Elyzabeth Holford, Executive Director
Elyzabeth Holford began her career as a trial attorney with Ohio State Legal Services Association. Her leadership expertise was sharpened through various roles during her twelve year career in academics with Virginia Tech as a tenured associate professor, director of the office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, and director of two separate campuses. Ms. Holford left academics to pursue international organizational consulting in both the nonprofit and profit sectors. Ms. Holford’s work demonstrates consistent commitment to social justice and a proven ability to achieve measurable results. About leading Equality Ohio, Ms. Holford said, "I feel fortunate to be returning home to Ohio at this pivotal moment in time. Ohio is poised to provide full rights and recognition to all of its citizens and Equality Ohio has the team and the capacity to lead this effort.” In addition to leading Equality Ohio, Ms. Holford serves on the leadership council for Gay Games 9.
Kim Welter, Deputy Director
Kim Welter has been recently promoted to Deputy Director after serving as the Director of Programs and Outreach at Equality Ohio, and briefly as interim Executive Director; with over five years of experience with the organization, she is Equality Ohio's most seasoned staff member. She joined the organization in 2008 after serving as the Executive Director of Equality Toledo for over 2 years. A graduate of University of Michigan, she got her secondary teaching certificate through the University of Findlay and her Master of Arts and Education from the University of Toledo where she taught composition for 3 years. Kim is a 2009/2010 graduate of the Center for Progressive Leadership and serves on the Advisory Board for the Progressive Majority. In 2010, Kim took a leave of absence from Equality Ohio to serve as Campaign Manager for the ONE Bowling Green Campaign in Bowling Green, Ohio which successfully defended two local non-discrimination ordinances from a ballot initiative to repeal.
Aliya Rahman, Field Director
Aliya Rahman leads our grassroots organizing efforts across the state. She draws on a background in economic and racial justice organizing, and believes in flexible organizing methodologies that draw on community, labor, faith, electoral, and student organizing traditions. She has spent the last two years organizing with the Center for Community Change in Ohio and Illinois, working specifically with low-income people, returning citizens (formerly incarcerated community members), and new immigrants. Before becoming a full-time field organizer, Aliya enjoyed eight proud years of teaching in public schools and colleges of education across Ohio, Indiana, and Arizona.
Grant Stancliff, Communications Director
Grant Stancliff joined Equality Ohio in December of 2012 as the Communications Manager. He has a seasoned background in communicating the ideas of social justice movements. He began communication strategy work in the anti-sexual assault and anti-domestic violence movements and eventually moved toward anti-racism and anti-violence efforts against the LGBT community. He has designed and implemented social marketing campaigns aimed at the public good and has consulted on strategy and messaging. As a community educator, he designed curricula on anti-oppression and LGBT-tolerance for communities, organizations, churches, and businesses. In addition, he has a very direct connection with the traditional news cycle: he has served as the Managing Editor of Partners in Social Change and the Online Editor of The Easterner.
Shawn Copeland, Lead Organizer
Shawn joined Equality Ohio in January of 2014 as Lead Organizer. He is a proud graduate of Ohio University, obtaining a B.S.S. in Global Rights and Human Justice. While on campus, Shawn worked on a variety of local student organizing issues that dealt with the intersectionality of class, race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. His passion is connecting traditional community, labor, faith, and student organizing traditions to data driven campaigns. Prior to working with Equality Ohio, Shawn served as a faith organizer, community and field director for North Carolina AIDS Action Network, and campus organizer for American's for Workplace Opportunity.
Nicole Thomas, Northeast Ohio Organizer
Nicole Thomas works with communities in Northeast Ohio to build support for the full equality of all Ohioans. She recognizes the importance of racial and economic justice as part of this process and dedicates her time to the development of grassroots leaders from LGBTQ and ally communities. Nicole was born and raised in Virginia, but has called Ohio home since 2007 and has been a proud Clevelander since 2010. Before joining the staff Nicole co-facilitated a session at Equality Ohio's LGBT Organizing for Racial Justice Summit and led the Cleveland area Prop 8 and DOMA Supreme Court decision celebrations. She came into organizing after working in library public services at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and as a music educator in Virginia. Nicole is pleased to have been a part of the Organizing for America 2012 campaign and most recently served as a field organizer for Americans for Workplace Opportunity.
Tamara Lunan, Southwest Ohio Organizer
Tamara Lunan joined Equality Ohio in June 2013 as Intern & Volunteer Coordinator. She is very passionate about Community organizing, political causes, and activism. Tami is also the current Director for Hey Girl Hey a monthly discussion group for Queer Women of Color in Columbus & Cincinnati. Tami is a Jamaican American, that hails from the Bronx, NY and her professional background is in Accounting & Mortgage.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is the inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
Rob Young, Central Ohio Organizer
Rob Young joined Equality Ohio in January 2014 and is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science and International Studies. While at Ohio State, Rob started his campaign career working as a political assistant for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus. Following graduation, Rob interned with the Ohio House of Representatives and went on to work as the central Ohio field organizer for the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign which successfully worked for the passage of ENDA in the United States Senate. Rob is excited to continue to work for justice in his home city of Columbus and in the state of Ohio.
Genevieve Sauvage, Development Assistant
Genevieve joined Equality Ohio in October 2013 as Development Assistant. She has a BA in photography from DePaul University and an MAT from Dominican University in Chicago. Although she originally hails from Chicago, she has worked on multiple political campaigns here in Columbus including We Are Ohio, the campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, and President Obama's re-election campaign. She's thrilled to come back to her favorite city and continue adding to her 'favorite places to eat' spreadsheet.
Raisa Mathis, Administrative Assistant
Raisa joined Equality Ohio in September 2013 and is a recent grad of Bowling Green state university with a degree in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She got her start in the movement as a student organizer on the One Bowling Green Campaign in 2010. Her experience with One BG ignited a fire and love for social justice work which led her to work as a volunteer on a few campaigns and issues until she earned a spot on the Equality Express Tour, a project of Equality Ohio in 2012. She more recently worked as a fellow with the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce on a campaign to pass ENDA.
Raisa, in this position, is ready to devote her skills and talent to making Ohio a welcoming place for everyone. She is very excited to be a part of the Equality Ohio team and the amazing work that is being done.
Rashida Davison, Intern and Volunteer Coordinator
Rashida Davison joined Equality Ohio in June 2013 and is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University with a degree in Film Production and a minor in Sociology and Women’s Studies. At Ohio State, they were Co-President of SHADES Buckeye Chapter, an organization for Queer Students of Color and their allies. Rashida identifies as Trans/Genderqueer and uses gender neutral pronouns (they, them, their). At Equality Ohio, they are focusing on organizing and developing the trans community of color in Ohio.