Meet Laurice Grae-Hauck, our new Acting Executive Director
Saturday, January 4, 2020
Posted by: Laurice Grae-Hauck
Happy New Year!
I thank you all for the warm welcome to begin my time with AUUMM. I am honored to be joining the leadership team of this Association. During my interview process, I was impressed with the openness of the Board to ideas and change. As you may have guessed (and as Shawn announced last month) I have been watching the goings-on of UUMN to AUUMM from the sidelines as a spouse for several years. I will join in advocating for all of our members in the years to come.
I am excited to get to know you and invite you to join me in a virtual meet and greet next month. More details to come soon. I look forward to hearing from membership things that you cherish about AUUMM, things that may frustrate you, or areas you’d like to see developed. Please know that my “door is always open.” I welcome conversation and insight so do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Communication with members and increasing the visibility of the Association within our Unitarian Universalist faith community are at the top of my priority list. One way to do this is the new AUUMM LinkedIn page. (Learn how to update your LinkedIn profile here.) You can now add your AUUMM membership as volunteer experience in your own LinkedIn profile. We’re also launching an AUUMM Instagram feed with hopes to catch and engage the younger generation of UUs.
Aside from my resume I thought I’d share a little about myself to “break the ice.”
I grew up in Nebraska and Iowa, training in classical voice and participating in many choirs and theatres in the region. Like many, choral music saved me from continuing down a rebellious path in my teen years. My first high school choral conductor retired after my sophomore year and he remains a trusted friend and mentor. My favorite choral memory is getting to sing a concert of Moses Hogan arrangements with a select chorus that was conducted by, none other than, Moses Hogan. In 1999, NYC called me to pursue my dreams of becoming a star on Broadway.
I was blessed to spend my early career with some of the country’s leading theatres, including Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Jujamcyn Theaters in a multitude of roles ranging from company management to scenic painting. As a choreographer, working with show choirs helped pay for college. I also coached a college dance team (including a ballet boot camp for football players) and served as dance captain on numerous shows. After blowing out a knee during a production of A Chorus Line in California, I set on an administrative path. I recently began doing local productions music directed by my husband, Markus. Instead of saying good-bye as he goes off to work, we go as a family, bringing our nine-years-old daughter Beatrice along, and it is more joyous than I ever could have imagined.
For nearly fifteen years I was a part of the volunteer staff of the Youth Leadership and Diversity Conference, a project of Civitan International. I love working with teenagers. At YLDC and elsewhere I have done prevention education in the areas of sexual and domestic violence, a cause I am passionately committed to. On the lighter side, I was also an elf at Macy’s Santaland in NYC, and yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat. David Sedaris recounted in “Santaland Diaries,” “Everything these elves say seems to have an exclamation point on the end of it.” That was very happily me. Other side hustles during this time when “trying to be a star on Broadway,” included walking dogs and doing catering at Madison Square Garden and other live music venues. I ended most shifts on the floor or backstage at the greatest concert arena (after eating as much free food as I could manage) for artists like U2, The Rolling Stones, and Billy Joel.
Unitarian Universalism found its way into my life at the UU Congregation at Montclair in New Jersey during a difficult time as a single mom to a toddler. During my first visit, a woman turned around in her seat after the first hymn and said, “You know, we have a choir.” Two years later I found myself producing the first annual NJ MUUsic Festival as a fundraiser for the UU Legislative Ministry of NJ. In its second year, we had thirteen congregations and over 120 singers and a dozen instrumentalists on stage together. The 6th Annual NJ MUUsic Festival will happen in March. Having been introduced at the first Festival, the state's UU music professionals began gathering regularly, something they still do for support and laughs. This event is evidence of how music builds beloved community.
I am deeply invested in organizational transformation and strategic intent with the purposes of dismantling white supremacy culture and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. Having participated in Beloved Conversations workshops with The Fahs Collaborative, I found a new passion when I realized I could put my dedication to social justice and equity to work in the arts. EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) provides a valuable lens for strategic planning and intent. Already working with the firm Equity Quotient as a communications strategist, I'm excited to begin anti-racist/oppressive facilitation/training in nonprofit arts organizations with the EQ team this spring. I am interested in taking EDI a step further towards Equity, Diversity, and Belonging.
Belonging? “How does that fit into organizational structure?” you may be asking. Pat Wadors of LinkedIn coined the term “Belonging” in the business sense to mean that as an employee you feel that your authentic self is welcomed and celebrated so you can thrive. I am personally inspired by the work of Fractured Atlas and Zillow in this area. Zillow’s Belonging motto is “We believe all people should live in a world where they are valued, supported and feel they belong.” They’re missing an Oxford comma, but otherwise, it would be hard to come up with a more perfect UU sentiment for our Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries. Learn more about belonging in the work place.
It is my hope that as we work together, the Association can help you to feel valued, supported, and as though you belong.
Acting Executive Director
gender pronouns: she/her/hers
pronounced: LOR-ris GRAY-howk