Want to serve on The Pride Chamber Board?
Board Member Elections are coming up! Elections will be held on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at the Annual meeting and December Business Connect hosted by Tupperware. We have 6 board positions on the ballot. Some existing board members are at the end of their term and are planning to re-run. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important: The deadline to turn in your application is Nov. 15
In order to apply for a board position, you must meet certain criteria, beyond just being an MBA member and submitting the application form. Here are some of the requirements:
- Three (3) or more years of professional business experience.
- Commitment to the MBA Mission Statement, Guiding Principles, and Code of Ethics.
- Ability to be in attendance at the Annual Meeting, as well as monthly board meetings and other chamber events
- Been a business level member in good standing for more than six (6) months
- Additionally, you must be able to attend the annual retreat in January 2020
As the Executive Director of The Pride Chamber (formerly MBA Orlando), Kellie draws from her extensive background in business development and journalism to help lead the LGBT business equality movement in Greater Orlando.
Working with a dedicated board of directors, Kellie has transformed the chamber since her arrival in 2016. The organization was honored by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as the 2017 Chamber of the Year, for outstanding growth, sustainability and leadership. In 2018 Kellie was recognized as one of Business Equality Network’s National Top 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40, and in 2017 she received the local honor as one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People.
Kellie served on the taskforce to formally establish the One Orlando Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization unifying the LGBTQ+ community of Central Florida with a coalition of local non-profits. She is a member of the HCCMO Supplier Diversity Council and serves on the Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Kellie also volunteers with the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the separation of state and church.
With an extensive background in complex commercial litigation, Thomas focuses on business disputes surrounding an array of tort and contract claims.
Over the course of his career, Thomas has garnered valuable e-discovery experience, having overseen and coordinated large-volume electronic data productions on behalf of his clients. Thomas’s broad client base is comprised of restaurant franchisors, hoteliers, timeshare, condominium, and real estate developers, as well as other publicly traded and Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and abroad.
When not practicing law, Thomas serves as President of The Pride Chamber, Central Florida’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on the Greater Orlando Steering Committee for Equality Florida, the Equality Means Business Advisory Board, the Mayor’s MLK Commission, and consults with many other community organizations working to strengthen diversity and inclusion in our Central Florida community. Thomas also has served as a Guardian Ad Litem in Orange County, Florida.
Vice President, Operations
Sheresa “Sherri” Absher is a former US Marine and Law Enforcement Officer now working as an experienced Financial Services Professional with New York Life. She is very passionate about serving her community and leaving the world better than we found it.
She currently serves as the Programming Chair and VP of Operations with MBA Orlando, the Membership Chair and board member for the One Orlando Alliance, and Co-Chair of the Leadership Council of Out and Equal of Greater Orlando.
Cathy Keene has been a member of the MBA since 2013 and on the board of directors since 2016. She was drawn in by the Red Group, but soon just kept getting more and more involved with the MBA. She was honored to be awarded Business Woman of the Year by the MBA in 2015.
Cathy owns J. Meyers Insurance Agency with her sister. Founded in 1974 by their mother, J. Meyers was named the 2017 Agency of the Year by the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida. The agency has been her only place of employment. It started as a good job to get through high school, college and now life.
As a business owner herself, she understands the importance of every business decision and works closely with clients to identify vulnerabilities and to find the right coverage and premium to protect them. Her other areas of interest are her family, including grandchildren, and she belongs to a car club with her husband for their Modern Charger.
Michael Deeying has been with MBA Orlando for six years and currently serves on the Executive Committee as Board Secretary. Michael graduated from the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering in 2012. His studies concentrated specifically in Data Analytics and Management.
During Michael’s tenure on the board for MBA Orlando, the organization was named NGLCC’s 2017 National Chamber of the Year. Additionally, he was the 2016 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year Honoree for Central Florida for his work in fundraising for blood cancers. He was also named as one of the most compelling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the world in OUT Magazine’s 2016 OUT100 annual special issue. His presence with MBA Orlando has helped unify the LGBT community with the Central Florida community.
Board Member, at large
Dawn and her wife, Lisa, have been business owners for the past 11 years and MBA members since 2007. Their business, Bowled Over Promotions, has been NGLCC certified since 2010. Dawn was a past Board Member and oversaw Small Business Initiatives during 2013-2014. Dawn and Lisa’s business won the MBA Small Business of the Year in 2016. Dawn was recognized as MBA Orlando’s Business Woman of the Year 2012.
Prior to opening their business, Dawn worked for 17 years at Walt Disney World and left as a Food & Beverage Purchasing/Receiving Manager. Dawn has been an active member of MBA Orlando through the entirety of her membership.
Board Member, at large
James is Office Manager and Partner at Joie de Vivre Health and Chiropractic, MBA Orlando’s 2018 New Business of the Year. He currently serves on the MBA Orlando’s Program Committee. Originally from Philadelphia, he has lived all over the USA and has owned businesses in Boston, Seattle and Orlando.
He’s happily married to Will Llewellyn, DC, since 2006, and they’ve been together since 2000. James holds a Bachelor’s in Geography from Rutgers University and a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion.
Board Member, at large
Brianna is a transgender professional looking to use her connections in the Central Florida area to help MBA Orlando succeed in its mission. She wants to do this by helping coalitions and businesses bring more unity to the local economy. She hopes to help increase inclusion in businesses that have yet to adapt a diversified setting.
Board Member, at large
Jerry Warner is an experienced healthcare revenue cycle professional with Orlando Health. He is currently the Corporate Director of Physician Billing.
As a leading healthcare organization, Orlando Health’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities we serve. Orlando Health’s Supplier Diversity program also supports the diverse organizations that make up MBA Orlando by providing access and resources within Orlando Health.
Originally from North East Ohio, Jerry chose to make Orlando his home and is active within the LGBTQ community and serves on the onePULSE Foundation Taskforce.
Board Member, at large
I graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in international affairs, focusing on international security policy and finance. I have worked for 11 years in the financial services industry and 5 years with Edward Jones.
In my community involvement, I am currently a board member for the Metropolitan Business Association, the Central Florida LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and a board member for the Blankner School Foundation. I am also a member of several networking groups and the former chairperson of the RED Downtown Networking Group. I have also been involved with the Central Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Thornton Park District Development Committee.
I work with clients to develop individual financial strategies, unique to their specific goals. My process ensures that I am focused on my clients’ best interests and providing a comprehensive analysis of their assets and investments. I work with individual investors and small business owners on retirement and planning needs.
Board Member, Come Out With Pride Liaison
Born in Virginia to a Navy family, raised in South Dakota, and later educated at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Nate West brings a colorful history to our team. He has a dual bachelor of arts in visual arts for graphic design and photography and is a self-educated full-stack developer—giving him a very unique skill set with an uncommon ability to see a project from concept to implementation in both its visual and technical forms.
Nate moved to Orlando in search of warmer winters back in 2012, following his 13 years in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas. In his free time, he enjoys serving others through volunteerism as a board member for Orlando Come Out With Pride and a leader in MBA Orlando.