On October, 17th 2021, PFLAG Springfield will elect a new board of directors! Below are the prospective members and their bios.
Candidate for President: Aaron Schekorra (he/him)
Aaron has served as Vice President of PFLAG Springfield for the past year, and has been a member of the board since March of 2019. He came to be a part of the organization due to his role as the Development Director for the non-profit FosterAdopt Connect. In the summer of 2020, he joined the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and led the COVID-19 Outreach Team for 8 months before becoming the Public Health Information Administrator where he develops and implements the Department’s communications strategy, media relations and health promotion. Aaron has graduate certificates in Nonprofit Leadership and Public Policy and his Masters in Public Administration. He strives to be an advocate for the LGBTQ community, volunteering for projects like PROMO/HRC’s TRANSforming Missouri phone bank and working with candidates who are allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Aaron was also a member of PROMO’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Leadership Cohort. In his time on the PFLAG Springfield board, he has led many projects including the Mental Health Support Fund and the 25th Anniversary event. Aaron’s passion for nonprofit work and serving the LGBTQ+ community is why he is seeking the role of President on the PFLAG Springfield Board of Directors.
Candidate for Vice President: Rachel Jamieson (she/her)
Rachel has served as Secretary for PFLAG Springfield since October of 2017. Her leadership experience includes the Springfield Regional Arts Council Board and Education Committee, Secretary for the Illinois Theatre Association Board and Executive Committee, and Missouri Representative and Division Chair for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Rachel has a love for serving the LGBTQ+ community and has demonstrated this in various capacities including phone banking for TRANSforming Missouri, as well as canvassing and phone banking for the NO Repeal campaign. She is also an advocate in her theatrical career, directing The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later at OTC and developing the play SOGI: A Documentary following the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to the city of Springfield’s non-discrimination policy and its subsequent repeal in 2015. Rachel looks forward to sharing additional gifts and cultivating more opportunities for PFLAG Springfield in a new role as Vice President.
Candidate for Treasurer: Shelby Dobbs (he/him)
Shelby has been an LGBTQ+ activist since his own coming out experience. Shelby and his partner, Derek, recently moved to Springfield from Memphis during the pandemic to further Shelby’s career in the mortgage industry. Shelby has served on many boards throughout his adulthood and enjoys spending his free time volunteering. Shelby has been in the finance and mortgage industry for 10+ years and his one of those “weirdos” that enjoy numbers. Shelby grew up in New Mexico/West Texas where he found a love for tacos, enchiladas and all things Mexican food. Shelby intends on making sure that everyone is understood and celebrated for their differences and plans to do so through his activism and platform.
Candidate for Secretary: Jeff Kessinger (he/him)
Jeff is a native Springfieldian and a believer in the Queen City’s potential to be a loving, welcoming and inclusive place for all. Jeff has volunteered his time phone banking for PROMO’s Transforming Missouri project and has worked with PROMO and ACLU Missouri to give testimony to Missouri House and Senate committees in opposition to legislation that targets transgender people, especially children. In 2021 he became the first Missouri resident to testify remotely in a Missouri House hearing. Jeff assisted his wife Jamie in helping launch the Southwest Missouri chapter of Free Mom Hugs and has volunteered at several events for that organization. In addition to that work, Jeff has also volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and at the Crisis Cold Weather Shelter at First Unitarian Universalist Church. He is a graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 40. Jeff works as Communications Manager for the Downtown Springfield Association. He and Jamie have a blended family of seven, including Victoria (20), Ava (14), Carolina (13), Romey (6) and Finnegan (6). They have two cats, Neko and Dottie. Victoria came out nearly six years ago. The experience of raising a gay child in the Ozarks has inspired him to work to be a vocal supporter of LGBTQIA people. He hopes to use his experiences to help other parents and families of LGBTQIA folks and to help others find ways to use their voice and strengths to help fight for equality.
Candidates for Board Member At-Large:
Andy Sun (she/her)
Andy formerly served the Catholic Church as a Music Director for over four years – she was fired after coming out as a transgender woman at the start of 2019. She decided to come out publicly because she believes that transgender and genderqueer children are among our vulnerable and that they need more possibility models. Andy has worked as a volunteer in many local organizations, including Faith Voices of SW MO, the Poor People’s Campaign, Greater Ozarks Pridefest, Springfield Black Tie, MLK 50, Brentwood Christian Church, the Front Porch – doing everything from taking out the trash to speaking and performing. She received Strengths-based leadership training at Missouri State where she served as the concerts Chair of the Student Activities Council. She attended the ACLU’s Trans Leadership Table of Missouri for one year as a participant and two years as a mentor, where she received additional training. She has served on PFLAG’s Board of Directors starting October ‘18, serving as both board member and former President.
Kit Creemer (she/her)
Kit has served on the PFLAG Springfield Board since October, 2020, and is facilitator of the monthly parent support group meetings. She is the parent of two transgender daughters, a cis-gender daughter, and a cis-gender son. Kit is a Registered Nurse and has worked in Cardiology at Mercy for 31 years. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a minor in Journalism from MSU. Kit served as Treasurer of the Sunshine Elementary PTA and was a homeroom mother for all four of her children throughout their elementary school years. She has served as the American Heart Association Heart Walk captain for her unit at Mercy for several years. During the Covid crisis in 2020, Kit decided to pursue her interest in herbs and completed a year-long herbalism course and is a Certified Community Herbalist. She recently started her own herbalism company, Agape Apothecary. She is also a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Kit enjoys helping others, giving back to her community, and doing her part to help make Springfield and the surrounding areas safe places for her children and all LGBTQ people to live and thrive.
Cindy Beecher (she/her)
Cindy is a Springfield native, nonprofit professional, and lover of all things travel and adventure. Cindy identifies as bisexual and grew up in the Ozarks, and there weren’t many (out) bisexual role models ’round these parts in the ’90s and early 2000s. She hopes that by equipping parents, friends, and allies of the LGBTQ+ community with the knowledge and tools to support their loved ones, more people in Southwest Missouri will feel valid, understood, and celebrated as they come out as LGBTQ+. In addition to volunteering with PFLAG, Cindy works as the Program Manager for an educational travel nonprofit called GEEO and is a certified teacher of K-12 Spanish and ESL. Last year, she graduated with her Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership from Drury University and also graduated from Leadership Springfield Signature Class 37. Outside of working at and volunteering for local nonprofits, she enjoys exploring the Ozarks and the world with her husband Josh and rescue dog Aspen. She hopes to continue serving on the Board of Directors so that she can apply her nonprofit experience toward PFLAG’s mission and help make the Ozarks a safer, more inclusive place to live, work, and love for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
Trysta Herzog (she/her)
Trysta has been a member of the Springfield community for nearly 14 years. Prior to becoming a digital marketing consultant, Trysta worked in non-profit and government communications. It is there that she developed a greater sense of purpose surrounding inclusion and building societal bridges across diverse populations. Trysta believes that we can truly change the world by teaching and modeling civil discourse and conflict resolution skills — something especially beneficial for families who face the “coming out” conversation. Trysta has had the privilege of being on both sides of the “coming out” adventure: first as a gay woman ending a 10-year heteronormative marriage which had been blessed with one child; and then as a proud mom to said child, now 9, who recently began navigating life as a non-binary person. Trysta is dedicated to helping our community become a more inclusive place for all LGBTQ+ people, so that any person can safely present as their most authentic self. In addition to working for organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, Trysta has served on boards and committees with Isabel’s House, the Mayor’s Commission for Children, Junior League of Springfield, and CPO’s Child Abuse and Neglect Collaborative. Friendraising and fundraising is her passion as a volunteer, and she looks forward to bringing those talents to PFLAG.
Brandy Martin (she/her)
Brandy’s awareness of the challenges of the LGBTQ community began when she lost a dear friend because someone accused them of being a gay couple. She was crushed that her friend would sacrifice their friendship over something so silly. Then, following her double mastectomy, a surgeon told her he needed to put nipples back on me so I would be a woman again. She was a woman in her heart & head; extraneous body parts were non-essential. Shortly thereafter, Brandy started using her straight cisgender privilege to speak out as an ally. That more than half of the homeless teens in our town have been evicted from their families over sexual orientation or gender identity is unforgivable to her. She has had young people come out to her and families turn to her for guidance and direction. Career wise, she has done pro bono work for those with HIV and AIDS, as well as with the transgender community. She currently works in administration at Unity of Springfield where they are establishing an inclusive cold weather crisis shelter. Brandy values the role PFLAG plays in educating and supporting families as they navigate the challenges that face the LGBTQ+ community. She is happy to offer her experience and talents in furtherance of the organization’s goals.
Cecil Cornish (he/him)
Cecil is a Joplin native, and recently moved back to his hometown from the Springfield area due to COVID-19. He is the creative director for Athena Marketing and Advertising in Joplin, MO. They are a small creative agency serving nonprofits and small businesses. His husband and him are members of JOMO Pride Inc and JOMO Eq, both queer community groups in Joplin. He has been an active member in the LGBTQ+ community for several years, and recently photographed Joplin PrideFest! Cecil graduated from Drury University in 2017 with his Bachelors in Digital Design and Marketing. College was his first step in serving with APO and their annual AIDS walk. Cecil wants to use his professional and creative talents to serve the community in the surrounding area.