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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Eddie Dill, Director of Development

Eddie brings more than 17 years in non-profit development and corporate marketing with a focus on LGBT social services and the financial services industries. During his tenure at the LGBT Community Center in New York he developed multi year corporate partnerships and social sustainability programs. Through his consulting services he worked in program and marketing development with SAGE, Live Out Loud, GLSEN, Out Professionals, dot 429, The Trevor Project and The Point Foundation. Prior to non profit he worked with Citigroup’s retail bank network in national sales and marketing where he also served on the company’s LGBT employee resource group.

A native Southerner, currently residing in Atlanta, he earned his B.S. in Marketing Communications from The University of Tennessee and additional studies in non-profit management through Baruch College in New York City.

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Emily Brown, Field Organizer

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, Transgender 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.

Glen Paul Freedman, Chair
Atlanta, GA

Glen Paul rejoined rejoined the Georgia Equality (C4) Board in March 2011. He is the CEO for The GPF Group, LLC. Glen Paul is active with several community non-profit organizations including Atlanta Pride Committee, Victory Fund, Georgia Democratic LGBT Caucus and State Committee member, Democratic Party of Georgia. Glen Paul continues to be involved with local, state & federal political campaigns with consulting, logistics, event planning & volunteer work. Glen Paul has served on local and national boards including Georgia Equality (C3/C4), Atlanta Human Rights Campaign & Atlanta HRC Dinner Committee, National Board of Governors Human Rights Campaign, For The Kid in All of Us, Atlanta Pride Committee, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and InterPride.


Casey Lawing, Treasurer
Atlanta, GA

Casey joined the Board in March 2011. He is a Certified Public Accountant who works for The Coca-Cola Company as a Principal Auditor within the Corporate Audit Department. Casey obtained both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Accountancy from Wake Forest University in 2004. He also serves on the Board of Directors and head of the strategic planning committee for the Midtown Assistance Center, a nonprofit, inter-faith organization whose mission is to provide emergency assistance to the working poor of Midtown and Downtown Atlanta to prevent homelessness and hunger during periods of crisis.


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.


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.


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, 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.


Casey Lawing, Treasurer
Atlanta, GA

Casey joined the Board in March 2011. He is a Certified Public Accountant who works for The Coca-Cola Company as a Principal Auditor within the Corporate Audit Department. Casey obtained both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Accountancy from Wake Forest University in 2004. He also serves on the Board of Directors and head of the strategic planning committee for the Midtown Assistance Center, a nonprofit, inter-faith organization whose mission is to provide emergency assistance to the working poor of Midtown and Downtown Atlanta to prevent homelessness and hunger during periods of crisis.


Elizabeth “Izzy” Black
Augusta, Georgia

Elizabeth is a territory manager for Apria Healthcare in 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, increasing vendor participation. 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 learning more about the societal perception of human trafficking within the LGBTQ community and 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.


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.


Rowan Feldhaus
Augusta, GA

Rowan Feldhaus has been an Augusta, Georgia resident since a the late 90s. He is currently serving in the United States Army reserves while pursuing a Bachelors in Sociology with a minor in International Relations and Business Management at Augusta University. He is a part of the University’s Undergrad Student Government Executive Board and member of the LAMBDA Alliance group to help provide an inclusive campus to all students of various race, age, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation backgrounds. He is currently conducting undergrad research on the doing gender theory within the trans community. He is also part of a CSRA transmen group which helps provide resources and support to transmen throughout their transition.


Glen Paul Freedman
Atlanta, GA

Glen Paul rejoined rejoined the Georgia Equality (C4) Board in March 2011. He is the CEO for The GPF Group, LLC. Glen Paul is active with several community non-profit organizations including Atlanta Pride Committee, Victory Fund, Georgia Democratic LGBT Caucus and State Committee member, Democratic Party of Georgia. Glen Paul continues to be involved with local, state & federal political campaigns with consulting, logistics, event planning & volunteer work. Glen Paul has served on local and national boards including Georgia Equality (C3/C4), Atlanta Human Rights Campaign & Atlanta HRC Dinner Committee, National Board of Governors Human Rights Campaign, For The Kid in All of Us, Atlanta Pride Committee, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and InterPride.


Kirsten Ott Palladino

Kirsten Ott Palladino is an award-winning editor and writer, as well as the author of the forthcoming wedding planning book for LGBTQ couples, EQUALLY WED (Seal Press/Hachette Book Group, May 2017). She’s the co-founder and editorial director of equallywed.com, the world’s leading digital LGBTQ wedding magazine. She blogs about trauma recovery at foragedwellness.com. Palladino has been profiled on both CNN and in The New York Times. A seasoned journalist in the media industry for 15 years, Palladino’s work has appeared in Atlanta magazine, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, The Atlantan, Creative Loafing, The Sunday Paper, Entrepreneur magazine, ARTNews magazine, Art & Antiques magazine, The Knot, Executive Traveler magazine, the Huffington Post, and more. She was recognized as one of Glamour magazine’s Hometown Heroes for 2015. Palladino has an open door communications policy on Twitter at @kirstenop and Facebook at fb.com/kirstenpalladino.


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

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.


Jonathan Wesley 

Atlanta, GA

Jonathan Wesley is a liberation theologian who strongly encourages authentic living. A native of Newark, NJ, Jonathan is truly an example of what resilience looks like. He has a book entitled “God Said Differently” which addresses the reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality. He is an ordained and licensed Elder under the United Progressive Pentecostal Church and serves faithfully at The Vision Cathedral of Atlanta.

Wesley is a social justice advocate, educator, and spiritual guide that specializes in the spiritual formation of marginalized populations. He currently serves as a faculty member and as a Statewide PREA Monitor/ LGBTQ Specialist with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Wesley has earned a BA in Sociology, M.Ed in Higher Education Administration, Masters of Religion (Emory University), and is a Certified Pastoral Counselor. He will be pursuing a Ph.D in 2017. He loves to work with people and is a servant leader by theory as well as practice. He lives by the mantra “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.” To find out more about J.Wesley, visit his website at http://www.jwesley.org


Antonio White
Augusta, GA

Antonio White Born In Augusta, GA, where he graduated from Glenn Hills High School. He furthered his education at Savannah State University where he received a  B.S. in computer science technology and also received a diploma in Information Technology from Augusta Technoical College. Antonio is very active in the LGBT community in Augsuta and is currently on the Augusta Pride Comittee. He also is the Manager Of Edge Night Club and Owner of Abaq Proudtions.  Antonio is committed to promoting unity, visibility and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons in the Augusta area.


Cain Williamson

Atlanta, GA

Cain Williamson joined the board of the Equality Foundation of Georgia in January of 2016.  Cain is a lifelong resident of Georgia having grown up on the coast, graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in political science and moved to Atlanta after graduate school in 1999 to take a job at the Atlanta Regional Commission where he still works.  Cain is also involved with the Atlanta Pride Committee and lives in Inman Park with his husband Jack and their dog, Clyde.


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.


Dr. Eric Wright

Atlanta, GA

Eric R. Wright is Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Georgia State University.  He holds a BA in sociology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and an MA and PhD in sociology from Indiana University Bloomington.  As a medical sociologist, he is involved in teaching and research focused on public health policy, mental health and illness, substance use and addictions, sexual health, HIV/STI prevention, and health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ).  He has extensive experience in collaborating with community organizations, healthcare service providers, and local and state government to better understand community health needs and improve the effectiveness of health- and healthcare- related programs and policies.  Professor Wright also is an award winning teacher and deeply committed to involving students in research and service learning projects to make learning more relevant and to build stronger bridges between the academy and the community.