The 2020 Pride Power 100: 11-50
The 2020 Pride Power 100: 11-50
11. Daniel Dromm
New York City Council Member
New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm was a public school teacher when he came out as gay and stood up for a more diverse and tolerant curriculum. When his final term wraps up in 2021, he may return to educational policy work. For now, the Finance Committee chair and ally of Council Speaker Corey Johnson has plenty on his plate as the council negotiates budget cuts – including reduced NYPD funding.
12. Daniel O’Donnell
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell’s New York City public advocate bid fell short last year, but the Upper West Side lawmaker is thriving in Albany. He sponsored the law repealing Section 50-a, making police disciplinary records public. “It was a very long haul, and a very long fight,” O’Donnell, the first openly gay male Assembly member, told WAMC. “I must only like hard fights, because it took me five years to pass marriage equality.”
13. Carlos Menchaca
New York City Council Member
One of the New York City Council’s five openly LGBTQ members and the city’s first Mexican American elected official, District 38 representative Carlos Menchaca has continued his advocacy on behalf of undocumented New Yorkers, demanding funeral homes stop price-gouging undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus crisis. In addition to joining protests against the mistreatment of inmates, Menchaca has committed to cutting the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion.
14. Christine Quinn
Former New York City Council Speaker
Since losing her bid for New York City mayor in 2013, Christine Quinn has refashioned herself as an advocate for the homeless. She now runs Win, New York City’s largest provider of shelter for homeless families, which serves 5,000 residents each night. Yet Quinn has stayed active politically, serving as an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and is rumored to be mulling another mayoral run.
15. Valerie Berlin
Co-founder and Principal, BerlinRosen
Known for her progressive values and ties to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, powerhouse political consultant Valerie Berlin’s influence has only increased since Democrats took full control of Albany by seizing the state Senate. With around 180 staffers and offices in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., BerlinRosen’s clients include Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs and Cornell Tech, real estate developers like Larry Silverstein, labor unions and nonprofits.
16. Mondaire Jones
In the crowded Democratic contest to replace retiring Rep. Nita Lowey, Mondaire Jones emerged as the strong frontrunner on Election Day, with twice the support of any other rival. The Stanford and Harvard graduate and Obama administration veteran has to wait for the absentee ballots to come in, but unless he somehow falls behind, he’ll make history as the first Black gay lawmaker in Congress – possibly along with Ritchie Torres.
17. Bruce Richman
Founding Executive Director, Prevention Access Campaign
In 2012, the HIV/AIDS activist Bruce Richman learned that his HIV medication had controlled his viral load to the point that he was no longer able to transmit the virus. He took this message worldwide with the “Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)” campaign, which has been endorsed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York state Health Department, and many other medical and advocacy organizations.
18. Glennda Testone & Johann Shudlick
Executive Director; Board Member, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Glennda Testone has spent a decade at the helm of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Besides renovating The Center’s West Village space and launching the advocacy program RiseOut, Testone helped overturn New York’s paid surrogacy ban and has pledged to combat racism in the LGBTQ community. Board member Johann Shudlick, a Goldman Sachs alum who turned to advocacy, speaks out about being out in a corporate environment.
19. Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers
The first openly gay person to lead a national labor union, Randi Weingarten has thrown the weight of her 1.7 million members – which include educators, education support staff and health care professionals nationwide – into speaking out against racism, economic inequality and the federal government’s coronavirus response. The zealous activist is sure to be a key voice in New York’s debate over the state’s graduation requirements.
20. Alphonso David
President, Human Rights Campaign
Last year, Alphonso David left his post as the influential counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to run the Human Rights Campaign. David is the first Black person to lead the national LGBTQ civil rights organization, which boasts more than 3 million members and supporters. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, David told the Daily Beast it’s a “bizarre time to be living, and an opportunity to really effect change.”
21. Roberta Kaplan
Founding Partner, Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP
Representing Edith Windsor in her successful lawsuit to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, Roberta Kaplan is credited with laying the groundwork for the U.S. Supreme Court to guarantee same-sex marriage. Kaplan is behind a lawsuit against organizers of the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and represents author E. Jean Carroll, who is suing President Donald Trump for defamation after she accused him of sexual assault.
22. Stuart Appelbaum
President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Stuart Applebaum has led the progressive Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union since 1998. A staunch foe of Amazon, he spoke out about its treatment of workers during the coronavirus crisis and helped scare away the retail giant from setting up a second headquarters in Long Island City. He is chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Labor Council and sits on the New York City Regional Economic Development Council.
23. Carmelyn Malalis
Chairwoman and Commissioner, New York City Commission on Human Rights
As head of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn Malalis enforces some of the nation's most far-reaching human rights laws. Under her tenure, the agency has ramped up enforcement efforts to protect LGBTQ New Yorkers. During the coronavirus crisis, Malalis launched a $100,000 education campaign to combat anti-Asian bias amid skyrocketing reports of COVID-19-related discrimination – 40% of such incidents have targeted New Yorkers of Asian descent.
24. Deborah Glick
Assembly Member Deborah Glick is the first openly gay member of the state Legislature, having represented her Lower Manhattan district since 1991. This past year, the veteran lawmaker from Greenwich Village sided against allies like state Sen. Brad Hoylman in opposing gestational surrogacy, arguing that the state legislation, which later passed, would amount to “pregnancy for a fee, and I find that commodification of women troubling.”
25. Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council Member
A year ago, New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the early front-runners in the race to be the next Queens borough president. But the term-limited Western Queens lawmaker, who raised his profile by pressuring Amazon to scrap plans for a second headquarters in his district, dropped out early this year, citing his mother’s declining health – but added that he’s not exiting politics just yet.
26. William Floyd
Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google
One of the lessons of Amazon’s embarrassing failure to follow through on its plans for a second headquarters in Queens last year was that it simply didn’t understand New York’s political system. Another tech giant that has been expanding in New York City is Google, and the lack of negative headlines is thanks in part to William Floyd, a veteran politico who has been with the company since 2012.
27. Ronan Farrow
Contributing Writer, The New Yorker
Ronan Farrow is best known for his reporting on sexual assault, which helped launch the #MeToo movement and bring down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. He has since released a book about his reporting on Weinstein, “Catch and Kill,” which has garnered both praise and criticism. He made his mark on New York politics with an exposé on former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s mistreatment of women, causing him to resign.
28. Demetre Daskalakis
Deputy Commissioner, Division of Disease Control of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis has won plaudits for curbing the spread of HIV. He has now become central to New York City’s efforts to combat COVID-19. Besides pushing social-distancing guidelines and advising the public on preventing COVID-19’s spread, Daskalakis has helped coordinate efforts of the city agencies in fighting the virus. He also was among the senior health officials calling to close schools and businesses in a standoff with the mayor.
29. Ana Oliveira
President and CEO, The New York Women’s Foundation
Since taking the lead role at the New York Women’s Foundation, Ana Oliveira has more than quadrupled the group’s grant-making. Under her leadership, the foundation recently pledged $1 million to help women, transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary New Yorkers who have been affected by the coronavirus. “Women are the major hubs,” she told amNewYork. A native of São Paulo, Oliveira was previously executive director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
30. Harry Bronson
Assembly Member Harry Bronson, the first openly gay lawmaker in upstate New York and a longtime LGBTQ advocate, had a scare this year when he lost the official Democratic Party backing to a political newcomer, forcing a primary contest. Yet Bronson, who had burned bridges by opposing Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s push for the state to take over the struggling local school district, was leading in his primary and may still win reelection.
31. Erik Bottcher
Chief of Staff to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s popularity erodes, the New York City Council has gained strength – and that means more responsibility for Erik Bottcher, a top aide to Council Speaker Corey Johnson. And with all five of the council’s LGBT incumbents term-limited in 2021, it’s up to candidates like Bottcher – who’s already running for Johnson’s seat – to keep the community represented.
32. Marc Solomon & Katherine Grainger
Principal and National Director; Partner, Civitas Public Affairs Group
Before joining progressive political consulting firm Civitas, Katherine Grainger and Marc Solomon helped bring same-sex marriage to New York – one from inside and the other from outside the government. Grainger helped draft the state’s Marriage Equality Act under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while Solomon served as national campaign director for Freedom to Marry. Solomon has written a book on his experience fighting for same-sex marriage, “Winning Marriage.”
33. Emily Giske & Julian Kline
Partner; Senior Vice President, Bolton-St. Johns
After helping secure same-sex marriage in New York, Bolton-St. Johns veteran Emily Giske lobbied for the recent law allowing paid surrogacy – assailed for discriminating against LGBTQ couples trying to have children – as well as landmark climate-change legislation. Influential in both city and state politics, the firm recently added veteran Juanita Scarlett to its team, which also has Julian Kline, a rising star in the LGBTQ community, on board.
34. Jon Stryker
Board President and Founder, Arcus Foundation
With an estimated $3.8 billion net worth, Jon Stryker – he runs Stryker Corp., a medical supply company – is an influential LGBTQ donor. In 2000, he founded the nonprofit Arcus Foundation, which serves the LGBT community, and has invested more than $500 million in it. He recently was among a handful of donors behind a $75 million fund earmarked to support social-service and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
35. Kevin Jennings
CEO, Lambda Legal
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this month that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protections cover sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ advocacy organizations like Lambda Legal applauded. “Our nation’s highest court confirmed what Lambda Legal has argued for years: that discrimination against LGBTQ workers is illegal,” CEO Kevin Jennings said. Yet the nationwide organization isn’t letting up, with an ongoing battle against New York’s “Walking While Trans” ban.
36. David Rich
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, Communications, and Public Policy, Greater New York Hospital Association
The face of the Greater New York Hospital Association, an influential interest group in Albany, is its president, Kenneth Raske. But much of the organization’s success in effectively advocating for hospitals in Albany – which were overwhelmed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and are now confronting major budget cuts – is also due to David Rich, a behind-the-scenes operator who handles GNYHA’s advocacy and communications.
37. Ethan Geto
Principal, Geto & de Milly
Ethan Geto started working on political campaigns as a teenager before serving as assistant commissioner for the Department of Buildings under New York City Mayor John Lindsay and in various roles for Robert Abrams, the former state attorney general and Bronx borough president. While Geto focuses his lobbying efforts on social services and real estate, the firm he founded advises a wide array of major corporations, nonprofits and industry associations.
38. Jon Del Giorno
Founding Member, Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno LLC
A top New York City lobbyist with deep connections to Staten Island, Jon Del Giorno has enjoyed strong ties with the New York City Council – his firm was responsible for Christine Quinn and Melissa Mark-Viverito’s successful bids for council speaker. Among its marquee accomplishments last year, del Giorno lists the redevelopment of Richmond University Medical Center and securing funding for women’s facilities at the Department of Sanitation.
39. Charles John O’Byrne
Executive Vice President for Policy, Related Cos.
Charles John O’Byrne isn’t a typical real estate executive; he was previously a human rights lawyer, a Jesuit chaplain, a speechwriter and a top aide to Gov. David Paterson. “I have always been attracted toward organizations and institutions that are mission-driven and support a set of values that resonate with my own values,” he said this year. O’Byrne is also the secretary and chair emeritus of the board of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
40. Matthew McMorrow & Priya Nair
Statewide Director of LGBTQ Affairs; Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office
Earlier this year Gov. Andrew Cuomo hired one of the top LGBTQ advocates in New York government: Matthew McMorrow, a former top adviser to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Cuomo administration, which boasts a string of LGBTQ policy victories, from same-sex marriage in 2011 to the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act last year, also relies on Priya Nair, an inclusivity fellow since 2018.
41. Brian Ellner
Executive Vice President, Growth & Marketing, New York, BCW
Since leaving communications giant Edelman to expand Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s corporate practice, Brian Ellner has continued his involvement in LGBTQ civil-rights causes, advocating in his new role for the Equality Act, which would guarantee nondiscrimination protections for queer people in housing, public accommodations and employment. He was instrumental in the effort to bring same-sex marriage to New York in 2011 as a senior strategist at the Human Rights Campaign.
42. Kelsey Louie
CEO, Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Kelsey Louie’s venerable organization has helped reduce HIV infections in recent years. But while some herald the end of New York’s HIV/AIDS crisis by 2020, Louie warns against complacency. “While rates of infections are going down in some populations, they are rising in others,” he told NBC News. “In New York state, the rate for women has gone up: in particular, women of color, in particular, trans women of color.”
43. Alan Van Capelle
President and CEO, Educational Alliance
Alan van Capelle in 2014 became CEO of the Educational Alliance – a nonprofit whose downtown Manhattan services include preschool, summer camps and after-school programs. He previously led the Empire State Pride Agenda, helping pave the way for same-sex marriage in New York. The Long Island native remains politically engaged after serving as deputy comptroller, advising Mayor Bill de Blasio as a member of the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board.
44. Thomas “TJ” Chernick
Director, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, New York
As director of the National LGBT of Commerce’s New York branch, Thomas “TJ” Chernick represents the interests of the state’s LGBTQ-owned businesses while also coordinating with the national office in Washington, D.C. In New York, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce not only certifies LGBT businesses – it’s pushing legislation to make New York City recognize such businesses and encourage the city to partner with them.
45. Sally Susman
Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pfizer
As chief corporate affairs officer at Pfizer, Sally Susman handles the pharmaceutical company’s communications and public affairs. A leading fundraiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand, Susman has dedicated herself to inclusivity at the company and has been outspoken about the importance of being out at work. “Coming out – being fully out, both personally and professionally – has been the most productive thing I’ve ever done,” she wrote recently.
46. Stan Sloan
CEO, Family Equality
Stan Sloan heads Family Equality, which seeks to advance “legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families.” Sloan joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful push to repeal New York state’s ban on paid surrogacy this year. With 63% of LGBTQ millennials considering starting families, Sloan’s voice will only become more prominent. An Episcopal priest, he also backs the federal Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which bans discrimination against LGBTQ foster kids and parents.
47. Bradford Shellhammer
General Manager, eBay New York City
Bradford Shellhammer came to prominence as the co-founder of Fab.com, an online marketplace once valued at $1 billion. He went on to found and sell another e-commerce site, Bezar, and create the gay and lesbian news outlet Queerty. In 2016, he came to eBay, where he rose from running its merchandising and curation team to general manager of the company’s New York office.
48. Charles Myers
Chairman, Signum Global Advisors
With more than 20 years of experience in electoral politics, Charles Myers supported President Barack Obama’s reelection campaigns, did the same for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run, and is now backing Joe Biden. He has served on the boards of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Central Park Conservancy, and was on the New York City host committee for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
49. Michael Adams
It’s been a challenging and a breakthrough year for Michael Adams, who runs the nation’s largest organization advocating for the growing LGBTQ senior population. SAGE helped amend the federal Older Americans Act to benefit LGBTQ seniors and boosted advocacy efforts amid the pandemic, which, Adam notes, has threatened LGBTQ seniors, who smoke at higher rates and have pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS that make them especially susceptible to the virus.
50. Oriol Gutierrez Jr.
Editor-in-chief, POZ magazine
POZ magazine’s Oriol Gutierrez Jr. runs the largest publication dedicated to those affected by HIV/AIDS, with 450,000 visitors to its website each month. A long-term survivor – Gutierrez discovered he had the virus while serving in the Marine Corps Reserve – he penned a piece earlier this month about living past 50 and coming to terms with a coronavirus diagnosis as an HIV-positive person.
Correction: An earlier version of this list contained an incorrect title for Brian Ellner.