Our Board

Nadine Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Nadine Smith has been Chief Executive Officer of Equality Florida since its inception in 1997, and was the Chief Executive Officer of its predecessor, the Human Rights Task Force of Florida prior to that. She joined the organization in 1993 after serving as one of four national co-chairs on the 1993 March on Washington and taking part in the historic, first-ever meeting between LGBT leaders and a sitting U.S. president (Clinton) in the White House. In 1986, she began her activism in college and served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization, a group that continues to be a resource for young people across the globe.

Nadine has also served four terms as co-chair of the Equality Federation and served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She has led advocacy efforts in Florida at the state level at a time of unprecedented attacks on the LGBT community, initially serving as Equality Florida’s lead lobbyist in Tallahassee and heading efforts to stop discriminatory legislation and ballot measures and to overturn Florida’s ban on adoption by gay and lesbian parents.

Nadine has been recognized for her national and state leadership by organizations around the nation, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Black Lesbian and Gay leadership Forum and others. A former award-winning journalist, Nadine has written syndicated columns for various LGBT and general audience publications. She currently serves as chair of the Leadership Team for State Voices Florida a coalition of progressive 501c3 organizations. In 2013, she was named by Florida Diversity Council as one of the "Most Powerful and Influential Women" in Florida.



Jim VanRiper - Tallahassee

Originally from Colorado Springs Colorado, Jim VanRiper, began organizing in 1996 in the fight against Colorado's anti-gay state constitutional amendment, which the US Supreme Court ultimately struck down in Romer vs. Evans. Jim served on the board of directors for the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Colorado Springs. During this time he also worked to help pass a domestic partner benefits program for City employees in Colorado Springs. Jim has also been the Board Chair for The Family Tree LGBT Community Center in Tallahassee, Florida, chaired the Leon County Human Relations Advisory Committee, and facilitated the passing of a human relations ordinance for Leon County which expands the 1964 civil Rights act (Title VII) by including protections for all citizens including protection from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Jim is currently the board chair for Equality Florida. Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Equality Florida works to improve the lives of the LGBT community through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building.



Michelle Ott - Gainesville

An Information Technology Project Manager by trade, Michelle Ott's support of the LGBT community includes serving on the board of the Stonewall Democrats of Alachua County and as spokesperson for Equality is Gainesville's Business, a political action committee formed in 2007 to defeat an amendment to the City of Gainesville's charter that would have removed protections in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She also serves as Vice Chair of the City of Gainesville's Human Rights Board and Secretary of the Alachua County Democratic Party. Michelle was named Gainesville Pride 2008's Community Person of the Year and is a 2009 recipient of Equality Florida's "Voice for Equality" award.



Chuck V. Loring - Fort Lauderdale

Chuck is the Senior Partner of the nonprofit consulting firm of Loring, Sternberg & Associates with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis and a Senior Governance Associate for BoardSource in Washington, D.C. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Chuck has consulted with such prominent institutions as the Smithsonian Museum, Special Olympics, Easter Seals, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

In 2008 Chuck completed six years of service on the national board of Lambda Legal and continues as a member of their National Leadership Council. He was a founder of Lamda Legal's Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis steering committees. In Fort Lauderdale he is active donor and participant with the Gay & Lesbian Center, the Stonewall Library, SunServe, Equality Florida and local LGBT candidates. Nationally Chuck has done work with the Gill Foundation, the Stonewall Community Foundation, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and many other LGBT organizations.



B. Rodney White - Hollywood

Originally from North Carolina and recently from Atlanta, GA, B. Rodney White has been active in the LGBT movement for the past 20+ years. As Executive Vice President and co-owner of Making Projects Work, Inc. (an Atlanta-based project management consulting firm) with his husband, Michael P. Williams, Rodney networked the access and opportunity afforded to them through both business and personal relationships to support local organizations like AID Atlanta, Project Open Hand, CHRIS Kids and P.A.L.S. and national groups including HRC, Lambda Legal and GLAAD. 

Now as a resident of Hollywood, FL Rodney serves as a member of GLAAD's National Leadership Council, co-chairs GLAAD's South Florida Leadership Council and is an active fundraiser for Lambda Legal and Equality Florida. 

Rodney and Michael continue as committed donors to Equality Florida, GLAAD, HRC, Lambda Legal, SunServe, The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of South Florida, Georgia Equality, AID Atlanta, The Atlanta Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and The High Museum of Art.



Ken Shelin - Sarasota

Ken Shelin has been a Florida homeowner for 22 years and has lived in Sarasota with his partner of 35 years full-time since 1996. For 34 years he worked in the field enforcement organization of the United States Food and Drug Administration in Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore. For much of that time he managed a number of offices in several states as well as helped to write Federal regulations and policy documents in the drug regulatory area. He received numerous awards during his Federal Service including two Reinventing Government Awards and FDA's highest individual achievement award, the Award of Merit. Subsequent to his Federal career he consulted with pharmaceutical manufacturers throughout the world on drug regulatory compliance issues. He also planned, executed and spoke at numerous pharmaceutical manufacturer conferences sponsored by the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy in the US and Europe for a period of ten years.

Later, Ken became involved in civic affairs in the City of Sarasota and served on the Boards of and as an officer of a number of resident, civic and government boards including the Sarasota Planning Board for 5 years and was elected to and served on the Sarasota City Commission. While on the Commission, Ken was able to convince the Commission to provide domestic partner healthcare benefits for city employees. Ken also became involved with Equality Florida as a donor and organizer of the annual Suncoast Equality Florida Gala for several years. These Galas have become increasingly successful and larger during his engagement with them.

Ken is a graduate of the University of Delaware, and has two daughters, son and six grandchildren.



Evie Evers Kling - Key West

Evie Evers Kling graduated cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Political Science, having also attended Wheaton College and Ohio University.  She has worked for charitable health, civic, and arts organizations, including:  American Heart Association in Cincinnati, American Cancer Society in Atlanta, the Friends of the Maryland Federation of Art and Annapolis Hobbycrafters.  While living in Oakwood, a suburb of Dayton, OH, Evie chaired her city’s Environmental Committee and played a critical role in starting the city’s recycling program. 

Evie was instrumental in raising awareness about the prudent and careful use of pesticides, including the posting of areas that had been treated.  Having been an AFS high school exchange student to Brazil, Evie served as President, Public Relations Chair and for 15 years as Host Family Finder for Oakwood’s AFS Chapter.  Along with many other leadership positions, Evie served on the Board of Directors of The Little Exchange, a fine gift shop that donates its proceeds to Dayton Children’s Hospital.  Evie and her husband of 40 years, George Kling, split their time between their homes in Dayton and Key West.  They have two grown daughters and three grandchildren.



Anne Manning - Miami-Dade

 

Anne Manning, the Director of Housing Development with the Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Foundation, has over 25 years working in the non-profit sector.   Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the executive director of Miami Habitat for Humanity from 1992-2010 and co-directed the South Dade Immigration Association of the Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations from 1988-1992. She now volunteers with several Miami-based non-profits through consulting work and board service, including South Florida Workforce Board and Belafonte-TACOLCY Center. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Masters in Education from Florida International University in Miami.



Vivian Rodriguez - Orlando

 

Vivian Rodriguez is the Constituent Field Representative for Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-9) - Osceola/Polk Counties Outreach and the Vice Chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee. She was the Political Director of Hispanic Outreach for FL State House Representative Joe Saunders, District 49, which contributed to the successful election of one of our first openly gay legislatures in Tallahassee. 

Vivian is on the state wide board of the GLBT Democratic Caucus and the Female Regional Director of District 3, covering several counties along the I-4 corridor in Central Florida. She is also one of the Board of Directors for the newly formed Central Florida Community Initiative, a non-profit organization which facilitate's communication and cooperation between the Office of the State Attorney of the Ninth Circuit, led by State Attorney Jeff Ashton and the community it serves. Vivian was a private consultant for the Department of Homeland Security on issues relating to intelligence and terrorism.

Vivian retired from the NYPD in August 2004, as a 1st Grade Detective, with twenty one years of service. She was assigned to several specialized units which included the Intelligence Division, Executive and Dignitary Protection Unit, the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Recruitment Section, and the LGBT Sensitivity Training Program for all incoming NYPD police cadets. She was the past President of the NYPD, Gay Officers Action League (2004), which advocated for the rights, protections, and community awareness of LGBT issues.



Mark Anderson - Tampa

Mark is a retired Information Technology manager residing in Tampa.  He spent his career in Telecommunications and Financial Services firms, and retired as Chief Technology Officer for Credit Suisse First Boston, overseeing the global technology organization of the New York based investment bank.  Since retiring, Mark has served on several non profit groups.  He is a past chairman and current member of the Tampa City Council Citizens Advisory Committee, which interacts with the City of Tampa to advise the Tampa City Council on Financial matters.  He is also currently Secretary/Treasurer and a Board member of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa.

Mark and his partner have been donors and sponsors for many arts and social reform organizations in the Tampa Bay area.  He holds a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati.



Philip Dearborn - Fort Lauderdale

Philip Dearborn is a Vietnam Veteran who served as a 1st Lt. in the U.S. Army, Mr. Dearborn holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard University and worked in lower to mid level management at Time, Inc. before embarking on a 12 year career as an Independent Producer of Theatre and Films. Later, Mr. Dearborn founded a company that developed fund raising programs for non-profit organizations following which he designed and led Adventure Travel Tours. He is also a proud father of two daughters and four grandchildren.



Gina Leigh Duncan - Orlando

Gina Duncan has been in the Mortgage Banking business in Orlando since 1980. She has served on the Home Builders Association of Mid-Florida and Mortgage Bankers Association Boards of Directors. Gina was President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Central Florida in 2005. She was with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage from1997 to 2011, and served as the Area Manager of Central Florida, and Regional Manager for East Florida. Gina also serves on the HRC Steering Committee, as Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee. She chairs the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Career and Wellness Fair events. Gina is also serving her second term as President of the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Orlando. She is also the President of MBA's Come Out With Pride event, which annually draws over 100,000 people to the Orlando area. Gina was invited to attend the first ever Human Rights Campaign’s National Women’s Diversity Leadership Conference, and also served on the HRC National Business Council. Gina serves on the Steering Committee of Equality Florida and on the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Alliance, which has been instrumental in passing the Orange County Human Rights Ordinance as well as a Domestic Partnership Registry in both the City and County. Gina recently ran for County Commissioner garnering 40% of the vote in an unsuccessful bid for county office.



Meryl C. Friedman - Broward

Awakened by the Women's Movement in 1971, Meryl C. Friedman took her first steps as a lesbian feminist in what was to become a very rewarding yet challenging journey. She was a founding board member of the National Gay Task Force and the co-founder of the Gay Teachers' Association. She has spent her life fighting the negative stereotypes of gays and lesbians that so often lead bigotry and discrimination. She believes that, whatever the question, education is always the answer.