Board of Directors
Wayne Cassard is the System Director of Human Resources for The Valley Health System, where he provides oversight and develops strategy for Human Resources and Education for the five hospital system that includes Centennial Hills Hospital, Summerlin Hospital, Valley Hospital, Spring Valley Hospital, and Desert Springs Hospital. Prior to joining The Valley Health System, Wayne lived and worked in California for fifteen years where he held Human Resources executive leadership positions with Tenet Healthcare, Providence Health System, and Kaiser Permanente. He has a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Administration from Nicholls State University. Wayne currently serves on the Board of Directors for Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow (FIT) and is a Federal Club Member of HRC. Wayne has previously served as Chairman of the Board in California for the Tenet Federal Credit Union and was a Board member with the Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs. He was also President of The Healthcare Human Resources Management Association of California and served on their Board for several years before moving to Nevada. Wayne is originally from Louisiana where he met his partner of 24 years, Doug Babin. They have a home in Summerlin and have been Las Vegas residents since 2007.
Joseph Oddo, Jr. is a Manager for Cox Communications, with focus on business-to-business acquisition and retention. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a very large Italian-American family, Joe and his family relocated to Las Vegas in 1994. Since 2009, Joe has served as the Cox Las Vegas LGBTQ Champion, organizing the company’s PRIDE entries and maximizing employee engagement. When Cox launched its nationwide Employee Resource Groups, Joe was tapped to lead LGBTQ Programs and Events across the country. In addition to his work with the LGBTQ community, Joe is the Captain of the Cox Southwest Region Diversity Council’s Customer Pillar and remains active in the Cox Charities Grant Advisory Committee. For his outstanding achievements, Joe has been the recipient of the 2015 Association of Cable Communicators Beacon Award for Cause Marketing; a Jim Robbins Leadership Award winner on multiple occasions; SNAPI Pride Superstar; Community Champion for Cox Business, and has led Cox to 5 PRIDE Night Parade Awards, including Grand Diva. Joe’s non-profit board experience also include the Vestry for Grace in the Desert Episcopal Church where he oversaw Communications and Stewardship. Joe, and his husband Timothy, have been together since 2009 and were the first couple to be legally married at Grace in the Desert Episcopal Church in 2014. In 2016, Joe and Timothy ecstatically welcomed their children Malaya and Zayn to their family. Additionally, several “fur babies” round out their family — two cats, Nala and Jasmine, and three dogs, Stella, Chloe and Vinny. Joe is humbled to serve on the Board for The Center and is excited to leverage his leadership, business, marketing and communication skills to help advance The Center’s mission.
Donya Monroe has been in the Financial Services and Wealth Management field for over 25 years. Prior to starting her own Independent firm, Monroe Williams & Associates, Inc. Donya worked at Merrill Lynch for many years As a Financial Advisor. Donya was also the founding member of MWA Wealth Management & Investment Advisory group. Donya also has been an Independent Insurance Agent for over 15 years. Donya’s interest and commitment in serving communities that lack economic empowerment and representation was highlighted when she served as President & Executive Director of a local non-profit organization in North Las Vegas which provided low income housing, community development and counseling to low to moderate income individuals and families. Donya has served on a variety of community and educational Boards and was a founding Executive Board Member and Vice President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business Alumni Organization. Donya and her wife, April, of 22 years enjoy family, travel and new adventures. As a 34 year resident of Las Vegas Donya is excited about the opportunity to serve as Treasurer and Board Member of The Center and is honored to serve the LGBTQ Community of Nevada.
Wendy Kraft, founder of Kraft-Sussman Funeral Services, Las Vegas’ Gay owned Funeral Home, joined The Center Board in 2014. A long-time community leader, Wendy is currently on the board of the Southern Nevada Continuity of Care Association & LAMBDA as well as on the Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign – Las Vegas. She is a past Board Member of Jewish Family Service Agency, Senior Citizen Law Project & Hadassah to name a few. She and her wife, Laura Sussman, are the mothers of Elyse, Leah & Emma, three strong, socially conscious women.
Nelson Araujo is a proud Nevada native. Born in Las Vegas to parents who fled the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s for a better life in the United States, Nelson was raised on 28th Street in a single-parent household. His mother, a union member to this day, woke up at the crack of dawn every morning to get Nelson and his sister ready, take them to their caretaker and then go on to work long shifts as a hotel housekeeper. Despite not being able to speak English and lacking transportation, she worked tirelessly to ensure that her children had the basic resources they needed to succeed. Inspired by his mother, Nelson sought to accomplish his dreams of bringing his family out of poverty by succeeding in school. Nelson is the first in his family to graduate high school and obtain his bachelor’s degree in communication studies and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. From an early age, Nelson realized that there were many parts of our community that needed change, so he became involved in community and civic engagement opportunities. In 2007, he began working for the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, where he helped establish and manage the Senator’s statewide foreclosure prevention assistance efforts. In 2011, Nelson joined Financial Guidance Center, Nevada’s largest HUD-approved non-profit agency. There, he was responsible for oversight of Home Again: Nevada Homeowner Relief Program, a statewide program sponsored by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General intended to connect Nevadans to much-needed housing resources. By the time he left the Financial Guidance Center, the Home Again program had helped 10,000 homeowners. Recently, Nelson joined United Way of Southern Nevada as Senior Director of the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition. He works to create systemic change by bringing various sectors together to collectively change a child’s life, from cradle to career. In his spare time, Nelson volunteers for various organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Nevadans through advocacy and activism. Nelson currently serves on the board of directors for the Financial Guidance Center, Nevada Gives and Golden Rainbow. He is also the former Political Committee Co-Chair for the Las Vegas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. Nelson is a proud son, brother and uncle.
Senator Kelvin Atkinson
Kelvin Atkinson was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the second of three children. Kelvin finished junior high school and high school in Culver City, California. After graduating high school, Kelvin attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he began doing community service. During his second semester of his junior year, Kelvin received a horrifying telephone call from his mother early one morning notifying him that his father had just been murdered. Kelvin was devastated and left school that semester to return to Los Angeles to be with his family. He was very fond of his father, as Kelvin states “he was the best father any child could have, he was my best friend”. Kelvin’s grandparents decided to move to Las Vegas in 1991 not wanting to live in Los Angeles any longer after their son was murdered. Kelvin followed and enrolled in UNLV where he continued to study Political Science. Kelvin always knew that he wanted to help people and in 1992 began working for local government. He is still a county employee and has been with them for over 23 years now. In 1996, Kelvin received the greatest blessing of his life when his daughter Haley was born. Haley was in the Clark County School system from K-12th grade, excelled in her studies and is proud to be a product of the Clark County School system. Elected as our representative: First elected to the Assembly in 2002, Kelvin has proven that he is a true leader. He received a grade of “B” from his peers after his first legislative session and is proud that during the session, which lasted 157 days, he never missed a vote. After his freshman legislative session, Kelvin was chosen from a field of 125 candidates, as one of 40 new legislators to attend the Western Legislative Academy (WLA). The goal of the WLA is to help newer legislators become more effective and to build stronger state institutions. Kelvin was such a standout at the academy that at the conclusion of the five-day training, he was elected as the 2003 Class President. After serving a decade in the Nevada State Assembly, Kelvin decided to run for the State Senate and in 2012, Kelvin was elected into the Nevada Senate by almost 80% of the votes. Elected by his peers in the West, Kelvin is presently the Council of State Governments Vice Chairman and will become the Chairman in 2017. He will become the first African American to ever lead this organization in its 83 year history. In October of 2014, after the 9th Circuit Court of Nevada struck down the prohibition of Same Sex Marriage, Kelvin and his partner/best friend of 7 years, Sherwood “Woody” Howard made history by becoming the first same sex couple to get married in the state of Nevada.
Raul Daniels is a proud immigrant from Mexico and has lived in Las Vegas for over 30 years and an active member of our community. Currently, Raul is the Vice President of Catering & Events at Palms Casino Resort and is responsible for planning and executing corporate events, social and charity galas, weddings and concerts. Raul first came to The Center in 1995 when he became a member of The Center’s Youth Group at age 16. He attributes his life’s path and values to the vast influence the Youth Group had on his early years. Raul attended UNLV and Florida International University, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and an Associate’s Degree in French. Raul’s passion for hospitality and events has allowed him to expand his career and grow as a leader in the industry. By utilizing his creative skills, food and wine knowledge, and extensive customer service skills, Raul has had the privilege of planning events for brands such as Uber, Nike, Virgin America, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, among others. Raul married the love of his life, Ace Daniels, in a beautiful ceremony in Laguna Beach in 2013 and they became fathers to their amazing son Alec in May 2016. Together, they are Federal Club Members of HRC, volunteers at AFAN and Street Teens, Big Brothers Big Sisters and dedicated to supporting the arts in Las Vegas.
Milo Miloscia grew up part of a big Italian family in New York. In 1990 he moved to Florida for college and in 1996 to Los Angeles. Soon after arriving he was hired to work for famed Hollywood film producer Robert Evans (best known as producer of Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, and Chinatown). This was an incredible & somewhat surreal time…watching movies weekly with Jack Nicholson & Warren Beatty and listening to stories by some of the best story tellers of all time. It was also during this time that he came out of the closet. He stayed with Mr. Evans until September 1999, when he started a 12+ year long relationship with The Andrew Hewitt Company as Senior Vice President. The company is one of the most successful and long-lived independent promoting companies in the United States. As exclusive promoters at The Hollywood Bowl, he was able to bring the best of today’s pop & rock icons including artists like Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Radiohead, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti, Sting and Roger Waters to the stage. In Las Vegas a new business model was created by producing stadium and arena shows in small 2,000 capacity spaces hosting such music icons as The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, The Who, Billy Joel, David Bowie and Metallica. This started with The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and continued on the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort. In 2012 the company sold to Live Nation Entertainment, the largest live entertainment company in the world. In December 1999, he met his partner John Nelson and together they moved to Las Vegas in November of 2003. Together they are happy to support AFAN, The Animal Foundation, Charity: Water, GLAAD, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, HRC Foundation, Kiva, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, Mama’s Kitchen, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Point Foundation, The Smith Center, Trevor Project, and, of course, The Center. They also share a love for travel, art, architecture and their 3 dogs. Life is good.
S. Denise McCurry is currently a Trial Attorney at Van Alfen, McCurry & Cardwell. Prior to practicing law with Van Alfen McCurry & Cardwell, Ms. Was with the Las Vegas Office Gordon & Rees LLP – Responsive as Senior Counsel. Joining Gordon & Rees from her position as the Vice President of Litigation for MGM/Mirage Corporation, where Ms. McCurry provided consultation to Risk Managers at the property level, and handled numerous matters involving tort litigation, employment law, worker’s compensation, and transactional contracts.
Prior to joining MGM/Mirage Corporation, Ms. McCurry served as a Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge (pro tem) and an adjunct professor teaching employment and hotel law at the William F. Harrah School of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ms. McCurry has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, including the Minority Business of the Year award (from the Minority Purchasing Counsel), the Rose Award (from the Professional Black Women’s Alliance), the National Leadership Award (from The National Republican Congressional Committee), the Women Changing America Award (from the National Action Network), the Minority Business of the Year award (a U.S. Senatorial Certificate of Congratulations), the City of Las Vegas Certificate of Excellence, and the Diversity Warrior award (from MGM/Mirage Corporation). As an active member of the Las Vegas community, Ms. McCurry has been recognized for her outstanding efforts to provide legal services to needy families. She is a founding member of the Dream Huddle Initiative, a mentoring program for minority youth, and regularly volunteers for the Southern Nevada Coalition of Concerned Women and the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Council. Ms. McCurry received her J.D. from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 1995, and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Redlands. Ms. McCurry is admitted to practice in Nevada state courts, the U .S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Ms. McCurry has written and presented extensively on legal issues relating to hospitality and tourism law, workplace violence, employee relations, and regulatory and licensing issues for the gaming industry.
Karen Rubel serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Nathan Adelson Hospice. Since 2007, she has held various leadership positions with the company, including Vice President for Development. She has extensive experience in major gifts fundraising and building development programs, along with strong leadership skills and strategic planning abilities. Ms. Rubel is responsible for overseeing clinical operations, palliative care services, business development, and plant operations.
Ms. Rubel earned a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Administration from Dominican University in Illinois. She is a graduate of the Thayer Institute with a Master’s in Leadership Arts and Sciences. Her professional and community accomplishments include serving as Membership Chair for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, member of the Board of Directors for The Unforgettables Foundation, member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, an inaugural member of the HRC Las Vegas Steering Committee, and former member of the Board of Directors for The Center. She is listed as one the 2015 Women to Watch by Vegas Inc., recognized as one of 10 Women Who Mean Business by the Las Vegas Business Press in 2012, and graduated Leadership Las Vegas in 2011.
Lee Ruggerio was born in Maplewood, New Jersey and relocated to Las Vegas in 2009. For over fifteen years, Lee has been a Production Electrician for concerts and special events across the country. In addition to his work creating outstanding spectacles for the entertainment industry, Lee is a true desert lover. He is often found hiking, camping, running, cycling or even competing in triathlons in between his workouts. Lee has three dogs, Bailey, Murphy and Jackson. He is excited to join the Board of Directors for The Center in hopes to aide broaden the spectrum of acceptance for the LGBTQ community here in Southern Nevada.
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