Thomas owns his own Management Design and Consulting organization and designs jewelry. He is experienced in fundraising, public relations, communications, strategic planning, special events, management and marketing. Thomas is Organizer-in-Chief of the Annual Bourbon Street Ball Fundraiser.
Valda Lewis - Second Vice-President for Programming
Valda is a multimedia specialist with over twenty years of experience in video and studio productions, documentaries, and television programming. When living in New Orleans she produced a long running award-winning series for, by, and about the LGBT community there. She is a web programmer and designer, and also produces promotional materials including newsletters, brochures and press releases. In addition to working on our online materials, public relations programs and programming strategies, Valda is coordinating efforts toward a SAGEUSA affiliation, with an aim to increasing services and programming for LGBT seniors.
Tracie Longpre - Treasurer
Tracie Longpre is the Director of Procurement for North America at Akzo Nobel Paints, LLC based in Strongsville. She manages a team of thirty purchasing professionals and is responsible for a $2.4 million budget and a $1 billion in spend with suppliers. She is responsible for the development of new or alternate savings programs, and disseminates vital information for the efficient and effective operation and profitability in North America. Additionally she manages key supplier relationships and collaboration.
Maria Shinn - Secretary
After earning her J.D., Maria practiced at a Cleveland, Ohio, law firm where she prepared wills and handled probate matters and workers’ compensation claims Maria started her own law firm in 2000, Maria has focused primarily on estate planning, probate and estate administration, and elder law services. Maria is a member of PFLAG, Family by Design Cleveland , Plexus, and Cleveland Couples Together, and has been a volunteer attorney with Visiting Nurse Association of Cleveland Hospice since 1998. Maria L. Shinn, LLC
Currently, Director of Development and Major Gifts Officer for The University of Akron and the College of Health Professions, William is responsible for the development and implementation of the comprehensive private philanthropy plan for all University-wide health and medical units overseeing the creation of a $3 million dollar annual campaign.
William Cole was the chief executive officer of Opera Cleveland, a not-for profit performing arts organization that was Northeast Ohio’s large-scale professional company dedicated solely to the art form of opera. With a full time staff of 12 and seasonal staff over 200 and a mission of Opera for Everyone, the company produced a three-opera season in addition to education and outreach programs across the region. Opera Cleveland hosted 15,001 attendees and reached over 75,000 people through community programming, including 5,149 students.
Specific areas of expertise include fundraising, strategic planning and change management, restructuring, marketing and business development.
Amie Palffy serves as a financial planner with Skylight Financial Group. With over 9 years of experience in the industry, she is skilled in business/employee financial planning and personal financial services. Prior to joining Skylight Financial she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Amie is active in the Cleveland community. She is very astute at finding ways to circumnavigating the challenges posed by the lack of legal protection for LGBT partners when it comes to financial planning and retirement.
Bob Sferra is a culinary arts professional with experience and training in France and New York City. His company, Culinary Occasions, is well-known in the Cleveland community through Bob’s frequent engagements, television appearances and teaching. Bob joined the LGBT Center’s board in 2009 and became President in 2011, where he has been taking the leadership role as the Center implements the results of its strategic planning process.
Mary Sirico is a Retail branch owner/ branch manager for National fidelity mortgage, inc. (nfm, inc) in Cleveland. She had assisted in developing and improving the retail branch program for future branches and is responsible for budgeting revenue and expenses. Before moving to Ohio in 2011 she served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Central Maryland. Mary is an "IronGirl" and most recently competed in the Cleveland Triathlon (Olympic) in 2012. She has competed in similar events for many years including the IronGirl Triathlon (4 times) and the Miami Half Marathon in 2007.