Decision 2016: Check out candidate statements for the 2017 CRC Administration!

Wondering who you should vote for as part of Capital’s Elections? Read the candidate statements to learn more.


Georgia Bullen

I’m honored to be nominated for President of Capital Rowing Club. For those I haven’t met yet, I have been involved on the board for the last two years as a Director at Large and in helping to improve our website, mailing lists, and other tech tools, while rowing with the Competitive team in the mornings. Rowing has been a critical part of my life for over 14 years. After learning to row in college, I stayed on to coach the novice team for 3 years after graduating, while also rowing with the local masters team. Having worn the various hats of treasurer, board member, coach, logistics coordinator, etc, I’ve had a lot of experience navigating the different challenges that come with running a club that serves a population with diverse needs. I’ve been involved with Capital for 3 years now, and am thankful for having had the support of the CRC community as I moved to DC. I am excited at the opportunity to continue working with the board and the membership to support this community and help to strengthen the club over the next few years.

Kirsten Peterson

I feel honored to have been nominated to run for the office of President of the Board of Directors.  I believe that my experience as a rower, volunteer and current board secretary at Capital, combined with my professional background will allow me to serve the club well in this capacity.

I have been a part of the Capital community since starting with the Learn to Row program in 2013, continuing on with INR and then settling into the Club PM program, where I currently participate.  While I love time on the water, my involvement with and investment in Capital has become much more than that of a rower. I’ve also spent time volunteering in a variety of ways, including helping with LTR, hauling trash or waiving the finish line flag at regattas and struggling to put the pieces of the tent together for a community outreach event.  This past year I have been grateful to serve in a leadership position as the Secretary of the Board, which has provided me with significant insight into the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure Capital’s success.

I deeply value the friendships and relationships I’ve developed with people across all of Capital’s programs, not just those I have been directly involved in.  I have a profound respect for all aspects of the club, each of our programs and the people who make up those programs.  And, I also highly regard our role as an integral part of ACBA, the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the city of DC and the larger rowing community.

Capital is at an exciting point in its organizational life.  We have undergone growth in terms of numbers and programing over the last several years, and as such, I believe we are uniquely positioned at this time to determine a direction for Capital that will impact who we are and how we function well into the future.

I believe the professional experience and skill set I bring to the table, including a background in fundraising and current work in nonprofit human resource management, will lend itself well to being able to lead while at the same time working collaboratively with fellow board and club members to ensure not only the administrative and operational functioning of the club, but also relationships remain growing and strong.

During my time at Capital I feel I have been given an opportunity to grow in so many ways that I would like to give back in a significant way.  I believe my skills and experience would allow me to serve the club effectively in the position of board president.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my nomination.

VP of Operations 

Gretchen Abell

VP of Membership

Toni Kerns

I am honored to be considered for the Membership VP Position for a second year. I learned a lot this year with our new membership system and hope to use it even more efficiently in the coming year.

I joined Capitol three and half years ago and quickly found a love of rowing and an amazing rowing family.  I am excited about the prospect to serve on the board for another year to support our rowing community. One of the things I appreciate about the club is how active the members are in growing and supporting the organization and welcoming new people in to the mix. I think it is important to continue to build an inclusive community. Our membership has a diverse set of interests all with valuable contributions to make to Capitol whether you are a young or old, new or seasoned, competitive or occasional rower.  It is important to use our members’ passions and our club resources to give back to the community. I understand the importance of balancing each of these assets in order to provide the greatest value to all of us. For the folks that know me, I am not afraid to ask questions and talk through issues.  I will be open, honest, and happy to listen and talk with anyone in the club. Cheers!



Karen “KZ” Zareski

After four fantastic years with Capital, starting with Learn To Row and SAW in 2012 and now with Club PM, I would like to give back to our club by serving as Secretary. I want to serve Capital members of all ages, abilities, and competitive levels and interest by ensuring Board meetings and decisions are well-documented, and by seeking and communicating your agenda items and perspectives for the board in coordination with other board members. I want to hear from you about what you think makes Capital great–and where you think we can improve as an organization.  We have expanded a great deal over the last few years, and with that comes new opportunities–and challenges. If selected, I look forward to working with the President and the board to keep CRC thriving.



Abigail Potter

I have been a member of Capital since 2009. During my time at Capital, I have been a rower with Club AM, SAW and Competitive Team. I have also served on Capital’s Board as Club AM representative in 2010 and VP of Membership in 2013 & 2014. As Director at Large, I would like to establish a Friends of Capital annual fund, a planned giving program, and an endowed funds program similar to Community Rowing in Boston. I believe that establishing a more formal donation process, Capital can expand our current donation pool from just active members to include; alumni, family, non-rowing friends, community leaders, and area businesses. Additionally, a more formal donation process is an opportunity to recognize our current supporters and create incentives for annual giving. The process of handing down equipment from the comp team to the club teams is a system that worked in the past but is no longer working with the size of our club programs. However, to improve the rowing experience of all of our members, without raising fees, Capital must find new funding sources. If elected, my top priority will be to increase non-dues revenue.

Caryn Muellerleile

I learned to row at Capital in fall of 2012, then returned to INR and SAW in 2013, eventually migrating into Club PM. CRC offers a wonderful variety of programs for rowers of all backgrounds, skill, and ability, which I believe makes our club beneficially unique for the Washington, DC area. I fully support and hope to see maintained the existing Capital rowing programs with optimal opportunities for all. I also view the Anacostia River as a valuable asset and choose to devote as much of my volunteer time as possible, both a recreational river user and a local resident, to its stewardship.

Outside of the boathouse I spend my days at EPA working in regulatory policy.

Fiona Clem

I’ve been a member of Capital since starting with the Learn to Row program in 2014. I’ve enjoyed my time with CRC and would like to give back and help out. For the past two years I’ve helped with the planning of the Gala and hope to continue to do that as a director at large. I also would enjoy planning events and activities throughout the year for the club as the social chair. 

Kate Beukenkamp

Hi Capital!  It’s great to be back in full swing with you this year!

The best part of Capital is always the people.  I have truly enjoyed seeing so many of you at the boathouse, regattas and Master’s Nationals this year as well as have the circle expand getting to know many great newcomers.

As many of you know, I have rowed with several programs over the years – first returning to the sport with Club AM, then taking the commitment up a few notches with our Comp Women’s team before settling into my current routine of afternoons with Club PM. Like everyone, demands on my personal and professional life away from the boathouse ebb and flow and I have really benefited from the variety of programs available under the CRC umbrella.

My experience is just one, but in talking with teammates, it is evident that this variety helps bring people into (or back to) rowing.  As a community, we offer an important opportunity, not just to row, but for all the other good that happens when rowing including camaraderie, fitness and greater appreciation for our natural environment.  I am also proud to be a part of an organization that is inclusive of our Adaptive and Juniors programs, of course, scullers and SAW you guys rock too!

Each program offers something different and important to our club as we reach for and fulfill the Capital mission “to bring rowing opportunities and excellence in rowing to the diverse community of the Anacostia River and the larger Washington DC area.”

As your At-Large representative, my aim is to listen to your perspectives and help Capital continue to grow together and connect with our organizational mission.  I believe there are great opportunities for us to take action and engage, positively impact the sport and elevate our presence in Washington DC and within the rowing community.  So many of us have skills and experiences that can help us do this creatively and effectively…of course, if your personal goal is just to come down and row, that still fits in too!

As far as nuts and bolts skills, many of you have seen my lawyerly planning and organizational skills at work by first emailing or approaching you to volunteer and then followed by the (overly?) tabbed binders I put together serving as the Volunteer Coordinator at Cap Sprints and HOTA.  Additionally, my professional business education and experience with finance and accounting matters lends itself well to making contributions related to our budget and overall financial health.  I have held a variety of leadership roles in other forums as well.

Please vote for your new board and I look forward working with each of you.  

Katelyn Polantz

I’d like to make sure Club AM maintains a voice on the Capital Board. I learned to row at Capital in the summer of 2013 and have rowed with Club AM for three years now. For the past two years, I’ve served as program rep for Club AM, sitting in on Capital board meetings and handling communication and many administrative tasks within the program. We’re a tight-knit crowd at Club AM, and one that provides a valuable community rowing alternative to other Capital club programs, as well as a steady feeder group for our comp teams. Club AM sees all types of rowers who become part of Capital, and thus I hope you’ll select me to bring this perspective to our board. Thank you.

Stephanie Acerra

Having accepted the nomination for Director at Large, I believe I am qualified for a number of reasons. I have been rowing with Capital since 2012 on both the competitive sweep and sculling team, understanding many of the needs of both sweep rowers and scullers. I rowed recreationally in 1997 and 2002-2005, and competitively 1998-2001, and since 2005, so I know and understand both the competitive and recreational rower. As a masters’ rower, I know many of the challenges we face, and as coach at a local high school, I see the needs of both coaches and junior rowers alike. In addition to understanding these roles in a rowing club, I also bring the experience of having served on two previous rowing clubs’ boards, as well as having started and served on the board of a not for profit organization funding schools in Uganda. I believe I am also a level headed, thoughtful person, who will try to look at all sides of a proposal or situation and vote accordingly. I appreciate this nomination and hope to serve the club as a Director at Large.

Steven Fondriest

Hello. My name is Steven Fondriest, and I am excited to be running for the director at large position on the 2016/2017 CRC Board.  I have been rowing in the D.C. area since 2000 and with CRC since 2013.  As I newer rower to CRC, I will bring an open and honest perspective to the Board.  As for my qualifications for the position, aside from being a rower, I have past and recent experience working with non-profit organizations.  A few years back I was a volunteer with D.C.’s American Youth Hostel’s outreach programs, which included participating in fundraising activities and educational programs for visitors and intercity youth.  I currently serve as the Treasurer for the Potomac River Boathouse Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.  Finally, I have positive ties to most of the other boat clubs that row in Washington, which will help in building a stronger rowing community in the D.C. area.


Social Chair

Fiona Clem

I’ve been a member of Capital since starting with the Learn to Row program in 2014. I’ve enjoyed my time with CRC and would like to give back and help out. For the past two years I’ve helped with the planning of the Gala and hope to continue to do that as a director at large. I also would enjoy planning events and activities throughout the year for the club as the social chair.

Jacqueline Battistini

I would love to serve as the Social Chair for the Capital Rowing Club. Professionally I have experience in marketing and event planning, and could use my skill-set to plan some great events for this coming year.  For the last two years I have donated the bar to the Gala, and would be happy to take on a more integral role in the planning process. I would work to generate more donor partners to cover some of the cost of the event itself as well as items for the  silent auction.

I started rowing at my local club when I was 11 years old, and have been hooked since. Rowing in high school and college helped me develop as an athlete and now I am a member of the women’s comp program. Thank you for the nomination and the opportunity to become more involved with the club.

Marcel Bedard

My name is Marcel Bedard.  I have been with the club for a few years with an unfortunate absence this last year outside of my control.  I have extensive event planning experience through my career in various capacities including formal events and events supporting thousands of participants.  My philosophy with event planning is to develop plans that enable others the maximum input and recognition while ensuring that all bases are covered.  I find this enables the people that want to get involved the opportunity but ensures successful execution in their absence.

My intent as social chair would be to create a series of varied events that cover as much of our demographics as possible.  Some people may be enticed by casual brunch, others a networking event, while others may want something with a little more inebriation (within our legal limitations).  In addition to the stand alone events I would seek to combine efforts making the volunteer and fundraising events more social and enticing; thus leveraging our best assets to support the club.

My communication plan is to post a long term schedule as well as ensure all the event planning is above board, posted for input, and ensuring all concerns have the opportunity to be addressed with a focus on greatest benefit to the club social effort.

Program Representatives

Club AM: Mark Lance

I have been a member of ClubAM for five years, and actively involved in supporting the club through volunteering. I have been gradually more involved in organizational issues with the club over the years, and feel that I fully understand what is needed for this job. After decades of working with volunteer organizations, I think I’m competent at this sort of thing and detail-oriented. I’d be happy to serve as our club rep if folks want me to.

Club PM: Co-reps Mary McMenamin and Lain Wilson

Mary: I came to Club PM by way of Andy Waiters. We met at an employee orientation and quickly bonded over rowing—mine with Thompson’s and his with Capital. I didn’t have too many good things to say about TBC, but Andy couldn’t say enough about Club PM. He encouraged me to reach out to the club rep, so I got in touch with Sarah and immediately sensed in her the same enthusiasm for Club PM. Convinced, I traded in the Potomac for the Annie, and I managed to bring my friend Ally with me (maybe a preview of my role as co-club rep?). It was the best decision I’ve made this year. As a real believer in paying things forward, I figure it’s my turn to be someone else’s Andy Waiters.

My mom always jokes that converts make the best Catholics, and maybe the same can be said about rowers in DC. Knowing how the local boathouses, teams, and rivers compare, I’m now a faithful convert to Club PM. I’m confident I can sell it to newcomers and defectors alike, much as Andy and Sarah did to me. It’s not that hard of a sell, really: Club PM has a great coaching staff that somehow knows us all by name and that offers personal advice to meet our very different goals, and it boasts a huge crew of dedicated rowers who are not just teammates but also good friends, occasional dog walkers, and weekly drinking buddies. I could easily sing the praises of this team to any potential convert, and if the length of this statement didn’t indicate it already, brevity isn’t my exactly forté when I have a lot of good things to say. (I promise, if you select me as co-club rep, I won’t write emails this long!)

Lain and I are newcomers to this team, so we bring with us a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity: we’re loyal to this team, we want to be better-contributing members to it, and we want to learn how it operates successfully. As co-reps, we’ll be able to work with and learn from the veteran members of the team and board (a bonus if/when these members move on from Capital). Maybe more importantly, we’ll be able to help novice or new-to-PM rowers transition more easily from newcomer to teammate. Transitioning to a new team can be difficult, even to a welcoming team like ours. Maybe especially so considering how close-knit and historied this team is. Competing together in races is a great way to overcome this gap, but I’d like to explore some other possibilities for those who don’t want to or can’t compete at regattas. Weekly happy hours is obviously a pretty good place to start. Sarah has shown me that much. Maybe there’s potential in Friday morning coffees at Bayou, pre-regatta team potlucks, weekend runs or bike rides, or excursions around the city. As co-rep, I’d be here for you, so I’d love to hear what you think (preferably over a beer after Thursday practice).

Lain: I began rowing in college, but took a long hiatus after graduating. Other things seemed to intervene constantly, and I spent a good six years forgetting how important the sport—and the community—had been to me. Apart from the long hours on the water (and the erg), it was the close camaraderie of four, or eight, or forty people all working together toward a common goal that had struck me as vital, but which I was quick to forget.

When I joined Capital last year, and then moved from AM to PM this year, I recovered that sense of community. Circling up for stretching, volunteering at regattas, derigging and loading boats onto the trailer—all these actions, as much as practice and pulling together in the boat, are integral to building that community. I am putting in my name for PM co-rep not so much because I think that I can do a better job than any other, but so that, by providing this service, I can help others—as I have been helped—to discover or rediscover a love of the sport and a commitment to the club.

I echo Mary’s sentiments regarding priorities for the coming year, most importantly to welcome new members and help them transition to become teammates. I would also like to continue to expand the options for activities outside of practice, including social events and, potentially, off-season group training (runs, bike rides, etc.). Finally, I would like to increase community outreach. Capital is already a strong presence at events in southeast DC, and I would like to look for further options to get our name out there in festivals and volunteer activities.

I look forward to a great year ahead, and to helping PM grow, and grow closer.

Club Sculling: Chantel Sheaks

As the sculler program representative, my number one goal is to continue to grow and improve the program (as Geoff and Grant have done over the past years).  This includes expanding the program through the novice program, while maintaining the quality coaching in the club and competitive programs.  Growth in the program will necessitate increasing and/or improving the current fleet.  Because of the various needs and levels of scullers, I would look toward all individuals in the programs to help make these decision.  Finally, I would work toward transparency in processes and procedures and increased participation from program participants.

Competitive Sculling: Rob Best


Men’s Competitive Sweep: Craig McKay

I am running for the Team Rep to make the Comp Men’s Program Great Again!  The program is a disaster and only I can fix it, believe me!  Our rowers are going over river to PBC.  We must deal decisively with this radical elitist terrorism even if it requires waterballooning! The river is an incredibly dangerous place to row.  We need law and order to rid our river of waste and abuse. We have too many undocumented geese flowing in from our northern border desecrating our most beautiful dock.  I will build a wall around the docks and make Canada pay for it! I won’t be politically correct around issues.  Only real men will be allowed in the program.  To that end, In addition to erg scores for boat selections, we will include hand size. Under my leadership, we will win and win big.  I have a secret plan to make this happen that I won’t share now because we don’t want the other teams to know.

Elect me and we will make the Men’s Comp Team great again, safe again, and born again!

“The Craig” with support of his beautiful wife, Suelania.

Women’s Competitive Sweep: Lauren Cisek

Hey ladies! I’ve been rowing with you for three years now, and I’d like to step up and help make our team great next year. I know this position takes a lot of coordination, communication and many, many emails and I’m up for the challenge. Go Capital!

SAW Co-Reps: Sara Grimes and Susie Allen-Sierpinski

Sara-My favorite day of the week is Sunday because I row with SAW bright and early at 7am. Not only is rowing a great way to start your day, I have made so many friends. I started rowing with SAW the same year I learned to row in 2011. It would be a pleasure to be a co-rep with Susie. Susie took over Mary’s co-rep position last year and has been doing a wonderful job. I would like to take Jim’s position as co rep. Susie and I are good friends and will work well together to make SAW the best it can be. SAW is  small but mighty with many years of rowing experience and history.