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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!


Darin Challacombe

President

  • I began serving with the Center in February 2016, following my relocation to Kansas City. I am compelled to help KCCI better serve the KC LGBTQIA community. I focus on removing barriers, supporting our partners, and creating opportunities for better collaboration among KC’s community organizations. In addition to KCCI, I volunteer regularly at several other organizations, including my church. I currently reside in the Union Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri.

Craig Thomas

Vice President

  • Over the course of the last 7 years, I have been slowly working towards a unified LGBTQIA community.  It has always been my dream to see our community work as one.  The mission of the Kansas City Center for Inclusion aligns with my goals for our community, which is to offer a loving heart, a warm embrace, and a safe space for every member of, and supporter of, our community.

 


Jackie Claiborne

Secretary/Treasurer

  • I came out in high school and had the more accepting home life. I found the Kansas City Center for Inclusion while my wife and I were looking for somewhere to donate that really told our story. I feel like KCCI  does that in more than one way. My background includes having retail experience and currently working in corporate America. In our spare time, my wife and I are currently building their own company so we can have both time and money to give back to the community. My interests include musicals, reading personal development books, music and spending time with their our fur babies. My wife and I have been married since April of 2016 and currently live in Kansas City Missouri with our three dogs, Emma, Duke, and Diamond.

Bruce Winter a/k/a Melinda Ryder

Board Member

  • I have been a part of the Kansas City LGBT community since 1976 and have been entertaining KC audiences as a female impersonator for over 40 years. I have been involved with fundraising and community outreach for many years. When I learned about an LGBT Community Center coming to our city I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I enjoy classic movies, biographies, attending live theater, and enjoy the experience of watching a movie in a theater on the big screen. I am also interested in local history and architecture.

Buck Sommerkamp

Board Member

  • I’ve been in the communications field since I started working in radio as a junior-high student. I enjoy working on behind-the-scenes projects in media, organizing, user experience and public relations. I’m a designer and a UX researcher, having worked in radio, television, cable, and internet companies in the past. I have two grown sons, and live with my husband John and four cats in midtown Kansas City. On the weekends you’ll find me editing video or shooting photos around town, doing some design work, or hanging out with friends in Westport. I’m pursuing my master’s degree in interaction and user experience design at the University of Kansas, and work full-time with a team of user experience researchers and designers by day. It’s rewarding to volunteer with the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, and to be a vital part of our diverse community.

Athena Horton

Board Member

  • I am an Outreach Case Manager in Truman Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Department.  I assist young adults who are experiencing homelessness and mental illness to help them get connected to mental health care and housing. When I’m not at work, I use my theatre company – Louise Hyacinth Productions – to spend time working with writers on new works of theatre that have to do with social awareness or social justice. I began volunteering at KCCI because I wanted to become more involved in the LGBTQIA community, and I realized how important KCCI was to Kansas City. I’m proud to serve on KCCI’s board as a committee chair, and look forward to all that the Center has in store this upcoming year.

J. Nathan Hernandez

Board Member

  • 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.

Stedmond Ware

Board Member

  • 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 JournalI 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.

Craig Auman

Board Member

  • I have lived in Kansas City my entire life and I am proud to call it home. I have worked in accounting for the past 20+ years. I have two business degrees including an MBA. I came out at an older age of 36 due to spending 10 years in the Marines which predated “Don’t ask don’t tell” which made coming out not wise at the time. Since then I have been fortunate to be accepted by my family and friends for being who I am. I have always enjoyed helping people, I get this trait from my mother. A year and a half ago, I met a homeless high schooler. It took me about 3 minutes to decide to ask him to occupy my spare bedroom. Since it was cold he gladly accepted. He has since become my son.  I am very pleased to have joined KCCI and look forward to years of service to our community!

Frances Grimstad

Board Member

  • 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.