David Merrill (he/him)
David Merrill is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with almost 30 years of experience in management roles…
David Merrill is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with almost 30 years of experience in management roles helping market leaders to build brands and grow their business and revenues.
David began his career at what is today JPMorgan Chase, with most of his time there in roles supporting its private banking business. He then spent 10 years at KPMG honing his professional services marketing credentials before moving on to a next decade at Deloitte, where most recently he was a Managing Director providing leadership and direction to marketing teams supporting the firm’s priority industries, thought leadership development, and key client portfolio. David is also proud of time he spent at The Mixx, an LGBTQ+-owned marketing agency in Manhattan.
David earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, and he has an MBA in Finance from the New York University Stern School of Business.
Prior to his corporate experience, David pursued a career in theater and was a working member of AEA, SAG, and AFTRA. Musical theater was a particular passion, and David sang and danced his way from Cape Cod to Honolulu; he also sailed around a good bit of the world as an entertainer on a cruise ship and did some TV commercial and soap work.
David has spent significant time in the Hudson Valley since 1994 and now resides in Accord. Among other pursuits, he is currently at work on reviving his skills in oil painting and improving a very rusty tennis game.
Orlando Reece (he/him)
As Ex-Chief Executive Officer for Pride Media, Orlando Reece was the steward of the world’s largest media company dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community…
As Ex-Chief Executive Officer for Pride Media, Orlando Reece was the steward of the world’s largest media company dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community. He was responsible for expanding brands like The Advocate and Out beyond their print titles into digital , social and events while maximizing revenue growth across all of the company’s businesses units. His strategic vision for the company focused on three pillars: great creative content, innovative use of technology and expanding the brands to a larger audience with a “queer” lens. Prior to taking on the CEO role, he served as the Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer growing revenue over 26%.
Before joining Pride Media Orlando was a co-founder and the Chief Operating Officer of Swoup, a fast-growing shopping and saving mobile app. He played a key role in growing the app’s user base and developing the state-of-the-art app, which allows consumers to save money on everyday purchases and repurpose the saved money for higher education expenses, charitable donations, savings and retirement.
Throughout his career, Orlando has developed a reputation for transforming and disrupting business models at major media and entertainment companies, with a proven history of success in corporate growth, revenue maximization, strategic planning and cross-media sales and marketing.
From 2013-17 Orlando was Vice President of Advertising for the Game Show Network, where he oversaw all aspects of sales and marketing for the cable television and digital games divisions and was responsible for annual advertising revenue and management for the sales teams. He played a key role in increasing revenue for the cable division by 31% and the games division by 18% in 2016 while championing GSN’s visibility among clients and advertising agencies.
Before, Orlando served as Vice President, Head of Broadcast and Digital Video for Everyday Health Inc. He created new revenue streams and achieved revenue growth by successfully launching Everyday Health into the video/broadcast arena. Orlando also worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where he was Senior Vice President of Broadcast and Radio. Orlando was responsible for the sales, marketing and branded entertainment programs for the MSLO Broadcast properties and developed a new pricing, planning and revenue control model to maximize sales inventory.
Earlier in his career Orlando was Executive Director, Sales and Marketing Strategy at Yahoo!, where he increased sales and revenue growth by implementing new strategies for the sales teams. In addition, Orlando was Vice President of Disney ABC Unlimited, a new division he spearheaded that drove incremental media and marketing resources across television, radio, print, digital, studio and theme parks. Prior he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom, International Communications Group and NBC as a page.
Orlando is an active member of the New York Advertising community. In 2007 he was the first recipient of the Innovator Award by AdColor, the premier organization that celebrates and advocates for diversity in the creative and technology industries. Orlando also serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center.
Orlando graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and lives in New York City with his husband.
Hope Hughes (she/her)
Hope has been committed to community service and paying it forward. She has had the privilege of serving others throughout her life in a number of different capacities…
Hope has been committed to community service and paying it forward. She has had the privilege of serving others throughout her life in a number of different capacities. Prior to joining the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center’s Board, Hope has a long history of serving the LGBTQ+ Community as a Board member and in leadership positions with the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD.
Professionally, Hope enjoyed a successful 20-year career in the Consulting industry. Most recently, she was a Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting working with many of the firm’s global Financial Services clients. She held several firm leadership positions including Leader of the Banking Sector and a National Leader of the Women’s Network which was the precursor to the firm’s nationally recognized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. Prior to Deloitte, she was co-founder and CEO of the Strategic Solutions Group, a boutique consulting firm specializing in organizational strategy and design. She began her business career with the Xerox Corporation and was selected to participate in the Executive Development Program leading organizations in National Sales, Customer Operations and Finance.
Hope, her wife and their two teenage children live in Hurley, NY after living in NYC for twenty years.
Lauren Sheeley, Esq. (she/her)
Lauren Sheeley has been an attorney for 12 years, eight of which she spent at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) providing free civil legal services to low income individuals and…
Lauren Sheeley has been an attorney for 12 years, eight of which she spent at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) providing free civil legal services to low income individuals and families throughout the Hudson Valley. Lauren became the Attorney in Charge of the Ulster County office in 2015, where she managed staff members and oversaw all other operations on a daily basis. During her time at LSHV, Lauren forged an excellent working relationship with the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center which has expanded and continues to date. She and her LSHV Ulster County colleagues initiated many programs and services at the Center, including but not limited to Pro Se Name Change and Gender Marker Change Clinics, and Information/Know Your Rights Sessions.
After moving on from Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Lauren served as the First Assistant County Attorney for Ulster County. Presently, she has ventured into the world of private practice in the Hudson Valley and is absolutely loving it!
In her free time, Lauren loves spending time with her family and riding her horses, and she remains dedicated to advocating for justice for all.
Dr. Edward Summers (he/him)
Dr. Edward Summers, is an inspiring educator, leader, public intellect, and a compassionate community builder and advocate for a more just world. He is the Founder, President, and CEO of his second startup nonprofit organization, The Thinkubator, and has spent more than 16 years in higher education, nonprofit management and leadership, community and workforce development, and as an entrepreneur.
He has expertise in strategy, innovation, evaluation, public policy, higher education, and management. He holds a Ph.D. in public and urban policy and a master’s in philosophy from The New School, a master’s in public administration, and a Bachelors in political science from Marist College.
Willie Morris (he/him)
Born and raised in the south side of Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, Willie moved to the Hudson Valley in 2017 to serve as Prof. of English at SUNY Dutchess Community College. At D.C.C, Willie has aimed at creating courses that better reflect the demographics and perspectives of both the Hudson Valley and SUNY Colleges by creating the college’s first Latinx Literatures course (The Latinx Lens)…
Born and raised in the south side of Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, Willie moved to the Hudson Valley in 2017 to serve as Prof. of English at SUNY Dutchess Community College. At D.C.C, Willie has aimed at creating courses that better reflect the demographics and perspectives of both the Hudson Valley and SUNY Colleges by creating the college’s first Latinx Literatures course ( The Latinx Lens) and LGBTQ+ literature course focusing on “ Queer perspectives of communities of color” ( Queer Colors). Willie holds a MA in English from Eastern Illinois University and A MPS in Social Justice Education Studies from SUNY New Paltz. Additionally, Willie is a board member of the SUNY Black Faculty Staff Collective (501c3). The Collective is a Black led nonprofit of Black and African Diasporic peoples dedicated to advocating for and creating greater opportunities within SUNY that support Black students, faculty, and staff “however they are and whoever they are ”. Prior to coming to the Valley, willie worked and served predominantly Black LGBTQ+ communities through volunteer activities on Chicago’s west side and LGBTQ+ college student organizations as well as rural LGBTQ+ communities in central Illinois at the University of Illinois for the United Church of Christ ( UCC at U of I) an LGBTQ+ open and affirming church community. Willie also has had extensive service and studying in South Africa, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Willie’s specific interests in service on the board rest in working to expand the center’s service to socially disenfranchised and isolated portions of the LGBTQ+ community.
Shanna Nigro-Gonzalez (she/her)
Shanna Nigro-Gonzalez is the Assistant Director for the Cornell Creative Art Center and The Arc Mid-Hudson Foundation in Kingston NY. Shanna is currently working on her MBA in project management with an advanced certificate in non-for profit.
Shanna Nigro-Gonzalez is the Assistant Director for the Cornell Creative Art Center and The Arc Mid-Hudson Foundation in Kingston NY. Shanna is currently working on her MBA in project management with an advanced certificate in non-for profit. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Psychology from Empire State University. With extensive experience in community programing, innovative planning activities, and grant writing, Ms. Nigro-Gonzalez is responsible for developing and maintaining inclusive, diverse and equitable programming. She has a passion for expanding resources and program access into rural communities. Ms. Nigro-Gonzalez has received recognition from former State Senator Jen Metzger for her work in community programming. She enjoys artistic expression through photography, culinary arts, acrylic and watercolor painting.