IAN STANLEY
PROGRAM DIRECTOR

As Program Director, Ian is responsible for leading the vision and implementation of LGBTQ Connection's program development, evaluation, marketing, outreach, fundraising, staffing, and volunteers. Programmatically, Ian specifically oversees the steering committee, seniors discussion group, best practices workshops, equality alliance, and public relations.

Who is someone you admire, and why?
My mother--and not just because I'm supposed to say that. My boldness, entrepreneurial spirit, nurturing, push for connection and meaning seeking (and my obsessive attention to detail and special moments) all come from her example and inspiration.

If you could trade lives with a mythical, scifi, or fantasy character, who would it be and why?
I always wanted to be Evie Garland from the 80s TV series, Out of this World. She could stop and restart time as needed and talk to her dad on another planet through a special cube.

What would be impossible for you to give up?
A good internet connection.

What inspired you to found LGBTQ Connection?
I grew up here in Napa and didn't know of any "out and proud" LGBTQ people, didn't see any LGBTQ community here, and never seemed to hear anyone talk about LGBTQ people in a positive way. Coming out of the closet as gay didn't seem like an option, and I was not able to be open to any of my friends, loved ones or caring adults about that part of my identity until my late 20s. Later, most of my professional career has been community-oriented work and after starting an LGBTQ support group at VOICES Napa a few years back, I felt compelled to take this work to the next level and LGBTQ Connection was born!

What’s your favorite kind of candy?
Dark chocolate with salted caramel center.


ELISEO RIVAS
PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Eliseo is responsible for the development, training and support of LGBTQ Connection's youth leadership teams in Napa and Sonoma Counties. The Youth Leadership Teams work with the coordinator to implement community events, advocate for policy change, host youth events, facilitate regular LGBTQ youth get-togethers (Q*Youth at VOICES Napa and Umbrella Union at VOICES Sonoma), train schools and districts to support LGBTQ students, empower and network middle and high school-based Gay Straight Alliance club student leaders and teacher advisors, and connect struggling families to critical information and supportive resources.

What inspired you to work at LGBTQ Connection?
What inspires me to work with LGBTQ Connection is the fact that I have been given so much support from Queer Communities, and now I try to actively give back, through volunteering, writing, connecting, or creating. The longer story is…I wasn’t out until college and kept a lot inside growing up in order to be respectful of my family. In college, I found a community that I belonged to and could be my whole self. The friends I made, the ideas I came across, and the community I built allowed me to be myself in all the richness of my complexities. After college, I made a commitment that wherever I lived, I would help build spaces for people like myself. I found LGBTQ Connection, volunteered for a project, and the rest is history. 

If you could trade lives with a mythical, scifi, or fantasy character, who would it be and why?

I would definitely want to trade lives with Ender from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender enters a military academy for genius children to fight the threat of Alien invasions. He is a fierce fighter with an abundance of empathy and strategy.

What inspires you?

My strong mother inspires me to care for others. 

My fun step dad inspires me to be inventive. 

My smart sister inspires me to do more. 

My architect brother inspires my fashion sense. 

My military brother inspires me to think.

My college brother inspires me to give back. 

My little brother inspires me to have fun and play.

What's your favorite kind of candy?

My favorite kind of candy is the mango chili lollipops. They combine my love for spicy (like hot cheetos) and sweet (like ice cream) and this treat does just the trick. You lick all the red hardened spicy powder off the lollipop and then dive into a yellow mango flavored pop. 

What would be impossible for you to give up?

It would be impossible for me to give up the ocean. I grew up in San Diego and have vivid summers of spending entire days at the beach: building sandcastles, riding giant waves, getting snacks stolen by seagulls and having bonfires late into the night. A trip to the beach makes me feel happy.


YOUTH LEADERSHIP TEAMS
NAPA & Sonoma COUNTIES

LGBTQ Connection is building an intergenerational community movement fueled by youth and young adult leadership. Our Youth Leadership Teams (YLTs) empower youth to take action now, to identify and prioritize LGBTQ needs and to facilitate a response. The teams are a critical part of a pipeline of leadership development and are core to sustaining efforts that are connected and matter. If you are an LGBTQ or ally youth or young adult in Napa, Sonoma or Monterey County, and are interested in being part of our LGBTQ Youth Leadership Teams, contact ian@lgbtqconnection.org.