True Colors Board of Directors

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Carter Johnson (President Emerita) joined the True Colors Board of Directors in 2014. She is the Principal of Ethical Influence, a public affairs and ethics compliance agency that provides strategic communications and advocacy campaigns for clients in heavily regulated industries. An expert in government affairs and communications advocacy, Carter brings her knowledge of government acquired from over 30 years of service in the public and private sectors to clients who face substantial challenges. Whether it’s siting the first commercial wind energy project in a state, or rallying grassroots support for vital safety net services, Carter is adept at creating effective messages and campaigns that get results. Prior to her role at EI, Carter was a Senior Vice President at Global Strategy Group, worked as the Operations Manager/Digital Strategist for the lobbying arm of Robinson & Cole, a committee clerk in the Connecticut legislature and as a Frauds Investigator with the Department of Consumer Protection. She was elected Board President in June, 2016.

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Tyrone Walker (Treasurer) joined the board of Directors in 2012. Tyrone is a Quality Assurance Manager at Pratt and Whitney. He served as a True Colors mentor for several years prior to joining the Board of Directors. Tyrone also serves on the Board of the Christian Activities Council, a community stabilization and re-development organization in the Upper Albany Area of Hartford, where he is on the Long-range Planning and Finance Committees. Tyrone recently was elected to the 6th District Town Committee for the Hartford Democratic Party, which represents the South End of Hartford. Tyrone has graduated from Howard University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and has an MBA from the University of Michigan.

 

Evelyn Mantilla (President)  is a highly experienced political consultant, with decades of proven experience across many levels of government and communities. With ten years experience as a Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, Evelyn brings a unique perspective to every issue. Known as a strong communicator, an effective coalition builder, and a highly respected leader among social, political, and business circles, she provides a breadth of knowledge guaranteed to provide strong results. As an activist and legislator, she has spent her professional career working on civil rights and equality issues – particularly focusing on her work with disenfranchised communities. She was the first Hispanic woman to serve as Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives as well as the first openly gay woman in the Connecticut General Assembly. During her tenure as a legislator, she represented an urban district with an overwhelming majority of Latinos / Puerto Ricans – a district with one of the highest populations living in poverty in the state. She has held leadership positions with the National Council for Community and Justice and the Hartford Sexual Assault Crisis Service, and has received awards from the Connecticut Institute for Community Development and the National Association of Social Workers, among others. In addition to her legislative work, Evelyn has worked as an advocate for women’s rights and as a small business owner consulting to nonprofits, businesses and electoral campaigns for over 22 years. She has served on numerous boards, commissions, and public committees, and uses her unique combination of talents, multiculturalism, and activist experience to be an advocate for social justice issues.

Recently retired from active practice, Art Webster is a lawyer and law professor. As an attorney, he spent 35 years  in courtrooms arguing for the protection of children and youth from abuse, neglect and delinquency. He is a noted authority on complex medical-legal issues, including diagnostic and treatment decision-making, HIV/AIDS, religious exemption laws and end-of-life issues. As a teacher and an author, he has instructed hundreds of students, attorneys, judges, other professionals and citizens on the impact of law on children, parents and the government. Art is a graduate of Bradley University, B.A., summa cum laude,  and Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.

 

Evelyn Laureano (Secretary)  is a native of Puerto Rico and has lived in the Hartford area since 1983. Evelyn has a background in retail management and is currently working on her BA in Strategic Communications. Evelyn’s life experiences confirmed to her the importance of the work that True Colors undertakes and inspired her to become a True Colors volunteer. She quickly developed a passion for helping LGBTQ+ youth and was motivated join the True Colors Board of Directors on September 2019.

Donald Pedagast (Vice President) is a generalist who brings an entrepreneurial mindset with experience in consulting, development, higher education, and non-profit management as well as six-years experience on two boards related to his alma mater. One key way he hopes to have an impact is in enhancing how True Colors tells its story, capturing the many narratives of the lives this organization embraces. In addition, he hopes to be another conduit to the business community. Donald notes that, “ Being a “marketing guy” is one way to see me — I do look to be an active member of the marketing committee — but as a second-year MBA student at UConn I bring a big-picture, strategic perspective. I am interested in a variety of board-related responsibilities like the budgeting process, ensuring that values, goals, and objectives are properly reflected in how resources are allocated. In meetings, I will be a strong voice, prepared to listen and contribute to the conversations at hand. In the community, I will be an enthusiastic advocate for True Colors.

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Shane Scott is a licensed clinical social worker and a Connecticut native. Shane received his Master’s Degree from University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 2012. He believes that compassion, understanding, and fostering a holistic approach are an integral part of the healing process. As a dynamic and skilled social worker, Shane brings a vast array of experience beginning in 2005, where he began his career with working in with youth and families across the life span and in a variety of settings, including schools and communities. In addition, Shane has experience working with individuals that are experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse conditions. Shane also has a strong passion and skill in working with individuals experiencing gender and sexual identity issues. Shane also has a talent with facilitating trainings, workshops, and coaching other professionals. Shane currently has a private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. Shane also facilitates personal and professional development trainings for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Mx. Alex Pitsas joined the True Colors Board of Directors in July 2020 and has been a mentor to an LGBTQ youth since February 2020.  They came to understand their gender late in life and identifies as non-binary.  Since 1986 they have worked in the field of education as a classroom instructor (math), building administrator and consultant for the State of Connecticut.  Additionally they spent 17 years coaching soccer and basketball at all levels.  Alex spent several years on the State Equity Team supporting and promoting racial equity.  Alex is interested in moving into a second career in non-profit and continues to support the youth of our state.

 

Melanie Glennon grew up in Albany NY & during her 20 years with General Electric, she held roles of increasing responsibility from engineer to executive global quality leader for GE’s largest business, GE Power, & over her career has successfully led international teams across a spectrum of areas: Quality, Regulatory, Engineering, Acquisition Integration, Executive Development and Diversity & Inclusion.  Over 2 years ago, Melanie transitioned to Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, CT where she works in her current capacity as Director of Strategy for the Quality Organization. Melanie is a trailblazer with respect to LGBT inclusion, being one of the first out executives in GE and spearheaded the visibility & growth of the company’s LGBT diversity network, elevating it to the distinction of HRC “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” In 2017, she became VP and one of the founding board members of Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs, a non-for-profit foundation established to raise crucial funds and awareness for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth.  Melanie is happy to continue her passion and mission to support LGBTQ+ youth as a board member of True Colors.  Melanie lives with her wife Deb, son Charlie and cat, Fido in Hartford.

Annette Rivera:  “What I like about True Colors is the fact that it cares about our LGBTQ+ youth. It is inspiring to learn about the multiple activities that it holds, particularly focusing on their support and advocacy as they discover, explore and develop their identities. While this would potentially be considered my first Board of Directors experience, I do bring the willingness to help and inspire the LGBTQ+ youth. I want to be a part of a team that helps to expose these young minds, some whom are still trying to feel comfortable on being themselves, on the vast opportunities that exist for them to pursue as they become young adults, while, at the same time, help them feel affirmed in their identities.  In the past, I led the PRIDE ERG at United Technologies Research Center (the research arm of what was called up to recently: United Technologies Corporation UTC, now Raytheon Technologies) reaching its five sites (Connecticut, California, Italy, Ireland, and China); have been part of an initiative to globalize the PRIDE ERG within UTC (Sue Theden, Jayshown’s mentor, is also a part of this great initiative); attended a few Chocolate & Cheesecake events (which I shared pictures and information about the event in the company’s news feed); and volunteered as a High School Mentor for the FIRST Robotics Competitions. As an engineer myself, I would like the Board to continue fostering STEM-related activities within the LGBTQ+ youth community, just like the True Colors/UTC summer program, which I am currently investigating how I can also volunteer in that initiative. As a past mentor, my ‘go-to’ approach with past mentees (FIRST Robotics) has been to challenge them to answer why’s (Why did you choose this over that? Did you think about this/that?), to ultimately bring them to see the big picture and get them to think outside the box. On a professional level, I am more of a strategist. I would like to be part of the team that is working on defining True Colors’ strategic plan, without losing sight of its core mission and vision.”

 

 

 

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