Our Team

Click on the photos to learn more about our staff members.


Core Staff

Professional headshot of Richard Heyl de Ortiz

Richard Heyl de Ortiz (he/him)

Executive Director

Professional headshot of Richard Heyl de Ortiz

Richard Heyl de Ortiz (he/him)

Executive Director

richard@lgbtqcenter.org

Richard has devoted his 30+ year career in nonprofits to promoting and supporting a greater understanding of equity, inclusion, social justice and community building

His professional life and commitment to social justice and public service started with a position at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and a key volunteer role at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan – both during the height of the AIDS crisis. After serving as the Director of Development and Finance at the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Richard went on to become the founding Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. There, he led the development and execution of its first strategic plan, created and implemented new programs and oversaw the renovation of the Center’s 26,000-square-foot building. Since that time, Richard’s work has primarily focused on child welfare with leadership and court-appointed roles advocating for children across New York State and the Hudson Valley. This included serving as the Executive Director of the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York.

Richard is a native of New Paltz and, after time away for college and early career opportunities, moved back to the area in 1999 with his husband Anthony to build their family and deepen their roots in the Hudson Valley. Richard currently serves as President of the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Child Welfare League of America in Washington, D.C. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration, Strategic Design and Management (BBA) from the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Learn more about Richard on our Meet Our New Executive Director page.

headshot of Phoenix Laxton

Phoenix Laxton (he/they)

Program Specialist

headshot of Phoenix Laxton

Phoenix Laxton (he/they)

Program Specialist

phoenix@lgbtqcenter.org

Phoenix supports the creation, implementation and evaluation of the various programming we have here at the Center. Along with our groups, he also acts as an event organizer and host. He works to make spaces as welcoming, safe, and accessible as possible.

Headshot of Michael Erp

Michael Erp (he/him)

Building Manager

Headshot of Michael Erp

Michael Erp (he/him)

Building Manager

michael@lgbtqcenter.org

Michael Erp (he/him) has lived in the Catskills over 30 years, and has been married to his husband Kyle for nine years.  A former administrator and professor at Marist College, he is now semi-retired, but enjoys running an Airbnb with his husband and working as a server for local catering events. He finds that facilitating Mankind: the Men’s Group and the Rainbow Lounge continues to be a rewarding learning experience.

Group Facilitators

Signy Furiya headshot

Signy Furiya (she/her/hers)

LCSW, Trans-Formations Group Facilitator

Signy Furiya headshot

Signy Furiya (she/her/hers)

LCSW, Trans-Formations Group Facilitator

Bio coming soon!