Edward Nilsson, Chair
Edward Nilsson is a founder and principal of Nilsson + Siden Associates, Inc., an architecture and planning firm experienced in educational, institutional, commercial and residential projects. Arts-related clients include the Jones Gallery of Glass & Ceramics, Tufts University, Massachusetts Bay College, and Salem State College, including their recent Glassworks Studio at the SSC Enterprise Center. Nilsson co-authored Rivervision 2020: A Charles River Basin Master Plan, prepared under the auspices of the Boston Visions Program. Rivervision 2020 was recognized with an Urban Design Citation by the regional component of the American Institute of Architects.
Prior to founding his own firm in 1981, Mr. Nilsson served as Project Architect for Constitution Quarters (Building 42) at Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard, a rehabilitation of the historic former machine shop/forge complex into housing. His article, “Rehabbing Historic Structures with Energy Conservation: Constitution Quarters, Charlestown Navy Yard,” was documented in the American Institute of Architects Conference Proceedings “Building Redesign and Energy Challenges,” Boston, 1984. While at The Architects Collaborative from 1971 to 1977, he was Project Architect for several urban mixed-use projects totaling over $50M. During this time he also lectured in history and theory at the Boston Architectural Center.
Among community activities, Mr. Nilsson is a founding member of the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore. He also served as Planning Board chairman, Marblehead MA, where he directed the update of the town's Master Plan and Site Plan Review Guidelines. From 1996 to 2000 he served as Warden at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Marblehead. He is currently a trustee of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge MA.
Mr. Nilsson received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union, a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Master of Business Administration from the Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
Elaine Gerdine, President & CEO
Elaine Gerdine directs communications activities and spearheads research initiatives at the Workplace Giving Alliance. Before joining WGA in January 2013, she spent 15 years as a writer and web content strategist for CSC, a leading IT company, supervising content for a 700-page website and managing and editing a blog that presented the ideas of some of the company’s most forward-looking technology thinkers. She also planned and implemented marketing and other communications campaigns and wrote extensively on a variety of business and technology topics.
A classically-trained pianist, Ms. Gerdine has penned several librettos, including those for a set of short operas based on folk tales, which have received numerous productions. "Chicken Little," first in the set, was commissioned by Texas Opera Theater (the touring unit of Houston Grand Opera), which toured it extensively. The second, "The Ugly Duckling," premiered in New York City as part of Golden Fleece Ltd's Square One series. For many years, she taught piano and worked as a performing musician – vocal accompanist, church organist and rock-and-roll pianist.
Ms. Gerdine's involvement in the arts also includes several years as a consultant for the New York State Council on the Arts and the Brooklyn Arts Council, where she participated in the evaluation of grant applicants. Her articles on the arts and artists have appeared in New York and Texas publications, including Houston Business Journal, for which she wrote a column on classical music events. Ms. Gerdine holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A & I University at Corpus Christi and did graduate work at the University of Houston.
Ms. Gerdine has been involved in workplace giving for many years. In addition to being a founder of the Arts Federations, she has served on the board of Partners for a Better World, a federation that provides access to various state and municipal campaigns. She also serves as Vice President of the board of directors of Historic Salem, Inc.
Judi Holley, Secretary
Judi is a retired federal employee who has been involved in the Combined Federal Campaign since the 1980s. In addition to her extensive work with CFC federations, she has been a CFC donor and a local CFC volunteer.
Judi's experience leading CFC federations began in the 1990s, when she was a board member and president of Do Unto Others (DUO) – a federation representing international emergency relief, development and humanitarian charities. During her tenure as DUO's president, she participated in the National CFC Committee as the designated representative of her federation. She currently serves on the boards of several CFC federations.
Judi is a long-time participant in non-profit organizations in her home state of Washington. These activities include the Governor's Advisory Council for Vocational Rehabilitation; the Criminal Justice Training Commission; South Puget Sound Cultural Diversity Coalition; several local charities focusing on immigrant education, employment and housing; and the Pierce County Sheriffs Advisory Board.
Sisi Deng, Treasurer
Sisi Deng joined the Arts Federation board in 2014.
After graduating from Renmin University of China where she earned a bachelor's degree in accounting, Ms. Deng came to the United States in 2009 to continue her education. She went on to earn an M.S. in accounting from Suffolk University in Boston.
Ms. Deng joined the staff of the Workplace Giving Alliance in May 2011 and served as staff accountant for the family of federations until 2014. She assisted the CFO in administering the WGA financial systems and assisted in other research conducted by the organization. She now works for Pathfinder International, a non-profit organization based in Watertown MA.
Ms. Deng loves the arts. She plays piano and flute, and spends most of her free time visiting museum and attending concerts. She lives in Malden MA with her husband, who is also from China.