The 2020 Pride Power 100: 51-100

City Council Member Ritchie Torres, #7 on the Pride Power 100 and likely new congress member for the South Bronx.
City Council Member Ritchie Torres, #7 on the Pride Power 100 and likely new congress member for the South Bronx.
William Alatriste
New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres wants be the first member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, if elected to Congress.
Power 100

The 2020 Pride Power 100: 51-100

The most influential figures in New York's LGBTQ community.

51. Cynthia Nixon

Actor and Activist

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Ron Adar/Shutterstock

Since losing to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018, Cynthia Nixon has remained active, endorsing U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and a slate of Democratic Socialists of America candidates for state Legislature this cycle. She recently spoke about acknowledging white privilege. “It’s really important for white people and other people to listen to people of color – that’s the most important thing we can do,” she said on the Homo Sapiens podcast.

52. Sarah Kate Ellis

President and CEO, GLAAD

A former media executive who specialized in launches and turnarounds of publications, Sarah Kate Ellis became CEO of media watchdog GLAAD in 2014. In the last year, the organization has spoken out forcefully against Tennessee’s HB 836, which sanctions discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive parents and was signed into law in January. Before entering advocacy, Ellis helped grow Real Simple magazine into one of Time Inc.’s largest brands. 

53. Chris Coffey

Head of New York Practice, Tusk Strategies

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Chris Coffey has worked closely with several successful politicians in New York City, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. He heads up Tusk Strategies’ New York operation, representing New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Affordable Streets and tech firms like Uber and Bird. He is a board member of The Trevor Project, which seeks to prevent suicides in LGBTQ teens.

54. Chanel Lopez

Transgender Communities Liaison, New York City Commission on Human Rights

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Chanel Lopez

With more than 15 years of activism under her belt, Chanel Lopez currently serves on the New York City Commission on Human Rights, which enforces the city’s extensive civil-rights laws, as a liaison to the transgender community. In that role, she has focused her efforts on employment discrimination and harassment in New York City businesses. Lopez was previously with the New York Anti-Violence Project and the Bronx Community Pride Center. 

55. Jacquelyn Kilmer

CEO, Harlem United

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Harlem United

Jacquelyn Kilmer has continued the tireless work of Harlem United – which provides housing, hot meals and other services and serves more than 16,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers, including members of the African American community, which has been disproportionately ravaged by the disease – amid increased demand and scarce resources. Faced with funding shortages, the organization has continued its work through the coronavirus crisis, offering many of its services online.

56. Erick Eiting

Vice Chair of Operations for Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai Downtown

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Mount Sinai

As vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown, which includes the Emergency Department at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and the Urgent Care Center at Mount Sinai Union Square, Dr. Erick Eiting has been a key figure in New York City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was previously the vice-chair of the American Medical Association’s advisory committee on LGBTQ issues. 

57. Cecilia Gentili & Cynthia Dames

Co-Chair; Project Manager, The New Pride Agenda

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After same-sex marriage was legalized in New York 2011 and nationwide in 2015, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order protecting transgender New Yorkers later in 2015, the Empire State Pride Agenda shut down. But work remained to be done – so The New Pride Agenda was launched to secure further protections. Cecilia Gentili is a leading advocate for decriminalizing sex work, while Cynthia Dames brings valuable government affairs experience to the organization.

58. Sharon Kleinbaum

Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

A social-justice warrior, Sharon Kleinbaum has led Congregation Beth Simchat Torah since 1992, when she became a central figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition to committing her congregation to addressing racial injustice, last year Kleinbaum helped found the New York Jewish Agenda, a liberal counterweight to the conservative Orthodox community. She told the New York Jewish Week the organization will have a “voice that is politically Jewish.” 

59. Meredith Talusan

Journalist/Activist

A well-known activist and journalist in New York’s LGBTQ community, Meredith Talusan recently released a memoir, “Fairest,” which The Boston Globe has credited with “reinvigorating the trans memoir tradition.” BuzzFeed's first transgender journalist, Talusan won plaudits for an investigative reporting project documenting violence against transgender women of color. The Filipino-American reporter was also the founding executive editor of them, Condé Nast’s first queer publication.

60. Joel Spolsky

Co-founder and Chairman, Stack Overflow

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The founder and former CEO of the online developer community Stack Overflow, Joel Spolsky remains a prominent voice in New York’s tech scene even after stepping down from the top post last year. (He has remained involved as chairman of the board of directors.) Spolsky is a veteran of Microsoft’s Excel team and helped create work management software Trello. He blogs at Joel on Software. 

61. Pat Bumgardner

Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of New York

From her post at Hell’s Kitchen’s Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Pat Bumgardner has long been a vocal LGBTQ advocate of faith. She was among the chorus of LGBTQ faith leaders who helped evict Samaritan’s Purse – an anti-LGBTQ “Christian disaster relief” organization accused of proselytizing COVID-19 patients – from Central Park. Bumgardner is founder of The Sylvia Rivera Memorial Food Pantry and Sylvia’s Place, a homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth.

62. Brian Romero

President, Stonewall Democrats of New York City

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Brian Romero is the president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, which supports queer candidates and causes, and the policy and census manager at Gay Men's Health Crisis. Besides supporting LGBTQ candidates, the Stonewall Democratic Club under Romero’s tenure has campaigned to decriminalize sex work and the repeal of New York’s Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law, which critics say has been weaponized against transgender people. 

63. Wendy Stark

Executive Director, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

As head of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center – which was the first community-based HIV clinic and now serves around 17,000 LGBTQ New Yorkers annually – Wendy Stark has played a lead role in addressing the needs of the queer community during the coronavirus crisis. “We are shapeshifters,” she told NBC News. “We have lived through traumas and pandemics. We know how to take care of ourselves and each other.”

64. Wilhelmina Perry

Co-founder and Administrative Coordinator, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent

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After Wilhelmina Perry’s longtime partner died in 2002, she turned to her religious faith for solace. Finding that many black churches did not welcome LGBT people, she co-founded LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, a group composed of clergy, divinity students, and faith leaders who represent diverse interdenominational religious institutions and seeks to combat homophobia in African American communities of faith.

65. Freddy Molano

Vice President of Infectious Diseases and LGBTQ Programs and Services, Community Healthcare Network

Dr. Luis Freddy Molano practiced family medicine in South and Central America before joining Community Healthcare Network – which provides more than 85,000 New Yorkers primary health care – in 1989. Previously at CHN, he implemented a successful HIV testing/counseling program directed at women. He lectures and publishes in scholarly journals about HIV/AIDS. Over time the organization has its expanded its scope to cover teen pregnancy, poverty and homelessness.

66. Richard Socarides

Chief Communications Officer, Gerson Lehrman Group

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A former adviser on gay and lesbian rights to President Bill Clinton, Richard Socarides now serves as chief communications officer of Gerson Lehrman Group Inc., where he has helped double the consulting firm’s staff to more than 2,000. In addition to planning LGBTQ-related events – and sponsoring Out Leadership and the Open For Business coalition – Socarides heads the company’s diversity and inclusion council. 

67. Marti Gould Cummings

New York City Council Candidate

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If elected to the New York City Council, Marti Gould Cummings would become New York’s first nonbinary elected official. The professional drag queen was inspired by the election of President Donald Trump to start the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats. “If we don’t get queer people into the council, our voices won’t be at the table,” Cummings told the Advocate. Cummings serves on the city's Nightlife Advisory Council and on The Ali Forney Center board.

68. Jayson Littman & Ashe McGovern

Interim Senior Adviser for LGBTQ Community Affairs; Executive Director of the NYC Unity Project and Senior LGBTQ Policy Adviser, New York City Mayor’s Office

Since Matthew McMorrow departed New York City government to work for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Jayson Littman has filled in as his interim replacement while continuing his role as the mayor’s director of event management. Another key LGBTQ City Hall staffer is Ashe McGovern, who runs the NYC Unity Project, which is aimed at supporting young LGBTQ people.

69. Mitchell Draizin

Political Donor

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Mitchell Draizin used to run a real estate financial services firm, but he is better known for his philanthropic and political work. A member of the New York City Economic Development Corporation board, he founded and now runs the Concordia Philanthropic Fund, which supports LGBTQ and progressive youth leadership initiatives. The political donor, who also founded the CUNY LGBT Program, has supported LGBTQ officials like state Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Deborah Glick and New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres. 

70. Doug Wirth

President and CEO, Amida Care

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Amida Care

Doug Wirth is a major player in New York’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, having served on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s task force to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020. At Amida Care, he oversees the largest Medicaid special-needs health plan in New York, which serves those suffering from homelessness and chronic conditions. He served in the Giuliani and Dinkins administrations as a health policy adviser and is co-chair of The New Pride Agenda.

71. Josh Meltzer

New York Public Policy Director, Airbnb

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Josh Meltzer is a battle-tested political operative in Albany, having run communications at Empire State Pride Agenda as it lobbied to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. So he was well-qualified to spearhead Airbnb’s efforts to expand in New York and negotiate regulations on short-term vacation rentals in the state Legislature, given the ardent opposition from key elected officials and the influential New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council.

72. Ronald Richter

CEO, JCCA

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An advocate for LGBTQ foster and adoptive parental rights – and an adoptive parent himself – Ronald Richter has spent decades advocating on behalf of children. As commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, he created a program for juvenile offenders. In five years heading up JCCA – among New York’s largest child and family services organizations – he has led initiatives on LGBTQ foster youth and juvenile justice.

73. Charles King

CEO, Housing Works

Born of a previous pandemic, Housing Works provides housing and other services to homeless and poor New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Under Charles King’s leadership, the organization has been a crucial player in the city’s coronavirus response: Housing Works set up two shelters to serve homeless COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals – a welcome change of focus from the unionization efforts roiling the organization earlier this year. 

74. Carl Siciliano & Alex Roque

Founder; President and Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

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Carl Siciliano launched the Ali Forney Center with six beds in a church basement in 2002. It now reaches more than 1,400 homeless LGBTQ youth every year, providing not only housing but medical services. President Barack Obama named Siciliano a White House Champion of Change in 2012. Siciliano handed the reins to Alex Roque, then the organization’s director of development, this year, but continues to share successful models. 

75. Ken Mehlman

Partner, Global Head of Public Affairs & Co-Head of KKR Global Impact, KKR

A former chairman of the Republican National Committee and head of George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, Ken Mehlman has become a major proponent of LGBTQ causes since coming out in 2010. Currently the global head of public affairs at KKR, Mehlman last year called for the U.S. Supreme Court to find that federal law protects queer people from employment discrimination – a right the court affirmed this month. 

76. Peter Staley

Activist

A former member of HIV/AIDS group ACT UP, Peter Staley has long been a fixture in LGBTQ advocacy. Besides helping Gov. Andrew Cuomo draft his 2015 plan for ending the AIDS epidemic, Staley founded the Treatment Action Group and co-founded Prep4All Collaboration. Last year, Staley said he hopes for an “end to our own community’s racism and misogyny,” “cementing our commitment to our transgender comrades” and “ending AIDS.”

77. Louis Bradbury

Board President, The Calamus Foundation

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Louis Bradbury serves on the board of The Calamus Foundation, a group that has given millions of dollars in grants to fund LGBTQ causes over the past decade. He was previously president of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, where he created an HIV testing center in the midst of the AIDS crisis, and board co-chairman of the Empire State Pride Agenda, which helped legalize same-sex marriage in New York in 2011. 

78. David Mansur

Partner, Culver Place Strategies

A prolific fundraiser, David Mansur has been behind the campaigns of such New York politicos as state Attorney General Letitia James, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries. When his former business partner moved to Oregon, he teamed up with Allegra Scheinblum and they renamed the firm Culver Place Strategies. He recently raised nearly $100,000 for a PAC that pushes for transgender rights. 

79. Paul Schindler

Founding Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher, Gay City News

As the founding editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Gay City News, Paul Schindler continues to be one of the leading journalists covering LGBTQ issues in New York City. A former investment banker, Schindler has this year overseen the paper’s coverage of the fight against New York state’s ban on paid gestational surrogacy, which was overturned in Albany this past April, and of various LGBTQ candidates running for elected office. 

80. Jared Arader

President, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn

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As president of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, one of the largest and most influential LGBTQ political organizations in New York, Jared Arader has sought to rebrand the group as a grassroots organization that hopes to influence the party apparatus and elect LGBTQ officeholders in 2021 – rather than an extension of the party itself. Arader also works for the New York City Department of Education.

81. Mario Palumbo Jr.

Partner, Millennium Partners

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The son of a former West Virginia state senator and state attorney general, Mario Palumbo Jr. has become a major funder of progressive campaigns, including those of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The managing partner of real estate firm Millennium Partners is a former board president of The LGBT Community Center and the current board chairman of Friends of the High Line. 

82. Ann Northrop & Andy Humm

Co-hosts and Co-executive Producers, “Gay USA”

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Co-hosts of weekly news show “Gay USA,” Andy Humm and Ann Northrop bring activist sensibilities to the week’s news, recently bringing attention to the case of Christian Cooper, a gay black bird-watcher who was racially profiled in Central Park in a viral video. Northrop was formerly a CBS producer and activist with group ACT UP in the 1980s. Humm was formerly spokesperson for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights. 

83. Norman Simon & Jeffrey Trachtman

Partners, Kramer Levin

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Jeffrey Trachtman has spent years representing LGBTQ clients pro bono, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis and The LGBT Community Center. He has been involved in notable litigation, including the fight for same-sex marriage and for equal rights for trans students. His colleague Norman Simon served as chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and taken on similar cases pro bono, including representing same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in New York.

84. John Gallagher

Partner, Mercury

John Gallagher learned his way around New York City politics while working at Lower Manhattan Development Corp. in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and he went on to work in key roles in the Bloomberg administration and with Tishman Construction Co. before joining Mercury in 2012. The strategic and crisis communications consultant served on the board of the now-defunct Empire State Pride Agenda.

85. Amit Paley

CEO and Executive Director, The Trevor Project

Amit Paley joined The Trevor Project in 2017, bringing experience in health care and nonprofit management to the national organization focusing on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. Paley said the organization is supporting Black LGBTQ youth – who are statistically less likely to have received professional care for mental health issues – to help them deal with stress brought on by police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic. 

86. Brooke Sopelsa

Editorial Director, NBC Out

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Brooke Sopelsa has been a part of NBC Out since 2016, when the network launched its vertical covering LGBTQ life and culture. Having served as its managing editor prior to her current role, Sopelsa has been busy in recent months reporting on issues ranging from adoption to education to gender identity discrimination in health care – which comes amid a nationwide uptick in COVID-19 infections.

87. Allen Roskoff

President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Dubbed a “progressive power broker,” Allen Roskoff began his career as an activist in the 1970s, drawing inspiration from the Stonewall Riots. He worked under numerous pro-LGBTQ politicians, including Mario Cuomo and David Dinkins. He is now the president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, named for his late partner and fellow activist. The organization’s endorsements are sought after by progressive candidates in New York City.

88. Karen Franz

CEO, AKRF

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As head of a consulting firm responsible for bringing sustainable infrastructure to New York City, Karen Franz has been involved in the development of major projects, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Infrastructure Program, and the Cornell Tech Applied Sciences Campus. Franz, who has been at AKRF since 2000, previously served as director of the firm’s engineering department. 

89. Donald Capoccia

Principal, BFC Partners

Donald Capoccia is a co-founder of BFC Partners, which is known for its affordable housing construction, and is also a founding member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. With New York City’s economy struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, Capoccia is actively seeking ways to help tenants cover their rent. He has also served on the board of amfAR, which seeks a cure for HIV/AIDS.

90. John Blasco

LGBTQ Liaison, New York City Council Speaker’s office

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John Blasco joined the New York City Council’s Community Engagement Division as its liaison to the LGBTQ community. Blasco, who’s also a district leader and a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, started out as an organizer with Fierce, a grassroots advocacy organization representing LGBTQ youth of color – and that part of his advocacy hasn’t waned, as he’s an outspoken proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement.

91. Mila Madison

Executive Director, The Transgender Resource Center of Long Island

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As executive director of the Transgender Resource Center of Long Island, Mila Madison oversees programming that includes support groups for transgender and nonbinary youth, and provides assistance in changing legal documents to reflect one’s true gender. Previously, Madison was an executive-level liaison with the FCC, the Better Business Bureau and the Public Service Commission. A longtime activist, she has helped raise money for HIV/AIDS research, abused women and cancer research. 

92. Kim Forte 

Owner, Kim Forte Consulting

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Kim Forte launched her own consulting firm after nearly two decades at the Legal Aid Society, where she oversaw the organization's LGBT law and policy initiative and helped secure Medicaid coverage for transition-related health care needs. In addition to her consulting practice, she is director of corporate development and training for The Phluid Project, a “gender-free shopping experience” and community center in New York City. 

93. Thomas Krever

CEO, Hetrick-Martin Institute

As head of the Hetrick-Martin Institute – the nation’s largest organization serving LGBTQ youth – Thomas Krever has been a sought-after adviser on issues related to queer youth. He recently advised Mayor Bill de Blasio on plans to reopen New York City schools amid the coronavirus crisis and sat on the mayor’s Nonprofit Resiliency Committee. Krever is stepping down at the end of June after 13 years leading the institute. 

94. David Kilmnick

President and CEO, The LGBT Network

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David Kilmnick has led the Long Island-based LGBT Network for more than a quarter century, standing up for the rights of gay and transgender New Yorkers, partnering with corporations to promote tolerance and speaking out in the media. His nonprofit has expanded into Queens in recent years, while partnering with the Mets on Pride Night. However, the nonprofit has recently come under scrutiny by state agencies for questionable spending and funding issues.

95. Joseph McMillan Jr.

Chairman and CEO, DDG

Joseph McMillan Jr. has developed a $2.5 billion portfolio at DDG, a Tribeca-based real estate company that was founded in 2009. A veteran of the U.S. Army who had a career in private equity with Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Greenhill & Co., McMillan also sits on the boards of The Municipal Art Society of New York and the influential Real Estate Board of New York.

96. Tiffany Cabán

National Political Organizer, Working Families Party

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While the public defender lost her bid for Queens district attorney – by a razor-thin margin – she’s now an organizer with the Working Families Party and has continued to speak out against mass incarceration. “The pandemic is the ideal time for a paradigm shift from a focus on punishment to public health outcomes,” she recently wrote for The Nation. “Local prosecutors can and should lead the way.”

97. Steven Garibell

Vice President Business Development LGBTQ2+, TD Bank

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As vice president of business development for TD Bank’s initiative to hire and serve LGBTQ individuals, Steven Garibell crafted banking services tailored to the needs of the individuals and small businesses within the community. In addition to his outreach work, Garibell also leads the bank’s effort to hire more LGBTQ professionals. His work makes him a sought-after voice at small-business conferences across the city.

98. David Mixner

Activist

After 60 years of activism, David Mixner marked his retirement in December with “You Make Me Sick,” a one-man show at Florence Gould Hall, with former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn among the attendees. Mixner’s accomplishments during six decades of advocacy include protesting the Vietnam War, helping defeat the Briggs Initiative in California and opposing “Don’t Ask, Don't Tell.” He co-founded the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which helps elect LGBTQ candidates.

99. Paul Del Duca

Chief of Staff and Senior Strategic Adviser, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

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Office of the Bronx Borough President

Paul Del Duca has been at Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s side since the politician’s days in the state Assembly. Diaz has credited del Duca, who is gay, with changing his mind about same-sex marriage, leading the borough president to announce his support for it in 2013. Diaz recently decided against running for mayor in 2021, so Del Duca may finally have to part ways with his longtime boss. 

100. Ellyn Canfield

Executive Director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management

Ellyn Canfield has been with New York City Mayor de Blasio since serving as an intern during his time on the New York City Council. She now runs the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, where she coordinates the Street Activity Permit Office, the city’s permit system for street activities, block parties, fairs, and film shoots. She is an alumna of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this list incorrectly described Norman Simon's former role with Empire State Pride Agenda.

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