STONEWALL NATIONAL MUSEUM & ARCHIVES

National Advisory Council

Established in April 2016, SNMA’s National Advisory Council (NAC) is a group of dedicated individuals with professional experience in building museums, organizations and professional relationships within the LGBTQ communities. 

They are charged with advising the Executive Director and Board of Directors on a variety of matters pertaining to SNMA’s work, mission and objectives such as:

  • How to best make SNMA’s Archives and Library available to researchers, artists, historians, scholars, and journalists so the contents can be disseminated to a wider audience.
  • How to best grow our Archives, Library, exhibition and library programs to include a more diverse population, including race, gender, class, gender expression and other personal attributes.
  • How to best collaborate with other national museums, archives libraries and LGBTQ organizations.
  • How to build a strong cultural and educational organization that is respected by professional peers.
  • How to enhance SNAM’s prominence both regionally and nationally.

Appointed by the Board of Directors for limited terms, the NAC has no fiduciary responsibility and is purely advisory to SNMA.  They meet in person annually in Fort Lauderdale in February and other times throughout the year via telephone. 

Justin Estoque (Co-Chair)

Los Angeles, CA

Justin Estoque oversaw the planning, design, construction, and inaugural programs of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian with a fundraising goal of $199 million. Later Estoque directed NMAI’s Executive Planning Office, and acted as the museum’s Associate Director in charge of international engagement programs. In 2013 Estoque was appointed Executive Vice President of the Autry Museum of the American West. Previous positions held were Chief Operating Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and adjunct faculty, Bank Street College’s museum education graduate program.

Estoque’s board leadership experience includes the National LGBT Museum New York project, VOX Femina LA, and the Mesa Verde Foundation. He is a member of the LGBT Alliance Steering Committee of the American Alliance of Museums, Stonewall 50 Consortium, and a singing member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles where he volunteers as a fundraiser.

Alan Uphold (Co-Chair)

Los Angeles, CA

Communication consultant and public speaking coach/trainer, serving executives from NBC/Universal, Viacom, Warner Brothers, Frito-Lay, Cunard/Princess Cruise Lines, Deutsche Bank, and many other notable corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Uphold is currently a college professor of public speaking and communication at Los Angeles Community College and was formerly the Development Director-West of the Point Foundation – the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization focused on empowering, underwriting, and mentoring LGBT youth.

Uphold is a former member of the Board of Directors of Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Equality California, and former Chair of Directors of Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.

Vic Basile

Washington D.C.

Served as the first Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign (1983-89), and then remained on the Board of HRC, involved in recruiting efforts for later executive directors. Formerly Executive Director of Moveable Feast, and Director of International Volunteerism for the Peace Corps, Vic has always been a human rights activist.

He is co-founder of the Victory Fund, which works toward election of LGBT political candidates. Now retired, Vic worked as a Counselor to the Director of the US Office of Personnel Management.

Mike Balaban

New York, NY

Mike Balaban retired from a 30 year career in international finance and consulting with focuses on Japan and China, in 2013. He has simultaneously dedicated energies to non-profit board service for the last 22 years, with an emphasis on LGTB causes.

He served on the founding boards of GLSEN (Vice Chair) and Athlete Ally (Chair) along with service to Echoing Green, Galen University (San Ignacio, Belize), NewFest, and now Stonewall National Museum & Archives’ Advisory Council.

With a co-founder, he is launching Capturing Rainbows, an LGBT history platform, that collects, preserves, and shares first person moments from our collective LGBT lives, while fostering social interaction among its members.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld

Amherst, MA

A writer, LGBT Historian, educator, he is the author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice, editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price, and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice.

Warren serves as an editorial blogger for the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and Tikkun Daily.

John Coppola

Washington, D.C.

A presidential appointee to the National Museum and Library Services Board, he provides planning, exhibition development and professional training services to U.S., Latin American and Middle Eastern museums and is an adjunct professor of museum studies at Stanford in Washington and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design/George Washington University.

He has curated LGBT history exhibitions for the Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Fort Lauderdale, FL, One in Ten, Washington DC, and GLAAD, Washington, DC, and is a member of the American Alliance of Museum’s LGBTQ Alliance. Previously, he served as Director of the Office of Exhibits Central, Smithsonian Institution.

W. Peter Daniels

San Jose, CA

Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education Peter brings more than 22 years of experience in school communications, marketing, public relations, and community engagement serving school systems in California, Hawaii, and Washington.

In his current position, he oversees legislative advocacy efforts and the department of Media and Communications. In addition to his work in education, Daniels has provided consulting services on crisis communications, school operations, and school bonds and levies.

Rev. Mark Fowler

New York, NY

As the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Tanenbaum Organization for Interreligious Understanding, Rev. Fowler oversees the design and implementation of programmatic trainings at a national and international level.

Mark has been involved for over 20 years with New York City’s education community as a facilitator/trainer to teachers, students, counselors and administrators in the areas of prejudice reduction in race, gender, sexual orientation and religion.

Ashley Green

Washington, D.C.

An Intellectual Property and Technology Attorney at DLA Piper and former Paralegal for Smithsonian Institution (2010-2014) coordinating principal distributions for object bequests to 19 museums.

Ms. Green served as Museum Project Coordinator for the Velvet Foundation’s National LGBT Museum Project where she drafted policies, loan agreements and planned giving initiatives, and executed and oversaw fundraising and marketing projects.

Remington Gregg

Washington, DC

As Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights, leading the fight to ensure access to justice for all people and protecting American consumers from corporate rip-offs and abuses, working on a portfolio that includes forced arbitration, class actions, and consumer safety.

Extensive experience in civil rights and civil justice. Previously served as Legislative Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), principally counseling the organization on issues related to hate crimes, criminal and racial justice, profiling, education, domestic violence, military and veterans, immigration, and foreign affairs. There, he was the principal author of a groundbreaking report exposing religious schools that sought exemptions from civil rights law to discriminate against LGBT students.

Prior to joining HRC, was Associate Counsel and Advisor for Open Government in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, advising on a range of legal and policy issues related to science, technology, and national security, and reducing legal and regulatory burdens to create a more open and accountable government. Co-wrote the nation’s first U.S. Open Government National Action Plan.

Brian McNaught

Fort Lauderdale, FL

An author and a leading corporate diversity consultant dealing with LGBT issues in the workplace, he has spent forty-two years helping audiences understand what it’s like to grow up gay and how to deal with daily challenges faced at work, home, and in their neighborhoods and churches.

His five books in print are used as college texts, and his seven educational DVDs are used in school, church, and corporate training. Named by the New York Time as “the godfather of gay sensitivity training”, Brian wrote a syndicated column in the gay press for 12 years, and has contributed to numerous national publications.

Patrick Moore

Pittsburgh, PA

As Director of The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, Patrick Moore is a museum leader focused on inclusion, digital sophistication and relevancy for the field. Patrick joined The Warhol in 2011 as Director of Development before becoming Deputy Director and Managing Director. Earlier in his career, Patrick worked as a digital producer for Yahoo! and was the Founding Director of The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS (a project of The Alliance for the Arts, New York).

Patrick has produced editions and special projects with a range of important contemporary artists including Ed Ruscha, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, and others. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in theater direction and English literature.

As a writer, Patrick has published books with Beacon Press and Kensington. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, Newsday, and The Advocate.

Dr. Katherine Ott

Washington, D.C.

Dr. Katherine Ott is a curator and historian at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, division of medicine and science, where she focuses on the history of medicine and the human body, disability and bodily difference, and LGBTQ history.

The author of Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in American Culture since 1870 (1996), Dr. Ott also co-edited Artificial Parts, Practical Lives: Modern Histories of Prosthetics (2002) and The Scrapbook of American Life (2006).

She serves as Associate Professorial Lecturer of American Studies at The George Washington University, and is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer.

Todd Sears

New York, NY

Founder and Principal of Out Leadership, a strategic advisory firm dedicated to extending equality and access to opportunity for LGBT people worldwide. In 2011, with support from six top financial institutions, he launched “Out on the Street,” an LBGT leadership and networking group aimed at senior executives on Wall Street.

Today, it counts sixty-six of the world’s most influential businesses as members, and leads four global initiatives: Out in Law, Out NEXT, Quorum and Out WOMEN. Todd began his career as an investment banker, and later moved into diversity leadership at Merrill Lynch and Credit-Suisse.

Amanda Simpson

Washington, D.C.

Formerly the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, U.S. Department of Defense. The first openly transgender woman Presidential appointee in U.S. history, and the highest ranking transgender appointee in the Obama Administration.

Ms. Simpson has served as executive director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, and as Senior Technical Adviser to the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as Deputy Director and Senior Program Manager in the Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems product line for Raytheon.

Ms. Simpson has served on the boards of directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, the Arizona Human Rights Fund, and the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Henry L. Thaggert, III

Washington, D.C.

Senior antitrust counsel to Northrop Grumman Corporation in Falls Church, VA. Former Attorney-Advisor to the Federal Communications Commission and Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Mr. Thaggert served as a Trustee to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and has served on the advisory boards to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, and the George Mason University School of Art.

Michael Jose Torra

Los Angeles, CA

As a principal at the Raben Group working in the L.A. office, Mr. Torra draws on his 10 years of experience on Capitol Hill to help clients navigate political and policy-making process, articulate their public policy priorities and anticipate the outlook for the issues clients care about.

He previously had significant involvement with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez.

Anthony Varona

Washington, D.C. and Fort Lauderdale, FL

Professor of Law and Academic Dean at the American University Washington College of Law. SMNA board of directors member, and former board member for the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the Alliance for Justice.

Dean Varona served as HRC’s first general counsel and legal director (1997-2002) after having practiced communications law at Skadden Arps, Mintz Levin, and the Federal Communications Commission.

He previously has taught at Georgetown University Law Center and at Pace University School of Law, and served as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Mo Vela

Washington, D.C.

Moe Vela’s diverse career and experience uniquely positions him at the epicenter of where law, politics, business and finance intersect. He is the Pres- ident and CEO of The Vela Group, LLC, a global business development consulting firm with clients in the U.S. and Latin America.

In addition to running his firm, he is Official Counsel at the law firm of Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato and Missner, and previously a partner at the international law firm, Holland & Knight. Vela’s areas of experience include business development, public policy, government relations and Latino advocacy and outreach.

He is also an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law. Vela served in President Obama’s administration as the Director of Administration and Senior Advisor in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden.

Vela holds the distinction of being the first Hispanic American and gay American to serve twice in a senior executive role in the White House.

Deb Dagit

As Merck’s Chief Diversity Officer for 11 years, Deb was responsible for global equal opportunity, employee relations, recruiting and staffing, and diversity and inclusion. Under her leadership, the company was recognized for its exemplary work in diversity and inclusion by DiversityInc and Working Mother magazines, the Families and Work Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign. Merck also received the Department of Defense Freedom Award (veterans) and the Department of Labor New Freedom Award (people with disabilities) during her tenure.

Prior to joining Merk, Deb was the leader of Learning Communications and Diversity at Silicon Graphics and head of Strategic Cultural Initiatives for Sun Microsystems.

She played a key role in the passage of the American with Disabilities Act through her lobbying efforts in both California and Washington, D.C. and testified before the U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions committee on best practices for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

In 2013 Deb started her own business delivering the consulting services and products she wished were available when she was a Chief Diversity Officer.

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