Our People

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Leadership & Staff

Alexander Roque

President and Executive Director

(212) 206-9349

aroque@aliforneycenter.org

Zachary Cohen

Director of Development

(212) 222-3427

zcohen@aliforneycenter.org

Stacey Lewis

Deputy Executive Director of Programs
(212) 206-0574 x128
slewis@aliforneycenter.org

Current Opportunities

Since 2002, AFC has cared for, loved, and celebrated thousands of LGBTQ+ youths and provided them with the tools they need to live independently. Today’s AFC’s nearly 200 employees provide services for more LGBTQ+ youth than any other organization in the world. Our staff members are renowned for their extraordinary heart and dedication, consistently striving towards excellence, and love for the young people in our care. Join a dynamic group of change makers today!

Board of Directors

Peter Soares


Peter Soares (He/Him) is Managing Director of Litigation in the Legal Affairs Department at American Airlines. Peter oversees high profile and/or high exposure litigation as well as supporting the Latin America and Risk Management organizations at the airline. Prior to the airline industry, Peter was an attorney at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (now Denton) where he focused on complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. At Sonnenschein, he furthered the firm’s diversity initiatives through his role with the Diversity and Mentoring Committees, as well as the firm Pro Bono Program. Peter received a Juris Doctor degree from University of California, Hasting College of the Law, a Master of Arts degree from the New School for Social Research and a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University. In addition to serving on AFC’s Board, Peter is the management sponsor and one of the founders of the American Pride Employee Business Resource Group’s New York Chapter.




Julie O’Shaughnessy


Julie O’Shaughnessy (She/Her) is a Business Development Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Julie works with enterprise customers globally to quantify the financial impact, both realized and potential of migrating to the cloud. She serves as Chair of Partnerships for Glamazon New York, Amazon’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group. Prior to joining AWS, Julie was at Barclays Investment Bank with roles in Capital Markets and Chief of Staff to the Global Head of Corporate and Investment Banking.Julie was born and raised in New Hampshire and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire where she was Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team. In addition
to serving on Ali Forney Center’s Board, she is an active volunteer for IMPACT Melanoma, having fundraised and completed four Boston Marathons.




Keith Vessell


A native of New Orleans, LA; Keith (He/Him) has been a resident of New York City for over 14 years. He serves as Director of Sales for the newly rebranded Prestige Custom Awards formally The Corporate Presence. His job affordshim an opportunity to interface with such companies as; the NFL, ESPN, NBC and a number of investment banks globally. Keith holds a degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from Pace University. A huge sports fan, who loves to travel and readKeith still finds time to be active in the gay sports leagues throughout the metro area. An active member for Marble Collegiate Church he also loves going to movies and the theatre. This foodie hopes to open his own restaurant one day. Having previously worked with several other LGBTQ+ nonprofits he is honored to serve on the AFC board of directors.




Marti Gould Cummings


Marti Gould Cummings (They/Them) is a NYC drag artist and political activist. Their work as a performer has taken them around the world entertaining audiences to sold our comedy cabaret concerts. Marti produced and starred in the hit Fusion television show Shade Queens of NYC and was award with the 2019Glam Award for Entertainer of the Year. In 2018 they were included in OUT Magazine's OUT 100 Honorees list and were named by Newnownext as one of the 11 drag queens making the world a better place. Their work with AFC began almost a decade ago having worked on The Broadway Beauty Pageant, Oasis, DRAGS, APAT, and multiple other events and effort to bring awareness to AFC. In 2018 Marti was presented with The Luminary Award at APAT for dedication to AFC's causes.




Anthony Hird


Anthony Hird(He/Him)is an attorney and Senior Vice President in Independent Compliance Risk Management at Citigroup. His area of responsibility includes Equity and Fixed Income Research ensuring compliance with various securities laws, as well as, safeguarding material non-public information from misuse and insider trading. Prior to joining Citi, Anthony worked at a fintech startup and earlier started his career at Lehman Brothers. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where Anthony was an education major, he moved to New York City and graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law. Outside of work, Anthony is an Ironman triathlete and marathon runner.




Mark Lane


Mark Lane (He/Him) is a Director in Corporate Communications at Barclays. As Head of Internal Communications, Americas, he is responsible for all colleague communications relating to Barclays’ businesses in the region, including business promotion, management updates, client-facing communications, legal matters and C-suite messaging. He is also responsible for promoting the Americas businesses to colleagues across the globe. Mark is chair of Barclays' LGBTQ+ employee resource group. Mark previously held a variety of roles in media relations and internal communications at Barclays, having joined the firm from Lehman Brothers in 2008. At Lehman Brothers, he was a key member of the public relationsteam that handled the world's largest ever bankruptcy.




Louis Miller


Louis Miller (He/Him) was born in Seoul, Korea; many details of his birth are unknown. He was adopted at the age of three-months-old and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia by his parents who were school teachers. He has one younger brother and a dog named Bruce Wayne.
Louis attended the George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he studied journalism, biology, public health, and also completed medical school. During this time, he volunteered for the Whitman-Walker Clinic providing HIV and STI testing for the largely LGBTQ+ clientele there and focused his studies on how early mass media representations of HIV/AIDS shaped government and public responses to the AIDS epidemic. During college, Louis held a wide variety of jobs, including working on the Pennsylvania Turnpike as a toll collector, making mouse traps in a plastic injection molding factory and as a writer for MTV.com. Along the way, he also played bass, guitar and “sang” in occasional post-hardcore/post-punk bands around Philadelphia and DC. Later, he worked on Capitol Hill as a Health Policy Fellow for Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). Louis moved to New York City to complete his residency training in internal medicine at NYU. He stayed at NYU to complete fellowship training in cardiology, interventional cardiology and served as the senior chief resident of medicine. He is currently a faculty cardiologist and the Senior Associate Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at the NYU School of Medicine. His research interests include innovations in medical education and HIV-related coronary disease. His office is at Bellevue Hospital. During his cardiology fellowship, one of Louis’ interns introduced him to his future husband, Mark, after what must have been abad date. The intern’s intuition—that Louis and Mark would be a “better fit”—was spot on, and they were married four years later. At home, Louis and Mark enjoy playing music together, and watching documentary films and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Both can be spotted biking around Brooklyn and were recently seen cycling across the countryside of Burma. Individually, Louis is intrigued by beauty, originality, and irony. He enjoys wearing well-made suits, colorful socks, and although he is often viewed as quiet or serious, Louis loves to laugh. Fugazi, Fela Kuti and the Velvet Underground are frequently heard on his Spotify playlists. He likes books written by Haruki Murakami, Jack Kerouac, and David Foster Wallace, and movies directed by Wong Kar Wei, Hayao Miyazaki, and Pedro Almodovar. And for what it’s worth, Louis is an Aquarius; his favorite color is black.




John Owen


John Owen (He/Him) is a corporate partner at the global law firm of Jones Day. He practices in the areas of capital markets and general corporate law and has represented domestic and international clients in a wide range of complex capital markets and corporate finance transactions. John serves on the diversity committee of the Jones Day New York office and serves on the steering committee of Jones Day’s Legal Recognition of Same Sex Relationships project. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma and attended law school at The University of Texas. Before joining Jones Day, he was previously affiliated with Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Weil, Gotshal. John was recognized by The Legal 500 US in 2013, 2014, and 2015
for capital markets and was named as a Best LGBTQ+ Lawyer Under 40 by the national LGBTQ+ bar association in 2014.




Carlos Ruisanchez


Carlos Ruisanchez (He/Him) is a Senior VicePresident within the Commodities and Global Markets division of Macquarie Bank Intl. Born and raised in Spain, he moved to New York after completing his MBA at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. Carlos has been a Coffee & Cocoa trader for the past 20 years. He is responsible for the risk management of the Coffee and Cocoa business at Macquarie through the trade of Futures and Options. Carlos also provides clients with the necessary hedging tools to protect them from price fluctuations and market volatility. Carlos’ involvement in the Coffee industry goes beyond the business aspect as he has been actively involved with the following two non-profit organizations in Central America and Africa: Seeds for Progress which improves access to high-quality education in rural communities in Nicaragua and Guatemala’s coffee-growing regions and Kahawatu (People’s Coffee) Foundation whose mission is to transform rural coffee-growing communities in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. The three main initiatives for Kahawatu are:building schools, sponsoring agronomists for sustainability practices and supporting a women empowerment program through coffee production. Additionally, through his engagement in the Pride at Macquarie employee network group steering committee and his support of the Macquarie Foundation, Carlos volunteers at SAGE as well as supporting and hosting Dancers Responding to Aids at the Fire Island Dance Festival.




John Quinn


John Quinn (He/Him) is a Partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink. John was selected by Super Lawyers as a 2018 New York Rising Star in Business Litigation and was recently named one of the Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. In early 2018, John managed the firm’s representation of Starkville Pride, a student-led LGBTQ+ pride organization in Starkville, Mississippi, in a successful constitutional challenge to the city’s denial of a permit for a pride parade. A month later, John traveled to Starkville to help lead the parade. John also has been active in the mentoring of LGBTQ+ associates and law students, and has traveled to events and panel discussions to talk with law students about navigating the interview process and firm life as an LGBTQ+ student and lawyer. He has served as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard College for a course on constitutional law, and–in addition to securing wins himself as a National Trial Team Competitor–has invested significant time and energy in mentoring and coaching high school mock trial teams. John also has dedicated his efforts to public interest lawyering: helping to develop public interest cases at Kaplan Hecker & Fink, assisting Iraqi refugees in need of priority resettlement in Egypt, collaborating in the development of violence mitigation programs for Sudanese refugee gang youth, and representing clients in criminal proceedings in Roxbury and Dorchester through the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute. John clerked for the Honorable John R. Padova in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in his hometown of Philadelphia. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was awarded the Joseph H. Beale Prize for excellence in Conflict of Laws, as well as the Addison Brown Prize, a prize awarded biannually or annually for an outstanding essay relating to private international law or maritime law. He is an Honorary Overseas Member of the Commercial Bar of London.




Ana Beatriz Sani


Ana (She/Her) is a Recruiter at BellCast Partners, a boutique search firm that partners with investment funds throughout the US and abroad. Ana is responsible for conducting private equity searches across all levels and geographies. Prior to her career in recruiting, Ana worked at Citigroup in their investment bank. Ana was born in São Paulo, Brazil and raised in New York. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Williams College where she was Captain of the Women’s Soccer team. In addition to serving on AFC’s board, Ana is an active volunteer for New York Cares.




Collin Spencer


Born on the island of Jamaica and raised in the state of Connecticut; Collin (He/Him) has been a New Yorker since the year 2000. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems. As a freelance web and graphic artist, he is also the creator and President of MINORITEES (www.minoritees.com), a line of socially conscious clothing. He currently serves as General Manager at GYM Sportsbar, where he has happily served since it's doors opened in 2005. With a love for culture, music and food; Collin is an avid traveler, he has thus far visited 70 countries.




Seth Stuhl


Seth Stuhl (He/Him) is Vice President, Business Affairs and Legal Counsel of Disney Theatrical Productions, the stage play division of The Walt Disney Company and producer of such Broadway and West End shows as The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen. In that role, Seth is involved in most legal and business aspects of Disney Theatrical’s worldwide operations, which includes Disney’s domestic and international versions of its Broadway shows, development of new stage play properties, stage play licensing to regional theatres, theatre producers and schools around the world, stage play merchandise and Disney on Ice, among other areas of its business. Seth is also the New York-Bristol leader of Disney Legal’s pro bono program, and is the Vice-Chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Broadway League, the trade union representing Broadway and other commercial theatre producers, general managers, theatre owners and presenters. He is proud to be a full member of the Broadway League and Tony Award voter. Prior to starting at Disney in 2004, Seth spent 5 years as a litigation and restructuring associate in the New York office of the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. At Cleary Gottlieb, he was very active in pro bono activities, including serving on the legal team representing James Dale in his LGBTQ+discrimination lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America during the case’s New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court proceedings. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Seth is a native of Flushing, Queens and a proud product of the NYC public school system.




Pete Vujasin


Pete Vujasin (He/Him) is a Director and senior member of the Higher Education and Non-Profit Group within the Global Banking and Markets' Public Finance Group at BofA Securities, Inc., a leading investment banking and financial services company. Working with a team of specialized professionals located throughout the country, Pete provides various investment banking services and financing solutions to universities, colleges, and not-for-profit institutions nationwide. Prior to joining Bank of America in 2015, Pete was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he had worked closely with a wide-range of higher education, non-profit, and public finance clients in a similar role. Pete earned his Master of Business Administration from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management and a Master of Engineering Management from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science concurrently while at Northwestern University. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Marquette University. Pete has served as a board member of the Ali Forney Center since May 2019. He also serves as president and founder of a residential tenant association within the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. Pete enjoys traveling, for both work and pleasure, and he is a big fan of ski trips during the winter months.




Katharine Flynn


Katharine is a native New Yorker who grew up in Greenwich Village. After graduating from Princeton University, she began a career in advertising and currently works as an award-winning creative director at an ad agency in Tribeca called Havas. Over the course of her tenure, she has collaborated with global brands such as adidas, IBM, Hershey’s, Keurig, BNY Mellon and Barnes & Noble. Deeply committed to service, she is a Girl Scout troop leader and has taught figure skating to the young girls at Figure Skating in Harlem. She is the lead writer at a company called Motive, which creates political campaigns to support progressive causes and she works as a volunteer communications specialist at a political non-profit called Brand New Congress, the organization that recruited AOC. She also had the good fortune of titling the hit Netflix documentary, Knock Down the House.




Terence Edgerson


Terence Edgerson (He/Him) is a consultant, event producer and promoter. Over the last 10 years he has built his reputation as an instrumental part of the LGBTQ+ community and contributed to NYC's robust nightlife scene. Some of the most notable parties he has worked on include: Horse Meat Disco, Devil’s Playground and Carry Nation, while also starting his own productions such as List is closed and STUNTSZ. In his spare time, he contributes to numerous organizations helping the LGBTQ+ community and has served on host committees for Jeffrey Fashion Cares, Lambda Legal, The Ali Forney Center and more. He is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan. To learn more, you can find him at @nysocialbee on all social media platforms.




Sam Ratelle


Sam Ratelle (He/Him) is a Director, Composer, Designer, and the Co-founder / Chief Creative Officer of RRR Creative (Triple R), a progressive production company and agency based in Manhattan. He brings with him a unique perspective, style, and vision with a formidable background in producing, creative & fashion direction, marketing, communications and LGBTQ advertising and initiatives.

Ratelle’s roster includes some of the world's most celebrated brands and talent including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Disney, Tiffany & Co., Coach, Montblanc, Jimmy Choo, Clorox, Swarovski, Johnson & Johnson, Club Monaco, Warner Media, Paramount Studios, FX Networks, ABC Network, HBO, PEN America and many more. Of note, Sam is regarded as a progressive pioneer in gender fluid costume design and fashion direction as well as a Creative Director for fashion editorials, advertising and theater.

As a Creative and Fashion Director, Ratelle has co-created some of the most talked-about and widely acclaimed red carpet looks and performances for the Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner, Billy Porter. Ratelle called upon some of the world’s most celebrated and cutting edge designers to collaborate on visual moments for Mr. Porter including: Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Michael Kors, Reem Acra, Jimmy Choo, The Blonds, Christian Siriano, Baja East and more.

Ratelle’s iconic works took place at a multitude of events including The Academy Awards, The Emmys, The Golden Globes, The Grammys, The Critics Choice Awards, The Peabody Awards and The Tonys - moments that resounded throughout the world splashing across newspapers, magazines, television and the internet. Vogue Magazine heralded Ratelle for creating “the most fabulous entrance in Met Gala history” while referring to Mr. Porter’s Egyptian inspired costume which was exhibited while being carried in by 6 Broadway men on an Egyptian palanquin. “The red carpet is a stage. I did not just architect an haute couture ensemble, I directed a Red Carpet performance which broke the internet world wide in a series of unprecedented viral hits”.

2019 was a turning point for Sam Ratelle. He was recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as one of four “Rising Hollywood Stylists to Watch”, Google reported that Ratelle / Porter were the number one top trending search for celebrities on the red carpet, and in less than one year in February 2020, Ratelle received a breakout double-page feature by fashion journalist, Ruth La Ferla in the coveted New York Times Style section dubbing him as a “Red Carpet Svengali”. As a Fashion Director, Sam has worked with talent such as Billy Porter, Victor Garber, Donna Murphy, Lena Hall, Ariana DeBose, Sonya Tayeh, Jason Sherwood, Michael Urie, Nico Tortorella, Robert Horn, James McArdle, Lindsay Mendez, Jenn Gambatese, Alison Luff, Nick Adams, Ryann Redmond and many others.

Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Ratelle immigrated with his mother to the United States at the age of six, first to Miami and then to Houston. It was in his early childhood, at the age of five, that Sam developed his love for music starting out by singing in front of thousands in The William Branham cult where he immersed himself in spiritual / gospel music. Since then, Ratelle has honed his performing skills and has appeared at some of New York City’s top venues including The United Palace Theater and The Cutting Room. He is currently directing, composing and designing a musical inspired by his early life growing up in the religious Christian cult, Branhamism entitled, A New City with acclaimed writer, Crystal Skillman. The musical is set to premiere it’s first production in the Spring of 2022.

Ratelle is also the co-founder of The Cast Agency, the first-ever digital agency to align top brands with Broadway’s most popular influencers for paid social media campaigns. He is also on the board of the Ali Forney Center, the largest LGBTQ Community Center helping and housing LGBTQ homeless youth in the United States. An organization which once housed Ratelle when he was homeless and most vulnerable in his late teens in NYC after being kicked out by his family at the age of 17 for being gay. He is passionate about paying it forward and championing the organization and all of it’s clients worldwide throughout all of his endeavors.




Finn Brigham


Finn Brigham (He/Him) is the Director of Project Management at Callen-Lorde where he has worked for over 10 years, serving in various roles from Care Coordination to Special Populations services. He has 20 year history serving LGBTQ/HIV+ communities, including work at The Ali Forney Center and Vermont CARES, as well as various community organizing roles with the Young Leaders Council of The LGBT Center and at Outright Vermont. Finn has been published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health and has presented on LGB and transgender health issues across the country, including at The White House. He has a Master’s of Non Profit Management from The New School in New York City and is a frequent media spokesperson on transgender issues for outlets such as VICE, NY1, NBC & BET, among others. Finn is a surfer, runner, and plays guitar in an Irish band.




Corby Serrano


Corby Serrano, LCSW (he/him) is the Executive Director of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies Training Institute. Corby earned a Master of Social Work degree at New York University and has postgraduate psychoanalytic training. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in New York City, specializing in work with individuals who are exploring gender and sexualtiy realted matters, and aging in LGBTQ+ communities.





Financials

To see where your donations go and to learn more about our finances, click here.

To see our most recent audited financials (2019 - Form 990), click here

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