Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The third and final installment of introductions to The Bedford Citizen’s board of directors offers profiles of Terri Morrow, our Clerk, board members Ginny Packer and Sarita Pillai, and co-founder and managing editor Julie Turner.

Along with the 10 others featured in the first two sets of profiles, they are your friends and neighbors and like you, they care deeply about Bedford and its future.  In just five years they have helped transform the early enthusiasm of our founders into a highly-valued resource for the town.

 

Teri Morrow – Clerk

Terri Morrow – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

Teri Morrow joined the Board of Directors of The Bedford Citizen in 2015 and currently serves as Clerk.She is also a member of the fundraising committee and edits articles for The Citizen when needed.

Teri believes that a press that provides accurate and nuanced reporting is critical to a well-informed and active citizenry. “Bedford is fortunate to have a strong local government led by citizens who care not only about themselves but about their neighbors too.  It is important that Bedford residents are aware of the issues the Town faces and how the community responds. This makes The Citizen the ‘go to’ source for news, information, and current events.”

Teri is a 1984 graduate of Regis College. She earned a BA in Political Science and a certificate in American Studies.  She lived in Arlington for many years and was active in the Town’s Vision 2020 program and was a member of Town Meeting. She has been a Bedford resident since she and her husband moved to Bedford in 1996. Teri and Steve have twin girls in the sixth grade at JGMS.

Active in local government for many years, Teri served on the Capital Expenditures Committee from 1998-2003 and was Chair from 2001-2003. Teri was a member of the Finance Committee from 2003-2011 and was Vice Chair from 2007-2011. Over the years, she was a liaison to various Town Departments as well as the Fiscal Planning and Coordinating Committee.

Teri has been the Membership Director for the Appalachian Mountain Club since 2005.

 

Virginia Packer, Board Member

Ginny Packer – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

Ginny has lived in Bedford twenty-five years.  Along with husband, Dave (who’s lived in Bedford since 1964), they have a combined family of five children and fourteen grandchildren, spread all over (Seattle, Denver, Boston, and Amsterdam) which affords many traveling opportunities.

Ginny joined the Citizen team in fall of 2012, serves on the executive committee and co-chairs the fundraising efforts. “Becoming very involved with the Citizen has given me the opportunity to delve deeply into citizen journalism, a wonderful way to inform and engage residents about the importance of civic responsibility and the many and varied cultural opportunities we enjoy in Bedford. Bedford somehow maintains the small town feel, yet has a mighty footprint. It has a true participative government, outstanding schools, an incredible library, and a wealth of programs with something for everyone. New groups and initiatives sprout up all the time, adding to the vibrancy. Hopefully, the Citizen is making all that makes Bedford special more visible and accessible to the public, making us all feel more interconnected.”

She is an active member of First Parish serving in a number of roles, and in the past was active with Friends of the Library, the Bedford Aids Task Force, and the Bedford Cultural Council. For four years she and Dave were co-presidents of AFS Cultural Exchange Programs, also hosting students from Mexico, Ecuador, and Russia, each for a full school year(as if the five children were not enough).

Professionally she’s been a publishing consultant, working for The Huenefeld Company where she was vice-president, and became president of Pegasus Communications in 1996, retiring, so to speak, in 2009. Pegasus supported the field of systems thinking, publishing books and newsletters, running conferences, consulting, and creating AV products and training materials. During that time she also was a board member of the International System Dynamics Society for nine years.

She graduated from Northeastern University with both a B.S. and an M.B.A.

 

Sarita Pillai, Board Member

Sarita Pillai – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

Sarita Pillai has lived in Bedford for four years. She and her husband Sanjeev moved here from Waltham in 2013 with their two daughters who are students at Davis and Lane Schools.  Sarita is an active parishioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where she is a lead Sunday School teacher for children in grades 1-3. She also chairs the church’s Fellowship Committee that is responsible for welcoming new parishioners while also helping long-time parishioners deepen their connection to the church.

Sarita came to Boston over 25 years ago to attend university and received an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University and an MBA from Bentley University.  After eight years of working in the software industry, she made the decision to do more personally meaningful work and pursue work in a non-profit environment.  For the past 15 years, Sarita has worked for a research and development non-profit organization based in Waltham building a portfolio of work focused on K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Her interest in serving as a Citizen board member stems from her staunch support of freedom of speech and facts and evidence-based reporting of important news and events in our community.  She believes that local news outlets like the Citizen are critical vehicles for building the skills of its community members to be thoughtful and careful consumers of news and media, to learn how to vet their sources of information and triangulate data to fully understand the issues affecting their lives, their community, and their country.

Sarita Pillai is Managing Director at Education Development Center based in Waltham, MA. She is deeply committed to ensuring that all children have access to a quality education and exposure to meaningful STEM experiences that will help them be successful in life.  She leads national centers that advance innovative research and development and deepen understanding of effective strategies to enhance the quality and equity of STEM education. She specializes in forming and sustaining strong communities of practice focused on improving STEM education. She has led several projects to design powerful, technology-based STEM educational opportunities for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.  She is deeply committed to ensuring that every individual has the right to access, fully participate in, and benefit from social, education, and workforce opportunities.

 

Jan Shephard, Board Member

Jan has lived in Bedford since 1972.  Having grown up in New Jersey, she found open town meeting to be a foreign concept.  A friend took her to town meeting and introduced her to the League of Women Voters.  She was hooked.

Along with active LWV participation in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Jan served on the Conservation Commission for three terms in the 1980’s and on the Zoning Board of Appeals for three terms in the 1990’s. Most recently, she was on the 2015 Charter Review Committee.

“I love the Bedford community, and so respect the many people who step up to give so much of their already busy time to take active roles to make the town run smoothly.  For those of us who care but don’t have the time or talents to make a direct contribution, The Bedford Citizen plays a significant role in keeping us informed, connected, and aware of opportunities to contribute in whatever way we can.  I was honored to be asked to be on the Citizen board.”

Now retired, Jan was in-house counsel for local health plans for 35 years with a practice focus on health care policy, statutory and regulatory interpretation and compliance, and health care benefits.  “As a great break from years of dealing with stressful complexity, I thoroughly enjoy volunteering at the library one afternoon per week, and being on the Friends of the Library team that folds, stickers, and stamps their monthly newsletter.”

Jan and her wife Judy enjoy traveling in the Canadian Maritime provinces, especially Prince Edward Island, and annual trips to Acadia National Park.

 

Julie McCay Turner – Co-Founder, Board Member and Managing Editor

Julie McCay Turner – Image (c) Bob Bass, 2016 all rights reserved

Summers spent along the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa during the 1950s meant, among other things, exposure to great local media.

Every day, the Telegraph Herald printed news about people I knew – friends of my grandparents, my parents, and my pals – along with its daily farm and stock reports. There were two radio stations, KDTH and WDBQ, both with 24/7 live AM programming and studio access where we could watch the announcers, and talk with them between programs.  Summer news was very different from the Windy City media that brought stories I didn’t much care about during the rest of the year.

The Hinsdale Doings, on the other hand, brought important news about the Village every Thursday, and each week there was apt to be at least one item about someone or something I knew about. When I arrived in Bedford in 1968, Bob Benoit, Carol Amick, and Mike Rosenberg shared Bedford stories in ways that I hope The Citizen emulates today — before local newspapers became targets of corporate takeovers in the 1970s.

Fast forward to Bedford in 2013, and a sense that emerging internet technology could remove the prohibitive expense of printing and distribution. The internet made it possible for Meredith McCulloch, Kim Siebert, and me to create a new, specifically local news source for Bedford on a shoestring. The Citizen’s narrow focus may sound limiting, but we have posted nearly 5,000 stories since we began, garnering more than one million page views. We trust that in the aggregate, The Citizen’s stories tell a robust story about our readers and our community.

Believe it or not, The Bedford Citizen will celebrate its 5th birthday on the first of July. While ‘hope sprang eternal’ back then, The Bedford Citizen was a bit like Margery Williams’s Velveteen Rabbit, new and not yet integrated into the life of the town.

The response of the community, our writers, and our readers has been more than gratifying, and your support keeps The Citizen alive. Moving toward sustainability over the next five years is an important goal, and I trust that you will continue to ‘be there’ for us — in touch via thebedfordcitizen@gmail.com to share story ideas, to help us discern how The Citizen can best serve our community, or even to add your skills to the team.

But, most of all, thank you for your help in making The Bedford Citizen real.

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