Our Staff

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.



Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director

Stratton co-founded EQFL in 1997 and serves as the Deputy Director overseeing all Field and Development programs. A Political Science graduate of Emory University, Stratton has spearheaded numerous community based campaigns both responding to far right political attacks and building support for anti-discrimination ordinances, safe schools policies, and domestic partnership laws at the local level and at our state capital. As a key spokesperson on LGBT issues, Stratton is a regular contributor to major television, print, and radio outlets throughout the state and has had opinion columns published in the Miami Herald, Broward Sun-Sentinel, Saint Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Daytona Beach News Journal and Orlando Sentinel. Stratton served on the board of directors and as Vice-Chair of the Equality Federation, the national network of statewide LGBT advocacy groups, from 2004-2006. He has raised over ten million dollars for LGBT Organizations and political campaigns. Stratton lives in Miami with his husband of 19 years, Christopher Boykin and is the father of 16 year old twins, Ben and Sarah.



Brian Winfield, MBA, Managing Director, Finance & Administration

Brian began his career with Equality Florida in June of 2000 and is currently the Managing Director of Finance & Administration. He oversees the organization's administrative and financial systems including finance, accounting, communications, information technology, human resources, staff recruiting, and physical infrastructure.

For over a decade, Brian served as Equality Florida’s communications director, overseeing the organization's education programs, message development, online presence, media & public relations, branding, advertising, and publications. Brian’s efforts have helped grow the organization to include 165,000 supporters and 63,000 online advocates. He has appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and Court TV. Brian's writings have appeared in national publications including the New York Times and the Advocate, as well as every major daily newspaper in Florida. Brian has the distinguished honor of being the first keynote speaker for an official LGBT Pride event ever held within the Bureau of Prisons, having spoken at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in 2011.

Brian serves on the National Steering Committee for the Network for LGBT Health Equity. He is a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Center for Equal Health, a Tampa-based Center of Excelence within the National Institute of Health (NIH). Brian is recent past Chair of the Moffitt Cancer Center Diversity Advisory Board and he has served on numerous community boards, including the Tampa Int'l Gay & lesbian Film Festival (Treasures), Bay AIDS Services & Information Coalition (BASIC) and others.

Brian received his MBA from from the Stern Graduate School of Business at New York University with a dual major in Finance and International Business. He received a BS in Accounting from Rider University, and achieved his CPA accreditation while at Deloitte & Touche (NYC).

Brian lives in Tampa with Sandy, his 15-year-old Cock-A-Poo.

 

 



Joe Saunders, Director of Civic Engagement

Joe Saunders is a proud graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Political Science, Women’s Studies and Legal Studies programs where he first began his work as a community organizer.  As a campus leader, Joe fought for LGBT protections, affordable tuition rates, stronger anti-discrimination policies and ran civic engagement programs to register and empower young voters. 

After graduation Joe began his work with Equality Florida a statewide organization dedicated to educating and advocating for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Over the last ten years he has led coalitions that have won non-discrimination protections for over 1.5 million people in Central Florida and in 2008 was a key leader in the successful effort to pass the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act”, Florida’s first antibullying law. Joe is one of Central Florida’s most respected leaders in equal opportunity, local policy advocacy, inclusion and diversity, and arts education. He has held leadership roles with the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, the Osceola Arts for a Complete Education Coalition, the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce and is a longtime chaperone of the Gateway High School Drama Club.

In November of 2012 Joe made history when he was elected to serve Florida House District 49, the “UCF Seat”, in the legislature and became the first openly gay state legislator to take the oath of office in Florida’s history.

Today, in addition to his legislative duties, Joe serves as the Director of Civic Engagement for the Equality Florida Institute where he works to register and educate progressive voters and directs the Equality Florida Institute’s Equality Means Business program which works to improve Florida’s national and international reputation by spotlighting major employers in Florida who are leading the way on inclusion and diversity. 



Mallory Garner-Wells, Public Policy Director

As Equality Florida's Public Policy Director Mallory oversees our federal, state and local legislative programs. Her responsibilities include drafting and tracking legislation, overseeing our candidate endorsement process, empowering LGBT Floridians to talk to their legislators and general legislative trickery. 

Mallory as been a part of the Equality Florida team since 2005 and serves as the organization's full time lobbyist in Tallahassee during legislative session. In 2008 Mallory played an integral role in passing the anti-bully bill and blocked an amendment that would have prevented gay Floridians from adopting overseas. In 2009 she helped to organize the Rally in Tally for LGBT Equality, the first LGBT rally at the Capitol in over 10 years. 

In addition to her work at Equality Florida, Mallory is the President of the Alachua County Young Democrats. She has served on the national Young People 4 steering committee, where she received an award for Youth Mobilization. Mallory has been named one of the "Top 25 Leaders under 25" by Watermark magazine. In May 2012 she was named one of The Advocate's "40 Under 40".

Mallory is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a degree in Political Science and African American Studies. In her time there she served as the President of the Florida Collegiate Pride Coalition and as a board member for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Student Union (GLBSU).

She currently lives in Gainesville with her husband, Garrett and their adorable puppy, Maya.



Michael Farmer, Statewide Field Director

Michael Farmer began his advocacy as a 17 year old when he and a group of his friends started a Gay-Straight Alliance at Apopka High School in a conservative part of Central Florida. While he was a student at the Valencia College, Michael served at the Valencia College Campus Organizer for the Fairness For All Families Campaign (FFAF), a campaign to defeat a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality and civil unions in Florida. Michael went on to serve as the Orlando Area Field Organizer for (FFAF) where he worked closely with the Campaign’s Field Director, Joe Saunders.

 
Michael joined the staff of Equality Florida (EQFL) in 2009 as the organization’s Safe Schools Policy and GSA Network Coordinator. As Equality Florida’s GSA Network Coordinator, Michael trained hundreds of students and teachers across the state on best practices for making schools safe for LGBT youth.
 
From 2010 to 2012, Michael served as EQFL’s Statewide Field Coordinator. During his time as Statewide Field Coordinator, Michael helped to increase Equality Florida’s pro-equality voter file by more than 20,000 voters, he raised Equality Florida’s profile at community events and mobilized Equality Florida members and pro-equality voters to deliver victories for pro-equality and openly LGBT candidates all over Florida.
 
In 2013, Michael moved into the role of Statewide Field Director replacing Joe Saunders who was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. In this role he leads EQFL's field staff working on programs related to voter education, identification, and mobilization and building EQFL's member engagement. Michael also leads EQFL’s development programs and staff in Orlando, Sarasota, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. 
 
Michael is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and holds a bachelors degree in Political Science with a concentration on American Politics and Public Policy.
 


Sue Hoffman, Communications Director

Sue has been collaborating with Equality Florida since 2004. She brings 20 years of experience in marketing and communications, and has received over 40 local and national marketing awards. Sue served on the AIDS Resource Group Board of Directors and has worked with LGBT equality organizations across the nation for over 10 years.

Sue leads on all of Equality Florida’s communication plans. She directs Equality Florida’s print design, social media, email marketing and new media staff, interns and volunteers. 

Sue is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelors degree in Communications. Sue lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her partner Marcia.

 


Ed Lally, Central Florida & Corporate Development Manager

Ed Lally serves as Central Florida & Corporate Development Manager for Equality Florida and is responsible for general and Florida Council memberships and fundraising in Tampa/St Petersburg. After a long-term career in banking Ed retired from Wachovia Bank to devote more time to LGBT causes. His activism in the community began in the mid-80’s when many of his friends were lost to the AIDS epidemic. Ed was one of the first board members of the Bay Area AIDS Consortium and later the Tampa Bay Aids Network (TAN) and headed up TAN’s annual giving programs and initiated fund-raisers such as TAN’s White Party and Life Dance. Recently recognized in Watermark Magazine as “The Constant Fundraiser” Ed has raised over $850,000 for various LGBT organizations over the years. He has also been active in the political fundraising campaigns for candidates that support LGBT rights and was a big brother in Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Tampa Bay for several years. 

Ed has worked as a fundraising volunteer for Equality Florida since 1997 as well as financial supporter. Ed’s goal is to increase and broaden Equality Florida’s membership and donation base in the Tampa Bay area which will allow Equality Florida to expand their efforts to make Florida’s laws, on both a state and local level, more inclusive of the LGBT community and as a result, a better place for us to live and raise our families. A Louisville native, Ed attended University of Kentucky and University of Louisville and relocated to Tampa in 1979. He and his husband, Phil Dinkins have been together 32 years and were married in Canada in 2003.



Todd Richardson, Greater St. Petersburg Development Officer

 

Todd is responsible for general and Florida Council memberships,  fundraising, and volunteer recruitment in Pinellas County. Todd’s background is in fashion/art photography and event planning. His activism began in 1993 after photographing the March on Washington. Todd has been involved with Equality Florida, Tampa AIDS Network, ASAP (AIDS Service of Pinellas), Metro Charities and Wellness Center, People of AIDS coalition, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Todd has been both a volunteer and financial supporter for Equality Florida. Todd’s goal is to increase and broaden Equality Florida Membership and donation base in the Pinellas County area which will allow Equality Florida to expand their efforts to make Florida’s laws, on both a state and local level, more inclusive of the LGBT community and as a result a better place to live and raise our families.  A New Hampshire native, Todd has lived in the Tampa Bay area for 35 years and is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is a veteran of the United States Air Force. His photograph, “The Lost Pages of the Bard,” has been accepted into the personal collection of Sir Elton John. Todd resides in St. Petersburg with his Jack Russell Terrier, “Jumping Jack Kerouac.”



Row Iliescu, Member Stewardship & South Florida Development Coordinator

Row (short for Rowena) Iliescu is Equality Florida’s Member Stewardship & South Florida Development Coordinator, and oversees the Galas and fund-raising events in 5 regions: Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Miami-Dade, Naples, and Key West.  Row’s activism began as a volunteer in 2008 when she tirelessly canvassed voters at the polls on Amendment 2. 

Since joining the Equality Florida team, Row has developed our Membership Services Program with cheerful dedication, attention to detail, and genuine concern for our members. Working alongside Stratton in South Florida, Row has helped broaden our base of support among small businesses and ally communities, while strengthening our network through increased collaboration with local organizations, and the development of dedicated volunteer teams. 

Originally from Toronto, Row has been a weather refugee in Broward, and now Dade County for almost 20 years.  She arrived as a successful trainer and exercise rider of thoroughbred racehorses, but following a serious riding accident went back to school earning a Masters Degree in Social Work and beginning doctoral studies in HIV prevention.  Finding that she preferred fieldwork, Row worked in the non-profit sector as a therapist to children and families in the foster care system for ten years before joining the Equality Florida team, where she says she feels, “at home.”

Row is an avid outdoorsperson and very active, spending much of her leisure time mountain biking and exploring Florida’s trails.  In the future she hopes to combine her love of athletics and cycling, and her work for Equality Florida to develop sport-related outreach events.



Brittany Link, Online Communications Manager

Brittany Link first joined Equality Florida in June 2012 as a communications intern. In February 2013, she was hired in a part-time capacity as our New Media Associate working out of our Gainesville office. In May 2013, she was hired full-time and will be working from the D.C. Metro area. Brittany is responsible for helping the Communications Director manage Equality Florida’s communications interns, social media sites and email marketing.

Brittany is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds a Master's Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Political Campaigning. She is also a graduate of Kennesaw State University and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Government and Professional Politics. Currently, she is a member of both the national and D.C. chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). 

 


Jessica Osborn, Statewide Field Manager

Jess Osborn joins the team as our Statewide Outreach Coordinator based in our Orlando office. She will be responsible for mobilizing and expanding Equality Florida’s 165,000 supporters and pro-equality voters statewide.

Jess joins the team with a wealth of experience during her time as a student at the University of Central Florida. As a student, Jess was the Campus Program Manager for Fairness For All Families, the campaign to oppose the anti-marriage amendment in 2008.

After graduating, Jess went on to work for the Human Rights Campaign where she travelled the country as the Southern Regional Field Organizer. She mobilized HRC members on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and she worked in states across the country on efforts to legalize marriage equality and defeat gay marriage bans.

Jess moved back to Orlando in 2012 to serve as the the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Campaign to Elect Joe Saunders. Joe went on to win his primary election by 30 points and his general election by 11 points and became one of Florida’s first openly gay state legislators.

 


Rick Hill, South Florida Development Officer

Rick Hill joins Equality Florida with over 20 years of successful fundraising experience with LGBT and HIV organizations. As South Florida Development Officer, Rick is responsible for coordinating all fundraising efforts in the Miami and Palm Beach areas. This includes Florida Council cultivation and stewardship, coordination of the annual Miami and Palm Beach Galas, planning and execution of Florida Council Mixers and the creation of other events that build support for Equality Florida. Together with the local Steering Committees, he develops and manages the Equality Florida annual calendar for Miami and Palm Beach and serves as a representative and ambassador for Equality Florida.
 
Rick's commitment to fundraising for organizations serving the LGBT and HIV communities was born out of the loss of his first lover, Stephen, to AIDS, and his determination to change the way LGBT people were regarded and treated in our society. He was a Co-Chair of the first Atlanta AIDS Walk in 1991, which raised over $1,000,000; worked for HRC as their Western Region Events Manager and later returned as their National Political Fundraiser; for The Gill Foundation as Donor Services Officer; for Lambda Legal for 8 years as National Events Director and then Major Gifts Officer, and served on the Board of Directors for GenderPac. 
 
Rick graduated with a BBA in International Banking & Finance and a minor in French from the University of Georgia. His home is in Miami Beach, where he lives with his partner of 14 years, Stephen.


Ida Eskamani, Development Associate

Ida Eskamani serves as Equality Florida’s Development Associate based in Orlando. Ida joined the Equality Florida team in 2014, and assists in organizing and executing fundraising and development programs in Sarasota, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. 

Ida earned dual degrees from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Political Science and Sociology in 2012 and is currently pursuing dual Master Degrees in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management at UCF. She began her career in organizing as an undergraduate, active in several campus organizations, most notably serving as President of the College Democrats a UCF and as a fundraising assistant to State Representative Scott Randolph.

Following graduation, Ida worked for the Orange County Democratic Party at a time when they broke fundraising records with her support. She also joined Senator Bill Nelson’s re-election campaign as a Press and Research Assistant. Following the 2012 elections, Ida was selected to serve as a White House Intern in the office of Presidential Personnel for the spring 2013 term. Upon her return to the sunshine state, she spent her time as a Digital and Community Organizer with Florida CHAIN, an organization dedicated to increasing access to affordable healthcare; and as a member of the finance team for State Representative Joe Saunders’s re-election campaign.



Connie Siu, Statewide Field Coordinator

Connie Siu joins the team as our Statewide Field Coordinator based in our Orlando office. Connie will be in charging of leading volunteers and paid canvassers in our statewide pride canvass program, and she will coordinate mobilization and expansion of Equality Florida’s membership statewide. 
 
Connie brings with her a world of interpersonal experience and skill, having worked for over 11 years for various social justice causes in Central America and Florida. Connie served with local outreach groups to collect, transport, and hand deliver vitamin enriched foods to impoverished and malnourished children and youth in the country of Honduras. Connie also worked with an Orlando-based world aid foundation to build a shelter for young mothers ages 9-14 who were victims of sexual and physical abuse in Tocoa, Honduras.
 
While studying Missional Ministries and History at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, Connie planned and led groups of students on trips to Central America, where she spent time teaching English in bilingual elementary schools and developing a cutting-edge aquaponics system to empower local workers in the area to build sustainable businesses and income stimulators.
 
In 2013 Connie joined Equality Florida as a field intern in the Orlando office. Previously she served as a Community Coordinator for one of the largest Community Associations in Orlando. Her passion has always been to be with the people, touching hearts, listening, and exchanging ideas. Connie believes marriage equality is the civil rights movement of our era and as a Florida native, Connie is eager to do all she can to see equality come to her home state.