Our Board

Michelle Ott - Gainesville

An Information Technology Project Manager by trade, Michelle Ott's support of the LGBT community includes serving on the board of the Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County and as spokesperson for Equality is Gainesville's Business, a political action committee formed in 2007 to defeat an amendment to the City of Gainesville's charter that would have removed protections in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She also serves as Vice Chair of the City of Gainesville's Human Rights Board and Secretary of the Alachua County Democratic Party. Michelle was named Gainesville Pride 2008's Community Person of the Year and is a 2009 recipient of Equality Florida's "Voice for Equality" award.

Chuck V. Loring - Fort Lauderdale

Chuck is the Senior Partner of the nonprofit consulting firm of Loring, Sternberg & Associates with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis and a Senior Governance Associate for BoardSource in Washington, D.C. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Chuck has consulted with such prominent institutions as the Smithsonian Museum, Special Olympics, Easter Seals, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

In 2008 Chuck completed six years of service on the national board of Lambda Legal and continues as a member of their National Leadership Council. He was a founder of Lamda Legal's Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis steering committees. In Fort Lauderdale he is active donor and participant with the Gay & Lesbian Center, the Stonewall Library, SunServe, Equality Florida and local LGBT candidates. Nationally Chuck has done work with the Gill Foundation, the Stonewall Community Foundation, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and many other LGBT organizations.

B. Rodney White (co-chair) - Hollywood

Originally from North Carolina and previously from Atlanta, GA, B. Rodney White has been active in the LGBT movement for the past 20+ years. As Executive Vice President and co-owner of Making Projects Work, Inc. (an Atlanta-based project management consulting firm) with his husband, Michael P. Williams, Rodney networked the access and opportunity afforded to them through both business and personal relationships to support local organizations like AID Atlanta, Project Open Hand, CHRIS Kids and P.A.L.S. and national groups including HRC, Lambda Legal, Victory Fund and GLAAD.

Now as a resident of Hollywood, FL, Rodney serves as a Board Member of Our Fund, an LGBT Community Foundation, in addition to serving on the Equality Florida Board.

Rodney and Michael continue as committed donors to Equality Florida, Our Fund, HRC, Lambda Legal, SunServe, Georgia Equality, AID Atlanta, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, The Perez Art Museum Miami, Equality Utah and Red Butte Garden and Arboretum.

Ken Shelin (co-chair) - Sarasota

Ken Shelin has been a Florida homeowner for 24 years and has lived in Sarasota with his partner of 38 years, full-time since 1996. For 34 years he worked in the enforcement arm of the United States Food and Drug Administration in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore. For much of that time, he managed a number of offices in several states as well as helped to write Federal regulations and policy documents in the drug regulatory area. He received numerous awards during his Federal service including two Reinventing Government Awards and FDA's highest individual achievement award, the Award of Merit. Subsequent to his Federal career, he consulted with pharmaceutical manufacturers throughout the world on drug regulatory compliance issues. He also planned, executed and spoke at numerous pharmaceutical manufacturer conferences sponsored by the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy in the US and Europe for a period of ten years.

Later, Ken became involved in civic affairs in the City of Sarasota and has served on the Boards of and as an officer of a number of resident, civic and government boards including the Sarasota Planning Board for 5 years and was elected to and served on the Sarasota City Commission. While on the Commission, Ken was able to convince the Commission to provide domestic partner healthcare benefits to city employees. Ken also became involved with Equality Florida as a donor and organizer of the annual Suncoast Equality Florida Gala for several years. These Galas have grown significantly in numbers of attendees and funds raised and now rival Galas in larger cities.

For the last couple of years Ken has been working in many of southwest Florida's cities and counties to create domestic partnership registry and human rights ordinances. He has been successful in the City of Sarasota, Sarasota County, Venice, North Port, Punta Gorda, and Cape Coral. He continues his work in Lee County, Fort Myers, Naples and Collier County.

Ken is a graduate of the University of Delaware, and has two daughters, a son, six grandchildren and a great granddaughter.


Mark Anderson - Tampa

Mark is a retired Information Technology manager residing in Tampa.  He spent his career in Telecommunications and Financial Services firms, and retired as Chief Technology Officer for Credit Suisse First Boston, overseeing the global technology organization of the New York based investment bank.  Since retiring, Mark has served on several non profit groups.  He is a past chairman and current member of the Tampa City Council Citizens Advisory Committee, which interacts with the City of Tampa to advise the Tampa City Council on Financial matters.  He is also currently Secretary/Treasurer and a Board member of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa.

Mark and his partner have been donors and sponsors for many arts and social reform organizations in the Tampa Bay area.  He holds a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati.

Meryl C. Friedman - Broward

Awakened by the Women's Movement in 1971, Meryl C. Friedman took her first steps as a lesbian feminist in what was to become a very rewarding yet challenging journey. She was a founding board member of the National Gay Task Force and the co-founder of the Gay Teachers' Association. She has spent her life fighting the negative stereotypes of gays and lesbians that so often lead bigotry and discrimination. She believes that, whatever the question, education is always the answer.

Marcia Foote - Sarasota

Originally from Massachusetts, Marcia began her activism in the women’s movement in the early 1970’s and has been vigorously working for social justice ever since.

She was instrumental in forming the Florence Luscomb Women’s Center at Salem State College and also the North Shore Gay & Lesbian Alliance, one of the first lesbian and gay organizations in the Boston area.

Marcia moved to Sarasota in 1993 where she continues her advocacy and volunteer work. She has been active in education and fundraising for ALSO youth, Planned Parenthood of SWC Florida, the Sarasota County Democratic Party, and Equality Florida.

Joining the EQFL Board of Directors comes after serving on the EQFL Suncoast Host Comm., Steering Comm., and Co-chairing three Suncoast Galas.

Marcia is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a concentration in economics and finance, and has owned and operated two small businesses.

Engaged since 1983, Marcia and her wife Dorothy Tiberii were married in Boston in October of 2014.

Michelle Stecker - Winter Park

Michelle Stecker is a faculty member at Rollins College, where she teaches business and social entrepreneurship, history, law, and women’s and gender studies courses, and serves as the director of the Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies. She holds a Ph.D. and J.D. from The University of Toledo, and is a member of the Ohio bar. Michelle also earned a master of divinity degree and served as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. She is a former board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and founder of EqualityToledo, a LGBT civil rights organization in Ohio. Michelle resides in Winter Park, Florida, with her wife, Dr. Carol Bresnahan.

David Bloom - Miami

David Bloom is a Miami native who, as the son of former State Representative Elaine Bloom and Circuit Court Judge Philip Bloom, was born into a life of public service. David was the recipient of the 2013 Miami Gala Voice for Equality Community Service Award and currently serves on the Equality Florida Miami Steering and Host Committees. David served on the National Board of Directors of Family Equality Council (formerly the Family Pride Coalition), the national organization for LGBT parents. He single-handedly organized the first ever LGBT parenting event in South Florida in February 2002. He served on the Steering Committee for the Valuing Our Families LGBT Parenting Conference from 2004-2009. He was recognized in 1990 by the Fenway Community Health Center in Boston for his outstanding fundraising efforts.

David is the owner of PhysicalAdvertisingWorks.com, a marketing firm that supplies printing, wearables and promotional Items to businesses and non-profits. He received the Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) designation, which has been awarded by his industry's association to only a few select professionals who have met rigorous educational requirements and demonstrate exemplary commitment to their profession. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard University.

David lives in Miami with his partner Damian McNamara and their sons Dawson and Donovan. He enjoys travelling and considers SCUBA diving the Great Barrier Reef one of his most thrilling trips followed by riding rollercoasters with his family.

Chris Rudisill - St. Petersburg

Originally from North Carolina, Chris Rudisill lives in St. Petersburg and serves as the Director of LGBT Community Center Services for Metro Wellness & Community Centers, overseeing LGBT programs and services in a four county area of Tampa Bay. He has been working with non-profit organizations the majority of his professional career and regularly speaks on LGBTQ issues. Chris has trained a variety of corporations and organizations throughout the state on LGBT cultural competency and continues to be seen as an expert in his field. Before joining Metro in 2012, he served as Executive Director of St. Pete Pride, Florida’s largest LGBT Pride Celebration.

He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has extensive experience in marketing and advertising. Chris is also the Immediate Past President of the Tampa Bay Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Pinellas County Steering Committee, leads the Tampa Bay’s LGBT Leadership Circle, is a member of Stonewall Democrats, and has written numerous articles for McClatchy Newspapers on LGBT issues and events.

Tricia Russell - Saint Augustine

Tricia Russell is currently VP, Business Control Manager, with Bank of America and has more than 30 years of broad banking experience. She is also a former successful small business owner.  Her educational background includes a BA in Economics and math from Kalamazoo College and an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan. 

Tricia is also broadly engaged in LGBT advocacy work.  In addition to her active involvement as a board member of Equality Florida and a member of the TransAction Florida advisory board of Equality Florida, Tricia is actively involved in various LGBT advocacy efforts in NE Florida, where she resides in Saint Augustine.  These include serving as a member of the steering team of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality (JCE) and chair of the gender identity and expression (GIE) sub-committee of the JCE.  The focus of the JCE is on securing equal rights for LGBT people that live, work and visit in NE Florida, primarily through passage of LBGT-inclusive non-discrimination policies across NE Florida communities that provide protections in the areas of employment, housing and access to public accommodations. 

In her work with the JCE, Tricia serves as an educator and spokesperson for transgender rights and equality.  As a regular speaker at city council and commissioner meetings and with other key constituent groups within the community she shares the transgender experience on a personal level with the belief that fear of the transgender community stems from lack of understanding, and that sharing human stories builds understanding that ultimately leads to acceptance.

Tricia is also a member of the global Leadership Council of the LGBT Pride employee resource group of Bank of America.  In this capacity she is involved in charting the course of one of the largest LGBT focused employee resource groups in the country, with more than 13,000 active members.   

On a more personal note, Tricia grew up in the Midwest as Patrick Russell, has been married for 33 years, is a parent of four adult children and is an avid runner and sports enthusiast. She began her transition from Patrick to Tricia on the job in 2012 at the age of 54 with the full and continuing support of her employer, Bank of America. 

Jon Harris Maurer - Tallahassee

Jon Harris Maurer lives in Tallahassee with his spouse Nate and their dog Pascal. A Fort Lauderdale native, Jon Harris moved to Houston, Texas, to attend Rice University. After graduating, he served as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives and then on the Annise Parker for Mayor campaign, which successfully elected the first openly LGBT mayor of a major American city. While in law school at Florida State University, he also worked as a policy intern for the Florida House of Representatives State Affairs Committee. Jon Harris now practices environmental and administrative law with Hopping Green & Sams, P.A.

He has been actively involved in all facets of Equality Florida’s work in Tallahassee, participating in Lobby Days, organizing Equality Connection events and co-chairing the Tallahassee Gala. In addition, he devotes time to various professional organizations, volunteers with Children’s Home Society and mentors Florida State University law students.

Donn Smith - Gainesville

Donn Smith is a Gainesville-area native who returned to Florida after living many years in San Francisco. He served as Chairperson of the United Church of Gainesville’s Open and Affirming committee which promotes an inclusive spiritual sanctuary for LGBTQ+ individuals by advocating for civil rights equality and the full inclusion of all people in society. UCG was recognized with the 2015 Voice for Equality Award for its continuing work on social justice issues and diversity education. In addition to his continuing involvement on the Greater Gainesville Gala Steering and Host Committees, Donn took a lead role in local marriage equality events and is actively involved in Equality Florida’s Lobby Days and Equality Connection mixers.

Professionally, Donn has many years of experience in healthcare administration including private medical practices, Stanford University Medical Center and, more recently, at UF Health-Shands Hospital. He also enjoys his part-time work as an adjunct medical billing and coding instructor for adult learners. Donn has a Bachelor of Health Services Administration from Florida International University in Miami.

Together with his fiancé, Dr. Melvin Lopez, Donn lives in his hometown of Micanopy along with their neurotic dog, Penny, and very spoiled cat, Charlie. In addition to being actively involved with their church and family, Donn and Melvin enjoy traveling, particularly within Florida, and gaining more SCUBA diving experience since their recent certification.