Staff and Board of Directors 2016 – 2017
Erik is Artistic Director for Bridging Voices, and brings a rich background in performing and teaching arts. Erik grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska in a time of strong commitment to arts education, and has been working as a teaching artist his entire adult life. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Idaho (1994), and a Master of Music from Temple University (2001) where he held a teaching assistantship for two years. Erik has taught private voice, Voice for the Actor, and Class Voice for instrumental music majors. He assisted with first year music theory and ear training courses, as well as a variety of choirs, ranging from the traditional to barbershop to jazz ensembles. Erik has also been involved in performing, staging, casting or producing more than 100 shows across the country, and his students have gone on to major universities, national tours, and prime time television (Glee).
Erik moved to New York after completing his Bachelor’s degree, and lived on the East coast for eighteen years, working as Performer, Music Director, Vocal Director, Private Studio Teacher, Stage Manager, and Assistant Director with regional theater and opera companies from Massachusetts to Mississippi. He has sung with ensembles and as soloist in many historic churches and concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, Christ Church Philadelphia, Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn Heights, and Sutton Place Synagogue.
Erik’s students and casts have ranged in age from five to seventy five years of age, and he has worked with both youth and adult theater groups. Locally, Erik worked as a Staff Singer and member of the Chamber Singers at Trinity Cathedral from 2013-2015, performed with Reader’s Theatre Repertory, and has been a member and soloist of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus since 2011.
Mark is the former managing partner of McDonald Jacobs, a local accounting firm. McDonald Jacobs serves businesses, individuals and over 120 not-for-profit agencies. Mark joined the firm in 1999 to assist and lead the tax practice and became the managing partner of the firm in 2008.
Mark moved to Portland and started his public accounting career in 1991 and soon joined the board of Our House of Portland. He has also served on the board of Friends of the Performing Arts Center, the American Advertising Museum, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Portland Advertising Federation, and the Cascade Aids Project. Mark is currently a board member of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus as well as Bridging Voices.
He enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. But music has been at the center of his interests and passion. He sings in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus as well as other small music groups and plays the flute and piano.
Cheryl has worked more than 16 years in the Human Resources/Staffing Industry. A senior leader with a strong business background recognized for creative solutions to streamline processes, most recently as IT Director for a global staffing firm, she began her career as a social worker in Louisiana, transitioning to staffing when she moved to Portland in 2000. The transition from social work into staffing enabled her to help people in Portland expand their skill sets and find work.
She has been a champion for her company’s global Win 4 Youth program, raising money for various children’s organizations across the globe, and volunteers locally as a Court Appointed Advocate (CASA) for Clackamas County. As a CASA she helps local children in foster care by working with the child, parents, guardians, social workers and therapists to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system.
Cheryl’s involvement with Bridging Voices began when she joined the GALA 2016 team as liaison to GALA Choruses, spearheading organization and arrangements that ultimately led to 26 singers and six chaperones traveling to Denver as for a life-changing week of seeming nonstop performance and practice. It’s proved to be a natural fit; Cheryl has found inspiration and purpose contributing to the growth of this young organization where LGBTQ and Allied youth share a safe, nurturing space to sing and have fun!
Matthew is Grants Manager at Central City Concern. He recently moved to Portland in July 2014 from Missoula, Montana, where he founded Home ReSource, a non-profit building materials re-use center (www.homeresource.org.) Matt served as Executive Director of Home ReSource for nine years. He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In the early 1990’s, Matt wrote and directed educational plays and musicals for the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, which employed high-school-age performers to educate young visitors. He still maintains a passion for music, composing and playing piano as an avocation.
Christine was an Art Director, and freelance Graphic Designer in San Francisco, CA, producing a variety of projects. A move to Portland, found Christine desperately updating a misunderstood mid-century modern house and volunteering with the Oregon Humane Society and a greyhound adoption group until becoming a mother of two active children. For the last decade she has volunteered extensively at various schools, in and outside the classroom, and helped to raise needed funds to support the monumental work of educators. She is also currently a board member of Bridging Voices and mom to one of the singers. She very much enjoys traveling with her husband and children; and sharing her love of art, rescued dogs, genealogy and – thanks to Portland designer, Norman Zimmer – passive solar homes.
As Field Director for the Cascade Pacific Council, Boy Scouts of America, Gary brings years of experience in the Arts and Public Service to Bridging Voices. His current responsibilities include managing all of the Scouting programs in Multnomah and Clackamas counties. In addition, he is responsible for creating Scouting and outdoor opportunities for youth of color in the entire Portland Metro area. During his tenure, he has taken youth and adult volunteers camping on Mt. Hood, to an outdoor adventure course on the Oregon Coast, horseback riding, and to a nationally recognized Scout camp in West Virginia. Gary has been a part of numerous service projects including refurbishing homeless shelters, clearing invasive plants, blood drives, and food collection for families during the Holiday season.
Gary has been actively involved in Scouting since grade school. He earned the rank of Life Scout and served on the summer camp staff at Goshen Scout Reservation for fifteen years. When he started working professionally for the Boy Scouts of America, he was consistently one of the most successful unit serving executives and he even created a mentoring program, focused on growing entry-level professionals to their fullest potential, that was adopted in other Councils.
Gary also holds a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from George Mason University. When he is not working with the Boy Scouts, he volunteers his time and talent to make music with the Rose City Gay Freedom Band, the Jewish Community Orchestra, and Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band. Since arriving in Portland he has been committed to serving this community and its people and shares this passion and enthusiasm with all he meets.
Adam B. Schecter
Adam currently serves as the Executive Director of Bridging Voices, a position that he sees as an opportunity to support and celebrate the possibilities of LGBTQ youth in the Portland area. As Executive Director, Adam coordinates the business elements of the chorus while growing and maintaining relationships with singers, families and community members who support the mission of the chorus. Also a member of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Adam is an educator with over 25 years of experience in private and supplemental school settings working with students ages 4 through 18.
Adam has developed curricula, trained educators, and coordinated significant community service projects that have supported homeless and hungry youth in the Portland area. Adam is also skilled with technology and has taught educational technology classes and has provided consultation for over ten years. As a gay man and singer, Adam believes passionately in the mission of the chorus as he has often thought of how his life would have been impacted if there had been a GSA youth chorus in his community when he was a young man.
Kelly has been joyfully involved with the non-profit sector for ten years, specifically engaging in the homeless community. Currently Program Manager (since 2013) for Fan of the Feather, a transitional program for homeless Veterans in San Marcos, CA, Kelly was part of the team working with homeless families for North County Solutions for Change in Vista, CA from 2006-2012. Active with Project Homeless Connect, for the past six years Kelly has helped to provide free basic medical, dental, and other valuable supportive services for over 800 homeless individuals through this annual community outreach event in San Diego County.
Kelly’s experience extends to all areas of running a non-profit organization. A primary focus is seeking out opportunities for community support through outreach and events, recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers. Kelly has also been on the planning committees for annual fundraising Galas raising over $3,000,000, with guest speakers including Condoleezza Rice and Rudy Giuliani.
Kelly is proud to be a part of Bridging Voices and looks forward to its amazing future!
Margot is the current Director of Development Operations and Annual Giving at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. She moved to Portland at the end of 2014 from Pittsburgh, PA where she had a robust career in non-profits focused on women’s and LGBTQ rights. She holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and has been a human rights advocate for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Pittsburgh, she spent 15 years as a student with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and participated in a number of musicals. She has experience in choreography and a love for the performing arts that she is excited to share with the youth of Bridging Voices!
Rev. Nathan Meckley
Nathan is Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Portland. A gifted preacher, teacher, and professionally trained musician, Nathan has been active in MCC ministry since 1983. Upon achieving the Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology in 2003, he was ordained as an MCC Clergyperson and served diverse congregations in California and Florida before moving to Portland in 2008. He served as adjunct faculty at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, and taught courses, workshops and seminars in numerous settings. Nathan also studied classical singing, earning a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Nathan’s musical background, long-term experience with LGBTQA communities, and his commitment to the well-being of LGBTQA youth and adults, all converge in his strong commitment to growing and strengthening Bridging Voices.
Steve is a long time supporter of local music and the arts. Born and raised in Portland, Steve has over thirty years of experience in the Health Insurance industry, and five years ago launched a consulting company focused on bringing diversity training and client perspective to two key areas: helping people on Medicare and Medicaid understand their healthcare options and choose their best plan, and working with Insurance Carriers to improve plan Enrollment, Retention, Sales and Marketing.
Steve has worked on several community Boards both personally and professionally, and currently serves on the SAGE Portland Advisory Board, helping older LGBTQ adults to understand and identify safe places to age, and advocating for changes that will improve the lives of all older people.
Steve lives in the Bethany Village area of Portland with his husband and their three dogs. They enjoy traveling in their spare time and when in warmer climates – scuba diving.
Kiersten has been a member of the Bridging Voices Board for over two years. Human Resources professional, Kiersten has been with Nike, Inc. for eleven years, currently serving as a Human Resources Manager supporting North America Direct to Consumers at the World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Prior to Nike, Kiersten was HR Generalist at Target and Safeway, specializing in sexual harassment and discrimination investigations.
A huge sports fan and animal lover, Kiersten is also on the Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. She is affiliated with other local nonprofits including Oregon Primate Rescue, Magical Wheelchair, Oregon Zoo Foundation, Oregon Humane Society and Project Pooch. Kiersten is also an Executive Trustee on her family’s foundation. Her best days are spent with Damon, her husband of 20 years, their daughter Daylee (one of Bridging Voices’ founding members), and their dogs. Kiersten and her family are committed to the success of Bridging Voices, and hope you are too!
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
Jennifer is the mother of three children. Her youngest, William, came out as gay when he was 12. An active member of the LDS Church, Jennifer had neither experience nor understanding of the lives of those who are gay. Searching for groups to help her as the mother of a gay child, she discovered Bridging Voices. Immediately impressed by the impact it had on her son, she has been an ardent advocate ever since. She is a member of several LGBTQ social support groups for LDS, including the Mama Dragons and “I will walk with you.”
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
Kim is Jennifer’s husband and William’s dad. He has been on the same journey as his wife. Kim is a CPA, member of the Tax Executive Institute, and Director of Taxes at XPO Logistics (formerly Con-way) – one of the largest transportation and logistics providers in the world. Kim serves on the board of his local high school parent organization and is active in the LDS Church.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
Reid is a retired therapist based in Portland, Oregon. During the course of his career, he has worked with over 450 people asking, “How do I want to live my life?” in the context of gender identity. Reid received an M.A. in Counseling Psychology (specialization Transpersonal Psychology) from John F. Kennedy University’s Graduate School for Holistic Studies in 2001. He is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (formerly Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association), and the International Foundation for Gender Education.
An active member of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Reid is also on the board of PFLAG Portland, and in recent years has provided workshops on trans inclusivity for various GALA choruses and conferences. Reid teaches Continuing Education classes (accredited by Portland State University) on issues pertaining to LGBTQ identity and issues around various aspects of the transition process. In addition to two journal articles and numerous book chapters, Reid has authored two books: Transition and Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity, and Journeys of Transformation: Stories from Across the Acronym.