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.

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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Lacette Cross, Director of Volunteers & Outreach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lacette provides support to both the Associate Director and Youth Programs Director.  She has nearly 20 years of youth development experience in faith based and community focused organizations.  She has been involved with Side by Side as a volunteer facilitator and board member for the past 5 years.  Lacette is a local pastor and active community leader.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology.

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Brooke Taylor, Richmond Youth Programs Coordinator
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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

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.


Michael Thorne-Begland, President
Melissa Burroughs, Vice President
Cameron McPherson, Secretary
Ron Brown, Treasurer
Ryan J. Arey, LCSW
Wirt Confroy
The Rev. Judy Davis
Lee Dyer
Britt Farrar
Lisa Halberstadt
Stacey Lawson
Kelly Merrill
Sue Ann Messmer
Cynthia Neff
Sarah K. Olthoff
Trudy Salmon-Akande
Dalal Marie Salomon
P. Watson Seaman
Fatima M. Smith


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

Andy Inge, Jr. Board President
Cole Troxell
Corey Boone
Frances Dobbins
Mayme Donohue
Dan Halloran
Kyle M.
Nicole Mallette
Kat Milberger
Leiah Morgan
Sarah Slotnick
Lamar Townsend
Lindsay Yowell