Board of Directors

View the SNMA By-Laws.
View the SNMA Code of Ethics.
View 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.
View the SNMA Anti-Racist Task Force Report.

The Board of Directors are the ultimate organizational and fiduciary body governing the affairs of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives.  Their responsibilities include making all major policy decisions, setting the strategic direction for the organization and approving an annual budget. 

The Directors delegate the day-to-day operations of the organization and execution of its programs to an Executive Director, who serves as the organization’s chief executive officer.

The Board meets every other month and achieves their goals through a number of committees (i.e., finance, executive, audit, collections, governance, development, etc.)

Members of the Board of Directors

Jacki Bennett, Chair

Jacquelyn “Jacki” Bennett currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the American Society on Aging (ASA). As CoS, she manages the organization’s administrative functions and serves as a thought partner to the President and CEO on the organization’s strategy and Board engagement; and works closely with the President and executive team to develop a robust operational and financial plan that drives decision-making around ASA’s short- and long-term objectives, fundraising strategies, and cost management protocols.

Jacki previously has served as the Chief Administrative Officer at the South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA), where she oversaw the operational and administrative functions including the annual budget process, financial strategy and analysis, as well as grant compliance, monitoring and evaluation procedures.

Before moving to Fort Lauderdale, Bennett served as the Chief Administrative Officer at the Wyss Foundation, located in Washington DC, where she was responsible for providing the vision, strategy and operational direction to the finance, information technology, human resources, grantmaking, facilities, and planning and evaluation activities of the Foundation. Jacki has served in C-Suite level positions at Freedom House, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the Human Rights Campaign, and as Operations Director of the Gore 2000 presidential campaign. Jacki proudly served in the Clinton Administration as the Finance Manager for the White House Office (WHO), and on the staff of Senator Tom Harkin      (D-IA).

A native of Iowa, Jacki is a graduate of Iowa State University. She and her wife, Liz, currently split their time between sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL and not-as-sunny Syracuse, NY with their basenji, Chisholm.

Gary Carlin, Vice Chair

Gary Carlin has over 25 years of marketing experience in the toy and game business. He served as vice president of marketing for Hasbro Toy Company managing brands such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and Clue. Professor Carlin has been teaching for the last seven years in Florida, specializing in marketing, advertising and public relations. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. degree from the University of South Florida. 

Alan Uphold, Treasurer

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.

James Doan, Secretary

James E. Doan, Ph.D., is a Professor of Literature and Humanities in the Department of Humanities and Politics at Nova Southeastern University.  Since 1988, he has taught courses in literature, the arts, folklore, mythology,  world religions, genetics and genealogy, developed a faculty lecture series, and supported numerous educational and cultural endeavors at NSU.  

Dr. Doan’s publications include Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh: An Irish Poet in Romance and Oral TraditionWomen and Goddesses in Early Celtic History, Myth and Legend‘On the side of light’: critical essays on the poetry of Cathal Ó Searcaigh, which he co-edited with an Irish colleague, and five recent collections of essays, The Universal Vampire: Origins and Evolution of a Legend and Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic (both published in 2013), The Supernatural Revamped (2016), Apocalyptic Chic: Visions of the Apocalypse and Post-Apocalypse in Literature and Visual Arts (2017), and Utopia and Dystopia in the Age of Trump: Images from Literature and Visual Arts (2019), the last five co-edited with Barbara Brodman, professor emerita at NSU.  

He served on the Board of Florida Grand Opera (2007-2012) and has also worked with other local arts organizations, including Irish Theatre of Florida (Delray Beach).  His play, The Irish Dracula, was produced in March 2014 by the Irish Theatre of Florida and later performed at the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival. He has directed plays for Actors Community Theatre (ACT) in Davie and for the past three years has served as founder and director of South Florida Irish Theatre.  He is thrilled to be a new member of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives Board of Directors.

Ruperto Arvelo, Board Member

Ruperto Arvelo, principal and founder of ARVELO architecture & interior design, located in the Flatiron district, has over 24 years of experience in different types of projects both nationally and internationally. He has worked in several architecture firms in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico during his professional development as an architect and interior designer. For many of  those years, he worked as a designer and project manager at the New York Gensler Office. The exposure of working in all these firms gave him experience in residential, corporate and commercial projects of all scales, including ground up and adaptive re-use interior and exterior renovation projects.

Registered as in architect in New York State and in the process of being registered in Puerto Rico, he is a successful architect who can wear different hats and bring everyone together to successfully complete projects.

He has taught at various leading design colleges and universities: Syracuse University, Parsons in New York City and Berkeley College in New Jersey. He was also an Associate Editor for the Spanish language interior design magazine Casa y Hogar.

He has Bachelors degree from University of Puerto Rico and a Masters degree in architecture from Syracuse University.

On his free time he enjoys traveling, the arts and being at outdoors. He travels frequently to Puerto Rico where he has a second home at the Condado beach area. Because of his love for design and furniture, he dreams of one day opening a home furnishings store in NYC.

Alan Beck, Board Member

Alan H. Beck joined MMP in 2015. He brings 25 years experience as a publisher and marketing professional. He has worked closely with Chambers of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureaus to create products to promote their jurisdictions. With respect to the Internet, Alan has been an early innovator and adapter to social media. 

He sits on the Board of Directors of Travel Gay Canada and is a member of IGLTA, NGLCC, NGLCCNY, GSBA, GGBA, MDGLCC, Toronto Tourism, Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, San Francisco Travel, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Provincetown Business Guild.

Gary E. Bitner, Emeritus

Gary Bitner heads one of Florida’s leading public relations firms, The Bitner Group, with national and international clients in the gaming, retail, tourism, transportation, education and other sectors.

He is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and a former staff writer at the Fort Lauderdale News (Sun-Sentinel). He also worked in the public relations department at Marriott Corporation in Washington, D.C., and is a founding partner of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world’s largest network of independent public relations firms.

He lives in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Diana K. Bruce, Board Member

Diana K. Bruce (she/her/hers), Principal at Collaborate with Diana Bruce, provides strategic planning and capacity building to schools and organizations taking steps to be more inclusive of their diverse constituents. Throughout her 25+ year career, Diana has advanced access and equity through child and adolescent health, reproductive health, HIV/STI prevention, sexuality education and LGBTQ advocacy.

Prior to starting her own consulting practice, Diana served as Director of Health and Wellness for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) for a decade, where she expanded supports for expectant and parenting students, launched DCPS’ initiatives to create school climates welcoming of their LGBTQ students and developed DCPS’ nationally recognized Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Policy Guidance. Diana also led AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families’ Policy and Government Affairs department, serving temporarily as Interim Co-Executive Director.

Diana holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Art from the University of Texas at El Paso. When not working, Diana parents her two amazing teens, teaches yoga and mentors young women new in their careers on the Women’s Information Network Advisory Council in Washington, DC.

Fred Brugal, Emeritus

Born in Puerto Rico and trained as a nuclear physician at Cornell, Dr. Fred Brugal is a board member at SNMA following a career in medicine and health care management. Moving into leadership positions at Merck & Co., he then became President of Pharmacy Managment at United Health Care Corp. and later moved to Glaxo SmithKline in London, launching a Global Health Care Management Division.

Fred is married to his Cuban partner of twelve years, William Breto and they reside in Palm Springs with their mini dachshunds, Samba & Rumba.

Julio Capo, Jr., Board Member

Professor Capó is a transnational historian whose research and teaching interests include modern U.S. history, especially the United States’s relationship to the Caribbean and Latin America. He addresses how gender and sexuality have historically intersected with constructions of ethnicity, race, class, nation, age, and ability. His first book, Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940 (UNC Press, 2017), highlights how transnational forces—including (im)migration, trade, and tourism—to and from the Caribbean shaped Miami’s queer past. The book has received six awards and honors, including the Charles S. Sydnor Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best book written on Southern history. His work has appeared in the Journal of American History, Radical History Review, Diplomatic History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of American Ethnic History, Modern American History, GLQ, H-Net, American Studies, and several volumes.

Capó’s research extends to his commitment to public history and civic engagement. He curated “Queer Miami: A History of LGBTQ Communities” for History Miami Museum (open from March-September 2019) and participated in a National Park Service initiative to promote and identify historic LGBTQ sites and contributed a piece on Miami’s queer past for its theme study. Prior to entering graduate school, he worked as a broadcast news writer and producer, and his work has appeared in several outlets such as The Washington Post, Time, The Miami Herald, and El Nuveo Día (Puerto Rico).

Capó is the recipient of several awards including the Audre Lorde Prize from the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History and the Carlton C. Qualey Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of American History.

Klayton Fennell, Honorary

Klayton Fennell is the Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast providing government affairs support and guidance to Comcast’s market-based government affairs teams, and to the Headquarter based business and operations teams.

In his role, Fennell develops, coordinates, and executes Comcast’s local political and regulatory strategy in over 6,400 communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to his Government Affairs duties, Fennell serves as Comcast’s key contact with LGBT advocacy organizations, serves on Comcast’s Internal Diversity Council and is an Executive Champion to Comcast’s LGBT employee resource group, OUT.

A Florida native, Fennell earned his B.A. in Political Science from Jacksonville University and a doctor of laws from The Florida State University College of Law. Fennell and his husband, Valentine Vigil-Fennell, split their time between the Philadelphia area and South Florida.

Ernest H. (E.J.) Harrison, Board Member

Ernest H. Harrison is a musician, a poet, and a dedicated builder of community through song. Though he has studied, performed, and conducted internationally, he was nurtured by the gospel music of his hometown, Tuskegee, Alabama. Harrison credits the spirituals of William Dawson and the Tuskegee Golden Voices for influencing his early music career, as his first moment of music direction was his own church choir at the age of 13.

Harrison is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Choral Music at the University of Southern California. He received his master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri and holds two bachelor’s degrees: the first at Tuskegee University, where he studied voice with Dr. Wayne Barr, Head of Choral Activities; and a second B.A. in Music Vocal Performance from Auburn University, where he studied with world-renowned composer Dr. Rosephanye Powell.

Along with the prestigious honor of serving as Music Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Harrison is the Associate Conductor for the Grammy-nominated National Children’s Chorus, Choir Director of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music’s Cantare Chamber Choir and a Board Member of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives. Each of these roles are a complement to Harrison’s “people-first” approach to uplifting community and justice using music as the vehicle. As he is most inspired by his students, he maintains teaching relationships with Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, and the University of Southern California.

In keeping with his passion for teaching, Harrison has worked with the Tuskegee University Gospel Ensemble, the jazz vocal a cappella ensemble Hitt Street Harmony at the University of Missouri, and the Apollo Men’s Chorus at USC. In 2019, Harrison became a member of the international choral ensemble Conspirare, directed by Grammy- winning conductor and composer Craig Hella Johnson. Additionally, he arranged over 30 pop songs for the TTBB a cappella ensemble AU Cappella at Auburn University, and has composed or arranged for ensembles throughout the country in genres spanning gospel, pop, jazz, spirituals, and traditional choral music. As a composer, Harrison has had the privilege to study under Dr. Stephan Freund at the University of Missouri, and privately with Dr. Nick Strimple and National Medal of the Arts recipient Dr. Morten Lauridsen, both famed professors at USC.

Harrison is most passionate about the educational and outreach aspects of music making. He was Coordinator of the Mentorship program at USC for two years, where he taught the choral undergraduate students conducting techniques, rehearsal planning, and choral pedagogical techniques. He has helped to establish the annual High Desert High School Choral Festival in Palmdale, CA which reaches hundreds of students annually. Whether with professionals of concert ensembles or in the classroom with developing voices, Harrison looks forward to each new opportunity to unite the world with music.

Ron Herron, Board Member, Emeritus

After 40+ years of academic and administrative experience in both public and private institutions of higher education. – including Southern Methodist University; Teachers College, Columbia University; Temple University; Keene State College; SUNY-Purchase and Southern Connecticut State University, Herron retired and moved to Fort Lauderdale in 2012. Throughout his career, he was active is state, regional, and national professional organizations. He also served on the Boards of Directors of numerous not-for-profit organizations with varying foci ranging from mental health, the arts, childhood creativity, and urban revitalization, to name a few.

Deeply committed to creating supportive learning environments which improve the educational experiences of students, Herron worked throughout his career to create imaginative programs such as the multi-institutional consortium to end racism on Westchester County College Campuses in New York. He co-authored and served as the Project Director of three major grants funded by Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) of the U.S. Department of Justice and continues, in retirement, to serve as a Peer Reviewer for the competitive grant programs of OVW.

He served on the SNMA Board of Directors (2012-2019), during which time he served on the SNEP Committee, as Board Secretary (2012-2016) and as Board Chair (2017-2019). Ron is an Emeritus member of the Board of Directors.

Ida Hood, Board Member

A native Texan, Ida Hood holds a BS in Recreational Therapy and an MS in Science in Health Education with an emphasis on Pubic Health from Middle Tennessee State University, and she is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Health Education & Promotion. Ms. Hood is certified in Health EC–12, Physical Education EC–12, has coached for several years, and has had the opportunity to teach on many levels. For the past eight years her teaching has centered on health, wellness, and career readiness. She has experience working with School Health Advisory Councils to bring more awareness and resources to the communities they serve, and she serves on the Texas Association for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) in the Health Promotions Division. Ms. Hood says, “I look forward to helping inspire, empower, and support our youth as they are our future leaders.”

Karen Kelly, Board Member

Growing up in South Florida and now being a Realtor for 16 years, Karen Kelley has really experienced the growth of the Sunshine State.

Her grandparents’ families moved to Hollywood after the great depression and this is where they met and were married in the 1930’s. Karen is so thankful for her extended family and the community that she has called home for over 50 years.

After graduating from Florida State University in 1990, Karen returned to South Florida and after years of hard work, she started volunteering at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in the mid 1990’s. Karen has held chair positions, interim director, and was the Board President when the GLCC purchased the building on Andrews Ave. She has been actively involved in our community and with local charities for years. During this time Karen and her wife, Mikol purchased a home in 1997. They still live in that home in Oakland Park.

Maria Lescano, Board Member

Maria has had her own law practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for over 20 years where she specializes in family law and immigration law. Maria has served the Broward County community by her past appointments to the Broward County Commission on the status of women, and the Broward County school board diversity committee.

Currently Maria is Mayor Jack Seiler’s appointment as the the co-chair of the City of Fort Lauderdale charter review board. Maria’s past volunteer board experience includes six years that she served on the national board of GLAAD. Maria is a first generation Cuban-American, native Floridian, who lives in Fort Lauderdale with her partner, Jean.

Don Oravec, Board Member

Don Oravec was born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario Canada. He is married to Jim Harper and they have been together for twenty-four years. Don graduated from the University of Guelph with a split major in English and History (1980); and graduated from the Canadian Securities Course (1990). He worked in the cultural sector for over 25 years, first at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Marketing, Customer Service and Development, then at Tafelmusik, Canada’s Baroque Orchestra as the Director of Development. While at Tafelmusik, he helped the organization establish a one-million-dollar endowment and increased their corporate and individual donors.

In 2003 Don moved to the Writers’ Trust of Canada where he was Director of Fund Development and from 2005 to 2012 Executive Director. The Writers’ Trust is a national organization dedicated to making the lives of professional Canadian writers better. In 2012 he retired and he is now splitting his time between Toronto and Fort Lauderdale; and traveling to places on his ‘bucket list’, and reading and writing voraciously. Don had a seat on the board of Toronto’s Word on the Street (a literary festival held in Toronto and across Canada every September).

He is founding member of the Board of Directors for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a new North American writing prize for women. They are aggressively fundraising to establish this prize and a launch date has not been set. He is the Past-President of the Board of Directors of Project Bookmark Canada – a national charity dedicated to placing bronze plaques across Canada where important Canadian books have been set. The charity promotes, reading, writing and helps create a legacy for Canadian writers and their books. Don is a member of the Quadrangle Society at Massey College at the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Fundraising Committee for The Stonewall Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Hugh Ryan, Board Member

Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator. His first book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. He was honored with the 2020 Allan Berube Prize from the American Historical Association. In 2019-2021, he worked on the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in U.S. History curricular materials for the NYC Department of Education.

Mark Neil Silber, Ex-Officio

Born in Queens, New York, as a young boy in the early 1960s Mark Silber’s family moved to Hollywood, Florida. Mark was raised in a family that valued education, reading, music, visual arts, travel, and respect for all cultures and peoples.

Influenced by cultural change, protest to the war in Vietnam and burgeoning civil rights, Mark came out to his parents in his teens.  They were “astonishingly accepting and supportive.”  He graduated from Nova High School in 1972 and attended Florida Atlantic University.

He began collecting books on various gay and lesbian topics and subscribed to contemporary gay publications such as The Advocate, and advocated for gay rights in South Florida.  

In 1973, Mark started the Stonewall Library.  The name was to recognize what had happened at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.  He was also one of the original seven founding members of Congregation Etz Chain – the Metropolitan Community Synagogue of Miami. The following year, Mark founded the first LGBT student group at a South Florida university: the Gay Academic Union of Florida Atlantic University. He was involved in the Dade County Coalition for Human Rights during the Anita Bryant campaign, and the Broward County Coalition for Human Rights shortly thereafter.

In 1984, Mark moved to New York City to expand his horizons and to seek better new career opportunities. 

However, before he left, he established a governing board for the Stonewall Library and obtained legal tax-exempt status. Fortunately, the Metropolitan Community Church of Fort Lauderdale (now the Sunshine Cathedral) offered space to the ever-growing collection.

Since then, Mark has watched the organization grow and flourish. Codified within Stonewall’s present day by-laws, Mark remains an emeritus member of the Board of Directors for life.

Kenneth Tewel, Honorary

Former Deputy Executive Director, High School Division, New York City Public Schools; former principal Stuyvesant High School, Franklin K. Lane High School and Westinghouse High School in New York City.

Associate Professor, Programs in Supervision and Administration, City University of New York. National consultant to philanthropic organizations working on school and system level reform. Former Program Professor in Leadership and School Reform, Doctoral Program in Child and Youth Studies, Nova Southeastern University.

Mon-Fri 11 am - 5 pm     Sat 11 am - 3 pm    Closed Sun


Stonewall is grateful to the following funders for their support of our operations and programs.

Funding for this organization is provided in part by the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County, Florida, As recommended by the Broward Cultural Council.

This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by Stonewall National Museum & Archives, do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities of the National Endowment for the Humanities.