Alana Jochum, Executive Director
Alana Jochum is an attorney and Executive Director of Equality Ohio. She received her B.A. in English and B.S. in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University in 2005. She has been passionately engaged in the fight for LGBTQ equality at the local, state, national, and international level for more than a decade. After college, Alana traveled to Mumbai, India to volunteer with the Humsafar Trust, a nongovernmental organization working to advance LGBTQ equality in India. After returning home, she worked at United Way of Greater Cleveland and continued her LGBTQ volunteer work through the Human Rights Campaign. In 2007, Alana attended Cleveland Marshall College of Law where she served as Editor in Chief of the Cleveland State Law Review. She became an Associate at Squire Patton Boggs, LLP in 2010 where she focused her legal practice on complex civil litigation, international law, product liability disputes and other commercial litigation. She also represented clients in habeas proceedings before the Sixth Circuit and at the District court level. Alana left Squire in 2014 to work with Equality Ohio full time where she has the privilege of advocating for LGBTQ equality statewide full time.
Alex Shanks Project and Field Director
Alex is a 2010 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he received his B.A. in Organizational Communication. Upon graduating he worked for a denominational body of the United Methodist Church where he created resources and trained leaders in youth and young adult educational programming. This was followed by a short stint in local church ministry where he developed and implemented curriculum. Most recently he made a shift toward LGBT advocacy work when he became the Ohio Field Organizer for Reconciling Ministries Network and the Faith Consultant for Why Marriage Matters Ohio. He is passionate about equipping leaders to engage in competent and compassionate advocacy, especially for the transgender community. Alex accomplishes this primarily through offering training opportunities for and promoting the voices of affirming faith communities, small business owners, educators, and corporate employee resource groups.
Grant Stancliff, Communications Director
Grant Stancliff joined Equality Ohio in December of 2012 and serves as Communications Director. He has a background in communicating the ideas of social justice movements, including the prevention of sexual assault, domestic violence, addressing institutional racism, and the intersection of LGBTQ issues in these realms. 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 LGBTQ-tolerance for communities, organizations, churches, and businesses. He was the formal managing editor of Partners in Social Change and the online editor of The Easterner.
Gwen Stembridge, Northeast Ohio Coordinator
Gwen Stembridge comes to this work through a passion for bringing people together across barriers. Reared in a LGBTQ-affirming, service-valuing faith community in Atlanta, she was compelled to serve as a fellow in the Interfaith Youth Core, the Episcopal Service Corps, and as an Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA. Since moving to Cleveland in 2011, she has worked with organizations such as Greater Cleveland Congregations, Trinity Cathedral, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, and Near West Theatre. She served most recently as Director of Programs for the Lorain County Volunteer Connection, an innovative partnership between HandsOn Northeast Ohio and the United Way of Greater Lorain County to connect passionate residents with opportunities to positively impact systems of education, health, and financial stability. Through this position at Equality Ohio, she is thrilled with the opportunity to leverage her skills and passions to advance the understanding, acceptance, and human rights of the LGBTQ community. She values the power of both hospitality and the arts as vehicles for working with and learning about people.
Mary Zaller, Development Director
Mary Zaller joined Equality Ohio in November of 2014. For the previous 3 years she was the Director of Development for the ninth quadrennial international Gay Games, which were held in Cleveland and Akron in August, 2014. She oversaw all fundraising for Gay Games 9, which were the first Gay Games in history to finish in the black and with a surplus. Mary has worked in the LGBTQ Community in Cleveland since 2003, and is a strong advocate for social justice and systemic change. Previously she worked in the broadcast special effects industry in Europe and Los Angeles. Mary is a Cleveland native and resides in Ohio City.
Raisa Mathis, Executive Team Assistant and Grant Associate
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.
Kim Welter, Director of Finance and Policy
Kim Welter is the Director of Finance and Policy after previously serving as Deputy Director and Director of Programs and Outreach at Equality Ohio. She also briefly served as interim Executive Director; with over eight 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 board of Lesbians Benefiting the Arts. 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.