Board of Directors

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Butch Thompson

President, Board of Directors; Director, Director Pro Tem, Generation Plus

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Butch Thompson joined the Blue Ridge Pride Board of Directors in January 2019. Currently Butch serves as the Board of Directors President and Director of Generation Plus. He lives in West Asheville where he settled 6 years ago. He is the founder of butchOUT, a local non-profit organization. He also served with the Asheville Gay Men's Chorus and help to start the Asheville Pride Bowling League.

Butch spent most of his career in Atlanta, Georgia working for numerous HIV/AIDS organizations including AIDS Survival Project, AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health and Emory University. Starting as a fundraiser Butch soon realized his passion for program development. He built a Peer Counseling program which became utilized in many organizations in Atlanta. He helped found beautyAID, an Atlanta fundraiser for AIDS organizations. After 26 years Butch retired to Ft. Lauderdale where he volunteered for Poverello, an HIV/AIDS food pantry and initiated the formation of the Live Well Center.

As a native of SW Virginia Butch longed for the mountains and choose Asheville as a place to build a new life in retirement. Excited and knowledgeable Butch shares his skills with Blue Ridge Pride in hopes of expanding on the great success of Blue Ridge Pride and the community served. His favorite quote is “I cannot do all the work the world needs. But the world needs all the work I can do.” -Jana Stanfield

Michael Hoeben

Director, Community Partnerships; Vice President, Board of Directors

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Miami-born Michael Hoeben is a queer trans man, husband, father, and human rights advocate committed to community welfare optimization by shifting how we engage and interact with human beings on all sides of this shared experience. After graduating from Boston University with a BS in Communications, Michael carved out a career as a freelance researcher/writer, which both informed and strengthened his understanding of systemic oppression strategies and impacts. This learning deepened his desire to be an active part of dismantling these forces. In 2019, Michael took the career-change leap and landed in community health where he focused on transgender health and HIV prevention/care services, education, outreach, and development through THE HIVe 828. In 2020, Michael and his wife, Myela, launched OUTthINK Studio, a queer-centric digital arts studio, believing in the power of seeing and celebrating the "Other" as critical in breaking down the biases and barriers that continue to divide the human family. Michael currently serves as the Director of Communications at the Tzedek Social Justice Fund, a local trust-based philanthropy leader that redistributes money, resources, and power to support systems change and community healing in Asheville, North Carolina. Michael’s passion is intersectional social justice work, knowing that a values-based lens is critical to correcting the systemic wrongs that continue to impede meaningful representation and inclusion for all people. Michael is sincerely grateful to be part of Blue Ridge Pride, as this organization plays a key role in continuing to pave the way towards greater equality and equity in Western NC.

Steven Franklin

Treasurer

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Steven is from Waynesville, NC, and works with a local accounting firm. He graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Business Administration from North Carolina Wesleyan College and a Master of Science degree in Accounting from East Carolina University. He is currently a candidate for CPA licensing, having completed three of the four examinations thus far. In his free time he loves taking hikes with his boyfriend Jesse and their dog Ranger. He is thrilled to be a member of the board and to provide his professional expertise to assist Blue Ridge Pride. It is an honor to serve the western NC LGTBQ+ community and to give back.

David Perry

Director, Fundraising / Development; Member, Board of Directors

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David Perry is a native of North Carolina. He retired from federal service after 36 years in a variety of political and agency leadership positions. He was most recently Deputy Director for the US Small Business Administration (SBA) in Georgia and SBA National LGBTQ Outreach Director.

Prior to joining SBA in 1998, David served 16 years on the staff of US Congressman W.G. (Bill) Hefner (NC-8). He was appointed manager of a constituent services office at age 25 and later served as a domestic policy advisor on Capitol Hill.

As Deputy Director for Georgia from 2010 - 2016 he managed the delivery of SBA small business across the state. He developed and managed formalized partnerships with elected officials, corporate leaders and organizations representing diverse communities including African American, Hispanic, women, Veteran, seniors and LGBTQ.

As National LGBTQ Outreach Director from 2013 until 2016, David developed and managed SBA’s partnerships with national LGBT organizations, including the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the National Black Justice Coalition.   He represented SBA as part of a team that designed and executed the LGBT Business Builder, a two-year multi city initiative to increase the number of LGBT certified small businesses and raising awareness of SBA programs within the LGBTQ community.

After retiring from SBA, David worked with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce to establish its Stakeholder Engagement Initiative, a continuation of his work as SBA’s LGBTQ Outreach Director.

David is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. As a member of the university’s student legislature in the late 1970s, David introduced and secured passage of UNCC’s first LGBT nondiscrimination resolution and sponsored the bill chartering the school’s first Gay Student Union.

In 2019 he was recognized by Business Equality Magazine’s as one of 50 LGBTQ Legacy Leaders Over 50 in the U.S.

Amanda Wray

Director, Oral History Project; Member, Board of Directors

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I grew up in rural Kentucky, the youngest daughter of hard-working parents who knew everything about growing plants and making delicious food. I attended the University of KY, where I earned a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature (my studies focused primarily on the literature of Enslaved People). In 2007, I moved our little family to Tucson, AZ where I earned a PhD in Composition, Rhetoric and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona (and fell in love with the desert). My dissertation drew from oral history interviews with self-proclaimed "progressive" white people to suggest various rhetorics of whiteness and assess their anti-racism potential. Colorblind rhetoric ("I don't see race"), for example, is a trope mis-associated with anti-racism outcomes, and it is invoked and defended differently based upon region and self-awareness of white privilege. In 2011, we moved to Asheville and I joined the faculty at University of North Carolina Asheville where I enjoy the privilege of teaching a wide range of courses including Professional Writing; First Year Writing; Visual Rhetoric; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Learn more about my work here: amandabwray.com

In 2019, I partnered with Blue Ridge Pride to launch the LGBTQIA+ Archive of Western NC, an oral history study and community-based historical preservation effort. Our Lives. Our Stories. Our Way. We are a cohort of community activists, university archivists, undergraduate research interns, and project volunteers from YMCA and Blue Ridge Pride. Our oral history participants range in age from 21 to 87, a quarter of whom were born within sixty miles of Asheville, NC and sixty percent having lived in the Western NC region their entire life or more than 23 years. We are actively recruiting folks to be interviewed and to conduct interviews, and we'd love to see any physical materials related to LGBTQ+ history that you could loan or donate to the project.

Travis Rountree

Director, Welcoming WNC Community Network | BRPC Board of Directors

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Dr. Travis A. Rountree is an assistant professor in the English Department at Western Carolina University. He earned his PhD from the University of Louisville, his MA in English from Appalachian State University with a certificate in Appalachian Studies, and his BA in English from James Madison University with a minor in American Studies. He teaches first year composition courses as well as graduate courses in composition and rhetoric. His research interests include queer archival research and pedagogy, Country Music, Appalachian rhetorics, place-based pedagogy, and public memory studies. He has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal, Journal of Southern History, and Appalachian Journal.

Travis hales from Richmond, Virginia and enjoys running, weight lifting, and gardening. He is an avid fan of old-time, bluegrass, and country music. He lives in Sylva, NC with his two kitties.

Travis hopes to use his new role to forge a strong network of organizations, groups, and individuals who seek to build a community in Western North Carolina that is welcoming to all.

Allen Brasington

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Allen Brasington, III has called Asheville home for more than 13 years. He is a native of Darlington, SC and holds a degree in Political Science from Francis Marion University and certificate of Master of Auctioneering from Southeastern School of Auctioneering.

Currently, Allen is the General Manager and Community Outreach person at Jonas Gerard Fine Arts in Asheville's River Art District, President of the Board of Loving Food Resources, President of  Asheville Breakfast Rotary Foundation and Immediate Past President of Asheville Breakfast Rotary. In addition, he has served on a variety of other local boards and advisory committees for local nonprofits, political and civic organizations with an emphasis on fundraising, demographics and community outreach.

Allen's passion is promoting equality and unifying our community based on the gifts our differences bring to the table for a common good. In Allen's spare time he enjoys home projects, reading, gardening and entertaining at his home just north of Asheville which he shares with Lucy, his four-legged furry companion.

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Mental Health Providers

Eric Davis  MS, LCPA, NCC, Counselor

Willow Wellness and Recovery, PC 9 All Souls Crescent  Suite B, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 490-4137 | Website I am a firm believer in empowerment and self-determination. In the past, I have worked well with folks experiencing a range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance-use, sleep disturbances, relationship issues, and issues unique to the LGBT community.

Scott Thomas,  Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, LCAS

Silver Lining Therapy 70 Woodfin Place  STE 21, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 705-3084 | Website I believe humor can be a powerful tool for healing and seek to incorporate this into our time together. Unique to my practice is an approach that truly puts you at the center of the counseling experience, and I draw from a wide variety of techniques to help you see and experience real change in your life. To see if therapy might be a good fit, I offer free phone consultations.

James Harrison, PhD Psychologist

12 Westridge Dr , Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone: (828) 348-6300 | Website I enjoy helping people achieve physical and emotional intimacy whether they are young or old, straight or gay, in healthy, responsible, and mutually affirming ways. I also enjoy helping people improve their earning and manage their assets. And I like working with older people. I offer free phone consultations.

Judy Maris, Counselor, LPC, LCPC, MA, MS

Maris Psychotherapy 41 Clayton St, Suite 301, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (828) 537-4489 | Website We can explore troublesome patterns that tend to repeat themselves in your life or look at new issues that have just come up. The important thing is for us to work together to get to the bottom of your difficulties and resolve them. I will assist you in becoming more aware of what you are feeling and thinking in the present moment. The untapped wisdom within you is a powerful healing force. Let me help you gain access to your full inner resources. I offer free phone consultations.

Elizabeth Heaney, Counselor, MA, LPC 

166 E Chestnut Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801  Phone: (520) 447-3319 | Website I work with individual adults with concerns like: family history issues, relationship concerns, life satisfaction issues (related to jobs, living situations or relationships), anxiety and depression. I’ve had a particular focus on working with couples, addressing every aspect of relationship challenges – relationship dissatisfaction/boredom, affairs, sexual/intimacy issues, etc. And I was a civilian counselor on military bases for several years, so I have a clear understanding of the unique pressures and challenges facing service members and families. I offer free phone consultations.

Siljoy Maurer

Holistic Perspectives P.O. Box 333, Enka, NC 2872  Phone: (828) 333-0103  | siljoy@me.com or  www.HolisticPerspectives.com For many years now I have been mentoring men and women from all walks of life. It continues to be my greatest joy to accompany someone from “just being ok” into thriving! As a Mentor & Healer I partner with my clients in creating authenticity, wellness and deep contentment, in whatever area of their lives they are seeking change. The combination of giving very practical, livable tools for direct “next steps” while “holding the big picture” and then manifesting that big picture often feels like this: a new client brings me their life or life situation in a jigsaw puzzle box, they lost the lid and forgot what the picture on it looked like. I am good at knowing that picture and then guiding my clients/mentees to put all the puzzle pieces together.  

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MailPO Box 2044, Asheville NC 28802-2044

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