Vermont Human Rights Commission
14-16 Baldwin Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-6301
HRC COMMISSIONER BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
MARY C. MARZEC was appointed to the Human Rights Commission on March 12, 2008, to fill a term that expires on February 28, 2013. Ms. Marzec was appointed by Governor Douglas to serve as Chair of the Human Rights Commission in December 2010. Ms. Marzec is employed by Green Mountain Power Corporation at the Energy Innovation Center. Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Corporate Secretary at Central Vermont Public Service Corporation from 1999 to June 2012. Ms. Marzec received her Master of Science in Law at Woodbury College in 2009 and received her B.A. from the College of St. Joseph in 1996. She also completed the Four-Year Law Office Study Program in 1997. She has also served on the Pittsford and Whiting School Boards. She resides in Pittsford with her husband, Larry.
NATHAN BESIO, a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, was appointed effective May 16, 2007 to fill the slot on the Commission formerly held by its chair, now Judge Thomas Zonay. Mr. Besio, who resides in Colchester with his wife Gretchen, has been re-appointed to a full term that will expire on February 12, 2012. He has over ten years of business and accounting experience, primarily in the non-profit industry, and most recently worked as a business manger for the University of Vermont. In addition, Mr. Besio is very active in the disability rights community and is a member of several disability rights organizations. Mr. Besio received a B.A. in Psychology from St. Michael’s College in 2000 and an M.B.A. from State University of New York at Albany in 2002.
MARY BRODSKY was appointed on December 2, 2010 to fill Senator Benning’s term which expires on February 28, 2014. Ms. Brodsky began her career in the Federal government with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, where she worked in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. She currently services as a Senior Labor and Employee Relations Specialist for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A committed community leader who volunteers on several boards, she resides in Essex with her husband, Brendan Kinney, and their three children. Ms. Brodsky received a B.A. from St. Michael's College.
MERCEDES MACK is the Equity Education Coordinator for the Burlington School District (BSD). She received a B.A. from St. Michael’s College. After completing her degree, she worked in Washington D.C. as the National Field Organizer for Jubilee USA Network, a non-profit that aims to cancel the debts of Global South countries for poverty reduction programs. Mercedes also graduated from Midwest Academy’s “Organizing for Social Change” in 2008 and the Vermont Workers Center Solidarity School in 2010. She is active on many panels for economic and racial justice. She is the 2010 winner of the Peace and Justice Center's Young Activist Award. She was appointed to the Commission by Governor Shumlin effective February 22, 2011 to a term that expires on February 28, 2015. Growing up in Burlington, Vermont as a woman of color has formed Mercedes into an emerging young leader on anti-racism activism, social justice, and community care. Mercedes recently received ceritifcation as a Yoga Instructor from the Kripalu Center in western Massachusetts.
DONALD R. VICKERS of Georgia was appointed to the Commission on February 15, 2008 to a term that expired on February 28, 2011, when he was appointed to a new five year term. Mr. Vickers has played a major role in the development of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) over the past 42 years and he has served as VSAC’s president and CEO since 1988. Prior to his employment with VSAC, Mr. Vickers served as Director of Financial Aid and Placement at Johnson State College. Mr. Vickers is active in a number of regional and national higher education organizations as well as the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. He served previously for 12 years as chair and member of the Essex Town School Board and is a presently a Justice of the Peace in the Town of Georgia.
Karen L. Richards joined the Vermont Human Rights Commission (HRC) as the Executive Director on March 18, 2013. She oversees all operations of the HRC and acts as its legal counsel. Prior to her appointment to this position, Karen was the Poverty Law Project Director at Vermont Legal Aid, Inc. (VLA) for fourteen years (1998-2013). During part of her tenure at VLA, she supervised the organization’s fair housing grants. Prior to assuming her position at VLA, she was legal counsel to the Vermont Department (now Agency) of Education from 1993-1998, where she specialized in disability-related issues and investigated school harassment cases with the HRC. As a staff attorney at Connecticut Legal Services from 1983-1993, Karen’s areas of expertise included housing and special education. Prior to leaving CLS, she started a fair housing unit. Karen was admitted to the practice of law in 1982 in Connecticut and in 1993 in Vermont. She is also admitted to the U.S. District Court of Vermont. Ohio University (B.A. 1979); University of Connecticut School of Law (J.D. 1982).
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