We are delighted to announce our nominations for TCNE Board of Directors. The board is seeking three new members. All TCNE members in good standing are eligible to vote for three candidates in rank order. The vote for Treasurer is a stand-alone ballot item. First Choice, Second Choice and Third Choice are available for other candidates. All votes will be validated by the current board to be from current members. Voting opens today and will close on April 30th. Paper Ballots are also available at the club. CLICK this LINK to vote electronically:
Not a member yet but you’d like to be or you’d like to renew? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you setup.
Here are our nominees, with bios for each of them further down the page:
- Michelle James – Running for Treasurer
- Dreya Catozzi
- Devanand Milton
- Ray Harrison Novak
- Athena West
- Erik H.
Announcement of Annual Meeting – May 17th 7pm!
On May 17th at 7pm, all members of TCNE and guests are invited to attend our Strategic Planning Meeting and Welcome event for new board members. This meeting will provide an orientation to all members and an opportunity for board members to listen to the community as we work together to develop a club that provides the greatest support for the trans community. To facilitate an anticipated large crowd, we are holding the event at Christ Church Episcopal, 750 Main St, Waltham.
Not a member? Please take a moment to renew or become a member. You can do it in person at the club or email us at email@example.com and we’ll get you setup. Membership is good for 365 days and provides access to the club and voting rights, as well as all the programs and services provided by TCNE.
Bios for each of the Nominees:
Erik H.- I want to serve on the TCNE board because I want to help make our community more inclusive and more accessible. My work in disability advocacy informs my approach to community-building. As an advocate for people with disabilities, my clients’ experiences with discrimination and lack-of-access bear striking parallels to my own experiences as a transgender man. Trans people and people with disabilities both know what it is to be unfairly marginalized.
As a board member, I would prioritize equal access for all. I excel at event planning; I have worked as a team leader on large-scale events. I led an events division of a science fiction convention with over four thousand attendees. I acted as a key organizer of a peaceful protest, attended by over one thousand people, against the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church. Also, I have created social, support, and performing arts events for my local transgender community. In addition to writing and public speaking, I enjoy outreach work, partnering directly with institutions, and motivating their representatives to prioritize our community’s needs. But the backbone of my capabilities is in my affinity for logistics. I have a knack for visualizing systems, identifying potential weaknesses and areas of friction, and intervening before problems emerge. I can effectively serve both the back-end and the front-end of this organization.
TCNE has a strong history as a safe place for transfeminine people of all kinds. In recent years, I have personally appreciated TCNE’s efforts to build spaces for transmasculine and nonbinary people at First Event. I want to build upon these great efforts, and continue to increase our diversity, particularly among communities of color, people with disabilities, and immigrants. As the longtime partner of a trans woman who is both a person of color and an immigrant, these issues are personally relevant to me, and they will continue to guide my volunteer work. Your vote will allow me to center the needs of the most marginalized members of the New England transgender community.
Dreya Catozzi – My name is Dreya, I am a Transgender woman of color and the face of the Urban Trans Women Resource Center. In my journey of coming into my own and in becoming the woman I am today, I can truly say that it has come with many challenges. I am thankful and very blessed to have made it thus far. I’m finally at a place where I now have what I call “the everyday regular problems of life” that we all can have, versus problems that are literally of life and death. The challenges I’ve had to face as a Transgender woman of color, I feel no one should have to go through just to live life. We all should have an opportunity to have the basic necessities needed to live, and for most people, those necessities come easy. But for some such as the those in the Transgender community, it’s an uphill battle that’s extremely difficult to climb because society feels we don’t fit in.
Athena West – My Name is Athena Most know me as Athena West I am 31 years old I have been in the community for over 15 years now doing community work in LGBTQ+, over the last 7 yrs. I have really gotten into the trans community work that I have been doing with Fenway health, at Fenway health I was a consultant for a program called Life skills the work I do at Life Skills is helping trans women from the ages 13-29 learn more about their health risk there housing and hormones and health insurance, I then switch from our TFI research department and started working in our prevention Program, I am now the Senior Transgender Health Navigator and I also oversee the Transcend Program as well. I am trained in Phlebotomy as well as CPR and a host of other Assets. I enjoy helping and teaching young people as well as adults Trans gay or bi how to love themselves and accept who they are as a human being, something I call walking in your truth. I have also been doing community consultant work at Bagly Inc. with their ballroom community for well over 4 yrs. now helping to provide a safe space for ballroom kids to come and express themselves through their talent of Vogue runway and or whatever their heart desires. I am well rounded and rooted in my spiritual beliefs and have been an ordained Minister for the last 4 years and actively walk in my call that I believe is from God love is the message and I believe everyone deserves to hear and receive it. I am the first Black Transgender Women to Speak at the Bayard Rustin Breakfast, which is a breakfast put together by a community board, as well as I am the first and only Transwomen of color in Boston to receive the Marcel Christian Awards for Hiv/Aids Sti Prevention and community with in the Lgbtq community and as well as its Ballroom Community
Michelle James (running for Treasurer) – Michelle has a master’s in Business Administration from the STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, BROCKPORT. Some of her related coursework: Public School Budgeting, Finance, Administration, Accounting, Capital Projects, Cash Flow, Revenue Projection, Debt Obligation. Additionally, she has related skills and abilities in management as shown by her experience as the Chair of the Finance Committee, Falmouth Chorale. As part of that role she was responsible for COMMUNICATION and presented the monthly finance report to the Falmouth Chorale Board. She is proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint/Excel/Word, NY State School Accounting Software. She has served as the TREASURER | FALMOUTH CHORALE for 3 years. During that time she, developed and maintained of the annual budget, management of cash flow, preparation of taxes, preparation of annual audit, revenue projections, develop fund raising
Devanand Milton – I am an East Indian Trans activist and a member of the Trans Community in Guyana, South America, I have always advocated for the rights and wellbeing of Trans people. I am actively involved in the planning, implementation and oversight of HIV and AIDS in Guyana. My expertise lies in effectively providing coordination and provision of support services to overall management of the Social Change and Prevention programs at the Guyana Trans United (GTU), a nongovernmental organization. As the Prevention and Social Change Coordinator at GTU, I am responsible for the development, delivery and provision of capacity building initiatives that facilitate peer exchange and organizational development. Over the last nine years, I have been exposed to several professional training programs such as Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Training of Trainers by PEPFAR and Health Advocates Training for Key Populations by Cicatelli Associates Incorporated to name a few.
Having worked with the Guyana Trans United for more than nine years, I have established relationships with Tran’s networks across the world with the aim of building the capacity of local trans- led groups. I have the innate ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities with ease to garner successful results and deadlines. I am currently the Vice- Chair of the Guyana Global Fund Country Coordination Mechanism, a member of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and a Board member of the Global Network of Trans Women and HIV (IRGT). I have obtained formal education from Stewartville Secondary School and Nations University. At these institutions I obtained General Cambridge Certificates in the area of Science and a Diploma in Business Management and Finance from Cambridge University.
My motivation to serve in the Trans Club of New England is that I can affect change in the Trans world. My dream is to better the life my fellow Trans sisters and brothers around the world and to be a part of TCNE I will be better position to realize my dreams. I am continuously building the capacity of my Trans sisters and brothers across my region and given this opportunity will enable me to share my knowledge and experience globally. I currently advocate for the Trans Community on several boards.
At the Global LBGT Conference in Uruguay in July, 2016 and the TEACH Training- TRANS EDUCATION +ACTION= CAPACITY for Health hosted by the International Reference Group for Transgender (IRGT) AND Global Forum in Thailand in 2017, the need for continued capacity building was highlighted. I have spent the last ten years working assiduously in ensuring that the design, delivery of capacity building initiatives is not only user friendly but are of a high standard.
Ray Harrison Novak – Ray Harrison Novak is a Senior Analyst of Project Management in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston. A biracial, non-binary, and transmasculine member of the D&I team, Ray has represented Liberty Mutual at the HRC New England Gala, Dallas Black Tie, Boston Pride, and recurring speaking engagements at Bentley University and more. In their role, Ray manages a number of enterprise development programs including Men as Allies, Race & Ethnicity Collaboration, Generational Collaboration, Inclusion in Action, and D&I involvement in strengthening inclusive leadership. Ray has provided consultation on transitioning employee resources and the Pride@Liberty employee resource group, led efforts to secure Liberty’s first ever perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, and has received numerous awards for their programs. A 2013 alum of Smith College with a degree in The Study of Women & Gender (SWG), Ray is a loving partner and cat dad whose passions include global travel, distance running, photography and cooking, and learning about the experiences of others.
My experience as a biracial, non-binary, and transmasculine person has granted me a unique perspective and a deep appreciation for diversity, inclusion, and belonging. TCNE has been an invaluable resource and I honor the history and service of the organization to the community. Now I have the opportunity to put my privilege to work and give back through the skills and experience gained by my educational and professional background in diversity and inclusion, project management, and program leadership. Therefore, I am eager to assist in further growing TCNE and raising the public profile of the organization. Additionally, I dream of developing a mentorship and networking program to support our community members and activate allies for social change. It would be an honor to serve TCNE in this exciting time of change, growth, and opportunity to influence culture change in our region and in our world.