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.
Grant is honored to be joining the NYC Pride board in 2021. He first volunteered for NYC Pride in 2019 joining the PrideFest Committee for WorldPride. Grant believes that PrideFest is the greatest street festival in the world and is thrilled to be leading an incredible team that is committee driven and community strong. Grant is an award winning actor and narrator with a theatre background and has worked in a variety of mediums - including television, film, voiceover and audiobook narration. He moved to NYC from Sydney, Australia in 2018 and is most proud of being Dad to Evie-Dove, the most joyful and adventurous two year old - who he credits for teaching him everything he now knows.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
As a lifelong civil rights activist with a focus on gender justice, Ariel is passionate about intersectional feminism, anti-racism, and community organizing. She has been a development and communications professional for over a decade, using her skills in relationship management and strategy to raise awareness and funds for social causes across the spectrum. In her freetime, she is a performance artist, musician and queer nightlife personality as part of the group The Weekend Ladies. Ariel is excited to be bringing her experience and enthusiasm to NYC Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Joshua Woods is a skilled Operations Manager with over 10 years of experience. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Joshua received his degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University. During his time at OSU he interned for the Ohio Democratic Party’s LGBT caucus, there he lobbied the state legislator for fair housing legislation. He made his way to NYC in 2014 to work in operations in luxury hotels like the Four Seasons and The Pierre. In his spare time, he loves the theatre, reading a good book and cooking and baking. Joshua is very excited to join the NYC Pride team to help make a safe space for everyone to love and express themselves without fear. His goal in life is to try and leave the world a little better than he found it.
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.