I am a second generation South Asian, raised in the Washington DC metropolitan area. As a principal and co-founder of Vega Mala Consulting, my partner, Vega Subramaniam, and I provide consulting, coaching, and training services to nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurial businesses, and government agencies. In addition to speaking engagements, I?m available to facilitate workshops and meetings, conduct trainings, and provide organizational consultation. My experience comes from years of community building and organizational leadership – from co-founding Trikone-Northwest, an organization serving South Asian LGBTQ community in the Pacific Northwest, and serving on the founding leadership teams for Rainbow Dragon Fund, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and the Queer South Asian National Network. I?ve also served on local, statewide, and national boards (Equal Rights Washington, the City of Seattle Women?s Commission, Seattle PFLAG, NQAPIA), and advocated on issues impacting people with disabilities, LGBTQI, and predominantly people of color communities.
Elise Roy lost her hearing at the age of 10 and doctors have never been able to explain why. Determined to continue to live the normal life that she had already begun, she refused to lower herself to the new sub-par standards that society began placing on her. Teaching herself using only her textbooks, Elise was accepted to Brown University. While at Brown, she was recognized as one of the nation’s elite athletes. At 24 she became one of just 44 deaf lawyers in the United States. At 25 she became an advocate working at the United Nations, where she helped to author the first international Human Rights treaty of the 21st century. Since then, she has traveled the world working with diverse groups, speaking, motivating, and advocating on their behalf. She has had her personal essays published in Curve magazine, in Eyes of Desire 2: a Deaf GLBT Reader, and has spoken at Pride events.
As an active athlete in the international wrestling community and Group leader for Rainbow youth alliance Akil is unlike many of his counter parts. His focus in life is making a change in the way LGBT youth are seen and the life that athletes are sometimes seen to be forced into to make. Akil works as a youth advocate when he is not on the wrestling mats trainning for the Olympics.
I am an experienced writer and public speaker currently obtaining my Master of Public Administration at American University. I am an occasional blogger for the Raspberry Mousse website and have also written for the Family Tree LGBT Community Newspaper in Tallahassee, Florida. Much as lesbians, gays, and transgender people have worked hard to educate the LGBT community and the wider public about their issues and concerns, I strongly believe that bisexual people must also step up to the plate and do so as well. I am interested in speaking to organizations and gatherings of all sorts about bisexual issues, LGBT history, rural issues, political issues, youth issues, and issues pertinent to women.
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.
Patrick Wojahn is a lawyer and advocate for civil rights. Patrick has years of experience in management and leadership and has served since December 2007 on the City Council of College Park, MD. Patrick has served on the Boards of Directors and as staff of various organizations advocating for people with disabilities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and for protection of the environment. From 2005-2010, Patrick worked in Washington, DC, with University Legal Services, a disability rights organization, investigating complaints of abuse and neglect against people with mental illness and ensuring District officials provide appropriate services for some of the District?s most disadvantaged residents. Since 2010, Patrick works as a Public Policy Analyst with the National Disability Rights Network, a national advocacy organization for people with disabilities.
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
Born and raised in the nation?s capital, Ben Privot unavoidably discovered his interest in social issues at an early age. Throughout his educational career, Ben had always found school to be a great place to start making civically-minded strides. The unique social atmosphere unifying a classroom education with extracurricular activities provides students a continual praxis where they can find success upon many platforms. So, he put the formula to the test. Ben majored in Women and Gender Studies and one extracurricular dedication after another eventually culminated in one of his greatest achievements: an award winning workshop which gets students excited about exploring consent. Now Ben is going back to school: this time to impact schools the way they have impacted him.