Meet Our TEAM

Mike Bensel

Executive Director he/him/his

He has been an HIV/AIDS educator, tester, advocate, and has a strong queer programming background working with Outright Vermont, SafeSpace and serving on the founding board of Pride Center of Vermont. Having a rich history with the center allows Mike to have a strong connection to the mission and values of the organization. As a queer man committed to social change, he is closely connected to the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and education within our LGBTQ communities.  Because of the Pride Center’s collaborative culture and commitment to social justice, it has been a longtime personal objective to work toward shared success with such a dedicated team. Mike is a Tobacco Cessation Counselor.

Kim Jordan

Director of SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program
she/her/hers

Kim moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1998 and has lived many lives since then. Prior to working at Pride Center, Kim was a Victim Services Coordinator and Victim Liaison for restorative justice processes at the Burlington Community Justice Center. Kim has also worked as a domestic and sexual violence advocate with the DIVAS Program at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility and Legal Advocate and Volunteer and Training Coordinator at Steps to End Domestic Violence.

Kim works to bolster human rights for all through innovation, accountability, transformative justice, antiracist practices, and systems advocacy. She holds an M.A. in Theatre for Social Change from Skidmore College and focused her graduate work on participatory theatre for bullying prevention. An advocate for civic engagement and being the change she wants to see in the world, she volunteers with Winooski Mutual Aid, serves on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Vermont as Affiliate Equity Officer, and serves on the National ACLU Board of Directors as Vermont’s affiliate representative. She is also a fun, silly queer and performed with the high-femme drag group The Goodwives at many a Drag Ball. When feeling disciplined, she likes writing 10-minute plays for playwriting competitions, going on walks in the woods, and attempting 30-day yoga challenges.

Kim lives in Winooski where she owns a home with her brilliant wife, Sarah. Together they dance in the kitchen whenever possible, read their Chani Nicholas horoscopes to each other, enjoy backyard campfires, camp in Vermont State Parks, discover new summer canoe adventures, and love on their two rascally cats, Gypsy Bean and Tortuga Noodle. 

Justin Marsh

Director of Communications and Development they/them/theirs

Justin grew up in Cambridge, VT on a dairy farm. In 2012, Justin ran as an independent for Vermont House at the age of 23. They are a published editor (Tasteful Traditions, Red Barn Books, 2014), and have held or currently serve in several positions on other local non-profit or municipal boards. In 2016, they helped write the grant known as The Silo Project, which transformed two abandoned concrete silos into the largest outdoor public art installment in the state of Vermont. Justin is a previous board member of Outright Vermont and still spends time volunteering for the organization as a Friday Night Group co-facilitator in Lamoille County. 

Justin was the lead organizer for the 2018 and 2019 Pride Vermont Parade & Festival. They spend their free time performing across Vermont as Emoji Nightmare. Emoji can be found all across the state supporting LGBTQ+ events and creating intentional queer spaces in rural places. Emoji can even be seen at your local libraries leading the Vermont chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour with Nikki Champagne. A large component of the work they do professionally and personally is to advocate for the rural counties of Vermont (#theother13), moving towards giving them a voice and providing services to their area. 

Taylor Small

Director of Health & Wellness 
she/her/hers

Taylor graduated from the University of Vermont in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development & Family Studies, and a minor in Gender Identity and Sexuality Studies. Taylor is committed to community building and youth empowerment, as seen through her previous work at the Howard Center, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, and a previous Board Member at Outright Vermont. She has a clear passion and drive to support the larger LGBTQ+ community of Vermont and frequently puts on programming across the state to increase queer and trans visibility.

Taylor is a fierce activist by day, and at night she becomes the wildly entertaining Nikki Champagne. Nikki can be found all around town supporting LGBTQ+ events including First Friday, Queen City Drag Cabaret, New Queers Eve, Comedy Queens, and more! Nikki previously co-hosted The T, alongside Emoji Nightmare, a local TV production that focuses on arts and activism across the state of Vermont, and can now be seen at your local libraries doing Drag Queen Story Hour.

In 2020, Taylor was elected as State Representative in the Vermont House, representing Winooski and Burlington. She is the first elected trans state representative in Vermont and the fifth in the entire nation. 

Richard elliott

Health & Wellness Coordinator he/him/his 

Richard comes to Pride Center of Vermont by way of Asbury Park, New Jersey! Starting out in the public health field as a client and volunteer of Project Real (Visiting Nurse’s Association), The Shore’s LGBTQ Social Center, he fell in love with educating his peers, getting in touch with his community and helping to make much needed improvements to LGBTQ healthcare system within New Jersey. Becoming staff as a Community Health Outreach Educator within a year of volunteering at the center, he took up his new position and ran with it. Having built his knowledge and skills set from working with multiple programs and organizations from around the country such as The MPowerment Project, NMAC/ViiV’s Youth Initiative Program and various college LGBTQ/Ally groups, he always comes with fresh ideas and questions that can help bring a new perspective to whatever work he’s involved with. Outside of his profession, he has a wonderful artistic streak. From cooking, to theater to drag entertainment, he lets his creative side speaks volumes for what’s going on within his own world and on the outside. Richard has a big smile and an even bigger heart, he is so excited to be apart of the family here at The Pride Center of Vermont!

Anne Moyerbrailean

Coordinator of Direct Services and Community Support 
she/her/hers 

Anne is an advocate with the SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program. Originally from the Midwest, she first moved to Vermont to attend UVM, where she received undergraduate degrees in German and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Anne comes to the Pride Center and returns to Vermont after two years in Sweden, where she received a masters of social science in Gender Studies: Intersectionality and Change. While abroad, Anne worked with LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees, an experience which sparked her passion for advocacy within the LGBTQ+ community. Anne is excited to be furthering her advocacy work at the Pride Center – and to be back in Vermont!

In addition to working with the SafeSpace program, Anne is a coordinator for Glow, a program for LGBTQ+ women and people who are women-aligned. Email her with questions about the program or about Glow’s mission to create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ women and people who are women-aligned in Vermont. 

Emily Mullen

Trans Program Coordinator & SafeSpace Advocate 
they/them/theirs

Emily moved from upstate New York to Vermont in 2012 to attend the University of Vermont. They graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies with a minor in Sociology. During their time at the University of Vermont, they worked with Outright Vermont, helping coordinate education opportunities to create safer school environments for LGBTQ+ youth.

For the past five years, they have lived in Denver, Colorado and worked with the Girl Scouts of Colorado to make the Girl Scout experience more inclusive for youth with marginalized gender identities. They were a founding member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee at Girl Scouts of Colorado, where they led the organization toward positive change for staff and members alike. Aside from missing all the additional red blood cells that their body produced while in Denver, they are excited to be back in Vermont with the community they’ve missed so dearly.

In their free time Emily likes to drink coffee, consume queer literature and media, and let their dog on the couch for some cuddles when their wife is busy in medical school. They also enjoy woodworking, gardening, and backyard beekeeping. Emily couldn’t be more excited to jump back into Vermont’s queer community and support trans and nonbinary folks throughout the state!

Phoebe Zorn

Operations Coordinator she/her/hers

Phoebe is a sixth-generation Vermonter who grew up in Montpelier and the Northeast Kingdom before relocating to Burlington as a young adult. She has been involved with many great projects and organizations since her arrival in Burlington, including volunteering as a band coach at a rock music camp for girls and girl-aligned kiddos, and serving on the working board of VT’s only grassroots abortion fund, Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom.

Phoebe is passionate about intersectional social justice, community care, and baking! She is thrilled to be joining the Pride Center, where she looks forward to leveraging her years of organizational and coordination experience to help serve the LGBTQ+ communities of Vermont.

CENTER FACILITATORS & Rockstars

Rae Beecher

Trans Masc Support Group Facilitator
he/him/his

marcus marena

Trans Program Facilitator 

he/him/his

Willow Stein

SafeSpace Advocate

they/them/theirs

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

vie mazur

co-Chair 

they/them/theirs

Vie grew up on San Juan Island, in the Pacific Northwest. In 2007 they received their Bachelor of Music Degree from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. In 2011 Vie moved to Burlington. To plant their roots
in Vermont a little deeper, they recently bought a house with their wife in Winooski, with their frisky cat, and tender-hearted dog.

Since 2011 Vie has been involved in the theatre scene in Burlington. They performed with Spielpalast Cabaret for 8 years, assisting on the production team, and playing the role of Emcee for 3 years.

Vie loves teaching, being an advocate for diverse communities, and uplifting others. In 2009, they became certified in Vinyasa Yoga, and have taught Yoga and Bootcamp style fitness classes in Seattle and Vermont for over 5 yrs. Vie instructed Yoga classes for LGBTQIA+ youth at Outright Vermont, and LGBTQIA+ adults at All Wellness VT. In the Spring of 2020 Vie instructed a series called “Intro To Burlesque” at Spotlight VT, where dancers of all levels, abilities, body types, gender orientations and expressions are welcome and celebrated. Vie currently works at Retina Center of Vermont as an Ophthalmic Assistant/Surgical Coordinator. Vie has worked in healthcare for 8 years, and views this career choice as an opportunity to help others.

When Vie is not exploring the outdoors of Vermont, they are exploring their passion for culinary arts, comedy, and writing. This fusion unfolded for them about 3 years ago when they created their blog and social media presence: sprinkleofsage.com

Vie is thrilled to be a Board Member at Pride Center of Vermont with such an incredible group of folx advocating for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, POC, and QTPOC communities.

max titus

co-Chair

they/them/theirs

Max is a real, live, non-binary adult who lives and works in Waterbury, Vermont. They married their wife in 2009 and together they have two children. Max has over 10 years of experience working for and supporting non-profit organizations and professionally has worked in healthcare for over 15 years. They are passionate about amplifying diverse voices and advocating for underserved people and communities. 

 

ARThur hull

Treasurer 

he/him/his

Art has a life long love of Vermont having annually visited family as a kid and having gone to college in VT. He and his partner, Wayne (a native Vermonter), met 25 years ago in Boston, first bought a home in Vermont’s Upper Valley about 20 years ago, and have been married for 10 years. Art works in banking with a focus on risk management within commercial lending.

“We moved to Burlington in 2013 and since then helped with the formation of the LGBTQIA Alliance of VT, volunteered at the Pride Center with Momentum, and volunteer/are on the steering committee for Out in the 802 often with a focus on getting various groups and organizations to come together given the belief that the combined forces of the community offer the ability to make new connections and ties, and ultimately helps make the community stronger.”

Art is honored to have joined the board of an organization that serves such a strong LGBTQI+ community. He recognizes our community is our strength, is built on the sacrifices and courage of many people over the years, and hopes to further build on that strength with the Pride Center for all the members of the LGBTQI+ community.

REX BUTT

Secretary 

he/him/his

The proud father of an trans daughter, Rex is an avid activist and ally. In addition to being the author of Now What? A Guidebook for Families with Transgender Children, Rex has been a long-time, passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community. Prior to moving to Vermont in 2016, Rex served on the Board of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center and co-founded the Kingston, NY, PFLAG Chapter. He has presented workshops and trainings at conferences and organizations across the nation and has mentored hundreds of families with LGBTQ loved ones. At the Pride Center, Rex has been an integral volunteer, and through his work as facilitator for FPFATA (Families, Partners, Friends, and Allies of Trans Adults) he has assisted many individuals in learning to better support their transgender loved ones.  

lechelle gray

At-Large 

she/her/hers

 

Lechelle is a northern born, southern bred, Jamaican-American girl from Atlanta. She has lived in Vermont for the last four years working in sales. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, seeing live shows, & traveling. With a passion for community building, they look forward to working towards a more inclusive environment for the Pride Center

Mary-Katherine Abdel-Ghany Stone

she/her/hers

Mary-Katherine Abdel-Ghany Stone is an Alabama native and proud Egyptian-American who graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Depth Study in Human Services and Special Populations. She then went on to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and post professional specialization through George Washington University’s Center of Integrative Medicine. She currently works as an occupational therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center but spends a large majority of her time serving our community through volunteer work including serving as: a Justice of the Peace for the City of Burlington, President of the Junior League of Champlain Valley, Vice President of the Inclusive Arts Vermont Board of Directors, a committee member for the Burlington Advisory Committee on Accessibility, a committee member of Burlington City Art’s Education and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committees, Junior Membership committee chair for the Green Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and as a Deacon of College Street Congregational Church. When she’s not volunteering and serving in the community, she spends her time dancing with Green Mountain Cabaret and Ballet Vermont, creating stained glass art at Shelburne Craft School and enjoying the great outdoors.

She is honored to serve on the board and looks forward to investing her passion and experience of serving this community into the work being done at the Pride Center of Vermont.

Mary-Katherine resides in Burlington.

Wendy beinner

she/her/hers

Wendy is a lesbian civil rights attorney and mom to two amazing teenage sons. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law. She began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY, specializing in domestic violence cases.  In 1992, after tiring of life as a NYC attorney (and coming out as a lesbian), Wendy discovered Vermont and moved to Burlington. She served as Executive Director of Women In Crisis in Bristol, Vermont, and was one of the founding members of the Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence.  She joined the original Right To Marry Taskforce and volunteered with the nascent Outright VT.

Wendy then returned to the practice of law, joining the Mental Health Law Project of VT Legal Aid, protecting the rights of individuals living with major mental illness.  This began her life’s work as a mental health civil rights attorney. For almost 2 decades, Wendy served as Chief Counsel to the VT Dept. of Mental Health, where her responsibilities included: supervision of DMH’s legal division, advocacy at the state and federal level, drafting and implementation of internal and statewide legislation and policy, advising the Vermont State Hospital and community mental health agencies, and working with numerous statewide committees tasked with improving Vermont’s mental health service delivery system. Wendy left DMH to head up the Vermont chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness VT (NAMI VT).  

It’s been a while since Wendy has been an active volunteer in the LGBTQ+ community.  She is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Pride Center board at this critical point in the queer rights movement.  She’s looking forward to using her professional experience and skills to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ Vermonters. Wendy lives in South Burlington with her two teenage sons and a bunch of much-loved animals.

Caryn Olivetti

she/her/hers

Caryn grew up in the heart of NYC. At 22, she moved to Vermont alone, and it felt like home immediately. Caryn has an alternative education and art background and enjoys being creative in many ways. In her free time she likes to play, bike, ski, hike and walk. Caryn values slowing down through her mindfulness practice.

Most of Caryn’s recent life’s work has been as a Middle School Counselor. In South Burlington where she worked for 23 years, she also served as the Peer Leadership Advisor and QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) Advisor. Caryn has also worked with much passion in many different VT schools, with many different ages and populations of kids/teens. She feels it has been a very gratifying career as she has learned from so many of her students and families.

Caryn now lives in Burlington, though most of her years in Vermont have been spent living rurally. She raised her 2 children in a very unique home in Monkton. They are both now thriving young adults that she is forever grateful for and very proud.

As a member of the Queer community, Caryn is so excited to be working with so many interesting, inspiring people on this Board to support our great LGBTQ+ community. Caryn loves to think outside the box to understand and encourage people to be who they truly are. She is also very committed to understanding and supporting marginal communities. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with Caryn, as she welcomes all communication.

SkYLAR maguire

they/them/theirs

Skylar Maguire is a multimedia artist and photographer, born in Burlington, and currently living in Barre. Skylar brings an activist background and commitment to grassroots organizing, plus work experience in the nonprofit industrial complex. They held various social work positions in New York City. Skylar supervised Transgender Housing at the Ali Forney Center, a transitional homeless shelter in Brooklyn for transgender youth aged 16 to 21. Skylar went on to become a Certified Peer Specialist in a Manhattan-based hospital-alternative program for adults experiencing a mental health crisis. To cope with such high-intensity jobs and trauma, Skylar began learning stand-up comedy and continues to perform whenever they can. Skylar is now attending CCV for a certificate in graphic design. On the board, Skylar aims to amplify the voices of LGBTQIA+ people most impacted by intersecting identities and relationships to oppression.

IRIS moreno garcia

she/her/hers

Iris is a recent graduate of Northern Vermont University- Johnson, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, along with a certification in Reiki level II. She also did an
internship in 2019 with the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Iris has lived in Vermont her whole life and enjoys the Burlington area. She comes from a big family and has 5 siblings! She is Latina and speaks Spanish, and enjoys providing translation services.
She is currently learning French in her spare time and learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Iris is also an animal lover, and owns two cats. Iris is honored to be part of the Board helping the LGBTQI+ community.

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