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Leadership

Equality North Carolina has a professional staff and dedicated team of interns working for you.

Our Staff

Brent Childers, Director of Faith Outreach

Brent Childers joined the Equality NC staff in October 2015 as Director of Faith Outreach. He has worked for the previous eight years as executive director of an LGBT advocacy organization dedicated to ending the unique harm caused to LGBT individuals, especially youth and their families, when certain religious teaching is used to justify and promote stigma and hostility.

Eshe Hamme, Director of Development

Eshe Hamme joined the Equality NC staff in May 2017 as the Director of Development and is responsible for the creation and execution of the development strategy for the organization. Eshe has dedicated her career toward the advancement of diversity and inclusion, global healthcare, and public policy and advocacy issues.

Tasia Jackson, Executive Assistant

Tasia Jackson joined the Equality NC staff in August 2017 as the Executive Assistant. She is responsible for the organizing, scheduling, and coordinating of the executive calendars as well as administrative and communication work for the team. Tasia currently resides in Charlotte, NC. She is a recent graduate of East Carolina University, where she studied Spanish and general science. She has a background in HR administration, teaching and nonprofiit work. She spends her time writing a lifestyle blog, traveling and tutoring Spanish to middle-school kids

Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director

Kendra R. Johnson is Equality NC's Executive Director. Prior to her appointment, Johnson worked as the Arkansas State Director for the Human Rights Campaign, where she led the organization’s Project One America effort across the state to bring equality to LGBTQ people. Using the resources of HRC and collaborating with local organizations, she worked to change hearts and minds, advance enduring legal protections, and build more inclusive institutions. Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College, in Atlanta, GA. After working over a decade as a journalist in Brazil, she obtained a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Her capstone project at UALR was titled, “HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs in Arkansas: A Needs Assessment.” Johnson also serves as Chair of the Board of Southerners on New Ground (SONG).

Shawn Long, Controller

T. Shawn Long joined the Equality NC staff in August 2006 as administrative coordinator and later became director of operations. He now works as Controller, handling the financial accounts, processing donations and bills, serving as office manager and handling general questions and requests, maintaining the member database, and helping coordinate event registration.

Maddie Majerus, Director of Organizing

Coming from a background of campus organizing in LGBT and reproductive justice work, Maddie joined Equality NC in April 2016 working within a coalition to repeal House Bill 2. She now serves at the Director of Organizing, building community relationships across our state.

Ames Simmons, Director of Transgender Policy

Ames Simmons is Equality NC’s Director of Transgender Policy. Ames identifies, advises staff about, and advocates for public policy on priority issues affecting the transgender community. Ames serves as a resource to connect trans and gender non-conforming people in North Carolina with resources via community engagement and public education and outreach. He joins Equality NC after more than a decade of in-house counsel practice at a healthcare consulting company based in Atlanta.

Our Boards

Our boards set organizational policy and goals, ensure the fiscal stability and success of the organizations, and select and supervise the Executive Director. We seek to maintain boards that represent the diversity of the community in terms of geography, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, age, disability, religion, and partisanship. CLICK HERE to view our Equality NC Foundation Staff and Board.

Equality NC Board

Paula Kohut (Chair, Wilmington)

Paula A. Kohut is the Chair of Equality NC and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2013. Paula is a shareholder in Kohut & Adams, PA in Wilmington, North Carolina where she practices law with a focus on trust and estate matters, as well as business law. Paula writes and presents on estate planning and administration, including issues unique to LGBTQ clients. Paula received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Irvine and JD from Wake Forest University School of Law, and is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Paula is a member of the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion and the Diversity and the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She is a board member of the Coastal Women Attorneys, a chapter of the North Carolina Women Attorneys.

Scott Taylor (Vice Chair, Chapel Hill)

Scott Taylor is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the C4 of Equality North Carolina. This is his fifth year on the Board, where he has also served as the Secretary of the C4, and on the Executive Committee. A multi generational North Carolinian, Scott has a passion for politics, and also serves as the Chair of the PAC Committee. This Committee makes recommendations to the Board for the Equality NC Voter Guide, which encompasses endorsements from the local level to the Congressional level, including the judiciary and ballot initiatives. Scott is an attorney, currently a sole practitioner, and lives in Chapel Hill, NC, where he also went to undergraduate school. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Scott served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Western Samoa, and also studied Japanese for two years at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Candis Cox (Secretary, Raleigh)

Candis Cox joined Equality NC's C4 board in 2016, where she serves as the secretary as well as sitting on the executive committee. Candis also sits on the board of the LGBT Democrats of Wake County and previously on the board of The Crape Myrtle Festival. Candis hold a BA in Sociology from NC State university. Candis has worked helping to develop inclusion policies for numerous Triangle and national organizations. As the sole transgender person to have met with Gov. McCory regarding HB2, Candis has received significant media attention, which she has uses to educate others on the need for inclusion and improving the lives of transgender individuals. She has been featured on outlets such as CNN and MSNBC, lending a transgender voice and perspective to issues. Candis personal time is spent enjoying the two things she loves, her family and travel.

Peter Barr (Treasurer, Charlotte)

Peter Barr, Equality NC's C4 Board Treasurer, joined the board in 2016. Between family and profession, he has little time for hobbies, but enjoys travel and reading. As the General Counsel at Rack Room Shoes, he has been invited to sit on a number of diversity panels and is never shy about expressing his opinions. He also spoke out at a city council meeting in support of Charlotte' LGBTQ anti-discrimination ordinance as a parent of a transgender man. His role as an LGBTQ parent was integral to his accepting his ENC board position. Another major impetus for joining ENC were the words of a another ally that this is the civil rights battle of our generation and that they wanted to be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they fought for human dignity against the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people.

Joaquin Carcaño (Durham)

Joaquín Carcaño ijoined Equality NC's C4 board in January 2018. He is the Director of Community Organizing for the Latinos in the Deep South program, an initiative of the Latino Commission on AIDS. Joaquín holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. After his undergraduate career, he worked as a Community Health Promotor for the US Peace Corps in Peru. Most recently, he worked at the University of North Carolina's Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases as a Project Coordinator of Enlaces por la Salud, an HIV linkage, engagement, and navigation program for Latino men and Latina transgender women in North Carolina. As a queer, transgender Mexican-American man, his goal is to continue to advocate and serve his communities so that liberation and fulfilling, rich lives are a reality for all.

Andrew Gerschutz (Durham)

Andy Gerschutz has been a member of Equality NC's board of directors since 2012. During his time on the Board, he has served as Treasurer and contributed to the strategic plan after the Amendment 1 fight. Prior to serving on the board, Andy worked with Equality NC to help plan the first Equality Gala and Conference in Durham, NC. Andy received his Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He moved to Chapel Hill, NC in 2000 to begin graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill. After graduating with a Masters degree in Biology, Andy started law school at Duke University. He has worked as a patent attorney in the Triangle area since graduating law school.

Julia (Julie) Merricks (Raleigh)

Julie Merricks is in her final year as a Board Member of the C4 of Equality NC. She previously has served as Secretary of the C4, as a member of the C4's Executive Committee, and as chair of ENC’s Governance Committee. Julie was born in West Virginia and moved to North Carolina to attend college and law school at UNC Chapel Hill. During her career, she has practiced law, operated a successful small business, and worked as a corporate legal counsel. She has served for decades on nonprofit boards, and always appreciates a chance to give back to her beloved state and community. She considers it an honor to serve on the ENC Board. Her personal mission is to work to change the hearts and minds of friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about the LGBTQ community. She lives with her long time partner (30+ years), now wife, and 3 dogs.

Andrew Spainhour (Greensboro)

Andrew Spainhour has served in many roles since first joining the Board in 2001, including Foundation Chair (2004-06), Board Nominations Chair (2015-17), and Executive Director Search Co-Chair (2017-18). His current assignment is Governance Committee Chair. A graduate of Davidson College and UNC School of Law, Andrew lives in Greensboro and is SVP, General Counsel of Replacements, Ltd. His other current community work includes serving First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, the Greensboro Public Library Foundation, the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Prior service includes work for the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Guilford Green Foundation, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Triad Health Project, and Triad Stage. To help fight North Carolina’s unconstitutional Amendment One, Andrew was a co-founder of the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. He enjoys meals with family and friends, yoga, long walks, yard work, reading, movies, and travel.

Tracy Ward (Clemmons)

Tracy L. Ward joined the Equality NC C4 Board in 2017 and is in her first term as Chair of the Board Development Committee. Tracy works full time as a Director, Talent Acquisition with The Fresh Market and holds additional offices with service organizations in her community.

She holds a Bachelor of Science from Winston Salem State University in Winston Salem, NC and started her professional career in behavioral health care, overseeing inpatient psychiatric units in NC, SC, and MS. Tracy obtained a Master of Science degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and shortly after shifted her career focus.

Over the last 14 years, Tracy's professional leadership experience has been in corporate HR with a specialty in Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement. She joined the Board to have a voice for the LGBTQ community in the fight for equality.

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ENC
P.O. Box 28768
Raleigh, NC 27611
tel (919) 829-0343
fax (919) 827-4573

info@equalitync.org

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