GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 GSBA New Board Members

Howard Cohen
A resident of Seattle for 29 years and a 35-year veteran of the hotel business, Howard is the Vice President-General Manager for Clise Properties – Hotel Division since 2002. He previously worked for Red Lion Hotels for many years in the Seattle and Northwest Region. He is very involved in community service and activities, having been raised with the understanding that giving back to one’s community is very important. Howard is currently serving as the President of the Seattle Hotel Association; Board Member for the Seattle Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Washington Lodging Association; Chair of the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area; Co-Chair of the Seattle Street Scene Task Force; Secretary of the Hotel Employee Restaurant Employee Pension as well as Health and Welfare Trusts; Vocational Chair for the Emerald City Rotary Club and Incoming Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for South Seattle Community College’s Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Program. He has a BS in Business Administration from the SUNY at Buffalo and a MBA from the University of Washington.

He is very pleased to be asked to serve on the GSBA Board as he believes this will mesh his commitment to the community for both his professional and personal life.

Jenny Harding
The founder, owner, and Senior Event Planner for New Chapter Weddings and Chapter 2 Events, Jenny Harding has been helping people plan weddings, events and celebrations for over 12 years. Prior to beginning her own business in 2004, she held a Catering & Sales Manager position with Columbia Hospitality, where she got her start focusing on weddings and parties. She believes that every individual has a special story, and that story should always be reflected in the event that is being celebrated. Creating that personal reflection through celebration is the most gratifying part of her job.

Jenny joined GSBA in 2007 and occasionally attended GSBA events beginning in 2002. For her, GSBA was a support system that offered inspiration and strength. She could be out and proud in the community as a successful professional lesbian business owner and mother, and as she says, “it was okay to be ME!”  As her involvement with and commitment to the GSBA has grown, strong business relationships have been established and she has had the pleasure of working for many of our very own members on their personal or professional celebrations.

Jenny and her partner, Lindsay, have been together for 3.5 years. She has two AMAZING boys, Jayden (13) and Justin (11), who are her “game changers”. She believes the future is strong and will do everything in her power to continue to work for the GSBA, its future leaders through the scholarship fund, and all our membership.

David Hernandez
As chair of the membership committee one David’s primary missions is to ensure GSBA members find value in their membership, whether it is for advocacy, business or social reasons. He would like to see this mission carried throughout the membership so GSBA is strengthened as a whole. He has found his GSBA membership incredibly valuable both personally and professionally because of the wonderful people who make GSBA a great organization.

Professionally, David is a Financial Services Professional with New York Life and NY Life Securities. In his role he provides insurance and financial strategies for both long-term as well as more short-term needs. Protecting one's human capital or one's ability to continue to earn and save is one major area of his work. He has been with New York Life since 2004. Previously he worked with Premera Blue Cross for 16 years as an Account Executive, working primarily with school districts, as well as state and federal employees. He has a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences from the University of Washington. In addition to serving as the chair of the membership committee for GSBA, David is on the board of trustees for Unity Church in Lynnwood. He lives in Bothell, with Dan Richardson, his partner of 19 years.

Dena Levine
Dena is the owner of DML Insurance Services, an independent insurance agency she started in 2004. She has been in the insurance industry for over 25 years and really loves what she does. She helps all types of businesses and individuals, especially those in the LGBT community, to find the perfect coverage at an affordable price. Dena also works with them on providing risk management so that buying insurance is not the only way they can protect their homes and/or businesses.

Dena has been active in the Seattle community for 20 years. Some of her past community involvement includes chairing the West Seattle YMCA Partners with Youth campaign, being a board member of City Year Seattle and providing time (and money) for other non-profits such as Westside Baby, Birthday Dreams and Building Changes. She has been a member of the GSBA for more than 8 years and has been active in the GSBA Scholarship Fund, serving as an interviewer and a team leader the past four years.

As a board member, she aims to bring enthusiasm, wisdom and laughter to the GSBA.

Jay Petterson
As a small business owner and campaign consultant, Jay is excited to bring his financial management and political engagement experience to the GSBA Board of Directors. He is a Principal of H+P Political Compliance, a political compliance consulting firm with more than 10 years’ experience helping Democratic campaigns achieve financial success and comply with campaign finance regulations. Their nationwide portfolio includes clients ranging from state legislators to congressional, senate, and presidential candidates, as well as federal and state political action committees.

Jay has been a proud member of the GSBA since 2010 and serves on the Public Policy Task Force. As a new board member, he looks forward to helping GSBA and its members play a leading role in shaping policies that affect our community.

In addition to his work with GSBA, he is the Vice President of the Board for the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), an organization that brings together communities, educators and health professionals to reduce the rate of suicide and bullying in Washington State. A graduate of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, he relocated to Seattle four years ago with his husband, Michael. When not working, they enjoy spending time walking the Green Lake community with their dogs Petey and Grover. 

Gordon Prouty
Gordon joined the Puget Sound Business Journal as Publisher and President in July of 2011. Prior to that, he served as the Advertising Director for three years at the San Francisco Business Times. His background before joining American City Business Journals has been primarily on the advertising sales and business development side of the media business, holding key management positions in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco before making his way up to Seattle. He started his career back in his hometown of Syracuse, New York after graduating from Syracuse University, where he spent number of years with The Syracuse Newspapers and serving as an Adjunct Instructor at his alma mater.

Gordon and his partner of 14 years, Stephen, live in West Seattle, where they are enjoying their new-found home in the Puget Sound region.

Monique Ramos
Monique has been with US Bank for over 10 years. In addition to being a Branch Manager, she is also the Washington Multicultural Coordinator. She is responsible for organizing and budgeting events and sponsorships for all of our Multicultural and Diversity segment, which helps serve and impact the community. She enjoys educating people, and helping individuals grow both personally and professionally. She loves being able to share her interests, passions and knowledge with all.

She is very excited to bring her knowledge and skills to advocate for diversity in the communities. 

Paul Villa
Paul is a VP, Account Director at Publicis Seattle. He has worked in advertising for over 17 years developing national integrated marketing communications for brands such as Mazda, Acura, AT&T Wireless and most recently T-Mobile.  He grew up in Southern California and moved to the Bay Area where he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. After eight years in San Francisco he moved to Seattle, where he has lived for the last ten years.

A GSBA member since 2009, Paul and his domestic partner Curtis Bigelow are the owners of The Lobby Bar, which was the 2010 GSBA New Business of the Year. Paul has served on the GSBA Business and Humanitarian Awards committee for the last two years and is constantly humbled by the outstanding achievements and philanthropy of GSBA members.

Through The Lobby Bar, Paul and Curtis support many LGBT organizations and nonprofits in Seattle and sponsor events, fundraisers, and sports teams. He has also been a supporter of Lambda Legal for the last ten years and has donated his bar’s resources to the annual Garden Party fundraiser for the last two years. Most recently, this summer they helped raise over $21,000 in one afternoon for Washington United for Marriage at a fundraiser at their home.

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