Thank You Francie Gilman & Sandra Sermons!

Francie Gilman and Sandra Sermons outside smiling
Francie Gilman and Sandra Sermons outside laughing.

Independence Now would like to express our deepest gratitude to Francie Gilman and Sandra Sermons, two long-time friends of Independence Now who will be retiring from our board of directors this year.

Francie Gilman was elected to Independence Now’s Board of Directors in 2016, very shortly after she retired from the Montgomery County Public Library System. We had met Francie through her work in Disability Resource Center of Montgomery County Public Libraries and with the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities. One of Francie’s greatest contributions during her time on the Board was Chairing the Visibility Committee. This Committee helped to transform Independence Now’s message and brand as well as prioritized creating a strong social media presence. Francie never stops giving her all! As far as we can tell she talks to lots of people about Independence Now and how we can be a resource to them. Francie’s strong advocacy skills benefit many parts of the disability committee, she stays involved and speaks up.

“When I became a Board member in 2016, I didn't have much knowledge of the Centers for Independent Living movement, and since then have gained tremendous respect for the CIL philosophy and values. Through IN I learned the importance of having community-based advocates who have first-hand experience as people with disabilities with what’s available locally, and who will be there for you and with you as you make life-changing decisions. The work IN does affects not only quality of life but life itself. Personally, I’m so glad to have been a part of our efforts to improve IN’s visibility, working with Marc, Denise, Trish, and Pat. Sarah’s dedication, perseverance and energy on behalf of consumers, staff, and Board are truly phenomenal. I look forward to seeing what’s coming up!”

We will miss Francie on the Board and hope she visits often! Please join us in thanking Francie for her time and commitment to Independent Living!

Sandra Sermons began serving on the Board of Directors in 2008. Sandra brought with her a wealth of knowledge from other nonprofit leadership experiences in the blind community. She often helped to plan our Annual Meeting, always making sure that speakers were diverse and taught us about intersectionality as well as the importance of marginalized communities being recognized. For several years Sandra served as the Secretary, her skill at editing is second to none. Sandra was incredibly committed to ensuring Independence Now Board meetings and documents were accessible for all members, the entire Board has benefited from her efforts.

“I believe that serving on the board of Independence Now is part of a sacred trust; standing on the shoulders of giants and doing my part in the struggle.”

Join me in thanking Sandra for her 14 years of service to Independence Now!

Thank You Francie Gilman & Sandra Sermons!
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