Equality Ohio Education Fund Board

Rev. Virginia Lohmann Bauman currently serves as the Senior Pastor of St. John’s United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming (ONA) church with the United Church of Christ, www.ucc.org, where the church affirms the dignity and worth of all.  Advocating for LGBTQ equality has been a hallmark of Rev. Bauman’s ministry.

Rev. Bauman is a prophetic advocate, who uses her collaborative networking skills in our diverse faith community to create a more just world for all. Rev. Bauman is a published author, and she continues to serve as a speaker, moderator, and facilitator in various professional and educational settings.  

In 2015, Rev. Bauman’s seminary, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, awarded her its highest honor: the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in Parish Ministry. Rev. Bauman is ordained in the United Church of Christ and in the American Baptist Churches USA. She has worked in various local church, ecumenical, and interfaith settings throughout her career in ministry.

Before entering ministry, Rev. Bauman had a distinguished career as a trial lawyer and mediator, working with the law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur. In addition to earning awards for her civic and professional achievements while practicing law, she remains a Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation and of the Columbus Bar Foundation. Rev. Bauman earned her J.D. degree from the Ohio State University College of Law.  Rev. Bauman is married to Gerhardt (Gery) Bauman, and they have a teenage daughter, who is an honors student and a champion Irish dancer.

Dr. Marin Harbur is a native of New York State. She attended Grinnell College (Iowa) as an undergraduate. She also holds M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Agronomy -- the science of growing crops while sustaining the environment, from Iowa State University.

Marin works full-time as a data analyst for Land O Lakes. She is also a part-time Lecturer in Agronomy at Iowa State University, where she teaches a graduate course in statistics. She lives with her family in Lima and works remotely in both positions.

Marin has analyzed countless studies, authored a dozen articles, taught hundreds of students, and secured over $1.5 million in grant awards to support her work in agriculture.

Marin is active in the Lima community, participating in Altrusa International of Lima, Lima SPROUTS (an urban agriculture initiative), Rotary International of Lima, and her synagogue, Temple Beth Israel Shaare-Zedek. She also serves on the Agriculture Committee for the Allen County Chamber of Commerce.

She is proudest, though, of her wife of 22 years and their two sons, ages 13 and 10. She loves to cook, listen to jazz and other improvisational music, and occasionally even reads for pleasure.

Michael Ley is the owner and managing agent of Ley Insurance in Lima operating in fourteen states, including Ohio. He has been working with families and businesses for nearly 20 years helping them protect their finances.  Michael is a graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio receiving his Bachelor's in Business Administration.

Michael served eight years on the Lima City School's Board of Education.  He has volunteered with PFLAG in his local community and at the state and national levels serving as a regional director for four years.  He has been instrumental in his community working with businesses, school districts and, community officials on establishing policies and procedures for LGBTQIA individuals and families.

Michael and his husband Kyle live in Lima and have two children, Malachi and Hannah.

Joe Matuszewski is a partner with Ernst & Young LLP, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. A Certified Public Accountant in the state of Ohio, Joe has over fifteen years of public accounting experience serving a variety of multinational clients, primarily in the diversified industrial products and consumer products industries. Joe has extensive experience leading globally integrated audits with frequent travel to meet with clients and affiliate audit teams in Europe and Asia.

Joe is actively involved in reviewing annual and quarterly SEC filings and has significant experience with SEC registration statements and equity and debt offerings, including initial public offerings. Joe is the campus recruiting leader for EY’s Northeast Ohio Audit practice and executive sponsor of Unity, EY’s LGBT professional network. Joe is a 2003 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University where he earned his Master of Business Administration in Accounting. Joe is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Joe is dedicated to many charitable groups and has served on the Boards of Directors of several non-profit organizations dedicated to the LGBT and arts communities. Joe is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Plexus Education Foundation, an organization focused on the improvement of the workplace environment for LGBT individuals through education, research and development. Joe is a resident of Medina, Ohio where he lives with his husband Nathan and daughter Addyson.

Michael McAllister is a Magistrate in the Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division of Franklin County Ohio.  Michael is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed his undergraduate degree in Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.  

Michael formerly worked in New York City in commercial real estate. Michael chose to go to law school after working in several different industries.  Michael is a graduate of Capital Law School. He started his legal career as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Franklin County. Michael later went in to the private sector as a criminal defense attorney before becoming a Magistrate.

Kellie Rubesne is Senior Counsel for Progressive Insurance, where she has practiced for 16+ years. Kellie is a 1989 graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University and a 1997 graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at CSU. She has a diverse legal practice, including advertising compliance, contracts, copyright and trademark, and software licensing.

Kellie remains actively engaged at CSU, serving on the President’s Council for Diversity since 2015 and the Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2012. Kellie was a Board member of Progressive’s LGBT+ Employee Resource Group from 2010-2015, where she served as Board Chair for 3 years. Kellie and her partner, Ann Zofchak, live in the Cleveland area and enjoy spending time with their dogs, working out, riding their motorcycles and playing golf.

Bethany E. Sanders is an attorney in Columbus with a career focused primarily on public sector policy.
Currently, Bethany is the Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives in the Franklin County Auditor’s office. There she pursues goals related to improved government service and equity in property tax policy. She previously served as caucus counsel to the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus with particular focus on election law and redistricting, labor and employment, and health and human services. Prior to joining the public sector, she was in-house counsel with Ohio Council 8, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.
Bethany is the current Co-Chair and long-term member of the Democratic Party’s Ohio Promote the Vote steering committee. During the 2018 campaign she served as the voter protection director. She is particularly proud of how the voter protection hotline empowers individuals to exercise their right to vote.
After growing up in Toledo and Whitehouse, Ohio Bethany came to Columbus to attend the Ohio State University and then the Moritz College of Law. She now lives in the Glen Echo neighborhood with her dog Sly and a garden always in need of tending.

Natalie Thomas serves as Director of Community Connections and Advocacy, and Director of the Center for Adolescents and Families, for the National Youth Advocate Program. Natalieholds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is clinically licensed in 4 states including Ohio, and Washington, DC. Natalie has over 10 years’ experience in the behavioral health field serving and advocating for the well-being of youth and families.

Natalie was born in the West Indies and lived in South Florida for 20+ years before moving to Columbus, Ohio in the summer of 2015. She is still adjusting to the winters.

Joseph Wenger is a native of the Central Ohio area. A proud Buckeye, he graduated from The Ohio State University twice, receiving his BA in History in 2007 and JD from the Moritz College of Law in 2012. While at Moritz, he received the Robert M. Duncan Service Award and served as co-chair of OutLaws, a student group dedicated to advancing equal rights for the LGBTQ community through education, advocacy, and outreach.

Joseph previously served on the Equality Ohio Board from 2012-2018, including as Chair from 2016-2018. In addition to his board service, he is a fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation, a member of the American Constitution Society, and a member of Scarlet and Gay, the LGBTQ Alumni Society at OSU.

Joseph currently works as a Staff Attorney at the 10th District Court of Appeals for the State of Ohio. He resides in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus. He loves to bake, read, and spend countless hours on conference calls for EOEF.

Chad Williams is the director of Tax Systems and Technology for Eaton Corporation where he manages a global team to ensure efficient management of statutorily required data.  Chad has over 15 years of tax technology experience and prior to Eaton held positions of increasing responsibility in tax consulting and private sectors.   In addition, Chad serves as the global lead for Eaton PRIDE, the Eaton LGBTQ employee resource group where he champions Eaton’s initiative to create a safe and inclusive environment allowing everyone to bring their most authentic self to the workplace.

Originally born in Mississippi and a graduate of Belhaven University, Chad lived in multiple locations across the US before landing in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  When not traveling, Chad and his husband Kerby reside in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with their dog Leaper.

Equality Ohio Board

Brooke Cartus is a facilitator with ImprovEdge. She received her Juris Doctor (JD) from The Michael E. Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University and was a 2014 recipient of the Michael E. Moritz Leadership Award for exceptional service to the legal and educational community. She has worked with numerous statewide and national organizations including The Ohio Art League, the Ohio Educator’s Association, Equality Ohio and The Human Rights Campaign. She recently presented at the 2014 Ohio State University National Conference on Race, Diversity and Learning. She has facilitated public discussions with a wide range of organizations and individuals, including the Columbus Police Department and former NFL players Wade Davis and Chris Kluwe.

Brooke started her career at The Crane School of Music in New York studying classical music and continues to perform regionally and nationally as a stand-up comedian. She has been published by The Huffington Post, as well as Outlook Ohio and 614 Magazine.

Joshua Culbertson is a Psychiatric Counselor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and he is a graduate of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio where he received a Masters of Arts in Counseling Ministries degree. It was important to Josh that his education include, in addition to clinical training as a counselor, a faith component as a critical factor in driving Josh to engage in the work of Equality Ohio was his experiences of working through and resolving conflicts between his identity, as a gay man, and the harmful Christian teachings that Josh encountered as a young man during his time attending a conservative non-denominational church in his hometown of Zanesville.
Josh is an Ohio native, having lived in Southeast Ohio until moving to Columbus in the fall of 2011. The two communities of support that drew him to move to Columbus were his church community at Broad Street United Methodist Church and the community of volunteers that he had become a part of at Equality Ohio, which he connected with after approaching the organization at the Columbus Pride festival that summer. Josh has been an active volunteer ever since, taking the step to transition to serving on the board in 2018. Having grown up in rural Ohio, he is passionate about taking the work of Equality Ohio into the far corners of the state. Josh is also a member of the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, singing as a part of their sacred chorus, Illuminati, which seeks to be a bridge between the LGBTQ+ community and communities of faith.

Alexander Davis is a political and nonprofit professional currently serving as director of development at Gateway Film Center, leading the acclaimed cinema’s fundraising strategy through its transition to 501c3 nonprofit. He has campaign management, consulting, and fundraising experience in every state from Massachusetts to Virginia, plus Washington, DC and Ohio. Through his consulting agency and volunteer board roles, Alexander provides full service consulting to progressive campaigns and organizations.

Before moving to Columbus in July 2016, Alexander served as the executive director of development for HillVets, a startup veterans nonprofit based in Washington, DC. As HillVets’ first staff member, he was primarily focused on relationship-building on the organization’s behalf, working towards and closing major partnerships and sponsorships.

Alexander is an alum of The George Washington University, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in political management.

Born and raised in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Alexander now lives in Columbus, Ohio with his partner Chase and dogs Oliver and Winston.

Reginald Harris, MSW, LISW, CTP is a political social worker, therapist, and arts educator. A former professional ballet dancer with ten years of professional performing experience, he danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Ballet Austin, River North Chicago Dance Company, and Dances Patrelle. Reginald’s teaching experience began in Ballet Austin’s Academy in 2003 and included a two-year stint as resident choreographer for the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas and four years as a company teacher for River North Chicago Dance Company. In 2009, Reginald was one of a small group of arts educators to open The Chicago High School for the Arts (Chiarts) - Chicago’s first and only public performing arts high school.

In 2011, Reginald became dance department chair at Chiarts and worked to build a comprehensive and intensive dance curriculum. He sits on the board of directors for Caracole (Cincinnati, OH), and Community Shares (Cincinnati, OH). Reginald is a precinct executive for the Hamilton County Democratic Party, and a vice chair for the Cincinnati Democratic Committee. Additionally, he is a member of policy committee for the Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County and was appointed chair of the Human Services Chamber transportation subcommittee.

As a certified trauma practitioner (CTP) - Reginald has developed an arts-focused training that addresses trauma and the ways in which it impacts students’ cognitive and emotional development and academic achievement, and works closely with arts education organizations on becoming trauma-informed. He holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Organizational Leadership from Roosevelt University and a Master of Social Work from Boston University. Reginald has dedicated his life to service, social and economic justice, and arts education through activism, community engagement, and advocacy.

Ben Garcia is Deputy Executive Director at the Ohio History Connection, a statewide history organization that manages 55 historic sites and museums, the state archives, the state heritage preservation office, and includes a program to document LGBTQ+ histories called the Gay Ohio History Initiative (GOHI).

He moved to Columbus with his husband, Scott Fabianek, in August 2019 from San Diego, CA. Prior museum experience includes tenures at the  J. Paul Getty Museum and Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and the San Diego Museum of Man. He regularly presents and publishes on museums and social justice. His work in museums is centered on historically hidden histories and the repatriation of American Indian ancestor remains and belongings to descendant communities.

Newark Councilmember Jeremy Blake has spent more than twenty years in service to others as a volunteer in the community, communications consultant, Ohio Senate staff member, Newark City School Board President and community organizer.

After graduating from Newark High School in 1996, Jeremy attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio but his passion for public service took him away from his academic journey. He went on to become a full time staff member with the Ohio Senate serving the Democratic Caucus for ten years. His first attempt at elected office occurred in 1999 for a city council seat in Newark, Ohio. While winning the Democratic primary election, he lost the general election by a slim margin. In 2000, Jeremy was appointed to the Newark City School Board to fill a vacancy and won a four year term the following year in the general election.

Promoting and advocating for public education was an ongoing effort during Jeremy’s tenure on the school board. Many issue advocacy campaigns were organized to support the school system. The Newark community successfully supported a bond issue to build and renovate school buildings; approval was won for an income tax renewal and a permanent improvement renewal received endorsement by the voters.

He returned to Denison University in 2006 to work as a computer technician in the Information Technology Services Department. His existing title is Desktop Support Specialist. As a full time employee of Denison, Jeremy took advantage of the employee tuition benefit program and graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Economics.

Since 2014, Jeremy Blake has been a member of Newark City Council from the 2nd Ward. He has been an outspoken opponent of poverty and an advocate for early childhood education, jobs, collective bargaining, mental health services, peer support addiction services, LGBTQ civil rights, voting rights and improving neighborhoods. Councilmember Blake has served as chair of the Finance Committee and chair of the Economic Development Committee. His current city council leadership posts are Minority Leader, chair of the Rules Committee and City Council Chaplain.

Councilmember Blake is the founding board president of the South Newark Civic Association, a founding board member of Young Leaders of Licking County and a former board member of Mental Health America of Licking County. Jeremy is a member of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Newark Association, active with the United Way of Licking County and a proud Newark Kiwanian. Additionally, he serves on the boards of the Main Place and Behavioral Healthcare Partners. He owns a home in the South End of Newark.