Board of Directors
Our talented and hardworking Board members serve a one-calendar-year term and are nominated by their peers. If you’re 21 or over and would like to join a future board, please contact us!
Craig has been a tireless proponent of LGBTQIA+ connected community for many years. His work with the community seeks to unite, with one voice, the community of Kansas City for the greater good.
Craig joined the Kansas City Center for Inclusion in 2017 as part of the first Board of Directors. Since then, the team has strengthened KCCI’s programs for adults, youth and families, ensuring all LGBTQIA+ have an opportunity to live happy, healthy, safer lives.
His vision, shared by the larger board, is a dedicated resource center to help support the wider community organizations of greater Kansas City through referral, connectedness, and collaboration.
Being new to Kansas City, I was inspired by the mission of the center and how it seeks to lift others to a higher level of understanding, consciousness, and acceptance for all. Profession wise, I currently serves as a Program Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service for Kansas and Missouri located here in Kansas City. This involves providing oversight and management for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps grants. I previously served as Project Coordinator for the Mississippi Delta Service Corps/ AmeriCorps VISTA Program at Delta State University, where I managed a 33 counties service area supporting the placement of members to serve low-income communities in the Mississippi Delta region. In December 2016, I published my first book called Mosaic Journey: Pieces of Me. My previous works include writing as a Columnist for Mississippi State University’s Newspaper, The Reflector, serving as an interviewer/writer for Cleveland, Mississippi‘s InStep Magazine, and published works in the Mississippi Poetry Journal. I actively served as a Safe Zone/Space Ally during my time in Mississippi. A safe zone or a safe space is a confidential place where all people can bring their authentic selves and feel safe, welcome and included. This group was created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are culturally competent and supportive of the LGBTQ+ Community. I am extremely honored and grateful to be a part of a group of such magnanimous individuals.
J. N. Hernandez
Pronouns: Please ask me. Since the 2016 election, I have dedicated much of my time to local activism, founding Resist Hate KC and volunteering with various advocacy groups in the Kansas City metro. I am passionate about economic, environmental, racial, and social justice and have started becoming active in Gladstone city civics. As a 31-year-old bigender Chicanx, I strongly feel living my life authentically and unapologetically is the best way I can help the transgender community. I’m honored to be a part of the KCCI Board and am excited to help build and grow Kansas City’s vibrant LGBTQIA community.
I experienced coming out at the age of fourteen in a rural community. I turned to the internet trying to find GLBT affirming organizations in the nearest big city: Kansas City. The options were much more limited at that time and there was nothing close to what KCCI offers now. That is why I am on the board.
I have a BA and MS in Psychology. I have worked in the non-profit world for 10 years. I currently serve as the CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas. I am proud to help provide a safe place for all members of the GLBT community here in Kansas City.
Board Director & Chair, Volunteer/Outreach
Veronica Carrillo has been living in Kansas City over
the course of 8 years where she’s seen the LGBTQAI+ community grow and flourish. Over the past 3 years, she have been more involved in the community in many different ways, but is most well known for her help with the City of Fountains Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit fundraising and education group helping the local community. As a Fully Professed member, she’s also a board member of the CoFS. With her experience with the order, she feels confident in helping to build the community, watch it to grow with the city, and hopes she can bring a new perspective to the center.
Board Director & Chair, Technology
Alex Salazar is a LatinX Kansas Citian. He studied Network Engineering Management and Software Engineering at DeVry University in Kansas City, MO. In 2015, he formally started alexsalazar.net, a company focused on delivering web development, design, IT infrastructure, and internet marketing for small to medium size businesses. Prior, he has worked with companies like Sprint, EMC Consulting, and Veracity Consulting doing IT infrastructure management and Marketing. He has previously served with Kansas City Information System Security Association as a board member and as the Director of Social Media. He is a Youth advisor for Transformations: A KC Trans And Gender Expansive Youth Group,and a member of the Union KC. He is an active member in the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce. He has previously been involved and sponsored events such as Trans Day of Visibility and #GetWoke. He also volunteers at Church of the Resurrection – Downtown, were he serves as a member of the prayer team, Immaculate Conception’s Morning Glory ministry. Alex is a strong supporter of efforts to create jobs, supportive communities that are safe and empowering spaces for trans youth and adults.
For the past few years, Dylan has served as a volunteer and ambassador of KCCI; he is elated to expand his support for the LGBTQIA+ community at KCCI as a 2019 board of director. He hopes that his background in healthcare, specifically nursing, will provide a unique lens to view and address the needs of the queer community.
Currently, Dylan works as a full-time clinical progressive care nurse at The University of Kansas Health System. As a part-time graduate student, he is wrapping up his second year of the Doctor of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner program at KU School of Nursing. Dylan looks forward to advancing the mission of KCCI through meaningful collaborations, thoughtful discussions, and intentional endeavors.
Inoru Wade, a nonbinary Kansas City Native received their Bachelor’s in East Asian Languages and Cultures and International Policy and a Master’s in Public Affairs and Administration from the University of Kansas. The emphasis of their studies and research focused on LGBTQ+ related issues and policy. Their published research in academic journals on LGBTQ+ issues has taken them to multiple national conferences teaching various governments, nonprofits, and working professionals about the issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community They have served the Kansas City Metropolitan Area LGBTQ+ community through their policy work with local
cities and counties in an advisory role.
As a child who lived in a household where domestic violence was present, a survivor, a young mother, a poet, a lover, a healer, a black, native, multiracial, queer, stem, woman Melissa has dedicated her life to social justice and anti -violence work. She has been working with adult and youth victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and hate violence for over twelve years in several different capacities. She is an activist and organizer for the LGBTQ community, the Black Community, and communities of color where she works to educate on the dynamics of violence, dismantle oppression, and ensure that supportive services are accessible and culturally competent to marginalized communities. Melissa has been working on ending the violence in the lives of LGBTQ people for nine years. She currently educates both the LGBTQ community and the community at large about what is LGBTQ violence, how LGBTQ violence is perpetuated, how to prevent it, and how to advocate for LGBTQ survivors of violence. She has provided training and education locally, nationally and internationally to Caribbean Youth Ambassadors, the Peoples Republic of China, and the Ukrainian Delegation through the Young Leaders of America Initiative (YLAI) program. Melissa was selected as a YLAI fellow where she was invited to do work in Kingston Jamaica through partnership with the US Embassy to collaborate with Transwave, Jamaicas’ only trans led and trans specific organization, to provide education, workshops, and to support organizations in creating antiviolence programming.
Melissa has lead Passages, one of the longest running LGBTQ+ youth programs in the nation, where she worked to provide a supportive, affirming, and educational environment for LGBTQ+ youth specifically trans and gender expansive/gender non-conforming youth. She is a member of the governance committee for the National Anti-Violence Programs where she organizes with advocates nationwide to end violence and oppression for LGBTQ+ people, provides trainings and education at national conferences and workshops, manages national projects, sits on planning committees for national LGBTQ+ health conferences, as well as sits on policy committees to ensure that federal and national policies support LGBTQ+ communities.
Melissa is a board member for the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, Kansas City’s LGBTQIA Community Center where she sits on the Volunteer and Outreach committee. She is also a member of Kansas City’s ball house, House of Couture where she offers a supportive space to facilitate healing through creative expression, provides the LGBTQ+ POC community access to resources, educates and uplifts LGBTQ+ youth of color under the direction of her house mother Trixxie Couture.
Melissa is currently the new Executive Director for the Kansas City Anti Violence Project (KCAVP) which is an organization solely dedicated to providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) victim/survivors of domestic and sexual violence and hate violence. Melissa plans to lead KCAVP into a new era that supports not only anti-violence work but also social justice work with an emphasis on creating spaces that support joy and facilitate healing for marginalized LGBTQ+ communities.
Board Director & Chair, Brand/Identity
Branden Haralson is honored to serve the Kansas City area in a variety of ways. He is Founder of KC Opera Collaborative, a new opera organization dedicated to producing new, American works, the Co-Founder of Heartland Alliance for Progress, a progressive organization rallying volunteer-power for progressive candidates and causes, and is the Project Manager for Nonprofit Connect, a state association of nonprofits with more than 750 members throughout the KC metro area. He resides in Westport with his Chow Chow Gretel and cat Isolde. He is beyond proud to serve as a Board Director for Kansas City Center for Inclusion.
Board Director & Chair, Events/Fundraising
Marco Drummond has lived in Kansas City for 20 years now and is a gay, adopted, Romanian Immigrant who is serving as a Board of Director for the Kansas City Center for Inclusion and is presiding as the Chair for the Events/Fundraising Committee.
Mr. Drummond has an extensive background working in the non-profit sector raising thousands of dollars for groups like DeMolay International, Relay for Life, The American Heart Association, KC Aids Walk, and now for the Kansas City Center for Inclusion.
He currently works for the Greater Kansas City Center Chamber of Commerce and is pursuing his BA in Business Administration from Missouri Southern State University, has obtained his Associates in Arts from MCC Blue River, and has a Management Certificate from Harvard Business School, and is working on his Emergency Management Certificate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Drummond is overjoyed to be able to work for an organization whose mission is to provide a safe, welcoming community space where LGBTQIA+ individuals, their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education, resources, and activities all while providing community outreach in hopes of building a more cohesive LGBTQIA+ community in the greater Kansas City area.
He hopes for the first year as the Chair of the Events/Fundraising Committee is to raise $100,000!
Amy has been a practicing social worker for nearly 20 years. She is clinically licensed and has worked in direct service, program administration and community development. Her practice focus has primarily been mental health and substance abuse, from both the prevention and treatment perspectives. She has been teaching at the collegiate level for five years, both BSW and MSW courses in various aspects of social work practice. On a personal note, she is married with four children, two cats, a Great Dane, a lizard, and a saltwater fish tank. Travel is her favorite hobby, from weekend road trips to international humanitarian efforts, she loves it all!!
Darin Challacombe, Ph.D.
I want to make Kansas City a better, more accepting place for all people. After relocating to the area, I began serving with the Center in February 2016 to operationalize this desire. Kansas City is a great city, and I am determined to do my part to ensure the KC LGBTQ+ milieu has spaces for people to feel safe expressing themselves. For 2019, I want to focus on scalability and sustainability.
In addition to the Center, I serve at my church (Church of the Resurrection) and write for the local LGBT+ magazine, Camp. Professionally, I am the senior corporate trainer/curriculum developer for a medical records fulfillment company and am adjunct faculty at a Kansas-based university. My research is focused on personality changes, LGBTQ+ attraction preferences, radicalization, and social influence.
Frances Grimstad, M.D.
Advisor, IRB Committee
I’m currently a Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Fellow at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. I grew up in San Francisco, received my undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and my medical degree from the University of Southern California. I completed an Obstetrics and Gynecology resident at the University of Kansas and outside of fellowship manage a transgender health clinic at the KC Care Free clinic. I’ve had a diverse set of interests since childhood including civil liberties, transgender health, and intersex health advocacy, all of which steered me toward my current profession. I’m a strong supporter of community efforts to create safe and empowering spaces for persons of all sexuality and gender identities.
Board Director Financial Contribution
All board directors of KCCI are required to commit financially to the organization through either financial donations or gifts in-kind. To log contribution towards your annual obligation, find the form below: