Our Staff

Adam Podd, Director of Music adam@firstubrooklyn.org

Adam is a Vermont-bred, Brooklyn-based music director, pianist, organist, bassist, composer and arranger. His first connection to church music started at age eleven, when he played for a Christmas Eve service in the sleepy town of Holland, VT.

He has worked with some of the top artists and organizations in his field including The National Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Pops, New York Pops, Houston Symphony, Idina Menzel, Megan Hilty, Darlene Love, James Monroe Iglehart, Frankie Moreno, Stephen Kellogg, Milton Delugg, Macy’s Entertainment and The Young People’s Chorus of New York City in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Symphony Space, New World Stages, and others.

As a pianist, Adam specializes in blues, jazz, and gospel. He plays every Sunday night at the Rum House here in NYC with his twin brother Matt, and their jazz and blues band Mimi and the Podd Brothers. He also plays keys, bass and music directs for singer/songwriter Dan Mills. 

Adam studied classical and jazz piano, organ, orchestration, conducting, and music production at The Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, CT where he received his Bachelors of Music. 

Click here to watch videos of Adam’s work with the choir and musicians here at First U. Click here to read more about Adam’s approach to music in worship.

Garnett Losak, Director of Congregational Life garnett@firstubrooklyn.org

Garnett has been a member of First U for 30 years.  She raised her now grown children, Katie Falzetta-Murray and Joseph Falzetta, in our Sunday school, and has served the congregation as a volunteer in more ways than she can remember.  Garnett is here to help newcomers find their way.  She loves hearing the many stories that our visitors bring with them.  Nothing makes her happier than when a newcomer connects deeply with our congregation and becomes a voting member.  Garnett Lives in Bay Ridge with her dog, McKenzie, is an avid Yogini, and loves visits from her two adorable grandsons, Simon and Micah.

Renee Strickland, Executive Manager, Building & Events Renee@firstubrooklyn.org

I am both honored and excited to join the wonderful staff and team for this growing and committed congregation. I look forward to wearing a few of Garnett’s hats while I manage events, expand community relations, and oversee facilities. I have a history of wearing several hats myself. I have practiced complex civil litigation; helped start-ups with intellectual property and employment issues; served as a Landmark Commissioner to preserve historic properties and districts; turned a farm-to-table dinner into an award-winning food and wine festival, while directly benefiting the farming community; and most recently consulted to a gender equity non-profit that had acquired a historic building as their new headquarters. More

Wendy Russell, Office Manager/Bookkeeper wendy@firstubrooklyn.org  

Wendy is a working singer, songwriter, voice teacher, organizer, and bookkeeper. She is also a part time innkeeper who supports her mother’s B & B in the Berkshires on summer weekends.

 In Wendy’s words, “I am a native New Yorker. I have 2 amazing daughters and 3 delicious grandchildren. One of my favorite places to have worked was Brooklyn Botanic Garden; walking through the gardens every day was heavenly and life affirming. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the First Unitarian Congregational Society.

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  1. Shari Halliday-Quan will be our Intern Minister starting in September

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