritime Solutions, Inc., whose mission is the introduction of more effective solutions to marine environmental problems including ballast water treatment and is headquartered in New York, NY. He also serves as a consultant to SMIT Salvage with which he has a four decades long relationship from offices in Linthicum Heights, MD. He also serves as Vice President–Marketing and Sales for Donjon-SMIT, LLC, an OPA-90 marine salvage alliance headquartered in Alexandria, VA. And he serves as Executive Director of the American Salvage Association, a trade association headquartered in Alexandria, VA. While Dick has a number of other interests, he considers the work of Equality Maryland to be the most important of all. Dick received a BS degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1967, graduated from the U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage School in 1968, and received an MBA from New York University Graduate School of Business Administration in 1976. Dick lives in Severna Park, MD with his wife of 42 years, Sharon. Together they have two grown children; a son and a daughter.


David Vignolo, At Large

David A. Vignolo has been a Maryland resident since January, 1994.  He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in Political Science in 1981.  Prior to joining the United States Senate, Office of the Sergeant at Arms in September, 1990, he was employed by NASDAQ as a quality assurance specialist.  He currently serves as a Senior Program Manager in the Senate’s State Office Readiness Program, ensuring Senate state office staff members are prepared for emergency situations through the implementation of physical security enhancements, life safety measures, emergency preparedness and continuity of operations planning for more than 450 Senate state offices.  He is politically active in Maryland, especially in District 14, and has been an active member of Equality Maryland and its predecessor organization, Free State Justice Campaign, since 1994.  He is also a sustaining member of the Human Rights Campaign, and has membership in the ACLU and the Gay, Lesbian, and Allies Senate Staff (GLASS) Caucus, a non-profit, non-partisan organization open to all, whose purpose is to raise awareness of issues affecting the LGBT community, increase visibility and promote the welfare and dignity of LGBT employees of the United States Senate by providing a safe environment for social interaction and professional development.  He shares homes in Olney, Maryland and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with his husband, Bill, and their two cats, Domino and Elmo.


To learn more about the Equality Maryland Board of Directors, please email

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