Speakers Bureau

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A Veteran who transition while on active duty, a Friend of our communities, and Advocate for LGBT+ Rights.

Mia Mason has successfully served for twenty years with the United States Navy, the United States Army, and the District of Columbia National Guard.

Throughout her career, she has served onboard USS Kitty-Hawk CV-63 for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for three tours of duty. She also served onboard USS Bataan LHD-5 for aid in efforts of Hurricane Katrina. Her previous units included AIMD Oceana and Mid Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) Calibration Center. Her daily skills of responsibilities included testing, troubleshooting, 3M repair, calibration and preventive maintenance for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment that is used with any aircraft to include the Consolidated Automated Support Systems (CASS) variants. Overall, she completed three years of oversea duty and sea duty. Her efforts awarded her the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM), Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device and Humanitarian Medal for her efforts.

Thus, with her broad skill set, she quickly adopted various technical expert jobs within the Army as Company Intelligence Analyst for counterinsurgency or counterinsurgency (COIN) Operations. Therefore, during mid-deployment, she focused her role toward Fire Command Controls to assist in aid of countering any Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Emplacements with Area of Operations. With this success, she became employed as the Battalion Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO/EW) to provide Joint Tactical Operations Command training, Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) Training, and EW protection to counter against Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIEDs). During her two deployments to Afghanistan, SGT Mason received the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), several Army Achievement Medals and Army Commendations, while protecting and aiding Commands with Afghan-partnerships against any IED threats.

Upon return home from deployment and discharge, she became a Contractor for the United States Coast Guard. There she served as Item Manager and Equipment Specialist to oversee and manage any C4ISR equipment to include induction, replacement, procurement, and budgeting for Long Range Enforcers.

SGT Mason joined the District of Columbia National Guard in 2013 and served as Calibration Technician with the 104th Maintenance Company before she transferred to the 352nd JAG Team Support and later to the National Guard Bureau, Legal Support Office to head up international operations.

Mia has previously run for Public Office in Maryland and supports Women rights, Poly-relationships, and anyone with disabilities.

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My name is Daniel Payne, and I facilitate a six-hour seminar on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Church. I am a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Bachelors) and Nations University (Masters), and grew up in the Free Will Baptist denomination, so I am closely acquainted with conservative, non-affirming views. I am also a gay Christian (now in the Episcopalian tradition), and through a life-long study of scripture in its cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts, have come to understand that the Bible cannot be said to unequivocally condemn homosexuality or other non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities.
The conversation about LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church is perhaps the most divisive – and crucial – conversation among Christians today. My seminar, entitled Why the Bible Does Not Condemn Same-Sex Relationships, focuses on the seven passages traditionally used to condemn homosexuality (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9; and I Timothy 1:10) as well as various passages that can be understood to support the inclusion of sexual minorities in the body of Christ.
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Rev. Jason Carson Wilson is an authorized United Church of Christ minister. Wilson serves as Justice & Peace Policy Fellow in United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries’ D.C. office, where he lobbies for just domestic policies. He also serves as adjunct minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Wilson is also a member of Dignity Washington. He’s a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, where he founded the Bayard Rustin Society. Wilson is a former newspaper reporter.

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68 , a proud, open and out, Black Gay retired Washingtonian.

Cedric has been out all his life and volunteering most of my life. Cedric currently is a activist and volunteer for gay elders, in the community and assist elder family members.  Currently, collects food from food banks to share with others.  Gives out information on health care, housing, city programs, free events, savings programs and more.  Cedric gives comfort and prayer via phone calls or visits ill persons he knows.  Cedric first stared in the fight and education of HIV/AIDS in 1989 when he attended a support group for those HIV+ with Group Health.  There he learned of the Inner City AIDS Network (ICAN) and took a class to became an educator with the class #4 in 1990.   From there, a volunteer for many years with Food and Friends and Whitman Walker Clinic.  

Being HIV+ for over 30 years Cedric has volunteers and gives support and time to the community. One of Cedric’s proudest moment was being a volunteer with the 2012 International AIDS Conference held here in Washington, DC.

 

  • Ambassador for the DC Office on Aging
  • Ambassador for A.A.R.P.  –  D.C.  chapter
  • DC Dept. on LGBT Affairs supporter
  • THE DC ( Gay ) CENTER supporter and volunteer
  • D.C. Goverment,  D.O.H. / HIV/AIDS Adim. ( HOHSTA & HOPWA ) supporter and advocate
  • Housing advocate & volunteer with the * Equal Rights Center &  National AIDS Housing Coalition  
  • Us Helping Us, HIV supporter
  • HIV/AIDS & Seniors advocate
  • SAGE Metro – DC and supporter
  • Supporter of the DC Rainbow History Project
  • DC Long-Term Care volunteer with Ombudsman Program of AARP
  • Graduate of the C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team ) program ( including Red Cross first aid training )
  • Mental Health advocate  *  Suicide Prevention certified
  • Honoree of “OUR HEROS” Exhibition 2015
  • Supporter of the Inner Faith Conference of Washington, DC.
  • Volunteer and supporter of Mary’s House for Older Adults
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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.

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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.

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Dana Beyer, M.D., a retired eye surgeon, is a well-known advocate for health issues as well as gender rights. She practiced medicine and surgery in D.C., Miami, Mississippi, Africa and Asia. She is currently a candidate for Maryland State Delegate, having first run in 2006. She is Vice President of Equality Maryland, former Executive Vice President of Maryland NOW, founding member of the Progressive Working Group, Maryland?s newest progressive alliance, member of the Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign, and board member of Mobile Med. She recently co-authored The Dallas Principles. She is currently on leave as Senior Adviser to Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg of the Montgomery County Council, to run her campaign. She lives with her two sons in Chevy Chase.

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Marke Meinke is founder and chair of Rainbow History Project, which works to collect, preserve, and promote an active knowledge of the history, arts, and culture relevant to sexually diverse communities in metropolitan Washington DC. Mark Meinke speaks to the history, issues, and evolution of metropolitan Washington’s LGBTQ community.

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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

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