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.

Justin Marsh

Communications and Development Director 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

Health & Wellness Director 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.

Skylar Wolfe

SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program Director he/him/his

Skylar is a queer, trans-masculine, and non-binary activist that is passionate about exploring the ways that LGBTQ+ people navigate balancing perception, visibility, and authenticity. Sky seeks to empower people to challenge not only themselves, but the cultures around them. He believes that if people can learn to both stretch and love themselves, they can also learn to both stretch and love the world. Skylar is cheesy, witty, and refreshingly transparent.

Skylar deeply values humility, lifelong learning, and remaining continually reflexive to the community’s needs. Sky simultaneously works towards holistic community mental health and collective social justice.

Reggie Condra

Health & Wellness Coordinator he/him/his 

Reggie Condra is a Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Pride Center of Vermont. A native Midwesterner, Reggie has lived in the Northeast Kingdom and Burlington for over a decade. Noting a general lack of visibility, Reggie began a podcast (“Brown ‘n Out”) highlighting LGBTQ people of color living in Vermont in 2018. Through his work at the Pride Center, Reggie aims to better serve the needs of all community members with special focus on these intersecting identities.

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!

Gustavo Mercado Muñiz

Transgender Program Coordinator they/them/theirs

Gustavo is a queer, non-binary puertorriqueñe born and raised on the island, and they are excited to work as our Transgender Program Coordinator, supporting and uplifting a community that means so much to them. They are a recent graduate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a focus on intersectional feminism and its roots in communities of color. They are a passionate LGBTQIA+ and racial activist who wants to work on making spaces more accessible and safe for all folks in the community and the intersections of their identities.

Gustavo is always open to learning more about identities and the ways that they can be challenging and empowering for folks here in Vermont. Being very new to the state, they are looking forward to exploring a new place and meeting wonderful new people. In this role Gustavo hopes to help create networks of care and empowerment for all of us in the trans (and overall LGBTQIA+) community. Gustavo is a hugger, avid reader, Beyoncé stan, and will never say no to good vegetarian food!

Anne Moyerbrailean

SafeSpace Anti-Violence Coordinator 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. Since Glow is a relatively new program, feel free to send her an email with any questions you might have about the program or about Glow’s mission to create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ women and people who are women-aligned in Vermont. 

CENTER FACILITATORS, Interns, & Rockstars

DAVID FRYE

Prideability

he/him/his

Jared K.

Development

he/him/his

rose martellaro

Disability Network Facilitator

she/her/hers

paula otenti

Volunteer  & Momentum Program Coordinator

they/them/theirs

Willow Stein

SafeSpace Advocate

they/them/theirs

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ERIN SUE carroll

Co-chair she/her/hers

Erin Sue graduated from Champlain College in 1999 and began a career in Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch. As a survivor of sexual violence, she wanted to find a way to help others that have been in similar situations. She found that opportunity at The Women’s Rape Crisis Center (now HOPE Works). After a number of years in various volunteer capacities, she joined the board in 2005 and served as Chair from 2006-2012. During that time, the organization rebranded, changed the name and bought a building. They also added men to the staff and allowed men on the board for the first time. These were exciting developments and marked major changes in the movement to end sexual violence in Chittenden County! In 2012, she and her team left Merrill Lynch and joined Morgan Stanley where she remains today. This was a huge endeavor and resulted in her need to step down from the board at HOPE Works. When approached in 2016 by Kim Fountain to join the board of the Pride Center of VT, she was ready to get involved. Having been a volunteer for SafeSpace in the past (a Pride Center of VT program), she was already familiar with the organization. Since then, Erin has learned a great deal about all the Center has to offer and the amazing work they do in the community. Ask her about it sometime, she would love to chat!

Erin lives in South Burlington with her wife, Nathalie. They share a love of animals and currently have two dogs and a cat that are all rescues (one is from Beirut and is missing two feet).

 

KARA deleonardis kraus

Co-chair she/her/hers

Kara joined the board in Spring 2019 after a long history with this amazing organization. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in South Burlington, a queer mom of three awesome, teenage girls and two great dogs. The majority of her professional career has been in social work and social justice advocacy, specifically in the anti-violence field (domestic, sexual and hate violence), and with the LGBTQ community. She has also worked in non-profits serving the homeless, people with mental illness, youth of all identities, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

She had the honor of being the founding Executive Director of SafeSpace when it was a separate non-profit in 2000, and then helped merge SafeSpace with the Pride Center of Vermont (then RU12?) in 2006. As the Center’s Executive Director from 2006-2011, she learned how critically important our work is, how much support there is for our community, and also how many on-going needs LGBTQ community members have despite so much progress.

In this climate of increasing hate from the top down in our country over the last few years, our work is
needed more than ever, and she is proud to be a part of it. 

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.

SARA B Johnson

Secretary she/her/hers

Sara Beth Johnson is a trans-woman and parent of three kids. She lives in Burlington, VT and has enjoyed time in Vermont for almost 30 years. Sara grew up in New Jersey and with a brother and sister and parents. Sara is the author of Becoming Beth, Stories from a Trans-Girl’s Journal. She is working on a new novel that is a sequel to Becoming Beth and is also working on a book about her life story. Her favorite place in Vermont is somewhere near the Lake Champlain.


Sara is a full-time information technology consultant, and an avid photographer, writer, baker, and student of psychology. Sara is working on completing her degrees and becoming a licensed therapist. She is currently enrolled at Northern Vermont University and is looking forward to a new career in mental health services. Sara has worked as a morning radio host and as a land surveyor. She has a personal website and is on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. 

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.

REX BUTT

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.  

taylor evans

she/her/hers

Taylor moved to Vermont from California with her partner and two daughters in the spring of 2007 having worked for both an international outdoor clothing and equipment brand and on the financial services end of a major motorcycle company. Taylor is a Navy veteran and attended the University of Scranton majoring in Public Administration and Business. Taylor identifies as a transgender women, starting her journey to transition in June of 2017. Her involvement in the LGBTQI community and the Pride Center is driven by a passion to empower Trans and non-binary individuals and to support our community at large though empowerment workshops and by helping others to meet head on the challenges of transition in their community and workplace. Taylor currently works as a Senior Sales Manager in the business conference industry. She enjoys spending as much time as possible with her daughters and partner and is an avid traveler and outdoor adventurer.  

vie mazur

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.

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.

max titus

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. 

 

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