Staff and Board
Board of Directors
Maria De La Cruz | Minneapolis, MN | Board Chair & Development Committee| bio
Ryan Li Dahlstrom | Los Angeles, CA | Vice Chair | bio
Wendy Stark | Brooklyn, NY | Board Treasurer | bio
Nitika Raj | New York, NY | Board Secretary bio
Urooj Arshad | Washington, DC | bio
Jennifer Brier | Chicago, IL | bio
William Cordery | Brooklyn, NY | bio
Eugénie Fitzgerald | San Francisco, CA | bio
Bookda Gheisar | Seattle, WA | bio
Iimay Ho | Washington, DC | bio
Gita Mehrotra | Portland, OR | bio
Mónica Taher | Los Angeles, CA | bio
Judene Walden | Brooklyn, NY | bio
Susan Wefald | Brooklyn, NY | bio
MARIA DE LA CRUZ | MINNEAPOLIS, MN | BOARD CHAIR & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Maria De La Cruz is the Associate Executive Director at Headwaters Foundation for Justice in Minnesota. She leads the foundation grantmaking, leadership development, capacity building, and development strategies. Maria earned her Bachelor’s degree in Women Studies at Metropolitan State University, as well as her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Juris Doctorate at Hamline University. Most recently, Maria worked as the Development Director at OutFront Minnesota and served as the Finance Director at Minnesotans United. Previous employers also include TakeAction Minnesota and Casa de Esperanza.
Ryan Li Dahlstrom | Los Angeles, CA | Vice chair
Ryan Li Dahlstrom has worked at the intersections of LGBTQ, youth, and anti-violence movements for the past decade as a fundraiser, organizer, facilitator, and trainer. Currently, he is the Movement Building Director for the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) and Co-Editor of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal where he supports and elevates the work of communities mobilizing resources for organizations and movements. Prior to GIFT, Ryan Li was the Executive Director of the Trans Youth Support Network (TYSN), an organizing and leadership development project for trans and gender non-conforming youth in Minnesota. He also served on the social change fund grant review committee for Headwaters Foundation for Justice and as an Advisory Board member for the GLBT Host Home Program, a program in Minneapolis that connects homeless queer and trans youth with adult allies who have available housing. He’s participated in the Brown Boi Project’s leadership program as well as PFund Foundation’s Racial Equity Initiative. Currently, he is a board member of Community United Against Violence (CUAV) and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. His everyday work is guided by a belief in the power, strength, and resilience of queer and trans people of color. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, playing volleyball, being an Uncle, and spending time near the ocean.
Wendy Stark | Brooklyn, NY | Board Treasurer
Wendy Stark started her career in reproductive health access. In 1994, she began working at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center focusing on caring for LGBTQ communities, and is privileged to have spent almost 18 years there in various positions. In October 2007, Wendy was appointed Executive Director of Callen-Lorde, and during the course of her tenure in that position, the organization increased its patient care capacity by over 30%, opened a full service onsite pharmacy, started a research and education department, began patient navigation programs, and achieved Patient-Centered Medical Home designation. She served on the Board and then as Board co-chair of the National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health from 2008 – 2011.
In July 2012, Wendy started a new position as Senior Vice President for Special Populations & Administration at Lutheran Family Health Centers. In this role, her work focuses on the health and healthcare access needs of medically underserved communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York State Coalition for School-Based Health Centers.
Wendy and her fabulous child Freddie live in Brooklyn.
Nitika Raj | New York, NY
Nitika Raj is a writer, healer, facilitator, and change-maker. She recently founded Moksh Creative Consulting, through which she offers organizational consulting and professional coaching services. Before that she was on staff at Resource Generation for 4 years, as Director of Racial Justice and Co-Director of Programs, and previously as a National Organizer of young people of color with wealth. Her past work experiences also include ChangeLab (a grassroots political lab focusing on U.S. racial justice politics), Chaya (a South Asian organization addressing domestic violence in Washington state), Kirkland Police Department Family Violence Unit, and the VOICE anti-violence project at Georgia Tech.
Nitika is a former board member and chair of Trikone Northwest in Seattle, and a co-founding member of the Queer and Trans POC Yoga Collective. Her writing has been published in Tikkun magazine, Criptiques: an anthology of writing on disability, Anti-Oppressive Social Work Practice, and various online forums. She has shared her poetry and creative non-fiction on several stages. In 2015, Nitika co-produced, co-directed and performed in Yoni ki Raat (Night of Vagina), a theater production to raise awareness about issues of gender, sexuality, and violence in the South Asian community. Born in India and raised in Kuwait, she currently lives in Brooklyn with her wife. In her free time, Nitika loves to read, paint, and have soul-stirring chats over a cortado.
Urooj Arshad | Arlington, VA
Urooj Arshad is the Associate director of International Youth Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth. She manages a project of the International Division that builds the capacity of youth-driven organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to empower young people as strong advocates within their own countries and at international forums on reproductive and sexual health and rights of youth, especially young women and LGBTQ youth. She has also designed a project that seeks to address the reproductive and sexual health needs of Muslim-identified youth.
Previously, Urooj provided capacity-building services to community-based organizations working with youth of color around reproductive and sexual health. Urooj has presented about her work at several domestic and international conferences, including the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria; the Youth Pre-conference to the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC; the European Science Foundation’s conference on Religion, Gender and Human Rights 2011 in Linkoping, Sweden; the LGBT Pride and Heritage Event hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; the State Department; the National Press Club; Georgetown University and Princeton. Urooj was also the keynote speaker at the LGBTQ Symposium 2013 at American University.
Urooj has had sixteen years of experience organizing within LGBTQ communities of color, especially addressing issues of Islamophobia, violence, sexism, transphobia, and ageism. She is a steering committee member of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) which seeks to address the intersectional impact of Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. Urooj has been a member of the Center for American Progress’ Women’s Health Leadership Network and its Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute. Urooj has been a fellow with the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and a current member of the Kalamazoo College Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Global Advisory Board.
Urooj is the recipient of several awards including the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s 2012 NQAPIA Community Catalyst Award and the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition’s We Speak award.
Urooj was selected to serve on the U.S delegation to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Jennifer Brier | Chicago, IL
Jennifer Brier is Director of the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and Associate Professor in GWS and History Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She specializes in the history of sexuality and gender. She is the author of Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. Brier has curated several historical exhibitions, including Out in Chicago, the Chicago History Museum’s prize winning exhibition on LGBT history in Chicago, and Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture, a traveling exhibition produced by the National Library of Medicine. She is currently at work on a major public history project called History Moves, a community-curated mobile gallery that will provide a space for Chicago-based community organizers and activists to share their histories with a wide audience.
William Cordery | Seattle, WA
William Cordery currently works at the Surdna Foundation. Prior to that, he served as the program officer for the South at Marguerite Casey Foundation. Before joining the foundation, William served as the senior development officer for the Southern region of Amnesty International USA. As senior development officer, he managed the organization’s relationships with its major donors across 11 Southern states; stewarding individual relationships to our human rights work and cultivating their long-term giving to Amnesty. William began fundraising in 2003 as the development director for Project South, where he designed and launched the organization’s first national major donor program; and was at the helm of national foundation fundraising and marketing for the organization. As a key member of the national Resource Mobilization Working Group for the first US Social Forum, William designed and helped institute multiple fundraising strategies that raised nearly $1 Million for the historic 2007 grassroots convening. William has served on the national steering committee for LGBT rights at Amnesty International USA, consulted with Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) and is a founding member of Sweet Tea: A Southern Queer Men’s Collective.
Eugénie Fitzgerald | San Francisco, CA
Eugénie FitzGerald has worked in the nexus of social change and business in a variety of dynamic leadership roles designing and implementing new strategic initiatives. Ranging from designing a city-wide implementation plan to shift to a paperless payday, to leading the first initiative that designs and implements solutions to LGBT poverty, to becoming the President of the for-profit side of an innovative leadership enterprise – her leadership roles have had the common thread of being entrepreneurial and generative. Currently she is pursing a hypothesis on how to leverage the tech sector for social change, by first building skill and experience running a tech business. She is the General Manager of BorrowLenses.com, a midsized online camera and video rental company with a mission to advance the photographic and cinematic dreams of their customers by delivering superior, cutting-edge gear and providing exceptional customer service. She also sits on the Board of Advisors for two sister organizations, the Center on Business and Poverty, and Progress Through Business. She has an amazing and charismatic baby, a rockin wife and a mélange of animals at home in San Francisco. In her free time, she enjoys photography, crafting and traveling.
Bookda Gheisar | Seattle, WA
Bookda moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1980. She has been living in Seattle for 27 years. A Social Worker by personal direction and formal training, Bookda is most passionate about social change and organizing communities around the root causes of social and economic inequities. She is the executive director of the Mona Foundation, which supports grassroots educational initiatives around the world which emphasize service to the community and increased opportunity for women and girls.
Iimay Ho | Arlington, VA
Iimay Ho is the Executive Director of Resource Generation, where she organizes young people with wealth for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Prior to Resource Generation, she spent 3 years as the Director of Operations and Finance at The Management Center where she helped move the organization to the next level of performance. Born and raised in North Carolina, Iimay was politicized through interning with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), which builds, sustains, and connects a Southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region. She moved to the Washington, DC area in 2008 to work for OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates where she led programming for student leadership development. Iimay is an active member of the DC queer Asian American community, and helped organize the Rainbow Dragon Fund, the region’s first grassroots queer Asian American giving circle. In her free time, Iimay enjoys attending silent meditation retreats, rock climbing, karaoke, and watching movies with her partner Megan.
Gita Mehrotra | Portland, OR
Gita Mehrotra has been involved with anti-violence work for over 15 years in a variety of capacities including: direct service, education/training, and program and organizational development, with a focus on API and LGBTQ communities. From 2003-2008 she was one of the lead organizers of Transforming Silence into Action, a national network of queer API women and trans people addressing intimate violence in our communities. Gita has also been involved with QTPOC community building and has provided technical assistance and training to South Asian and API community-based organizations around the country. Gita holds a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Washington and is currently on faculty at Portland State University, School of Social Work. Her work is focused on understanding and advancing the well-being, safety, and self-determination of women and LGBTQ people of color who face multiple and intersecting oppressions in their lives and communities. Her current research and teaching interests include: domestic violence in minoritized communities, queer people of color identities & wellness, diversity and social justice education, radical social work, and critical and feminist theories and methodologies for social work.
Mónica Taher | Los Angeles, CA
Mónica Taher is a serial tech entrepreneur and an Accelerate with Google Academy alumna. She is a Partner at Getty Images Latin America (GILA) where she supervises the penetration of GILA’s digital assets in the US Hispanic and Latin American markets.
She’s also the CEO & Founder of ClipYap, a soon-to-be launched app. Mónica is also an active member of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Latin American Task Force and is the LA City Director for Lesbians Who Tech.
She holds a Master’s degree in Cinema & Media Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has recently authored the forthcoming memoir My Life on Hold. Her mission is to help eradicate the gender gap in the tech entrepreneurship world. She is proficient in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Mónica has served in various communications, marketing and business development capacities, working with Fortune 500 corporations such as IBM and international companies such as Televisa (Mexico), Univision Networks, Globo (Brazil), and the Digicel Group. In 2006, IBM tapped her to conduct LGBT business intelligence research in Latin American countries including Argentina, Mexico and Brazil for the penetration of IBM’s LGBT affinity groups in those markets.
Judene Walden | Brooklyn, NY
Judene Walden is Vice President, East Coast Sales for Interactive One, a division of Radio One. Judene has also held leadership positions at Time Inc., Johnson Publishing and Hearst Magazines throughout her career in advertising and she has spoken on numerous panels focusing on multicultural marketing and digital media.
Susan Wefald | Brookyn, NY
Susan Wefald is the executive director of the Discount Foundation and former executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Ms. Foundation for Women. She also consults with social justice non-profit organizations and provides executive coaching to high-level and emerging leaders. Co-author of the book Raise the Floor: Wages And Policies That Work For All Of Us, Susan was the former staff director of the Naugatuck Valley Project, coordinating grassroots organizing for unions, churches, and community groups in western Connecticut. She is also the former assistant director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, and taught as adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire State University.