"I truly value the experience of serving on the CWR Board of Directors. It is an opportunity to be directly involved in the larger picture and vision of a great organization."
CWR 2019 Board of Directors
Director of Communications & Administrative Services
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
CWR Chair — Jennifer Brandlon manages communication and administration for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S-Ontario Province. Since 1980, she has worked in journalism, marketing and communications, including reporting for The Associated Press, editing magazines, directing marketing programs for an investment research firm, and serving as brand manager for an international musical instrument manufacturer. She graduated from the University of California-Berkeley, where she focused on American immigration history. She also studied Spanish at the University of Durango in Mexico and theater at Portland Community College. With an incurable love for writing, she is involved in the Portland songwriting community and serves on the editorial board of the Episcopal Café, an online forum for the Episcopal Church.
Sisters of St Francis of Assisi
CWR Treasurer — Jean Merry has been a member of CWR since 2003, when she became the communications director for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis, Wisconsin. Jean previously served two terms on the CWR board and chaired the 2010 CWR Conference (Denver) Committee. Jean has also served on the CWR Marketing Committee, CWR Finance Committee, and three conference committees.
Jean has been involved in communications and/or marketing since 1970, first as an English and communications teacher for 11 years, and then in marketing and PR positions for a manufacturing company and an employee benefits foundation. From 1989 to 2003, she was in charge of marketing and communications for Prudential’s agricultural divisions. In addition to her position with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, Jean also does communications and design work on a part-time basis for her husband’s marketing company, which serves agricultural clientele.
Director of Communications/PR
Sisters of St Joseph of Philadelphia
Cecilia’s 30-year career as a communications professional includes employment in both for-profit and non-profit sectors. She has worked in the civil engineering, transportation, health care, recreation/hospitality and health insurance industries. Her professional career has provided many opportunities including the development and management of internal/external marketing and communications programs, corporate identity plans, strategic planning, writing, social media, relationship management, facilitation, special events, video production, graphic design and advertising.
A native of Pittsburgh, Cecilia was educated by the Sisters of Charity and is a graduate of Duquesne University. She has previously served as President of the American Society of Highway Engineers—Franklin Section, as a Wilkinsburg, PA Borough Council Member and on the Borough’s Zoning Hearing Board.
Director of Communications
Sisters of St Joseph of Orange
Robert Cogswell is the director of communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, California, a role he has served in since 2007. He credits the wisdom and generosity of successive congregational leadership teams, and experiences through CWR, in building congregational communications from a part-time function to a three-person department. He helped guide the transformation of a print-only operation to a department that collaboratively creates and manages content across multiple media channels.
Prior to his current role, Rob simultaneously served as communications manager for the congregation while acting as assistant director for one of its sponsored ministries, the Center for Spiritual Development (CSD). In 10 years with CSD, Rob was responsible for creating, marketing, and operating programs that people paid to attend. In 21 years with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, he has served on more than 100 committees, including the congregation’s sponsorship transition of its healthcare ministry and the congregation’s 100th Jubilee year.
Rob earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton. He and his wife, Shannon, have been married for over 26 years and have two daughters in college. Rob has been a CWR member since 2005.
Joanne Gallagher, CSJ
Director of Communications
Sisters of St Joseph of Boston
Sister Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, is a Sister of St. Joseph of Boston and has been a member of CWR since 2001. She served on the CWR [then NCNWR] board from 2003–2008 and is currently on the Membership Committee. Joanne is the director of communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. She graduated with a BA in English from Regis College, Weston, Massachusetts, and a master’s in theology from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. For more than 20 years, Joanne was an English and theology teacher as well as a high school campus minister.
Joanne has served as communications coordinator on the 2011 and 2016 planning committees for the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Anti-Trafficking Coalition of the Boston Unit of LCWR. She has coordinated many immersion retreats to Mexico and Ecuador for high school students and adults as well as several CSSJ Heritage Pilgrimages. Joanne currently serves on the board of directors for the CSJ Boston Corporation for Sponsored Ministries and the Fontbonne Academy Board of Trustees.
Director of Public Relations/Communications
Sisters of St Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Stephanie has 30 years of experience in communications and related fields. Prior to joining the Sisters of St. Joseph, she provided professional freelance services including copywriting, marketing and public relations for a variety of clients while raising her youngest child. Other professional work experience includes serving as creative project coordinator for a regional magazine, advertising for a large real estate firm, and account services in the advertising industry. She also worked in marketing and public relations for McDonald’s Corporation.
In addition to her membership in CWR, Stephanie served on the board of directors for the Achievement Center, an agency that serves special needs children for 13 years; and eight years on the Saint Vincent Health Center Board of Corporators. She held previous memberships with the National Catholic Development Conference, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Public Relations Society of America.
Stephanie was educated by the Sisters of St. Joseph throughout elementary and high school and then attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. She has participated in numerous webinars, workshops and seminars on various topics including development, public relations and social media for non-profits. She has been an associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph since 2002.
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth
Spalding Hurst manages the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth's communications efforts in design and technology. He has a background in film production and television. He began working with the Sisters in 2008 and enjoys inspiring the involvement in furthering their mission. His passions include traveling with his wife and two children and many glorious pursuits of paddling rivers.
Maxine Kollasch, IHM
A Nun's Life Ministry
Sister Maxine Kollasch is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) of Monroe, Michigan. In 2006, she co-founded A Nun’s Life, an internet-based ministry at aNunsLife.org and on social media that engages with people in 150 countries about discernment and calling. Maxine has master’s degrees in theology and advertising. She has extensive experience in online community building, the online culture, and web and social analytics. She is also a former director of communications for her congregation. Sister Maxine is also an accomplished martial artist, avid biker, and history buff.
Religious Sisters of Charity
Sister Patricia is a Religious Sister of Charity originally from London, England but now living in Dublin, Ireland. At present, she serves on the General Leadership Team of her congregation. She has a B.A. in Theology for Ministry from the University of London; an M.A. in Learning Disability Studies from Salford University, and a post-graduate Diploma in Web Design and Development from the University of London.
Patricia joined the Religious Sisters of Charity in September 1991. After completing her initial formation she was missioned to Scotland to work in a housing estate in Glasgow as a Pastoral Assistant in one of the local parishes. After studies she was missioned to Birkenhead in North-West England, where she worked as the Disabilities Co-ordinator for the Diocese of Shrewsbury. During this time she also served as the Vocations Co-ordinator for the English/Scottish Province of the RSCs and was responsible for designing, launching and maintaining the Province’s website.
In 2007 she was elected to serve on the General Leadership Team of the congregation. In her current position she co-ordinates the electronic communication for the congregation through Facebook, Twitter, managing the international website and editing the eNews. She also has the privilege of visiting the sisters of the congregation in many parts of the world.
For the past year Patricia has worked with the Association of the Leaders and Missionaries of Ireland (AMRI) on their “Web Group,” a team of five sisters advising AMRI on the most effective way to have an online presence.
In January 2016, Patricia initiated the CWR in Ireland because of her belief in all that the CWR stands for in serving women religious. She is very interested in how we might forge links with the members of CWR internationally and to explore how CWR can grow more as an international organization.
Director of Communication
Congregation de Notre-Dame
Stephanie Manseau is director of communication for the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Montreal, Canada. She is responsible for public relations, web and social media, marketing strategy, and internal communication. She oversees a team of translators as most of the congregation’s documents are published in four languages.
After receiving a master's degree in history from the Université de Montréal, Stephanie worked in advertising for a magazine editor prior to taking the position with the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in 2007. Stephanie is also a wife and mother of three teenagers.
Foundation for Religious Retirement
Jan has worked with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in St. Francis, Wisconsin for more than 23 years. As with many of the members of CWR, she wears a number of hats in her role for the sisters, but primary duties for the last several years have been in the area of Fund Development—communicating needs for funding for the retired sisters and ministry works. Jan also serves as executive director of the Foundation for Religious Retirement (FRR), which serves all the religious congregations of women with motherhouses in the Milwaukee Archdiocese in a collaborative fundraising effort for retirement needs of sisters. FRR has been in existence since the year before the National Religious Retirement Office.
Director of Public Relations
Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill
Jane Strittmatter is the Director of Public Relations for the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor of science degree in business from Seton Hill University.
Jane’s communications experience began with marketing efforts for an entrepreneurial venture in the floor covering business. When her children entered college, Jane’s interests turned to helping others navigate the financial aid system. She used her communication skills at the Financial Aid Office of Seton Hill University to provide student service and assist with the development of financial aid publications and website information. Jane was a member of the Mission Effectiveness Committee, which fostered an understanding of the University’s Catholic traditions and the Setonian spirituality of its founders, the Sisters of Charity.
In 2008, Jane was appointed Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. There she provided financial aid counseling to students and parents, analyzed financial aid data for federal reporting, wrote manuals for financial aid processes, developed web content, and managed the work-study employment program. She chaired the United Way campaign for the Pitt Greensburg campus for two years running.
Jane has been a member of Communicators for Women Religious since 2011, having served on both the CWR Communications and Marketing Committees. She is an active member of the Collaborative Communications Committee for the Catholic Sisters Leadership Council of Western Pennsylvania.
Angela Szczawinska, CSFN
Electronic Media Coordinator
Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth
Sister Angela has served as the electronic media coordinator for the CSFN's U.S. Province since 2010, when she transferred to Holy Family Province from Warsaw, Poland. A native of Poland and member of her congregation since 1989, she holds both a master’s degree and a B.A. in English philology (teaching and translation) from the University of Warsaw.
Sister Angela spent 17 years in the classroom, first in public grade schools and later at Nazareth Academy High School in Warsaw, where she also served as assistant principal. From 2004 – 2010, she served as provincial secretary and councilor for Holy Name of Jesus Province in Warsaw.
After the transfer to the U.S. Province, she ministered as an administrative assistant at Holy Family Manor in Pittsburgh, PA while also working on the CSFN website and Facebook page. Sister Angela has served on the province communications team, Editorial Board and Strategic Communications Planning Committee. She also is a member of the province’s technology support team.
Congregational Communications Coordinator
Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet
Kim Westerman is the congregational communications director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, based in St. Louis. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for a decade with varied experience in volunteer management, human resources, development, and communication. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Truman State University and a master of public affairs degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her work with the sisters, she is a dedicated community volunteer with groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Gateway Pet Guardians, and the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project.