Staff and Board of Directors
Erik Gullickson is thrilled to be in his fourth season as AD of Bridging Voices! A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Erik has worked in the arts for more than thirty years as performer, teacher, director, and stage manager on over 100 productions across the country.
Based on the East coast for most of the 90s and 00s, Erik has sung with ensembles and as soloist in many historic concert halls and churches including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, Christ Church Philadelphia, and Plymouth Congregational Church. Since moving to Portland he has performed with Trinity Chamber Singers, Reader’s Theatre Repertory, and the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, most recently serving as a member of the conducting staff for PGMC’s historic tour of China.
Erik has maintained a private studio since 1994, and his students have found success at major universities, national tours, and prime-time television (Glee). Erik earned a B.M. in Voice Performance from the University of Idaho, and an M.M. in Voice and Opera from Temple University.
Margot Martin is the Development Director at Basic Rights Oregon. 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.
Cheryl Jones has worked more than 18 years in the Human Resources/Staffing Industry. In her current role as National Director of Human Resources for Friends of the Children, she helps offices across the country fulfill Friends of the Children’s mission to stop generation poverty. She also volunteers locally as a Court Appointed Advocate (CASA) for Clackamas County advocating for children in foster care.
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
Rev. Nathan Meckley 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.
Tom McGinnis has served in various finance and operation roles during his 27 year career. He has served on various non-profit boards in Portland. Tom is excited to now be Treasurer for Bridging Voices and to support an organization that provides a positive forum for LGBT youth.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Oscar Clark is a Portland Oregon-based Vice President in healthcare who has created and implemented many successful youth and early adult programs in the community. Oscar graduated from Portland State University with an undergrad in Child and Family Studies and a Masters in Social Work. Oscar has a passion for youth’s wellbeing and has volunteered at Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) and Life Work’s Transition Ages Youth (TAY) program.
Gary Carroll is Field Director for the Cascade Pacific Council, Boy Scouts of America, and 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. As a professional, he has consistently been one of the most successful unit serving executives. One of the programs he created has been adopted throughout the organization, a mentoring program focused on growing entry-level professionals to their fullest potential.
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.
Sara Hepler is the mother of three busy teens. Her son has been a part of the Bridging Voices choir since Jan 2017. When Sara isn’t running her kids around to choir, play practices and all their activities she is a substitute teacher at the local school district. Teaching is in her blood as the majority of her family members are teachers. Sara is also a community activist and runs a progressive group online and in her home. They meet and plan ways to positively impact their community. Sara is an avid reader, a lover of learning and a traveler. There is always a trip being planned for the future.
Sara grew up about 30 minutes south of Portland. There she met her husband when they were in preschool together. They moved to Portland to attend Portland State University and then later graduated from Concordia University in Education. They started their family in SE Portland but later moved back to their small hometown to be near grandparents, uncles, aunts, lots of cousins and longtime friends.
Sara is not musically inclined but plays a mean ukulele around the campfire or kid songs in the classroom. She has a deep appreciation for any of the arts and knows the value of experiencing them on a regular basis. She enjoys her time at Bridging Voices rehearsals with all the singers. Sara sees Bridging Voices as a safe community for LGBTQ+ youth where they can come to be accepted, a place to grow and to find support.
Heidi Esbensen is a Sociology professor at multiple local colleges with a focus on Sociology of Gender and Sexuality. She incorporates Community Based Learning into her curriculum for classes with multiple opportunities for students to step out of the classroom and into advocacy, volunteer, and community spaces. She is also a single parent to two kids and spends time within their schools and activities as a community partner and volunteer. Her eldest is a member of the BV choir who has greatly benefited from the amazing support and creative outlet that it has provided them.
Heidi also works with an afterschool program bringing music exposure, vocal opportunities, musical theatre and dance to youth in grades K-8 where they have previously had limited options for such experiences. She also works with their musical theatre club and has volunteered as a production member and co-director in past productions, and will be directing and on production teams for future shows. She has a long history of music as part of her life, beginning from the moment she knew she had a voice, through a cappella and other choirs in high school, playing multiple instruments throughout her life and spending some time as a folk musician. She still plays and sings often with her kids and friends!
Working for and with the youth of Bridging Voices is a highlight to her life, and fits with her ideals of not only a commitment to the LGBTQ community, but also to creating chosen family, building confidence, skills, and artistic expression that she feels passionately about.
Terran Williams is a Senior Program Manager at a higher education-centered software company, Technolutions. Prior to this, he served for eleven years at Reed College as an Associate Dean of Admission. A first-generation college graduate with a BA in English, Terran is passionate about reducing barriers to education for underserved populations. He has shared his work on helping transgender and gender-diverse students navigate the transition to college with audiences at national admission conferences. You might run into Terran singing baritone with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, putting in hours with the Urban Farm Collective, or helping to teach introductory self-defense classes at One With Heart. He makes a point of being visible as a trans adult in forums where LGBTQ youth and their families may be looking for resources, support, or just high fives.
Kelly Gutierrez 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!
Jennifer Pearson 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.”
Kim Pearson 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.
Kiersten Shaw has been a member of the Bridging Voices Board for four years. A 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!
Reid Vanderburgh 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.