Staff & Board

Staff

Jeff Graham, Executive Director

Jeff is the executive director of Georgia Equality, an organization that works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities throughout Georgia. Jeff began advocating on LGBT and AIDS related issues as a college student in the mid-1980s and has continued his advocacy on these issues since that time. He has been involved in a wide variety or grassroots and legislative advocacy campaigns and has served as either an executive director or board member to a number of local and national organizations working on issues related to gay and transgender rights, access to healthcare, community empowerment and HIV/AIDS. Jeff has received numerous awards and recognition for both his advocacy and nonprofit work from organizations such as the National Center for Human Rights Education, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Atlanta City Council, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, ACLU of Georgia and several publications and organizations within the local LGBT and HIV communities. He is a current board member of ProGeorgia and the national Equality Federation.

He served as a Grand Marshal of the Atlanta Pride Parade in 1999, 2010 and 2012.

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Amanda Hill-Attkisson, Deputy Director

Amanda Hill-Attkisson is the Deputy Director and joined Georgia Equality in March of 2015. She has been dedicated to social justice for over twenty years in the metro-Atlanta area and overseas. She previously served as the Program Director of Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions (Georgia WAND). Amanda is an experienced organizer in women’s empowerment and environmental justice as well as a committed LGBT activist.  Formerly, Amanda was a co-owner of Charis Books And More, an Atlanta local favorite feminist independent bookstore. She served on the Steering Committee of ProGeorgia, a broad-based alliance of progressive civic engagement organizations throughout Georgia. Amanda also currently serves on the national board of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA). She lives in East Point, with her partner of eighteen years, Erin and their six year old daughter, Sahana. Amanda and Erin were married in 2013 in California and are expecting their marriage being recognized in Georgia soon!

Amanda also brings a strong technical background. She graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992 with a degree in electrical engineering and also earned a Co-operative Certificate in Electrical Engineering. Amanda worked as a design engineer for five years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the Electronic Labs Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Emily Brown, HIV and Education Programs Director

Emily Brown joins Georgia Equality from Emory University School of Public Health, where she managed HIV research projects. In her spare time at Emory, Emily facilitated the formation of the Atlanta Coalition for LGBTQ Youth (ACFLY), a coalition of youth-serving providers in Metro Atlanta working to improve the services they provide to LGBTQ youth.

Before moving to Atlanta in 2013, Emily lived most of her professional life in the Detroit area, working in HIV prevention with young people, managing health and HIV research projects and volunteering with people living with HIV. Emily has a passion for working with communities, schools and service providers to improve their ability to work with LGBTQ youth, teens and young adults. She holds a Master of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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Chanel Haley, Gender Inclusion Organizer

Chanel has volunteered with various non-profit organizations trying to advance the rights for the LGBT community since 2005.

In 2008 Chanel took a crash course in political campaign training. That training was immediately used in helping to elect the nation’s first African-American OUT lesbian elected to a general assembly, Simone Bell. Chanel became the weekend volunteer coordinator on that campaign, and later office manager and volunteer coordinator for future campaigns. Since 2010 Chanel has been the Senior Legislative Aide to Georgia State Representative Simone Bell.

Chanel became the first African-American Transgender person hired by the Georgia House of Representatives assigned to four Republicans and three Democrats. In 2014, Chanel Haley was appointed to the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission by Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, and became the Chairperson in 2016. Chanel is currently working on her degree in Paralegal Studies and is currently a certified Out & Equal Workplace Advocate Trainer. She has been living in Midtown Atlanta for the past 10 years.

While working with Georgia Equality, Chanel looks forward to leading efforts that ensure nondiscrimination legislation and policies in the broad areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, safe schools, and access to health care are inclusive of transgender and gender variant individuals and communities. And to build relationships in businesses and corporate environments that may have little or no LGBT background and experiences throughout the entire state of Georgia.

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Wes Sanders, Field Organizer and Development Associate

Wes Sanders is a Field Organizer and Development Associate at Georgia Equality. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Mercer University.

A Georgia native, Wes got his start in politics in undergrad while volunteering on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. As a Student Government Senator and Gay-Straight Alliance member he worked closely with both groups and university administrators to build an embracing environment for Mercer’s LGBT student population. At the time, his research focused on the electability of openly gay and lesbian candidates in the South. After his undergraduate studies, Wes moved to Bangkok, Thailand to teach English for a year before returning home to pursue a Master’s degree. As a graduate student Wes coupled his academic work with an internship at Georgia Equality before finishing his Master’s degree joining the staff of Georgia Equality in May of 2013.

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Rob Woods, Senior Field Organizer

Rob Woods grew up in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, graduating from Tampa Jefferson High School.  After postponing college for a tour in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, he went on to earn a degree in Communications / Political Science from Howard University.  Rob’s foray into social justice began as a socially conscious student in the nation’s Capitol during the early the 1990’s.  A summer internship with the National Rainbow Coalition’s Citizenship Education Fund quickly became a staff position as public relations coordinator.  He also worked on the ’92 Clinton – Gore Presidential Campaign.  After graduation he served as a Legislative Information Officer in the Pennsylvania House of Representative. He later became certified as a Campaign Media Coordinator by the Democratic National Campaign Committee before venturing out as an Issues Campaign Coordinator for the 96 Project in San Diego, California’s 49th Congressional District.  In 2006 Rob became statewide coordinator for Georgia Vote Connection; a joint civic engagement project between Georgia Citizens’ Coalition on Hunger and Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda.   Through numerous civic engagement trainings, workshops, and voter registration drives, he guided Georgia Vote Connection to its goal of adding more than 100,000 voters to Georgia’s voting rolls before the 2008 Presidential Election. He was later trained as a Field Coordinator by the Georgia Democratic Party.  Rob is the owner of SpinOne Consulting, a public relations consulting firm for small businesses and organizations in Metro Atlanta. A few of projects in which he has been involved include Media Consultant for City of Atlanta Council Communications Office; Media Relations Consultant for Rainbow PUSH / CEF; and Polling Researcher for Morehouse College – Brisbane Institute. He has also holds an associate degree in Marketing Management, and certification in Small Business Management from Atlanta Technical College.  Rob sits on the advisory boards of Strength Through Faith Community Center and Bridge Builders of Atlanta. A recipient of the Georgia Outstanding Citizen Award, he resides in Chamblee, Georgia and is a member of Berean Christian Church of Stone Mountain.

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Board of Directors, Georgia Equality, Inc.

Matthew James Duncan, Co-Chair
Augusta, GA

Matthew is an attorney in Augusta, GA, where he has been in private practice since 2009. He received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Georgia (2004) and a J.D. degree from Mississippi College School of Law (2007). Matthew became active in the LGBT movement when he joined the Board of Directors of Augusta Pride as Legal Counsel in 2011, a position he currently holds. A native of Augusta and the State of Georgia, Matthew is strongly committed to making his home a better place by working to advance equal rights for LGBT individuals.


Liliana Bakhtiari
Atlanta, GA


Toby Bryan, Treasurer
Atlanta, GA

Toby has lived in Atlanta since 2010, when he moved to Georgia from Ohio. He grew up in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration and his Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Morehead State University. Additionally, he obtained his Graduate Degree of Banking from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. While at Morehead State, Toby played varsity tennis on a full scholarship and he continues to play recreationally to this day. Professionally, Toby has been in banking for over 20 years and currently works as a Credit Analyst for Wells Fargo. He has always been passionate about volunteering for LGBTQ-related causes, currently giving his time for Jerusalem House and AIDS Walk Atlanta, and previously as Treasurer for Hotlanta Volleyball. Toby resides in Buckhead with his husband, Colin Wright.


Kelly Johnson
Atlanta, GA

Kelly Johnson hails from Magnolia, MS. After high school, he enlisted in the US Navy to attend the US Naval Nuclear Power training program. For the next 4 years, Kelly was stationed around the country with the final duty station in Washington onboard the ballistic missile submarine, USS Henry M Jackson. After the Navy, he attended Ottawa University where he received his Bachelors in Management, MBA from Webster University, and is currently pursuing his PhD in Public Policy from Walden University. Professionally, Kelly has served in various capacities in public policy, finance, and management. The most recent position he is serving as consultant to the Office of the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County. Kelly has held various positions in companies such JP Morgan, E*Trade Financial, and UPS. As part of Kelly’s mission of community involvement, Kelly has served his community as Treasurer of the Coalition for South Fulton Now and VP of the Atlanta Chapter of the Webster Alumni Network. In the past, he has facilitated various workshops including a financial education workshop at the Nicholas House and a Finding Your Perfect Mate workshop. He also is a freelance writer for Urban Socialites Magazine and has recently co-written an article published a financial article in Black Enterprise. Kelly is currently residing in Atlanta and has been married to his husband, Rafer Johnson since 2011. They are both members of a couples group called FCO (For Couples Only) which consists of many same-sex couples across the world helping to support one another in marriage or relationships.


Tonya Keith, Secretary
Woodstock, GA

Tonya is a Georgia native. She works in national operations for USI Insurance, formerly Wells Fargo Insurance and has over 20 years experience in the industry. She has an MBA in Insurance Management and Project Management from Brenau University and participated in the Wells Fargo PRIDE team member network. She lives in Woodstock, GA and her hobbies include yoga, hiking, rock climbing, dance, and volunteering with Georgia Equality.


Patricia Lassiter
Columbus, GA


Dr. Michael Shutt
Atlanta, GA

Michael D. Shutt is the Sr. Director for Community at Emory University. Prior to current role at Emory, he served as the Interim Director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Director of the Office of LGBT Life. In 2005, Michael was named the Founding Director of the University of Georgia’s LGBT Resource Center. From 2007-2014, Michael served on the Executive Board Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. In addition to his professional roles, Michael serves as a consultant to institutions of higher education in their development of LGBT support services and social justice education. Finally, Michael serves on the LGBT Institute Programming Board for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Michael received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration from Michigan State University and Doctor of Philosophy in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia.


Billy Wooten
Savannah, GA

Billy Wooten, a native North Carolinian, is a long-time resident of Savannah, where he lives with his husband, Melvin. He is the current chairman of the board of First City Network, Georgia’s oldest GLBT organization. Billy worked almost 31 years with a large national nonprofit, finishing his career as the chief of operations. He was given the certified workforce development professional credential and is a former chairman of the board of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. Among his many awards was being named Georgia’s Outstanding Workforce Development Professional. His hobbies include music, singing, gardening, and advocacy.


Board of Directors, Equality Foundation of Georgia

Dr. Michael Shutt,  Co-Chair
Atlanta, GA

Michael D. Shutt is the Sr. Director for Community at Emory University. Prior to current role at Emory, he served as the Interim Director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Director of the Office of LGBT Life. In 2005, Michael was named the Founding Director of the University of Georgia’s LGBT Resource Center. From 2007-2014, Michael served on the Executive Board Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. In addition to his professional roles, Michael serves as a consultant to institutions of higher education in their development of LGBT support services and social justice education. Finally, Michael serves on the LGBT Institute Programming Board for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Michael received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration from Michigan State University and Doctor of Philosophy in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia.


Elizabeth “Izzy” Black
Augusta, Georgia

Elizabeth is a resident of Augusta, GA. She received a B.A. degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Augusta University in 2014. She has been a member of the Augusta Pride board since 2010, currently serving as a member at large. While on the board, she served as vendor coordinator for five years. Elizabeth believes Augusta Pride is the epitome of a grassroots organization and has been an invaluable education. As a Georgia Equality Board Member, Elizabeth looks forward to bringing more awareness to equality issues within her community.


Derek Broussard-Cormier
Norcross, GA

Derek has been a Georgia resident since 2007 and currently resides in Norcross, Ga with
his husband and son. He works as a Finance/Inventory Analyst for Comcast Communications and has over 6 years experience in Supply Chain/Procurement. He is currently serving as a member of the Southern Advisory Council and sits on the administration board for FCO (For Couples Only). Derek has organized several events for LGBT couples and their families in hopes to developing a strong sense of community. Derek is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and truly understands that representation is extremely important and that his commitment to the LGBT community is not an option but that it is his duty.


Toby Bryan, Treasurer
Atlanta, GA

Toby has lived in Atlanta since 2010, when he moved to Georgia from Ohio. He grew up in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration and his Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Morehead State University. Additionally, he obtained his Graduate Degree of Banking from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. While at Morehead State, Toby played varsity tennis on a full scholarship and he continues to play recreationally to this day. Professionally, Toby has been in banking for over 20 years and currently works as a Credit Analyst for Wells Fargo. He has always been passionate about volunteering for LGBTQ-related causes, currently giving his time for Jerusalem House and AIDS Walk Atlanta, and previously as Treasurer for Hotlanta Volleyball. Toby resides in Buckhead with his husband, Colin Wright.


Morgan Carter
Athens, GA

Morgan is a School Social Worker in North Georgia. Based out of Athens, GA, Morgan has her bachelor’s (2011) and master’s degree (2016) in Social Work from the University of Georgia. Morgan has served her community in the criminal justice field, mental health arena, and most recently the education system. Throughout her experience in social work, Morgan has been a strong advocate for increased awareness and understanding of issues facing LGBT adults and youth in Georgia. Her hobbies include hiking, painting, and spending time with her dogs.


Matthew James Duncan
Augusta, GA

Matthew is an attorney in Augusta, GA, where he has been in private practice since 2009. He received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Georgia (2004) and a J.D. degree from Mississippi College School of Law (2007). Matthew became active in the LGBT movement when he joined the Board of Directors of Augusta Pride as Legal Counsel in 2011, a position he currently holds. A native of Augusta and the State of Georgia, Matthew is strongly committed to making his home a better place by working to advance equal rights for LGBT individuals.


Tonya Keith, Secretary
Woodstock, GA

Tonya is a Georgia native. She works in national operations for USI Insurance, formerly Wells Fargo Insurance and has over 20 years experience in the industry. She has an MBA in Insurance Management and Project Management from Brenau University and participated in the Wells Fargo PRIDE team member network. She lives in Woodstock, GA and her hobbies include yoga, hiking, rock climbing, dance, and volunteering with Georgia Equality.


Janice Maxwell
Atlanta, GA

Janice is Head of Operations for GSU’s Instructional Innovation and Technology division. In this role, she focuses on implementing projects and programs that advance student success, enable anytime/anywhere access and increase collaboration and communication. A native of Mississippi, she has extensive industry experience having worked in both the private and public sector. She has been a keynote speaker at Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) on LGBT rights. She is frequently invited to speak on panels regarding diversity and the advancement of women. She is also member of the GSU Staff Senate representing both the diversity and sustainability committees. Janice resides in Woodstock, GA with her wife of 20 years, Kyle Glenn and their two daughters Jordan and Janee. She is looking forward to her tenure on the Georgia Equality Board.


Latania McKenzie, Governance Committee Chair
Chamblee, GA

Latania McKenzie, known to most as McKenzie, was born in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and migrated from Antwerp, Belgium to the United States in 2000. She has called Atlanta home ever since. McKenzie is a young professional in the IT industry for more than twelve years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and an MBA in International Business. Previously McKenzie served on the GLAAD Leadership Counsel as a board member, served 6 years on the High Museum Young Professional Host Committee, is Founder, Editor and Designer of the fashion and lifestyle blog QueerBOIS.com, and also served as Cox Communications LGBT ERG events committee leader. McKenzie enjoys many interests including art, fashion, travel, food, dance, community investment, culture and innovative technology. She currently lives in Chamblee with her wife Jonelle and their two cats (Tafari and Coltrane).


Dr. Aby Parsons
Decatur, GA

Aby Parsons joined the Georgia Equality Foundation Board in 2016. She is founding director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she develops programs, policies, and practices that support the inclusion and wellbeing of LGBTQIA faculty, staff, and students. Prior to her role at Georgia Tech, Aby worked for the Offices of LGBT Life and Health Promotion at Emory University where she also completed her Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with research focused on gender, race, and sexuality in contemporary southern culture. Aby has served in volunteer roles for Georgia Equality, the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, and Feminist Women’s Health Center, and is now a sought-after speaker and educator in the fields of queer and trans inclusion. She holds a Bachelors in American Studies and a Master’s by Research from the University of Central Lancashire in England.


Dr. Matthew K. Robison
Decatur, GA

Dr. Matthew K. Robison joined the Georgia Equality Foundation Board in February 2012, serving two terms as GE Foundation Board Chair. Dr. Robison currently works as Director of Student Development at Kennesaw State University where he supervises numerous departments within the Division of Student Affairs, including the Office of GLBTIQ Student Services and the GLBT Resource Center. Before coming to KSU, he served for three years as Dean of Students at Georgia Perimeter College. From 2005 – 2013 Dr. Robison worked as Assistant Dean of Students at Georgia State University where he led numerous LGBT related programs and initiatives for the university.  Dr. Robison received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Qualitative Research Methods from Georgia State University. As a critical qualitative scholar, his research focuses on LGBT college students and their experiences being out and staying safe on campus. Dr. Robison received his Master’s degree from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University. In addition to his work with Georgia Equality, he volunteers with the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and has served on the planning committee for the Georgia Gay/Straight Youth Summit.


Dr. Allen Ward, Advancement Committee Chair
Atlanta, GA

Dr. Ward is a higher education administrator and adjunct faculty member. Currently Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Clayton State University, Dr. Ward previously served in deans’ positions at Brown University, Boston University and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He also served on the graduate faculty at Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts) in the Department of Counselor Education. Originally from Tennessee, Dr. Ward received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Miami.


Billy Wooten
Savannah, GA

Billy Wooten, a native North Carolinian, is a long-time resident of Savannah, where he lives with his husband, Melvin. He is the current chairman of the board of First City Network, Georgia’s oldest GLBT organization. Billy worked almost 31 years with a large national nonprofit, finishing his career as the chief of operations. He was given the certified workforce development professional credential and is a former chairman of the board of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. Among his many awards was being named Georgia’s Outstanding Workforce Development Professional. His hobbies include music, singing, gardening, and advocacy.