Side by Side Staff

Ted Lewis, Executive Director
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

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.   

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John Taylor, Associate Director
Pronouns: He/His/Him

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).   

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Emma Yackso, Director of Youth Programs & Services
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

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Helen V. Mays, Richmond Youth Programs Coordinator
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Helen is an educator who has worked with LGBTQ youth for the last four years. They went to VCU both for undergrad and graduate school and currently earning a doctorate degree from Widener University in human sexuality. Helen has written curriculum, establish Gender Sexuality Alliances in rural Virginia, and taught classes on the broad topics of human sexuality at the high school and college levels. Helen is passionate about providing visibility for LGBTQ-identified youth and helping individuals outside of the community understand the power that comes from these youth. 

CasSandra Calin, Youth Resource Advocate
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Mary A. Sullivan, Charlottesville Youth Programs Coordinator
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

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Rowan “RJ” Johnson, Charlottesville Youth Programs Coordinator
Pronouns: He/Him/His

A Miami native, Rowan has been living in Charlottesville since 2014. He's been working with queer youth since moving to Charlottesville, first as a Queer Mentor through UVA and later through Side by Side. He graduated with his Undergraduate Degree from the University of Miami and his Masters Degree from the University of Virginia. Apart from his work with Side by Side, he also works with the Boys & Girls Clubs as an art instructor and in his free time makes artwork about queer identity and gender dysphoria along with his partner.

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Justina Hall, Petersburg Youth Programs Coordinator
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Justina is an advocate for LGBTQ+ youth and their freedom to live their most authentic truths. They have worked in various non-profit organizations that are committed to being safe spaces for marginalized and under-served populations. As a queer and non-binary person of color, Justina is excited to bring their mutual lived experiences to youth to help create a community of support as the youth contemplate, realize, and work to achieve their goals. 



Dr. Lisa Griffin, Licensed Clinician

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.


Melissa Burroughs, President
Ron Brown, Vice President
Sarah K. Olthoff, Secretary
Stephen Alexander, Treasurer
Regina Barnett-Tyler
Wirt Confroy
Natasha Crosby
The Rev. Judy Davis
Lee Dyer
Britt Farrar
Cameron McPherson
Kelly Merrill
Sue Ann Messmer
Cynthia Neff
Trudy Salmon-Akande
P. Watson Seaman
Fatima M. Smith
Michael Thorne-Begland
Amber Vernon
Jennifer Wakefield


Katherine Busser
Alan Cohn
Marge Connelly
Oliver Hill, Jr.
Jeffrey Lacker
Rep. Donald McEachin
John Sherman
Kristen Szakos
Allison Weinstein

Andy Inge, President
Dan Halloran, Vice President
Kelly Simoncic, Treasurer
Jonathan J. Albright
Qamar Ali
Lauren Bickford
Frances Dobbins
Mayme Donohue
Kyle M.
Kat Milberger
R.D. Montgomery
Sarah Slotnick
Molly Twohigg
Lindsay Yowell