STEERING COMMITTEE

Meet the Human Rights Campaign New England Steering Committee. We are a group of dedicated volunteers from New England who are committed to the forwarding LGBTQ+ equality.

If you're interested in volunteering, or joining the Steering Committee, please email volunteer@hrcnewengland.org.

DEB TAFT (she/HER) 

Member, Board of Directors

Deb Taft leads our HRC New England volunteer efforts as a national Director, chairs HRC's Federal Club Council, and serves on Finance and Strategic Planning, a group setting the course for HRC's next era. 

 

Deb urges all who have an interest in LGBTQ civil rights to jump in. Her career and volunteer work grew in parallel paths as she re-engaged with HRC in 2007. Deb joined our New England Steering Committee, chaired HRC galas, and served on the Board of Governors. She joined the HRC Foundation Board of Directors in 2015, and served as HRCF Board Chair from 2017 to 2019, calling it "the honor of a lifetime."

 

Deb was especially honored to help transform HRC's national governance model, which laid the groundwork for the appointment of Alphonso David as President, and for the Boards of Directors today to be more than 45% BIPOC and 10% transgender and gender expansive. She is thrilled to see HRC aggressively advancing intersectional coalition work with historically marginalized communities.

 

Deb today is CEO and co-owner of Lindauer, a leading global nonprofit search and talent firm. She previously held senior roles at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund, Tufts Medical Center, Simmons University, and Girl Scouts of the USA. Deb, her wife Terri Rutter, and their rescue dog Marco live in Boston and Provincetown.

Neil Berenson (he/him) 

Member, Board of Governors

Neil has volunteered for HRC since 2017 and works full-time at Amwell, a digital health company, based in Boston, MA. At Amwell, he helps his health system & health plan clients leverage their telehealth solution to support their digital health strategy.

 

Prior to Amwell, Neil worked at athenahealth as well as spending many years in strategic consulting in the healthcare industry.

 

Neil’s interest in HRC stems from his desire to make a positive impact towards our collective fight for equality.  He has served as Co-Chair of the Corporate Sponsorship Sub-Committee for past dinners and was one of the 2019 New England Dinner Co-Chairs.  He is currently serving his first-term as a National Board of Governor.

 

Neil encourages anyone who wants to help make a difference for LGBTQ+ equality to reach out and volunteer for HRC where there are lots of opportunities.

 

A former Bostonian, Neil now lives in Providence, RI with his husband, Jason, and English Cocker Spaniel, Betty.

Diego Garcia Blum (he/him)

Member, Board of Governors

Diego has been volunteering with the HRC since 2013. During that time he has served as the Political Engagement and Community Outreach Co-Chair and the Federal Club Co-Chair. Currently he is in his 3rd year as a member of the HRC’s National Board of Governors. 

 

Diego is a Master in Public Policy Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School as a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. At HKS he serves as the student body president and as the co-chair of the LGBTQ Caucus. Before HKS Diego worked as a nuclear engineer in Washington D.C. and Paris, France.

Cordy Elkins (SHE/HER)

Member, Board of Governors

Cordy has volunteered for HRC since 2012 holding many roles—including Dinner Chair, Federal Club Chair and Membership Chair—and has sat on the Board of Governors since 2014. Cordy has held many roles on the national board including leading the Diversity Equity & Inclusion work and chairing the committee charged with vetting and choosing new board members. As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, Cordy believes in elevating others in as many ways as possible and equality for all.

 

Cordy works full-time as the Head of Social Media Marketing for State Street Global Advisors; her team is most well-known for the Fearless Girl campaign pushing for gender equity on Boards of public companies. Cordy also works as a part time group fitness instructor for multiple Equinox locations in the Boston Area.

 

Cordy lives in South Boston and on the weekends enjoys getting outside—hiking in the warmer seasons and cross-country skiing/snowshoeing in the winter. 

Alyssa Jones (SHE/HER)

Member, Board of Governors

Alyssa Jones has been a member of the New England Steering Committee since 2011 and has held many roles, including Dinner Chair, Communications/Digital Engagement Chair, and Corporate Sponsorship Committee Chair. Alyssa has held roles on the National board executive committee leading the Federal Club as chair for two years and served for four years on the committee that vets and chooses new board members. Presently she is a mentor to the local Federal Club and Digital Engagement Committees. She is a member of the HRC Women & Leadership cohort from February 2013. 

Alyssa is a Graphic and Experience Design and Research Consultant and holds a Master of Science degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. 

She lives in Salem, MA with her wife, two dogs, and two cats. When she finds free time, Alyssa can be found paddling her kayak in the ocean and revitalizing her old home that was built in 1838.

Judy Sunblade (SHE/HER)

Member, Board of Governors

Judy has volunteered for HRC since 2013 and has held many roles, including volunteering at Pride's, Corporate Sponsorship Co-Chair, Table Captain, Steering Committee Co-Chair and is the Board Liaison to the Steering Committee.  Her passion for working with HRC is her belief that equal rights are human rights.

 

Judy is head of Marketing, Global Enablement and Pre-sales for WhiteHat Security based in San Jose, CA.  Judy recently left her beloved Boston to move back to CT.  When not working or volunteering Judy can be found outdoors—cycling, hiking or cross-country skiing.

Bruce Lewis (he/him)

Dinner Co-Chair

Bruce joined HRC in early 2020 as a New England Dinner Co-Chair. He resides in Providence, Rhode Island, working as an Administrator and Sales Engineer for Cintas Corporation.

 

Bruce has a passion for volunteering, and has done so in countries such as Paraguay, Argentina, South Africa, and Japan.

 

He enjoys traveling, from trips small and local to those that are long and international. When he is at home, he loves great food and late-night meaningful conversations with friends and chosen family.

Kevin Peterson (he/him)

Corporate Sponsorships Co-Chair

Kevin began volunteering with HRC in 2019 as the 2019 New England Dinner Co-Chair and works full time as a Transformation Strategy Lead and recent PROUD co-chair (LGBTQ ERG) at John Hancock.

 

When Kevin is not volunteering, he is usually staying active skiing, running, or playing tennis, or seen walking his pup, Rufus, in Provincetown.

Steve Savitsky (he/him)

Steering Committee Co-Chair

Steve has volunteered with the HRC since July 2020, first joining as a member of the virtual dinner committee. He is a Co-op Faculty Member for Math & Physics majors at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and has worked in the higher education career development space for the past 6 years in student advising and employer relations capacities.

 

As someone who firsthand recognized the need for equity and inclusion in the workplace and hiring process for the LGBTQ+ community, Steve has presented both regionally and nationally on this topic. Most recently, Steve's “The Job Search From An LGBTQ+ Inclusive Lens” was selected for the 2020 Career Services Thought Leaders Symposium.

 

In his free time, Steve considers himself a foodie and loves exploring in the kitchen and restaurant scene. Steve is also active in Boston's LGBTQ+ sports leagues, participating in kickball, dodgeball, and FLAG Flag Football.

Paul Schneider (he/him)

Volunteer Engagement Co-Chair

Paul has volunteered with HRC since 2018 and works full-time as a manager of Customer Success and Support at Building Engines, Inc., located in Boston, MA. He previously worked for AwareManager, overseeing their Customer Service department and assisted in the smooth transition of the company by Building Engines. 

 

Paul was born and raised in Hawthorne, NJ, having moved to Massachusetts in 2009 to attend college. He holds a B.A in Business Administration. When he's not volunteering, Paul enjoys entertaining friends and family, traveling, and spending time in Provincetown.

Brendan Whipple (he/him)

Digital Engagement Co-Chair

Brendan has volunteered for HRC since 2019 and works full-time as a graphic designer for The Numad Group, located in Boston, MA.

 

He previously worked for the Boston Children’s Hospital, gaining national recognition within pediatric health care for illustrating an educational comic book on Hepatitis B, written in partnership with gastroenterology doctors and nurses.

 

When he’s not volunteering, Brendan enjoys spending his free time painting, reading philosophy, as well playing the piano and guitar.