Board of Directors

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Butch Thompson

President, Board of Directors; Director, Community Funding Programs; Director Pro Tem, Generation Plus

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Butch Thompson joined the Blue Ridge Pride Board of Directors in January 2019. Butch lives in West Asheville where he settled 4 years ago. He currently serves as Executive Director for Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus. He is the founder of butchOUT, a local non-profit organization.

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 Projects and Partnerships; Vice President, Board of Directors

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Miami-born Michael Hoeben is a transman with a passion for minority rights and public policy advocacy.  He is also a husband and a father, which has and continues to bring him a profound sense joy and purpose.  As a Boston University graduate, he carved out a career as a freelance writer and researcher, working closely with an international community of scholars and leaders across a wide array of disciplines, cultures, and contexts.  However, his current aim is to focus his efforts on fueling progress for LGBTQ equality and equity at home by serving his local community.  Most recently, Michael had the privilege to join Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) as the Trans/HIV Bridge & Retention Coordinator, where he helps in providing individualized patient-centered care, as well as conducting trans- and HIV-centered outreach, training, and collaborations in the community.  He is committed to social justice, believing that a human rights-focus is critical to correcting the systemic wrongs that continue to impede meaningful representation and inclusion for all people.  Michael is sincerely grateful for the opportunity to join the Blue Ridge Pride Center (BRPC) team, as this organization plays a key role in continuing to pave the way forward.

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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.

Autumn McCarver

Member, Board of Directors

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Autumn grew up in Asheville, NC.  She moved away for several years to Charleston, SC and NYC but her love for the mountains and my family pulled me back home. Autumn spent 13 years in the nonprofit world through Feeding America Food Banks. She fell in love with the nonprofit world. 

Currently, she is a licensed real estate agent in both NC & NYC.  Her secondary passion is education. She is owner of WNC Real Estate & Educational Institute which provides real estate courses and soon courses in HerbologyWhen she is not working, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her St. Bernard mix, Amos.  She is excited to be a part of this organization and looks forward to contributing however she can.

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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.