Sue Doster has been an LGBTQIA+ activist and community leader for almost 30 years. Currently serving as Co-Chair for NYC Pride for the second time, she has an impressive resume in the community. From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Co-President of InterPride, a membership organization that supports Pride Committees worldwide. Sue’s work at InterPride included her efforts to help grow WorldPride, a global event licensed by InterPride, as well as championing the PrideRadar project, a first of its kind report which cataloged more than 1,200 Prides around the globe. In 2017, Sue was named one of the National Co-chairs for the Equality March for Unity and Pride which took place in June of that year in Washington D.C. and drew over 100,000 of people from around the country. In addition to the many board positions she has held at NYC Pride over the years, she has also been an active member of New Jersey Pride almost since its inception. Sue has worked at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, for nearly three decades, where she is currently The Chief Technology Officer. When she’s not working to change the world, she can be found around town with a camera in the never-ending pursuit of the perfect picture.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, André Thomas has spent years working behind the scenes starting from a performance arts middle school to running lights and runway shows in high school. A graduate from Yale University and a decorated United States Marine Corps veteran with multiple deployments, he honed his production skills serving as the Production Officer of the Yale Dramatic Association, the country's second oldest college theater organization, Yale School of Drama and Repertory productions, and production training at Florida International University and YSD. Prior to moving to New York City, he kept active in Washington, DC, captaining varied Stonewall Sports teams and running events for the Stonewall National Sports Tournament. He produced events for Capital Pride, including the Sunset Dance Party, and served as the Head of Production/Treasurer on the Board of the CHERRY Fund, the longest running charity circuit event in the nation devoted to HIV and mental health/suicide prevention. At Heritage of Pride he served as the Volunteer Captain for PrideFest, the largest LGBTQIA+ street festival in the world, and Director of Pride Island, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2021. Now, as the first African-American male elected to the position of Co-Chair, he is excited to shepherd the organization that serves as the stewards of the Pride movement.
Andrew was introduced to a lot of work Heritage of Pride does through friend and former Co-Chair, David Studinski, and has since been involved in a variety of areas with NYC Pride. First joining in 2017, he began work as a volunteer with PrideFest. Since then he has worked with Pride Island, attended regional and InterPride conferences, and eventually came back to PrideFest as a Community Groups Lead, followed by Volunteer Captain. It was clear to him that he wanted to continue to do more work within the organization, eventually running for a position on the board as Secretary, to which he is honored to hold. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends, watching movies, reading, and binge-watching any of the Real Housewives. He can also have entire conversations in TV/movie quotes.
Bansri is the first Indian American elected to serve on the NYC Pride board. Bansri has volunteered with NYC Pride since 2017 on the March Operations team. Managing Formation for WorldPride was an experience she still talks about! Professionally, Bansri is a growth-hacker working with small and mid-sized companies to build their business development strategy and refining operational processes for consistent long term results. Outside of work and Pride she can be found riding her bike in Prospect Park, hanging out with family and friends and exploring new neighborhoods. She makes it a point to visit Mumbai once a year for Holi.
Michele Irimia is currently the Rally Director at NYC Pride. She works as the Program Director the Pride Center of Staten Island. Previously she worked as a public-school teacher in at-risk areas across the Northeast Region. She has been involved in the pride movement for over 20 years. She is a past board member of InterPride and sits on the board Capital Pride Alliance. Ms. Irimia was a speaker at the NYC Women’s March in 2017 and has spoken publicly on LGBTQIA+ rights around the world. In her spare time she enjoys traveling the world.
Mario was born and raised in Teltow, Germany where he attended school and served in the German Army. He has a broad diversity of experience in event production and hospitality, going back to his school years. As the Director of Events at Maui AIDS Foundation Mario worked on the Volcano Party Festival, Paradise Bike Ride amongst various others raising funds for community affected by HIV / AIDS. After volunteering with NYC Pride for many years, Mario joined the Executive Board as Pride Island Director in 2020.
Dan joined the Executive Board as Media Director in 2020. His professional career in Marketing, Media, and Advertising/Communications at leading firms including WPP and Publicis Groupe spans more than a decade. Dan began volunteering with Heritage of Pride in 2015 as a member of the March Committee. In his time as a volunteer, he worked closely with the Development Committee and was instrumental in developing and growing the organization’s merchandise program. Dan was born in New York City and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn by his family who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon and Israel. He attended Poly Prep in Dyker Heights, and Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. He is a life-long New Yorker, and he currently resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Director of Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion, Sitara brings their lived experience as a nonbinary South Asian and Black Caribbean individual to their work at Pride, championing marginalized voices and greater organizational equity. They were educated in France and New York, and also work as a community organizer in Westchester NY.
Kazz Alexander is an experienced non-profit executive and educator with a demonstrated history of enhancing programs and student experiences, serving in the youth development sector for the past twenty years. He is currently the Executive Director of Hit The Books, Harlem NY’s first mixed martial arts and tutoring organization, serving youth and teens. Kazz holds a B.A. in history and has also earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia, as well post-graduate certificates from Fordham University (Executive Education), Baruch College (Non-Profit Management) and NYU (Diversity and Inclusion). For eight years, Kazz has also been a facilitator and coach with Ramapo For Children, conducting virtual and in person workshops-- providing leadership coaching for over 50 agencies in the New York metropolitan area. As an independent consultant, Kazz founded Teachable NYC in 2019, to help support the mission of creating diverse and inclusive programs for children, and specifically to help other non-profit professionals design safe spaces for boys of color. Kazz joined Heritage of Pride in 2019, and proudly serves as the Community Relations Director, connecting community agencies and HOP's membership to service initiatives in New York City.
Allie's pride roots date back to the early 90s when they were lucky to March while in a stroller. Throughout their career in the NYC tech scene, their focus revolves around creating spaces of belonging for intersectional identities and focusing on the community. Allie has also started ERGs for BIPOC, women and LGBTQ folks at numerous organizations. Runs on plants and always down to dance.
David A. Correa joined Heritage of Pride in 2016. A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, David has used his love for New York City and his background in theatre to help drive inspiration for himself and his team when ideating, producing and executing events for NYC Pride. With an extensive history in events and entertainment, David has been instrumental during his time at Pride in the creation of new events such as Youth Pride; a safe space for teenagers to celebrate openly. He also serves as Executive Producer for the annual WABC-7 NYC Pride Broadcast special. In 2020, David and team were able to produce a show that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1st Pride March that featured over 30 special guests including: Janelle Monae, Rufus Wainwright, Wilson Cruz and many more. David leads on all talent booking and relations for the organization. He brought Grace Jones to Pride Island, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Porter, Chaka Khan and many more to the Opening Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and closed down Times Square with Melissa Etheridge, Margaret Cho and twenty-five Broadway stars singing Seasons of Love. David is married to his long time best friend and favorite Pride volunteer Jowan Correa. The March was once their safe space where they could love without fear, and now, they are thrilled to be a part of creating that same sense of security for others.
Amanda Younger is senior events manager where she manages multiple events across digital and onsite locations for NYC Pride. Younger began her career in experiential events in 2005 with MRY touring for clients such as CEA, JetBlue, and Microsoft, building out touring festivals on college campuses, managing a fleet of promotional vehicles, and working alongside Live Nation amphitheater tour as well. After working as a legislative aide for the New York City Council Speaker, Younger returned to MRY to lead operations of marketing campaigns directly with campus representatives. Under the guidance of the National Basketball Association Younger took on the task of coordinating print production for the All-Star Jam Session, as well as talent hospitality for Ron Howard's Project Imagination Film Festivals (8 & 10), and managed all meet and greets for music PR events with client Western Union. After a season of Coordinating Pridefest, Younger stayed on as a voting member, while working as a Director of Events for High Times, creating large-scale cannabis festivals. Once the company decided to move to Los Angeles, Younger returned to NYC Pride in 2017 as a full-time employee covering multiple events in Development, Pridefest, and Pride Island committees.
Samantha Marie Johnson is an experienced Event Producer and Project Manager. She takes pride in designing experiences that align with target audiences. Her current role at NYC Pride places her programming skills in the forefront of LGBTQIA+ social justice work. As the Development and RALLY Event Manager for NYC Pride, she is responsible for creating programming geared towards the LGBTQIA+ community, producing more than 10 events (in a NON-COVID Pride season), and curating/managing sponsor integrations. Prior to working with NYC Pride, Samantha was the National Director of Volunteers for the Green Festivals which included managing over 900 volunteers per event, in addition to developing and implementing new long-term volunteer engagement efforts. In 2017, she helped co-found Cultural Crawl, a booze, food & street art bar crawl which created space for BIPOC individuals to celebrate and explore neighborhoods across the USA in a safe way. Samantha is currently the co-founder of VASCANO Tequila! In her spare time, Samantha is intentional about producing freelance events that connect with her core values. Her skills include graphic design, fundraising initiatives, concept pitching and development, event management and creative direction, sponsor management, data driven and event integrations, volunteer and staffing management.
Nikkita is a creative event producer from the Bronx with a passion for constructing live experiences for diverse community gatherings. After finishing Temple University in 2012, she started her professional career in Philadelphia working large scale festivals such as Philly 4th of July Jam and Made In America music festival. Both these events allowed Nikkita the opportunity to witness the makings of a live show from the early stage of conceptualizing the show and acquiring talent to show day production logistics. Upon returning home to New York in 2015, Nikkita continued to work on large, multi-format events such as the 2016 Democratic National Convention, 60th Annual Grammy Award Show at Madison Square Garden and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Times Square. Around this same time, she also began working in tour coordination for Tina Farris Tours which allowed her the opportunity to work with a variety of artists including The Roots and Syd. Nikkita has been with NYC Pride since 2017 originally working on the Pride March. In 2018, Nikkita transitioned to working on PrideFest while still producing creative elements for the live Pride March broadcast. Alongside her professional life, Nikkita is a proud Jamaican-American dedicated to stewardship for the most marginalized within society. She serves on the Junior Board for the New York Common Pantry and is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Zoë Gorringe has been working on the NYC Pride March since 2018, and has loved every second of it. Born in New Orleans, Zoë migrated to New York to study Event Management at SUNY Purchase. From there, she cultivated a wide array of experience within the event community, from concert series to large scale activations. Since joining the Heritage of Pride Team, Zoë has organized the WorldPride | Stonewall 50 March and was the Associate Producer on the first in-person television broadcast in NYC since the pandemic. She is very much looking forward to continuing this work!
Shawn Kobetz is a born and raised New Yorker who currently serves as our Partnerships Manager where he manages over 200 partnerships, our fundraising team, and some of our partner events such as Proud and Fit and the Black Queer Town Hall. With a long history in fundraising and event planning stretching back to 2006, Shawn has a proven track record of bringing awareness and support to various causes, from the fight against cancer to the progression of the LGBTQIA+ community. Prior to Heritage of Pride, he led the community-based events for the American Cancer Society in Manhattan and Bronx, and spearheaded the society’s LGBTQIA programs for all five boroughs. When he is not event planning, he is on the microphone at Equinox leading group fitness classes and Cycle for Survival rally rides across Manhattan. Their personality, passion, and pride in being a queer person, transcends into everything they do with the goal of making the world a healthier and more inclusive place.
Chaz grew up within walking distance of Princeton University and has a mixed-race heritage of African American, Puerto Rican & Native American. He fell in love with NYC at the age of 15 and worked diligently in school as an athlete, scholar while being deeply involved in various community service organizations. Chaz was able to make his dream of going to college come true with the aid of 15 Princeton University Affiliate Program Academic & Community Serviced based scholarships. While in college, he interned in all things media and secured a role while within his senior year of college. Chaz has over 6 years of experience within marketing & communications spanning, influencer marketing, paid, content creation, digital, traditional but specializes in strategy. He wants to be a symbol of confirmation to all the BIPOC LGBTQI+ folks that if you work hard, and never give up you can accomplish anything you want in this life.
Tyler Sadonis is the Partnerships Coordinator with NYC Pride, assisting with partner relations and managing the Pride Partners Program. Previously, he worked in politics and served on the staff of four congressional campaigns and one presidential campaign. Originally from Syracuse, New York, he received his Political Science degree from American University in Washington D.C. His interests include exploring NYC on Citi Bike, taking Zoom cooking classes, and discovering new podcasts.
Lauren is a freelance experience producer who loves bringing to life inclusive events where attendees from all walks of life leave feeling seen, heard and valued. Lauren started her career in the world of fashion, working at IMG Worldwide in their Fashion Events department. While there, she worked on the production team for NYFW: The Shows, NYC’s official Fashion Week events. With 8 seasons of Fashion Week under her belt, Lauren made the jump to freelancing full-time in 2019. In the past two years, Lauren has produced a variety of mid-sized & large-scale live & virtual events such as product launches and pop ups for black owned beauty company Mented Cosmetics, the 14th Annual International Chefs Congress for StarChefs Rising Stars Magazine, and virtual trade shows for tech giant Alibaba.com. As a freelancer, Lauren has also worked on multiple awards ceremonies, fundraisers, conferences, summits, and company off-sites. In 2020, Lauren joined the NYC Pride team as their seasonal PrideFest Event Coordinator. She’s returned to the team again for the 2021 Pride season. Lauren is originally from Wichita, KS. She received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University prior to relocating to Brooklyn, NY.
Amanda is so excited to be working with NYC Pride as an Event Coordinator. Part of the Amanda squared duo powering Pride Island and Savor Pride events, she goes by Spins with the Pride team. Coming to this work with a background in both film and event production, with a focus on music videos, they love the opportunity to bring Pride Island into your home virtually this year so everyone can participate exactly as they feel comfortable. With a passion for community connection, a desire to spark creative thinking, and a curiosity in finding the intersection of Art, Wellness, and Tech, Amanda started a monthly meetup group called “Make Something” in 2015 that now has global reach. Amanda is also a musician and big fan of the outdoors.