Board of Directors
PresidentWayne 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 S. Oddo, Jr. is a Regional Manager for the West Coast Region of Cox Business Inside Sales. Joe was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a large Italian family. In 1994, Joe and his family relocated to Las Vegas and since then have proudly called Southern Nevada home. Joe joined the Cox family in 2008 and in his tenure has become one of the most decorated leaders in Cox Las Vegas. Joe has been the Las Vegas LGBTQ champion, Captain of the Southwest Region Diversity Council, a leader for the Cox National PRIDE affinity group and remains active with Cox Charities. Joe joined the Board of Directors for The Center in 2016 and was elected unanimously to Vice President in 2017. Joe has chaired the Marketing and Communications Committee where he handles all social media and community relations as well as the 25th Anniversary Honorarium Committee, the largest honorarium in Center history. Joe is married to his husband Timothy, who have been together since 2009 and were the first couple to be legally married at Grace in the Desert Episcopal Church in 2014. Joe and Tim are the proud parents of two amazing children, Malaya and Zayn whom their worlds revolve around. Additionally, several “fur babies” round out their family — two cats and three dogs. 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 in serving and uniting the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada.
TreasurerScott Ramer is General Manager of Findlay Honda Henderson and has been with Findlay Auto Group for the past 20 years. A resident of Henderson since 1997, Scott was born and raised in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. Scott is married to his husband John Saksa who is General Manager of Findlay Cadillac. Married in Province Town nine years ago, they have been together 23 years. They share their home with a few family members such as two cats, 17 Desert Tortoises, a 250 lb African Sulcata Tortoise, 90 Koi and 60 water turtles, all of which makes for an adventurist back yard.
Scott is no stranger when it comes to supporting worthy causes. Organizations such as The Center, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Human Rights Campaign, American Heart Association, American Red Cross of Southern Nevada and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Southern Nevada, have benefited from his exemplary support. Most recently, Scott served on the board for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He and his partner are HRC Federal Council Club Members who were honored at the 2017 HRC Gala with the Community Service Award. Always looking for ways to give back to the community, Scott is excited to join The Center’s board and help continue the great work that The Center is known for doing for the Las Vegas Community.
SecretaryWendy 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 AraujoNelson 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.
Brian HosierBrian Hosier serves as a Project Manager for Pinnacle Entertainment and is currently a member of Pinnacle’s Diversity & Inclusion Focus Group. He has held several positions in IT including, Product Director, Process Management, Director of PMO and Director of IT.
Mr. Hosier earned a B.S. in Sales and Marketing from Ball State University. He holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University School of Philanthropy and is a certified Project Management Professional. Brian’s professional experience encompasses management positions with both corporate and non-profit organizations. His non-profit work includes Pleasant Run Children’s Home, The Arts Council of Indianapolis and the American Lung Association of Southern Nevada. Since 2009 Brian has worked in the Casino industry for American Casino and Entertainment Properties, Station Casinos and Pinnacle Entertainment.
Born in Minnesota and raised in Indiana, Brian and his husband of 17 years Romeo relocated to Nevada in 2005. They reside in Henderson and enjoy traveling and spending time with their dogs Katy and Khloe.
Denise McCurryS. 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.
Milo MilosciaMilo 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.
Garrett PattianiGarrett Pattiani is co-owner of VGM, a technology marketing agency, and QLife, Inc., publisher of QLife Magazine. He was born the fourth of nine children in Tonopah, Nevada. In 2000, at the age of 16, Garrett moved to Las Vegas with his college-bound sister, became a lifeguard and work through school. Garrett attended his last 2 years of High School at Las Vegas High School and graduated 6th of 670 students with a 4.6 G.P.A. Garrett then attended UNLV and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. That education exposed the truth behind government institutions and how they were set up to fail minority communities. This injustice started his work in advocacy and the importance of enacting change by speaking up and living an authentic life. In the Summer of 2004, Garrett came out of the closet, made more friends in the LGBTQ community, the Queer Industry, as well as the Casino Industry. Since then Garrett has held many positions in almost every major resort on the Las Vegas Strip, with a focus on hospitality, nightlife, pool parties and VIP Hosting.
In 2014, Garrett merged Garrett’s Gay Guide, a resource on LGBTQ Events with QVegas owner Russ White, and shortly after became co-owner and co-publisher of what is known today as QLife and expanded the brand and partnerships to over 9 Major US Markets. From 2015 to 2018, Garrett used his background in Nightlife to join the development team at Aid For AIDS of Nevada, a non-profit serving the HIV / AIDS community, as Social Media Manager and quickly promoted to the Director of Events, responsible for planning the Black & White Party and AIDS Walk Las Vegas. Garrett brought innovations and new technology to advance the presence of AFAN, bring on sponsors, and raise more funds. Garrett and his husband Jonathan have been together since February of 2015 and have 2 dogs, Dallas and Delilah. Garrett is excited to bring his passion for the LGBTQ community back to The Center, where he can utilize his voice, and connections to bring people together. Now more than ever it is critical that the LGBTQ community stands with allies and other minority groups to fight back against those that wish to strip people of their rights and dignity. Garrett is thrilled to be a part of the team.
Karen RubelKaren 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 RuggerioLee 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.
John WaldronJohn Waldron leads learning & development for Boyd Gaming’s 20,000 team members and has been with the company for two years. Previously, John worked for 25 years as an operations director for Stephens Media in the print and digital media industry. He also worked with Opportunity Village for two years where he served as the director of organizational development. John has his own consulting business where he helps organizations develop leaders and he provides coaching for individual leaders at all levels of experience. He has been a proud Nevadan for 40 years after moving to Southern Nevada from New York as a teenager. John holds degrees in social sciences, organizational management, and a doctorate in leadership & management from St. Thomas University in Miami. He serves on the board of directors for CARE Coalition, an organization working to educate the community in the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Additionally, he has served for more than a decade as an official for the Nevada State Spelling Bee. John has worked with local private & nonprofit schools to secure educational resources and provide developmental opportunities for emerging leaders preparing for college and the workforce. He also led an annual backpack program in affiliation with the Review-Journal providing school supplies for elementary students in at-risk environments. John and his partner spend time traveling, enjoying outdoor activities, and enjoying time with family.
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