Michele Zavos is a long-time LGBT activist and attorney who has represented thousands of clients in her 30-year career. She is a pioneer in creating legal protections for members of the LGBT community and their families. She speaks often on legal issues regarding marriage, adoption, estate planning, children, and contested domestic matters. She has received numerous awards for her work in the LGBT community, including from Wanda’s Wills, the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Capital Pride, and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. American University’s Washington School of Law also named her Outstanding Adjunct Professor in 1999.
Jennifer Chapin is an active member of GALAXe Pride at Work, Xerox Corporations recognized employee resource group for LGBT employees and allies. She serves as the Chapter President for Greater Washington, DC. and Vice President of Education. She has held many different assignments in her 14 year Xerox career working with customers in many states and countries around the world. Currently working with customers in the Baltimore/Washington, DC metro area providing account improvements, workflow process charts and client associate training. She has done multiple presentations on iGen Operator training and recently two presentations on gender identity at Stevenson University in Maryland and the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an advocate for equality and volunteers with Equality Maryland to educate others about equality issues in the community.
Dr. Ruthie is dedicated to spreading sex-positive information, advocacy and community building to all adults. No matter where you live or the nature of your sexual experiences, Dr. Ruth Neustifter is a recognized relationship expert specializing in sexual communication and education as well as recovery from intimate partner violence. University instructor, published author, respected presenter and dedicated activist, Ruth Neustifter holds a doctoral degree in Child & Family Development with specializations in Couples and Family Therapy and Qualitative Research.
Jessica McKinnon is recognized and respected in the transgender community as a inspirational speaker and advocate for transsexual and transgender people. Having successfully transitioned in her gender role with her employer in 2006, Jessica has made numerous public and media appearances. Jessica McKinnon is the Chair of Capital Trans Pride 2009. She also serves on the Out&Equal Capital Region Affiliate Council and moderates the DC Metro Area Gender Identity Connection (MAGIC). Jessica was interviewed by CNN and Fox News regarding ENDA, featured in Marie Claire Magazine, and is a regular DC101 radio personality.
Alexandra Chandler is a transgender woman serving openly as a senior analyst and leader within the Intelligence Community. Alexandra is also an advocate for equality for LGBT people, especially transgender youth, immigrants and people of color. She enjoys providing her perspective on leadership and communication as a woman and a LGBT person, mentoring younger LGBT and national security audiences, and discussing domestic policy challenges including education, healthcare reform, and income inequality. She has presented on leadership, career development, LGBT and transgender issues in numerous Intelligence Community forums, the Rainbow Families conference, Columbia University SIPA, Rutgers University, Yale University, and Capital Trans Pride. She has also published in the Washington Post and appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Alexandra led the Intelligence Community’s analytic effort against the maritime proliferation of WMD and arms smuggling from 2011-2016. Inspired by living in NYC as a law student through the 9/11 attacks, Alexandra started her career as an intelligence analyst in 2004. In 2006 she was the first employee ever to complete a gender transition while working at the Office of Naval Intelligence. Alexandra came out to the general public in February 2017, in which she used her story as a call to Americans to reject the fear and hate on the rise in society since the 2016 election. She is a member of the Intelligence Community LGBT Pride employee resource group, a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, and the Vice President of her child’s school PTA. From 2008 – 2013, she served on the Board of Directors of Whitman Walker Health, including as Vice Chair, and helped guide the organization to sustainability and Federally Qualified Health Center status as a member of the Quality Assurance Committee. Alexandra graduated from Brown University in 1999 with a B.A. in International Relations, and from Brooklyn Law School in 2002. She is married to Catherine, her high school sweetheart and partner of 22 years, and they have two children.
Hello, my name is Sara Cahanin. I am a licensed therapist in Maryland and currently, I work at Cheltenham Youth Facility in the school as a therapist. I also have a private practice. In addition to my work as a therapist, I have been a high school English teacher and also, have taught writing at a community college and private college in New York State. In 2006, I started a non-profit organization called, Martin Lyon Lesbian Support Services in Ithaca, New York. It was very successful and met the unmet needs of the lesbian community. We had planned to open it up to all GLBT people, but due to the economy the organization ceased operations. I feel that I have a lot to offer the GLBT community as a speaker and look forward to speaking soon to our community. Thanks for reading!
For more information, please visit my website at http://www.saracahanin.com.
Manuella Hancock is a lawyer who has worked on issues of discrimination in the workplace, and tax, health care and retirement planning for LGBT families and individuals. Manuella also has significant experience as an advocate and counselor on the issue of same sex domestic violence. As a daughter of an immigrant, Manuella has worked with the mono-lingual latino community to make legal issues accessible through language and cultural translation.
Wesley Combs is a senior manager and Global Co-Lead for the Inclusion & Diversity Competency offering within the Accenture Talent & Organization management consulting practice. Wes has more than twenty-four years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies to understand how diverse segments of the population impact their organizations, helping them to holistically integrate cultural competency into their DNA. The results have helped differentiate his clients from their competitive set.
Prior to joining Accenture, for the past 18 years Wes had been the President and Co-Founder of Witeck-Combs Communications, the nation’s premier public relations and marketing communications consulting firm specializing in how inclusion and diversity is an accelerator when integrated into business strategies.
Wes is one of the nation?s leading subject matter experts on LGBT issues facing corporations, non-profits and government agencies. He pioneered development of market research tools with the global firm Harris Interactive that have become the leading source of LGBT segment data. Together with his business partner Bob Witeck, Combs wrote the first business book on marketing to the LGBT market entitled
Colleen Dermody is a strategic communicator, a marketing solutions counselor and a social marketing expert. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Communication and a certification from the Search Engine Academy for search engine optimization strategy. Dermody has developed and implemented highly successful research, marketing and media initiatives for a long and varied list of corporate, non-profit and government clients including Aetna, the Michael D. Palm Center, Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization, the District of Columbia Department of Health, the New York LGBT Community Center, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Sunrise Senior Living, DC Tobacco Free Families campaign, and a host of others. Additionally, she has taught professional writing and management at the Master’s level for American and Central Michigan Universities.
Her 25 years of marketing and public relations experience includes serving as Vice President at Witeck-Combs Communications the nation’s premier LGBT marketing communications firm, and as Communications Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, one of the highest profile health and nutrition advocacy organizations in the United States.
Colleen is also well known and respected for her years of work in women?s issues and progressive advocacy communications having held senior communications posts with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women and the Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International.
Dermody is an accomplished forward-thinking leader with the demonstrated drive, imagination and interpersonal skills to launch strategic communications initiatives that deliver significant gains in profit, efficiency, prestige and competitive edge. She is a success-driven change agent credited with transforming outdated communications strategies into inclusive, flexible and potent marketing campaigns. Skilled in community outreach, business case development, advertising campaigns and budget analysis, negotiating, and cultivating relationships with diverse corporate, government, NGO, trade association, and media partners. Dermody is a gifted communicator capable of quickly building trust and cooperation among internal and external groups.
Dermody is a nationally recognized diversity expert for marketing outreach to diverse markets and employee recruitment and retention efforts. She has lead efforts to develop and implement national and international strategic communications programs resulting in increased awareness, visibility, sales and brand recognition. She has lead, advised, communicated, and collaborated across divisional/geographic boundaries on behalf of executives, opinion leaders, customers, scientists, business analysts, target audiences and media.