BOARD

Debbra Zucker

Chair

In her role as Board Chair, Deb leans on the experience she gained from more than 25 years as an executive in risk management and insurance with organizations such as Marsh, Willis & PepsiCo where she led diverse global teams, successful sales and customer relations initiatives and change management implementation teams. In addition, Deb has served on a variety of for-profit and non-profit boards most notably, Mountainview Insurance Company – one of Vermont’s largest captive insurance companies. She is also a co-founder and Co-President of LexPride, a local LGBTQ+ pride group in Lexington, MA. Rather than returning to the corporate world after leaving PepsiCo, Deb has chosen to volunteer her time and talents to help grow this amazing organization.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2017

Jon Hover

Vice Chair
Interim Treasurer

Jon brings more than 10 years of experience working in business strategy and operations, serving in roles over that time as both a management consultant and an internal operator. His work has spanned the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, working for mission-driven organizations at the intersection of small business and community impact. Throughout his career, he has partnered with numerous non-profit executive and board leadership teams on key initiatives as they have pursued strategic growth, organizational change, increased sustainability, and/or deeper impact. In his role as Vice Chair, Jon draws on this work to bring a diverse set of experience to the team spanning strategic business planning, operational management, and communications strategy. He is thrilled to be a part of the team, where he is able to blend his personal connection to PFLAG’s work and passion for local community impact toward such an important mission.

Pronouns: he/him/his
Board Member Since 2018

Alyssa Rayman-Read

Clerk

Alyssa Rayman-Read is currently Senior Advisor to Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), helping the organization scale its mission of driving decarbonization through systems change. Prior to her work with HEET, Alyssa served as Vice President and Director of CLF Massachusetts and has focused her career on reducing inequalities that undermine working families, and on protecting and enhancing the rights of vulnerable populations. Previously, she was Assistant General Counsel and Director of Labor Engagement at Northeastern University, advising the university’s senior executive team on labor relations, strategic communications, and organizational development.

Alyssa has investigated and prosecuted unfair labor practice complaints across New England at the National Labor Relations Board. Alyssa is a frequent speaker, educator, and advocate on gender and sexuality rights, and serves as Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.

Alyssa has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School, an MA from Union Theological Seminary where she received the Charles A. Briggs Award for “Courage, Conscious, and Commitment,” and her BA with honors from Swarthmore College. Following law school, Alyssa clerked for federal judge Francisco A. Besosa in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Before embarking on her legal career, Alyssa was a policy journalist, editor, and writer translating complex legal and legislative concepts to diverse audiences.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2020

Cassi Braithwaite

Cassi is the Director of Community Relations at Rogerson House, a memory care assisted living. Here, she helps older adults and their families navigate care options and difficult transitions, with compassionate problem-solving and thoughtful communication.  Cassi’s expertise extends to developing and organizing programs and events designed to advance organizational missions and goals while building and maintaining strong community relations. 

Cassi is currently a co-facilitator of Greater Boston PFLAG’s Parents and Caregivers of Youth 10 & Under Support Group. As a queer parent of a non-binary child, she understands the importance of building educational, supportive, and safe communities for our LGBTQIA+ youth. Cassi is thrilled to join the board and help support Greater Boston PFLAG and promote this important mission.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2022

Beth Donnell

Beth is currently a Director of Talent Management at Fidelity Investments with a focus on supporting the organization in building greater inclusivity in the workplace. Beth brings over 16 years of experience working in various roles from Legal Operations to Learning & Development to more recent roles in People Analytics, Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion. Beth is highly engaged with the employee resource groups and special interest groups at the firm and helped found a group supportive of working parents and caregivers called Raise. Over the past 5 years she has been instrumental in building the D&I strategy and built programming and supported adjustments to HR practices to better enable an inclusive workplace.

Beth is thrilled to be joining Greater Boston PFLAG and is excited to support their initiatives, offering her corporate experience and creative flare.

Beth draws upon her upbringing as a member of the Unitarian Universalist church where she learned through the OWL curriculum about the LGBTQ+ community. She feels it’s a priority for LGBTQ+ individuals to feel recognized, respected, safe, and to have a greater sense of belonging in the community so they can thrive as their authentic selves. As an ally, she feels it’s a great duty to continue to learn more, be open to coaching, and to support others on their journeys. As the parent of a young child, Beth strives to increase opportunities to read children’s books and watch media that depicts and has strong LGBTQ+ characters.

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Board Member Since 2021

Meryl Epstein

Meryl works as a partner in the corporate section at Mintz Levin in Boston where she is the Boston office’s Diversity Chair. She’s been on the Development Committee of Great Boston PFLAG since joining the Board in June, 2012. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, golf and all things foodie-related. Meryl and her partner, Trish Nuzzola, live in Newton and have three adult children between them.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2012

 

Maureo Fernandez y Mora

Maureo Fernandez y Mora currently serves as Associate State Director of Clean Water Action Massachusetts. Originally from New Mexico, Maureo began organizing around racial justice and queer/trans liberation in high school- and hasn’t stopped. In addition to their external organizing work, which has included community outreach for renewable energy campaigns in New Mexico, mutual aid work within QTPOC communities, and advocating for the removal of lead service lines in environmental justice communities in Massachusetts; they have taken on issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within every institution they’ve been a part of.

Maureo draws on their own experiences as a young non-binary trans person of color navigating systemic oppression to develop policies that bridge equity gaps and create working cultures that invite and honor people’s whole authentic selves. Maureo believes deeply in the power of relationships and community healing, which is why they are so excited to join Boston PFLAG and be part of an organization that works to support loving and respectful relationships between young LGBTQIA+ individuals and those that care for them. 

Maureo attended the United World College as a Davis Scholar, where they received an International Baccalaureate Diploma, as well as Smith College where they completed a BA in Government with a focus on international relations. When they aren’t working, Maureo enjoys cooking, moving their body, and making music. 

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Board Member Since 2020

Joanne Hooker

Joanne is a passionate advocate for marginalized and disenfranchised people, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ and voting rights issues. In recent years she has served as a helpline and 1-1 volunteer with GBPFLAG, providing support and resources to families of the greater Boston LGBTQ+ community. She has also led efforts to register voters and fight voter suppression in North Carolina, Georgia and Maine with several organizations and platforms.  In 2018, Joanne co-led the Massachusetts Yes on 3 campaign in Newton.

Earlier in her career, Joanne negotiated and managed distribution rights to WGBH programming, and designed, evaluated and implemented direct marketing programs at DIGITAS for several Fortune 500 companies. Joanne earned an MBA in marketing from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a BS from Tufts University. She lives in Newton with her husband and three grown children.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2020

Lori Schechner

Lori is a speaker and longtime advocate for the LBGTQ+ community with a focus on transgender youth. Previously, she worked for 17 years as the Director of Field Operations at The Research Firm, a NY based Market Research firm, which specialized in consumer product testing.

Lori is currently a board member of the Lexington Pride Coalition and the Inclusion Committee of Temple Emunah, both providing support and education for the LBGTQ+ community. She enjoys biking and traveling. Lori and her husband have two children and live in Lexington, MA.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2017

Ila Deshmukh Towery

 

Ila brings over 20 years of experience as an advocate for social justice issues in education to Greater Boston PFLAG. Ila has spent her career working to improve youth experiences and outcomes first as a youth worker and teacher and later as a researcher and policy and practice consultant focused on the intersection of equity and education reform. 

Currently a Partner at Education First Consulting, Ila leads with an equity lens on a range of issues, including whole child development, and is a nationally-recognized policy and strategy consultant. Ila serves as an advisor to many of the nation’s education leaders and currently sits on the Board of Transforming Education, a national nonprofit focused on advancing whole child development in school systems across the country. 

Ila holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Education from Swarthmore College and a PhD in Child Development from Tufts University, with specialization in program evaluation, human development (with a focus on race and gender identity development), and equity issues in schools. Ila is thrilled to join the Greater Boston PFLAG to bring her strategic planning and executive leadership experience to her local community in support of Greater Boston PFLAG’s critical mission.

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Board Member Since 2021

John Tweeddale

 

John leads a global higher education professional services team at Pearson providing a suite of comprehensive services to customers aligned to the customer life-cycle and has led numerous successful business transformation and organizational change efforts. Prior to his current role, he has held senior leadership roles in sales, marketing, and product management in North America and in Europe.

He is deeply committed to equity and inclusion and has served for more than four years as the Global Executive sponsor for Pearson Spectrum, an employee resource group supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies and was recognized in 2020 and 2021 by Yahoo! Finance and OUTstanding as one of their top 50 Global Executive Allies. John also leads Pearson’s disability mentorship program in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind.

John holds degrees in Economics and International Relations and continues to pursue new educational opportunities as a committed life- long learner. He has held board positions in a local community organization and a national charity organization and has volunteered as a coach, mentor and leader for youth sports and community organizations.

Pronouns: he/him/his
Board Member Since 2022

Eugene Zakharov

 

Eugene Zakharov is a Director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Consulting Practice with a focus on helping organizations of all sizes transform their business & operations and position them for growth and efficiency. Eugene works with organizations at all stages of transformation -from strategy to execution- and is excited seeing those ideas and strategies take shape and bring positive organizational benefits. 

Eugene is thrilled to be a part of Greater Boston PFLAG and to use his 15+ years of corporate experience and his connections to help Greater Boston PFLAG to continue its strategic growth and organizational change, and to deepen its community impact. Eugene is passionate about Greater Boston PFLAG’s mission of creating environments of understanding so that all people can live with dignity and respect. 

Eugene draws on his own experience growing up as a closeted gay man in the former Soviet Union where discrimination, prosecution and lack of equal civil rights are still prevalent today. He is excited to be a part of the organization that supports young LGBTQ+ individuals and those that care for them through enabling support groups and helplines, education and advocacy.

Pronouns: he/him/his
Board Member Since 2021

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