Christine has an M.S. in nonprofit management, strategic fundraising and philanthropy from Bay Path University and an undergraduate degree in theatre (directing) from Boston University’s School of Fine Arts. Experienced in the management and operations of associations, professional societies, and nonprofit arts organizations, including board governance, revenue generation, strategic planning, marketing, transition leadership, facilities management, event and volunteer management, she currently serves as senior adjunct professor in Bay Path University’s Graduate School of Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy. She also serves as the managing director for Mohonk Mountain Stage Company. Past positions include executive director of Unison Arts Center, artistic director for Florida’s Riverfront Theatre, director of shows for the American Craft Council, producer of special events for the Ringling Museum of Art and director of marketing for the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has lived in the Hudson Valley since 1991 with her husband , Robert Miller, three children, and numerous pets.
Harold Goldman was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942. At that time, Jim Crow and segregation were the norm in the Delta South. In fact, Harold did not attend an integrated school until he entered law school in 1964. Fortunately for him, his parents were progressive Jews who inculcated in him the ideals of social justice and the mandate to repair the world. These values helped shape his view of the world and career. Harold’s career has spanned law, public service and not for profit leadership and management. His career has taken him to a number of different regions of the US. Harold received his BS and JD from the University of Memphis, his MSW from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D from the University of Chicago.
Michael is the finance manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a B.S. in accounting and pursued his completion of his CPA. He has worked for several years with a local accounting firm, auditing school boards, towns and villages, and other non-profits.
Michael is grateful to have recently been elected to the board of directors of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and will do whatever he can to help the sustainability and growth of the organization.
Christopher Petsas is a lifetime north-scale resident of the City of Poughkeepsie and grew up on Talmadge Street where he still resides today. He attended Poughkeepsie public schools and graduated from Poughkeepsie High School and the EMS Program at Dutchess Community College. An involved citizen since the age of 14, Chris has served his community in many ways including as past president of the following organizations: Exempt Fireman’s Association, Poughkeepsie Taxpayers Association, Hudson Valley Railroad Society, Inc., and Poughkeepsie Community Garden Association. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Dutchess County Youth Board, Dutchess County Young Democrats and was Treasurer of the Columbus Elementary School PTA. In January of 2014, Chris took his seat as 1st Ward Councilman representing the City of Poughkeepsie’s most northern section. He is the first Democrat to be elected in the 1st ward since 1997. Chris worked closely with and was honored to serve with former LGBTQ Executive Director and 8th Ward Councilman J. Tracy Hermann until his untimely death. Since being elected, Chris has been an outspoken, aggressive and visible Councilman, fighting for the residents of his district. As Chairman of the Council, he is proud to have sponsored or introduced many resolutions to address quality of life issues, along with crime and economic development. Chris was recently elected to a 3 year term of the LGBTQ Board of Director and is excited to contribute both to the Board and the LGBTQ community.
Fran has been actively involved in the LGBTQ community for the last sixteen years, ever since her son came out to her. Her vehicle for activism has been PFLAG. She founded her own chapter here in the Mid-Hudson Valley eight years ago: the Kingston PFLAG. They have met at the Center since the very first month the doors opened.
Professionally, Fran was an art teacher in Palm Beach County, Florida. After moving back to New York ten years ago, she changed professions. Presently she is an insurance representative for Mutual of Omaha. She is also a cultural care consultant for au pairs.
Founding President, Permanent Member of the Board
Ginny Apuzzo is a native New Yorker whose professional political experience and decades of activism for LGBT causes made her the ideal founding leader for the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center. Her experience includes executive service in New York City, New York state and Federal government roles, as well as in the White House itself. Ginny became the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the New York State Senate as a Commissioner. During her tenure in Washington, she was appointed Assistant to the President of the United States, and became the highest-ranking openly gay person ever to serve at the White House.
Ginny has over 35 years’ experience and activism in the LGBTQ community. She served as first Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and as a founding member of numerous national and local LGBTQ organizations, including the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan. She is a graduate of the College of New Paltz, State University of New York (B.S. in Urban Education); and has advanced education toward her doctorate in Urban Education at Fordham University in New York. She has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law from Queens College of the City University of New York.
During Ginny’s five-year tenure as Board President, the Center achieved non-profit status, purchased and opened its Uptown Kingston headquarters, and hired its first staff. In 2011, Ginny was named Founding President of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, an office which ensures her a permanent seat, with vote, on the Board. She also currently serves as co-chair for the Membership Committee.
Deborah Schneer has been an attorney for nearly 30 years, representing clients in employment, family, criminal, and civil rights cases. Deborah served as Ulster County Court Judge in 2009 and previously served as a Town Justice. She was involved in the early efforts to pass a human rights law in Ulster County.
Earlier in her legal career, Deborah worked for legal services organizations representing indigent and incarcerated clients. At Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, Deborah advocated for many clients with HIV/AIDS. She argued one of the first HIV/AIDS rights cases before the New York State Court of Appeals.
Deborah was elected to a three-year term on the Board in 2014. She will bring her extensive legal experience and longstanding commitment to public service to the Center’s Board of Directors. She hopes to continue building the Center as a resource for families and individuals from all parts of our diverse community.
Ron VanWarmer has been a resident of the Hudson Valley for over 35 years and has been involved in the community from the start. He began as news director at radio station WDST in 1980. He also spent four years at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley working with hundreds of the food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the region. He continues to be involved though his work with Family of Woodstock, UlsterCorps and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center.
Robert Hirsch is the Director of Business Services & Communication for the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Chamber staff in January of 1978 as Job Training Coordinator/Small Business Liaison. Under his direction the program assisted more than 1500 individuals with obtaining employment while assisting local businesses with obtaining and training qualified workers. Mr. Hirsch is currently the Director of Business Services and Communication for the Chamber. He is responsible for managing the office computer network, updating and maintaining the Chamber’s website, assisting the staff in computer software operation and training. Bob is also responsible for obtaining sponsorships and managing the Chamber’s two biggest yearly events–The Buy Local Expo and the Business Recognition Awards and Dinner. Bob was raised in Ellenville, NY and still lives in the family home there. He has an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Ulster County Community College and graduated from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management at the University of Delaware. He received a certificate in Organization and Management. Currently Bob serves on the Ulster County Workforce Investment Board and Executive Committee. He has served on many other community organization boards such as the NYS Human Rights Commission Advisory Board for Region III, The Mental Health Association in Ulster County, The Mid-Hudson Personnel Association, Society for Human Resource Management’s NYS Council and the Ulster County Arts Council.
Raleigh Green has been developing advertising and marketing solutions for 20+ years with a focus on brand strategy, creative thinking and web technology. His work includes naming, tag lines, web design and development, corporate identity, package design, promotions, as well as print, online and radio advertising campaigns. Clients have included Fortune 500 companies, leading non-profits, investment funds, retail, green/sustainability, start-ups, heritage brands, real estate, consumer package goods, professional services, government, and other segments. Professional challenges have included brand re-positioning, logo refreshes, brand extensions and segmentation, new product launches, M & As, spin-offs, B2B, retail and more. Recent work has focused on marketing and promotions of the Hudson Valley for local governments as well as private businesses and organizations. Raleigh’s approach builds upon his graduate work at Rutgers in anthropology with a focus on contemporary, complex societies. Raleigh has been ‘out’ since early in his life and has been an advocate of gay rights since his college days. He has also provided counseling for gay teens and young adults.
Tamara brings 15 years of diverse development and special event experience to the LGBTQ Center board. In addition to being well versed in all aspects of fundraising, she is an inspired and passionate event expert who has brought to life and grown numerous galas, conferences, and other memorable events.
She is the owner and serves as head innkeeper and chef at The Forsyth B&B in Kingston. In addition, Tamara is a consultant with Growth for Good which provides strategic planning, fundraising, government relations, marketing and communications expertise to nonprofit organizations.
Tamara has served as Director of Development, Director of Major Gifts and Special Events Director at NYC nonprofits including The American Cancer Society, Mount Sinai, and Partnership with Children.
Prior to working in the not for profit sector, she was Senior Vice President at The Equity Group Inc., an investor relations and financial public relations firm in New York City. She holds a BA in English and Communications from Rutgers University, a Grand Diplome from the French Culinary Institute, and was a United Way Fellow.
A lover of historic house renovation, Tamara owns the two-hundred year old Forsyth B&B in Kingston, NY and a (relatively) new 1908 home in Brooklyn.
Duffy Violante worked in the health field starting in 1962, spending his last 32 years as a licensed massage therapist, working with patients from every scope of life, something his parents taught him to do many years ago.
Working with patients with AIDS in the middle of the AIDS crisis really helped to shape Duffy’s future in helping those who were affected by the disease.
Part of his background includes working with the Boy Scouts of America, his local school board, environmental groups, the America Massage Therapy Association and other civic groups. He is also proud to be a board member of the LGBTQ Center.
Residing in Clintondale, NY for the past 46 years, he has a wonderful husband, Ted, is a caretaker for his 94 year old mother, is blessed with two wonderful grown children and three remarkable grandchildren.
Norman M. Miller has been a Hudson Valley resident since 2001 when he and his husband of 23 years purchased their house on an apple orchard in Plattekill.
He is a graduate of New York University, with a degree in Journalism.
Professionally, he has been on both the editorial and sales/marketing sides of media for more than 35 years, working with such brands as Vogue, GQ, Martha Stewart Living, Marie Claire and The New Yorker. Specializing in the luxury goods arena, he is chairman of Jewelers of America’s Gem Awards, held each year in Manhattan.
He has been a Big Brother three times over, and still maintains a relationship with his twin-30-something “Little Brothers” in Toronto, who now have children of their own. Miller has also served on the board of The Hudson Valley Division of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a cause that is close to his heart, as his 82-year old mother has been a Type 1 diabetic for more than 70 years.
Today, Miller spends the majority of his time in the Hudson Valley as an independent media sales consultant working with Singapore-based High End Media and Rye, N.Y.-based Today Media, owner of Hudson Valley and Westchester magazines.
Having come out in his early 30s, Miller is a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights, believing that each generation has a responsibility to make it easier for the next.
Former Board President
Fred Mayo operates his own training, coaching and consulting firm, having retired in 2013 from New York University, where he served as Clinical Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, teaching research and management courses. Prior to NYU, Dr. Mayo was an academic administrator at the Culinary Institute of America and Empire State College. He has taught at a number of local institutions including SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Empire College.
As a resident of the New Paltz area since 1970, he has been involved with a number of not-for-profit organizational and government agencies, serving on the boards of the Mental Health Association in Ulster County, the New York State Mental Health Association, Mid-Hudson Institute of Community Design for the Young, Unison Arts, Phillies Bridge Farm Project, Lifetime Learning Institute of New Paltz, and the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center. He also auctions for local organizations.
He has been recognized as a leader in his field with the I-CHRIE Stevenson Fletcher Award of outstanding achievement in contributing innovative ideas, methods or programs that have advanced teaching, learning or practice in the field of hospitality and tourism education and the I-CHRIE Howard Meek Award for lifetime contributions and outstanding service both to hospitality education and to International CHRIE. Dr. Mayo has also been recognized by the State University of New York and New York University for excellence in teaching. In 2012, he was honored with the NYU Arnold Grossman Outstanding Faculty Service to the LGBTQ Community Award.