The LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation Leadership Institute develops leadership skills for LGBT and Ally professionals. The program provides a diverse cohort of participants with valuable leadership skills and knowledge, along with an historical view of the LGBT community and equality movement. Upon completion of the nine-part program, participants will have a well-rounded understanding of the community.


Our Mission

The LGBT Leadership Institute develops leaders in the LGBT community. The program provides historical perspective of the community and the LGBT equality movement, enhances leadership skills, and prepares the next generation of diverse leaders for greater community engagement.

Our Objective

Provide a safe and nurturing environment to develop skills and explore the critical issues facing the LGBT community. Promote networking, dialog, and best practices among leaders from across the community. Encourage participants to apply their talent and skills for the benefit of the LGBT and overall community.

LGBT Leadership Institute Calendar

2022 - 2023 Meeting Dates

  • September 9, 2022  Orientation
  • October 14, 2022  Strategic Planning
  • November 11, 2022 Adaptive Leadership 
  • December 9, 2022 Equity & Inclusion
  • January 13, 2023 Business Strategies
  • February 10, 2023 Leading Through Change
  • March 10, 2023 Community Health
  • April 14, 2023 Community Organizing
  • May 12, 2023 Graduation

Sessions generally begin at 9:00 AM and end by 4:00 PM.

All meetings occur on the 2nd Friday of each month.
Topics & meeting dates subject to change.

Previous Session Topics

Topics subject to change.

The LGBT Leadership Institute kick’s off with an orientation session.

During this time, participants will meet and discuss their goals and experiences in the community and in business. At the same time, they will learn about the monthly sessions that comprise the LGBT Leadership Institute. In addition to participating in the monthly sessions, each participant will to choose and assist in planning future sessions.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Sidney Gardner, Women and LGBT Center at Southern Methodist University
Dr. Gardner recently returned to her home state of Texas to proudly serve as the Director for the Women and LGBT Center at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Gardner comes to SMU form Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. In her role at Montclair State, she served as the Director for the Office of Equity and Diversity which was comprised of the Women’s Center, the Center for Faith and Spirituality, the LGBTQ Center, and the Multicultural Center. Prior to her time at Montclair State, she served as the Program Coordinator for the GLBT Resource Center at Texas A&M University from 2012-2015. She also served as the Multicultural Coordinator for LGBT and Women’s Services at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN from 2006-2012.

Sr. Corporal Amber Roman & Ms. Joli Robinson, Dallas Police Department
Senior Corporal Amber Roman
is the Dallas Police Department’s LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer working for the Office of Community Affairs. As a Native Dallasite and the youngest of four siblings Amber quickly learned, “if you want to be heard, you have to speak up.” As an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Corporal Roman is passionate about strengthening the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and the Dallas Police Department through proactive relationship-building & inclusive community engagement efforts.

Joli Angel Robinson is the Manager for The Office of Community Affairs and the Youth Outreach Unit at the Dallas Police Department. Her desire for service in the community led her to take a leap of faith from the private sector to join the Dallas Police Department in 2013. She manages a team of Police Officers and Non-Sworn Outreach Representatives. Along with her team, she has been an integral part of furthering the mission of the Dallas Police Department by seeking to establish a proactive, continuous, and positive relationship with the Dallas community.

Dale Holdman, BSN, MA, ACC, Coaching Beyond
Dale is a professional coach with more than 25 years of successful experience in coaching, leadership development and personal growth. He has held many Senior Management Positions in his career. He’s a graduate of Coach Academy International and holds the designation of Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation. He’s also a Certified Divorce Coach. He holds a B.S. in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University and an M.A. in Organizational Management from Dallas Baptist University.

Communications Skills – Friday October 11, 2019

Under the guidance of Dale Holdman, BSN, MA, ACC (Associate Certified Coach), participants will first learn about forms of communications. They will receive the result of their DISC Assessment survey and learn how to work with “Natural and Adaptive Behaviors” for more effective communications. The day will also include a look at, and discussion about, LGBT inclusion in Corporate America as well as the history of National Coming Out Day and other LGBT accomplishments.

About Dale Holdman
Dale is a professional coach with more than 25 years of successful experience in coaching, leadership development and personal growth. He has held many Senior Management Positions in his career. He’s a graduate of Coach Academy International and holds the designation of Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation. He’s also a Certified Divorce Coach. He holds a B.S. in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University and an M.A. in Organizational Management from Dallas Baptist University.

Diversity Equity & Inclusion – Friday November 8, 2019

Over time, this topic has changed from simply Diversity, to Diversity and Inclusion, and now Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

In this session, participants will explore the meaning of DEI as well as the inequities that surround us every day. Professional experts will discuss issues around transportation, housing, healthcare, and education. A portion of the day is dedicated to the subject of privilege as well as a discussion on DEI topics it he workplace, employee resource/business groups, and collaborative impact leadership.

Business Strategy – Friday December 13, 2019

Participants will learn the importance of business strategy as part of organizational and individual success. In addition to getting acquainted with corporate, entrepreneurial, small business and non-profit strategies, participants will set personal goals and strategies. Students will also study and learn from some failed business strategies.

About David Pattillo, Owner,  BridgeRight Group

David has 30 years of professional experience in consulting, audit, financial systems & HR systems.  His work experience includes audit and consulting at PwC, mergers and acquisition work for several Fortune 500 firms, and assisting large corporations with implementation of shared services centers in a variety of industries.  BridgeRight Group, which celebrated 10 years in October 2019, offers comprehensive financial operations services to small businesses and nonprofits in North Texas and beyond.  BridgeRight Groups was certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise in early 2019.  Dave’s community service experience includes work during the AIDS crisis at the Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance, Celebrity Auction for AIDS and the DGLA Credit Union.  He has served on numerous boards and committees.

About Matthew Byrd, VP of Operations, Todd Campbell Insurance

Matthew Byrd is the current vice president of operations for The Todd Campbell Insurance Agency. In his six-year tenure, Matthew has help to create a highly diverse and efficient work environment that has allowed the agency to quadruple in revenue.   Matthew’s strategies include innovative marketing, and strategic goal planning focusing not only on the needs of local LGBTQ clientele but also those of synergistic partners in the DFW real estate industry.  Matthew has been named Texas Monthly Five Star Insurance Agent of the year 2016-2019, D Magazine Best Insurance Agent 2016-2019, and is a Farmers Insurance Topper and Champion Club recipient as well. Matthew is also a 2016 graduate of both The Metrotex Association of Realtors Leadership Academy and The Texas Realtors Leadership Program. Matthew currently holds a M.Ed. In organizational development from Lamar University.

About Rick McDonough, Attorney, Owner, McDonough Legal Services, PLLC

Rick served as VP, General Counsel and Secretary for $2 billion/year IT service and IT product reseller company, with 11,000 employees located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, India and Costa Rica.

Starting as sole attorney, Rick grew the department to 16, using a cost-effective model of attorneys, non-attorney contract negotiators and staff.

As the owner of McDonough Legal Services, Rick provides legal services for businesses who do not have an in-house legal department or on-going access to legal expertise.

Entrepreneurship – Friday January 10, 2020

Participants will learn about entrepreneurship and the different stages of growth. We will carefully study the obstacles for minority startups and small business owners. Presenters will give the class an idea of the local eco-system for entrepreneurs and what educational, government, and business policies are needed to empower current and future entrepreneurs.

Justin Anderson – Founder and President, Anderson Trail, Inc. (Woats)

After breaking a bracket off his braces from eating crunchy granola, Justin Anderson mixed oats, honey and nuts together to create a healthy oat snack. Anderson then brought his granola snack on a Boy Scout camp out where his gently baked creation was devoured the first night.

With a $500 loan from his grandmother he created Anderson Trail Premium Soft Granola, which launched into HEB Central Market by the time he graduated high school. He continued to scale the business throughout college by launching 3 more flavors and was soon carried in retailers like Costco and Whole Foods, and nationally via HSN.

Justin has been honored at The White House, being named the Top 100 Entrepreneurs in the U.S. Under 30 by Startup America and The Kauffman Foundation.

With the shift towards healthy indulgence on the rise, Justin reinvented and reformulated the original recipe with the goal of creating an easy-to-snack-on treat with indulgent ingredients like chunks of chocolate vanilla cream sandwich cookies, toffee covered peanuts, shortbread and praline pecans, naming it WOATS Oatsnack.

WOATS can be found in thousands of retail locations nationwide including Walmart, CVS Health, HEB Central Market, Kroger, Meijer, United, Market Street, Fiesta and Follett College Bookstores.

Traci York – Regional Vice President of Operations, Starbucks Coffee Company

Traci has over 20 years of operations expertise at leading both dense and remote areas within an operations group. She brings a broad level of functional expertise within direct team development, employee development programs, employee retention plans and peer mentorship programs. Her extensive relationship building across boundaries and support business units (finance, partner resources, facilities, real estate) enables her to better serve immediate team members. Ms. York has extensive experience in developing operational and strategic plans for the work group. Traci loves to  inspire passion for customer service with a diverse and large geographic span.

Helena Krusec – Venture Associate, Capital Factory

Helena Krusec is a Venture Associate for Capital Factory, where she works to scout talent for their Accelerator and Venture Capital fund. She serves as a generalist expert in all things venture capital, with a specific interest in cyber security, emerging technology, e-sports, gaming, and supporting female founded companies. She is an experienced manager and strategic communications leader with a history of working with high profile companies at the intersection of venture capital and national security.

Leveraging her background in publicly policy, business, and data analytics, Helena has helped companies to develop successful digital and traditional media campaigns, execute aggressive sales and growth initiatives, created holistic brand and reputational profiles, and crafted strategies to help targets to flourish in highly competitive environments. She is a serial connector that is constantly working to create collaborative opportunities for innovation in legacy industries. 

Monica Greene – Restaurateur, Owner, Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina

Monica has been working in the restaurant industry since arriving from Mexico City in 1974. Monica’s passion for serving allowed her to work her way from busboy to server, to manager in some of Dallas’ hottest restaurants. When she opened her own restaurant, Eduardo’s Aca Y Ala, it was one of only three restaurants and a few bars in Deep Ellum. 

A list of her restaurants includes Eduardo’s Aca Y Ala which later became Monica’s, Cayuse, Pegaso, Ciudad, and Monica’s Mex-Tex Cantina. In 2001 and 2003, she was named the city’s best restaurateur in D Magazine. Monica is an out transgender woman and credits a welcoming Dallas for her success.

  • DIFFA Board Member and Underwriter 
  • Founding Member Foundation for Human Understanding – Dallas 1994
  • Founding Board Member North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Named by DCEO to the “500 CEO” Club as one of the Most Powerful Business Leaders in DFW.
  • Named one of the “Top Women” in the Industry.
  • Ran for City Council District 2 -Dallas 2005.

Heath Jordan – Founder of TEND + TEMPLE , a skincare brand.

Heath is a 6 year Air Force Veteran and is in the process of launching his skincare brand after having trouble maintaining a healthy complexion on the battlefield in stations across the world. Some of the topics he will talk about are starting up on a bootstrap, product development, branding, balancing full time commitments while launching a business and raising capital. 

Clint Thomson – Managing Principal, CELERATEC, an IT services company.

Clint started his company in Dallas 18 years ago after migrating with his family from South Africa. He will speak to the challenges of being an immigrant entrepreneur in the U.S. and what leaders can do to prevent obstacles.  Mr. Thomson serves as the Board Chair for the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Celeratec is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

Nonprofit Boards – Friday February 14, 2020

Participants will learn the main functions of a Board Member and how to be an effective non-profit organization volunteer leader. Specifically, the class will learn how to read and analyze income statements and balance sheets and the value of an appropriate working relationship between the Board and staff.

Jill Larsen, CPA, CFO VisitDallas

Jill is a CPA with more than 20 years of experience working with non-profit entities.  She is a native Texan although she has lived in Colorado, Oklahoma and Germany.  Jill graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Accounting from Midwestern State University.  After working 3 years in public accounting in the tax area, she quit accounting and worked in sales for a few years.  But the joy of solving problems and designing processes returned when she reentered the accounting field working for a corporation.  She has now worked for organizations ranging from $2 billion in assets to volunteering for a non-profit with a $300,000 budget.  Jill joined VisitDallas in August 2019 as their Chief Financial Officer.

Jill especially enjoys training Boards to understand and oversee financial matters.  This dovetails with her enjoyment in managing and supervising staff to see them grow and prepare for new responsibilities.

Jill lives with her Shih Tzu mix rescue, Jackie (get it, Jack & Jill).  She loves to travel, read and walk Jackie.

Charles Santos, TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND, Executive Director/Artistic Director

Charles Santos has had an extensive career in the performing arts nonprofit field of presenting, performing and producing. He studied dance at UT Austin and danced with Sharir Dance Company for 9 years. He founded the Austin Festival of Dance, benefiting AIDS Services of Austin in 1992, which ran for 10 years.  Mr. Santos moved to New York in 1995 as the Managing Director/Development Director for Eos Orchestra. After two years producing concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center, recordings and books, he became the Producing Director for Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA), a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. At DRA, he produced events with such luminaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bill T. Jones and Bebe Neuwirth, as well as creating national grass-roots fundraising programs with dance students across the country.

Before coming to Dallas, he was the Managing Director/Associate Producer for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council producing the highly acclaimed Evening Stars series at the World Trade Center. Evening Stars was named as “Best of New York” festivals for the extraordinarily high caliber of music and dance artists being presented annually at the World Trade Center. Mr. Santos moved to Dallas October 2001 as Executive Director/Artistic Director of TITAS. He brought a wealth of experience, energy, connections, collaborations and initiatives to Dallas.

Mr. Santos has served on many local and national boards including MMIAM International Advisory Board, Dance/USA, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, DRA National Advisory Board and Booker T Washington HSPVA Advisory Board and Dallas Arts District. He continues to regularly work with the National Endowment of the Arts and the Texas Commission of the Arts and many cities reviewing grants and cultural collaboration projects. Mr. Santos created a new business model for TITAS with the AT&T Performing Arts Center that has flourished and has generated a wide array of new works, commissions and cultural collaborations. He also continues to be an international advisory to cultural festivals in Seoul S. Korea, Shanghai and Beijing, China and in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Kathy Marcum, Membership Development Manager, Plano Chamber of Commerce

For the past eight years, Kathy Marcum has focused her career on community service organizations.  She currently serves as the Membership Development Manager for the Plano Chamber of Commerce, where she focuses on expanding their reach in the community by welcoming new businesses.  Kathy works closely with the Chamber Board to generate sales leads and engage with enterprise organizations.  Prior to working at the Plano Chamber, Kathy served as a Membership Director for the YMCA Association of Greater Dallas.   An integral part of this role was engaging with the YMCA Board to maximize annual fundraising efforts.  Prior to working in the non-profit arena, Kathy has an extensive background in brand management and licensing. 

Tony Vedda, CCE, IOM, President, North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Tony’s career in chamber management began more than thirty years ago as a Membership Specialist for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Since then he has worked with metropolitan chambers in Arizona and California. He served five years as Executive Director of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Business Association, the nation’s first GLBT chamber of commerce.

Tony returned to chamber work in 2005, serving as Secretary for the newly created North Texas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Chamber of Commerce.  In 2007, he became the Chamber’s first president & CEO, a position he continues holds today.

Tony is a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management (IOM) and is one of only 530 chamber leaders in the nation, and the only LGBT chamber leader, to receive the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He serves on the board and Finance Committee of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).

In addition to his professional and volunteer activities, Tony is a sought-after speaker on a variety of topics including Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Strategic Planning, and Governance. He has presented at the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference and ACCE Annual Convention. In 2019 Tony joined the faculty of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management.

In 2017, Tony married his partner of 26 years, Greg Wallace. They live in the Lakewood Trails neighborhood of East Dallas with their cats, Sydney & Gizmo.

Community Organizing – Friday March 13, 2020

Community organizing strategies and tactics can be used to organize from outside an organization, institution, community or issue area, from within, or both. Organizing can include both collaborative and pressure strategies – often strategically applied together. 

The three stages of organizing will be explored in-depth during this session: Getting Started, Action Planning and Taking Action.

The best, most effective organizers are people who genuinely care about the community and mission they’re serving, put others first, and are powered by the love and positivity they feel doing the work; is this you?

Soft Skills – April 10, 2020

Class Project & Graduation – Friday May 8, 2020