Interfaith Alliance Foundation Board
Julie Strathe-Baugh – Vice Chair
Rev. Dr. David R. Currie
Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins
Iqbal G. Mamdani
Claudia Wiegand – Treasurer
Jacob Worenklein – Chair
Board Member Biographies
Julie Strathe-Baugh is originally from Houston and San Antonio, TX. She graduated from Baylor University in 1989 with a degree in Business Administration. Julie moved to Austin and worked for Apple and Dell from 1993-2000. She held various management positions including Vendor Manager and Business Operations Development Manager. Julie has served as a trustee and Secretary of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation from 1994 to present. She also has served since 2010 on the board of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Julie lives in Southlake, TX, with her three children. They are members of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church.
Writer, Catherine Carmody, born in Houston but raised in West Texas, found her way to tumbleweed-free New York City and parts beyond. With multiple degrees and Spanish fluency, she transitioned from international advertising to litigating for the Texas Attorney General, later moving into the private practice of commercial litigation. She no longer practices law but did marry a lawyer and dedicates her time to screenwriting and philanthropy.
Rev. Dr. David R. Currie was the longtime executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, a group that has sought to avoid for the Baptist General Convention of Texas the kind of conservative/fundamentalist control that’s a reality in the Southern Baptist Convention. David is a graduate of Howard Payne University and has a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Besides doing Baptist work, ranching and building, David has authored two books — On The Way and Songs in the Desert.
The Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins serves as a principal in The Raben Group’s Issue Campaigns practice area, with a focus on using expertise drawn from his extensive political and ministerial career to form coalitions and lead initiatives at the intersection of faith and public engagement. In June of 2021, Dr. Harkins was named an appointee to the Biden Harris administration where he served as Director of the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Prior to his role at HUD, he was Director of Interfaith Outreach for The Democratic National Committee, where he also led faith outreach during the 2012 reelection campaign of President Barack Obama.
From 2015 to 2020 Harkins was Senior Vice President for Innovations in Public Programs at< Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
He has served as Chair of the Board of Odyssey Impact Productions and is an executive producer of several acclaimed documentaries including, The Rape of Recy Taylor, and most recently, A Crime on the Bayou.
Dr. Harkins served for seventeen years as pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC., where he was extensively engaged in relief and development work in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for World Relief, Faith in Public Life, and Sojourners. Before beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, he served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, where he was also President of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches, and a founding board member of The Dallas Leadership Foundation. In Dallas, his was a leading voice in the efforts toward reconciliation between the African American and Latino communities.
Dr. Harkins’ ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York as Assistant Minister. He has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Rutgers, Cornell, Iona College, Howard University, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press) He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics as a Proctor Booth Fellow from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he and his wife Juli, a healthcare policy specialist, are the parents of two adult daughters.
Richard L. “Jake” Siewert Jr. is based in New York as a Managing Director and the Head of Global Public Policy and Political Risk at Warburg Pincus, where he also oversees environmental, social, and governance strategy. Jake joined Warburg Pincus in 2021 from Goldman Sachs where he was a Partner and directed the firm’s global communications, content, and marketing efforts. Before he joined Goldman Sachs in 2012, Jake worked as a Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner during the global financial crisis and its aftermath. Prior to his service in the Obama Administration, he was an Executive at Alcoa where he served on the Management Committee and had oversight of business development, sustainability, environment, health and safety, government affairs, and communications during his eight years there. Prior to that, Jake worked for eight years in the White House during the Clinton Administration in a variety of posts including an Advisor to the Director of the National Economic Council and as the White House Press Secretary. He graduated from Yale College with a BA summa cum laude in Humanities.
Iqbal G. Mamdani is a banker and entrepreneur whose career spans five decades and multiple continents. He founded TAIB Bank, Bahrain’s first investment bank, in 1979 and then oversaw a global expansion. Mamdani currently serves as chair of First Asian Investments and the Mamdani Foundation and recently joined the board of Auburn Seminary. The Mamdani Foundation, Inc. is a philanthropic organization dedicated to fostering educational excellence, as well as religious and racial tolerance. Mr. Mamdani, who is Muslim, lives in New York and Florida.
Peter Maer (2019 Cronkite Award recipient) Veteran broadcast journalist Peter Maer’s career centered on nearly 40 years as a White House correspondent. Prior to his retirement in 2015, Maer covered the presidential beat for CBS News. He previously covered the White House for NBC Radio News and Mutual Broadcasting. His assignments included major world summits and other key events, including every political convention, campaign and election from 1980 to 2012. He continues to serve as a CBS News Contributor. Maer was among the reporters and administration officials evacuated from the White House on September 11, 2001. He was a member of the CBS News team honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He played a leading role in the network’s Murrow Award-winning coverage of the Clinton impeachment trial. Maer also won a Murrow Award for feature reporting. He is a five-time recipient of the prestigious Merriman Smith Award for Presidential Coverage Under Deadline Pressure. Prior to his network career, Maer worked as a reporter at radio stations in the St. Louis area, Nashville and Atlanta where he covered the Civil Rights beat. A native of Granite City, Illinois, Maer is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He was twice chosen as the school’s commencement speaker and was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Maer has served as a visiting journalism lecturer at The George Washington University, American University and the University of Mary Washington. He was a Visiting Fellow on The Presidency and the Press at The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University.
Skye Perryman is a lawyer, advocate, and leader with a track record of taking on and winning critical fights that advance democratic values, stop abuses of power, and improve the wellbeing of people and communities. She was named President and CEO of Democracy Forward Foundation in June 2021, returning to the organization where she was on the founding litigation team.
She most recently served as the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, where she oversaw its broad portfolio of legal, policy, and public affairs work and led a number of groundbreaking initiatives that enhanced access and equity in health care. Prior to ACOG, Skye was a Senior Counsel at Democracy Forward Foundation where, as one of the organization’s founding litigators, she developed and filed some of the first cases challenging unprecedented and unlawful executive action in the post-2016 era.
Simran Stuelpnagel is a Human Rights Advocate, Community Organizer, Sikh Minister, and Management Consultant who works for religious inclusion and freedom of conscience issues domestically and around the world.
He was the Senior VP of Akal Global, a Sikh nonprofit-owned security firm that deployed top secret cleared Americans to over 120 countries, helped protect the White House, Pentagon, Federal Courts in over 350 US cities, and secured dozens of federal agencies. With 15,000 employees and over 5000 retired police officers, Akal was the largest employer of retired American police officers in the world — while Sikhs and other religious minorities could not serve in US police or military uniforms with their articles of faith intact. He was the youngest VP in Akal’s 35-year history and initiated the effort for DC’s Metropolitan Police to become the first major police department in the US to allow articles of faith in uniform. Simran was also the Chief Communications Officer and EVP at the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, where he is currently a Senior Advisor. He has held a variety of volunteer and board positions, including as the Chairman of the Board for Miri Piri Academy, a Sikh boarding school in India, where children from over 20 countries study. He is the Vice Chairman of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Secretariat in Washington DC, which facilitates religious freedom roundtables around the world. He is the IRF Secretary for Sikh Dharma, Treasurer for the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), a Member of the Board for the International Campaign for the Rohingya, and a former Member of the Board for the Institute on Religion and Public Policy with the late Bishop Joe Grieboski. In 2021, Simran opened the first all-encompassing interfaith events in Guatemalan and Costa Rican history with the IRF Secretary.
Simran is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and nominated as a lifelong Senior Fellow at The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute. On Father’s Day 2021, the National Stop the Violence Alliance honor him as one of 25 Outstanding Men because of his “dedication to peace, charity, love, compassion, diversity, family, nonviolence and unity. Simran holds a diploma in Classical India Music from Pracheen Kala Kendra in India. Notably, Simran’s work analyzing the US procurement regulatory framework was taught at the University of Virginia’s Graduate School. He was also a research assistant to Dr. Satbir Khalsa at Harvard Medical School. Simran splits his time between Washington, DC and Santa Fe, NM, where he lives with his two daughters.
Thomas M. Uhlman was a Founder and Managing Partner of New Venture Partners LLC. Previously he led a group which commercialized underutilized technologies being developed primarily at Bell Laboratories. Uhlman and his colleagues created over 60 new technology businesses. Between 1995 and 1997, Uhlman held senior executive positions at Lucent Technologies and AT&T. From 1985 to 1995, Uhlman was Director of Corporate Development at Hewlett-Packard, leading worldwide equity investment, strategic alliance, and strategic planning efforts. In 1983 and 1984, he managed the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness on behalf of the Chief Executive of Hewlett-Packard who chaired this White House Commission. In 1981 and 1982, he was Director of Productivity Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, he was an Assistant and then a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he wrote Racial Justice and a dozen journal articles on race, legal and criminal justice matters. Uhlman has served on the boards of 20+ for profit and nonprofit organizations. He earned a Sloan Master’s degree from Stanford University’s School of Business, a doctorate in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Rochester.
Claudia Wiegand has more than 25 years of diverse management experience for government and commercial clients in the transportation and environmental area. She was employed by Texas Instruments, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and TransCore Inc — the inventor of electronic tolling. For ten years, she was an executive manager responsible for accounting and administration of progressively complex privately held businesses. Key accomplishments include successful operational restructuring, cost reductions, contract review and strategic planning for tolling projects.
Key projects include:
- Established finance, accounting, and administrative department and procedures for a newly formed company of 800 employees and $140 M in sales to state and local governments and managed department growth as company expanded to $360 M and 1800 employees over four years.
- Directed acquisition integration efforts, with full integration of some business units, resulting in a diverse finance and administrative organization supporting manufacturing, foreign, commercial, and government sales in excess of $360 M.
- Managed inside legal and contracts group and was responsible for corporate and project contract assessment, review and management.
- Managed large property real estate lease portfolio stressing flexible terms and cost savings; personally conducted all negotiations and identified cost saving opportunities.
Ms. Wiegand holds advanced degrees in Environmental Chemistry and Business Administration. She comes from a strong Catholic background.
Jacob J. Worenklein, JD, is Chairman and CEO of US Grid Company, an electric power company. He previously founded and served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at US Power Generating Company, which owned and operated major power plants in New York City and Boston. Jay started his career as a lawyer at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, where he practiced law for 20 years, headed its power and project finance practices and served on its executive committee, which managed the firm. He then headed the global project finance and independent power business of Lehman Brothers and served as global head of energy, power and infrastructure at Societe Generale. In 2002 he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Infrastructure Journal in London. Mr. Worenklein served as Adjunct Professor of Finance at New York University, has taught classes on ethics and business at Princeton and Yale, and is a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served on the boards of various public and private companies. Mr. Worenklein has served on the Board of Trustees of United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. He served for over 25 years as President and is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Old Broadway Synagogue in New York. He has a BA degree from Columbia College and JD and MBA degrees from NYU Law School and from NYU Graduate School of Business Administration, now the Stern School of Business.