At the beginning of 2013, PERSAD CENTER welcomed 5 new members to our Board of Directors. It is exciting to have such a dedicated, intelligent group of individuals join the board. Their expertise and knowledge in a variety of fields strengthens our outreach efforts and leadership in the community. I’ve had the great pleasure to get to know them better recently and I would like to introduce each of them to you.
by Zandrea Ambrose, Ph.D.
Candi Castleberry Singleton came to Pittsburgh almost 6 years ago to become the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at UPMC. She grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in the San Francisco bay area, Philadelphia, and Chicago. After receiving a bachelor's degree in legal studies from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University, Candi graduated from the Stanford University Human Resources Executive Program. As an active member of the community since her days at UC Berkeley, she looked for organizations in Pittsburgh to continue her commitment to serve diverse communities. In asking about LGBTQ organizations and opportunities to support local efforts, many people suggested she connect with PERSAD Executive Director Betty Hill. "After any conversation with Ms. Hill, you can't help but want to support the mission of PERSAD," Candi said. "I've been an ally ever since." She is passionate about connecting UPMC, the largest healthcare provider in the region, to PERSAD's efforts to improve the well-being of the LGBT community. In addition, she strongly supports local and state legislation that promotes equality for all and reduces discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
John Kandray is a project manager in the Pittsburgh office of Ernst & Young. Originally from Youngstown, OH, John went to The Ohio State University and the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. He received a bachelor's degree in communications and became an interpreter in American Sign Language for severely handicapped deaf students. John specializes in development of Ernst & Young's global knowledge center and global communications. He is also very active in the company's LGBTQA network and its diversity and inclusion initiatives. He heard about PERSAD after moving to Pittsburgh many years ago and became both a consumer of services and a contributor to the organization. He agreed to serve on the board of directors because he believes PERSAD's services are essential to the health of the community and wanted to give back to the organization, using his communications skills and his relationships in the corporate world. John feels strongly in building and leveraging relationships with LGBTQ allies and ensuring that business policies are equitable for all. He looks forward to serving on PERSAD's Advocacy Committee and also serves on the GLCC board. When he is not working at Ernst & Young or in his many volunteer activities in the LGBTQ community, John practices kung fu and rock climbing and enjoys camping with his partner and two dogs.
Chris Pritchard is currently a senior relationship manager and vice president of PNC Bank. He has a B.A. in English from Siena College and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Albany, NY, Chris first moved to Pittsburgh in 1997 to work for Goldman Sachs (Ayco Company) but then left for Chicago. But he could not stay away for long, returning in 2009 to work at PNC. He first heard about PERSAD from a colleague at work, board member Paul Block, and attended Art for AIDS (now Art for Change) in the early 2000s. More recently, PERSAD reached out to Chris for corporate sponsorship from PNC for Art for Change, which he was able to secure. He agreed to serve on the board because he believes PERSAD's services are critical to the LGBTQ community, particularly its counseling for "coming out." He wants to make sure individuals and families in Western Pennsylvania know these important programs are available to them. Chris enjoys reading, working out, and playing sports.
Ron Senerius retired as a Latin and Spanish teacher after 25 years, but he is still active in teaching English as a second language both here and abroad. Ron's hometown is Toledo, OH, but he has lived in the Pittsburgh area for over 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo, has an M.S. from Robert Morris University, and has a M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh. Ever the student and eager to learn, he continues to take courses at Pitt, including Portuguese, Music of the Beatles, and Politics of the 1960s. Ron and his partner, Mike, have been longtime supporters and volunteers of PERSAD, knowing several board members socially prior to this year. As an educator, Ron hopes his interest and skills in education can help advance PERSAD's Safe Schools and anti-bullying mission and he has joined the Advocacy Committee. He also volunteers for Highmark Caring Place, a center for grieving children and their families, and he enjoys staying active, taking photographs, and spending time with his large family. Fluent in 8 languages (and counting!), Ron travels extensively all over the world and is looking forward to testing his Portuguese during upcoming trips to Portugal and Brazil.
Steve Sokoloski is a regional account representative for Comcast Spotlight, in which he provides advertising time to regional and national clients for television. Steve came to Pittsburgh from his hometown of Scranton in 1999 to attend LaRoche College, where he received a degree in Communication Media & Technology. He first heard about PERSAD when he was invited by a friend to attend Art for Change several years ago. After graduating from Leadership Pittsburgh, Steve was contacted by PERSAD board member Susan Nitzberg through its Board Matching program. He agreed to serve on the board because he is passionate about the PERSAD mission and has joined the Visibility Committee. In addition to serving on the boards for his neighborhood and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, he enjoys caring or his dog, gardening, and attending concerts. In addition, he is an avid runner having run marathons in 18 different states with his twin sister.