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Our 2019 Trailblazing Women


Gerri Cannon

Gerri was elected to the NH House of Representatives in 2018 and represents the city of Somersworth and the town of Rollinsford. She sits on the House Health, Human Services and Elderly affairs committee. Gerri is a Transgender Advocate and a member of the NH Conference of UCC Churches, Open and Affirming Concerns Committee. She has presented at educational sessions for Church congregations and businesses throughout NH. Gerri lives in Somersworth, NH and was elected to the City School Board in 2017.

Gerri was a member of the Freedom NH Steering Committee and is a spokesperson for Transgender equality. She has been discussing Transgender topics for Speak Out Boston, PFLAG NH, Freedom NH, and with the NH State Legislature for over 15 years. She worked for the combined companies of Digital, Compaq and Hewlett Packard for over 30 years in a wide variety of Engineering and Marketing roles. She ran her own Carpentry Business in Merrimack, NH and she has driven Tractor Trailers cross country. Gerri graduated Magna Cum Laude from SNHU in 1998 and holds a BS in Business.

Dudley Dudley2 crop

Dudley Dudley

Dudley Dudley is an American political activist, known for her legislation that helped prevent shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis from building an oil refinery in Durham, New Hampshire, in 1974. In 1976, Dudley became the first woman elected to the New Hampshire Executive Council, where she served four consecutive terms. At that time she was the first woman to serve in an office higher than Legislature, making her the highest politically ranked woman in the state. In 1984, she won the Democratic primary to represent New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. 

From 1987 to 1998, Dudley was Executive Director of the Women Legislators’ Lobby, a national organization of female state legislators who worked with their members of Congress to reduce the federal budget appropriation for military weapons.

Dudley is a past overseer of Dartmouth Medical School and past director of the NH Civil Liberties Union. She has served on the boards of the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, and RAIN for the Sahel and the Sahara. Dudley has been a trustee of the University of New Hampshire and a director for the UNH Alumni Association board.


Viola Katusiime

Viola Katusiime is an outspoken leader in the community. Born and raised in Uganda, she witnessed first-hand the gap between those with a voice and the voiceless. Her experiences inspired her to become active, and instead of speaking on behalf of people, she is creating a space where they can be heard.

For the past four years, her work at the Granite State Organizing Project has focused on social and economic justice where she has worked alongside other social change leaders. Her current work consists of leadership development, empowering tenants in public housing around tenant rights and engaging the public on family and economic security campaigns including advocating for raising the minimum wage and immigrant rights at the state and federal level.

She has worked as a Field Director on electoral campaigns where she led efforts running voter education and engagement programs to increase voter participation within marginalized communities.

Viola earned her Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College and a Master of Science in Sustainable Development and Climate Change from Antioch University, Keene NH.

Viola currently serves on the Mayor’s Immigrant Advisory Council and continues to support various endeavors that promote inclusive systems and create a thriving community.

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