Side by Side Staff
Ted Lewis, Executive Director
Ted Lewis has over a decade of experience working with LGBTQ+ youth mainly through working within higher education institutions including UNC Charlotte and the University of Richmond. They also served as the Special Projects & Outreach Coordinator for Campus Pride, a national organization focused on LGBTQ+ college student leaders. They were recently recognized for their efforts as on of 2018’s 40 Under 40 by Style Weekly. Ted is a graduate of Mary Washington and the University of South Carolina and lives in Richmond, Virginia.
John Taylor, Associate Director
John is an active member of the Greater Richmond community where the primary focus of his work has been on racial equity and reconciliation initiatives, as well as facilitated community dialogues. He is currently serving on the board of the Richmond Peace Education Center, One Common Unity based in Washington D.C. and an advisory committee for the Chrysalis Institute where he teaches Mindfulness. John's work has primarily been in the non-profit sector where he served for many years at the National office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and as a Program Officer for the Bonner Foundation. John has also been a food security activist who initiated urban farming programs in Newark, New Jersey. John is a graduate of the College of Wooster and lives in North Chesterfield, VA with his wife, three children (and three dogs).
Emma Yackso, Director of Youth Programs & Services
Emma is a clinical social worker who has been working with LGBTQ+ youth since 2010, and previously served at Side by Side as a social work intern, volunteer facilitator, and parent group facilitator. She has worked in LGBTQ+ policy advocacy, youth development, and with friends and family allies through PFLAG. A native of Charlottesville, VA, Emma has a Bachelor’s degree from George Washington University, and an MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is passionate about fostering a safe space at Side by Side that gives youth the opportunity to explore, engage, celebrate and belong, as well as creating space for our community to grow and thrive through conversation, action and advocacy.
Mary A. Sullivan, Charlottesville Youth Programs Coordinator
Mary A. Sullivan received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Virginia. She has provided education and counseling to adolescents, young adults, and those who care for and about them for over 25 years. Working with this population means advocating fiercely for them as well, and she has enormous respect for how youth and young adults handle the challenges they face. In addition to her Side by Side position, she is the adolescent advocacy and outreach program director at the UVA Teen and Young Adult Health Center.
She is a very proud mother of three passionate and compassionate young adults: Lucy, 27; Jackson, 24; and Isabel, 21.
Lacette Cross, Director of Volunteers & Outreach
Lacette has over 20 years of leadership and youth development experience in school, community, and faith settings. She is an experienced presenter, speaker, and facilitator with diverse audiences. Lacette has participated in conferences, workshops, panels and summits throughout the country on topics of sexuality, LGBTQ inclusion, race, gender, religion and justice. She has been actively involved in the greater Richmond community as a faith leader, youth development professional, community advocate, and speaker. Lacette is the co-founder of Us Giving Richmond Connections (UGRC) the non-profit that hosted Black Pride RVA, Virginia’s first ever Black LGBTQ festival event weekend. She sits on the boards of the Incarnation Institute of Sex and Faith and the Nationz Foundation. Lacette is also the pastor of Restoration Fellowship RVA, a LGBTQ affirming church on the north side. She is a recent fellow of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship with Initiatives of Change and an Equity + Health Fellow with the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation.
CasSandra Calin, Youth Resource Advocate
CasSandra Calin is a Black-Cuban queer femme whose passions include food, healing work, and art. CasSandra defines healing work as providing people with the opportunity, resources, and companionship they might need to rest, indulge, and fight (not necessarily in that order). CasSandra received her Master's of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked with Richmond youth healing and mental health since 2011. CasSandra is excited to bring a trauma informed and culturally responsive lens to Side by Side's Youth Resource Advocate position.
Brooke Taylor, Richmond Youth Programs Coordinator
Brooke is a tireless advocate for social justice in all forms. For ten years, she has worked toward equality for marginalized people who experience discrimination, poverty, incarceration, food insecurity, and unemployment. An active member of the RVA community, Brooke works closely with various organizations, particularly those at the intersection of faith and justice. Brooke earned a Bachelor’s degree from Howard University and Graduate degrees from The School of Theology at Virginia Union (MDiv, MACE). In her role at Side by Side, Brooke passionately serves LGBTQ+ youth by creating space for their authentic self-expression.
Dr. Lisa Griffin, Licensed Clinician
Lisa Griffin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist for over 20 years, specializes in gender identity in children and teens. She speaks nationally and internationally on issues pertaining to transgender care, particularly in the areas of children/youth, cultural competence, and ethics. She teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and maintains a private practice in Richmond, VA. She is a long-time member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Thorne-Begland, President
Melissa Burroughs, Vice President
Cameron McPherson, Secretary
Ron Brown, Treasurer
Ryan J. Arey, LCSW
The Rev. Judy Davis
Sue Ann Messmer
Sarah K. Olthoff
Dalal Marie Salomon
P. Watson Seaman
Fatima M. Smith
Oliver Hill, Jr.
Rep. Donald McEachin
Andy Inge, President
Dan Halloran, Vice President
Kelly Simoncic, Treasurer
Jonathan J. Albright