This year’s class features a cadre of individuals who not only have made names for themselves in their respective fields, but through their involvement in the LGBT family. Whether LGBTers making their mark or our community’s unsung allies lending their voice to equality—this year’s PROshop is the best yet.
As a partner at Thompson Coburn, Amie Needham practices human resources law focusing on the representation of employers in labor and employment issues. What’s more, the fashion forward Memphis native who moved to St. Louis in 2000 has poured herself into her community. She serves on the Boards of Food Outreach and Victory Fund, volunteers with St. Louis Effort for AIDS, Stray Rescue, and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and is a member of HRC Fed Club and PROMO Governor’s Council.
“Serving on the National Board of Victory Fund has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Knowing that you’re a part of THE organization that gets LGBT candidates elected to office makes each Election Day all the more special. As a political junkie, and advocate for LGBT rights, it’s the best Board I could ever be part of.”
Owner Rock Uniform / PR Guru
Dwight Carter has been involved in entertainment marketing since he started his own music management company during his first year in college. With over 15-years experience in fashion, retail sales and event marketing—Carter has made strong connections within the St. Louis industry.
He has produced, promoted, and managed over 300 events since the creation of Rock Uniform. Some notable events include: Fash N Bash, RFT’s ‘Best Of’ Party, Alive Magazine’s Liquid Style, Sauce Magazine’s Movable Feast launch, Pins and Needles Rock ’n’ Roll Fashion Show and Project: Design!
“The LGBT community has contributed to the majority of the fashion industry in St. Louis. I create fashion shows and events so I tend to lean towards my LGBT friends for support and involvement.”
Dr. Sharon Fitelson
Founder: InMotion Health Center
Dr. Sharon Fitelson is the founder of InMotion Health Center and is currently celebrating her 30th year of practice. The Chiropractic Orthopedist and Acupuncturist maintains that holistic health care is a very effective way of combating disease, and extends her team approach well beyond the walls of her own clinic. Her goal is to enhance and expand her patients’ care by working in close conjunction with their other doctors, therapists, orthopedists and specialists.
InMotion Health Center is unique in its vision of treating the whole person through a variety of approaches: Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Nutrition Counseling, Addiction Control, Fitness, Rehabilitation, Ergonomic Assessments, Massage Therapy, Stress Reduction, Hormone Evaluations, Posture Therapy and Anti-inflammatory diet plans.
“InMotion has always offered a safe environment for all people, where they can trust they will be listened to and cared for individually. My personal intention is to be a mentor and health educator for our vibrant population, and I am very proud to be recognized as such by the LGBT community, especially on the complex issues of Women’s Health.”
Sales Account Executive, ALIVE Magazine
For the past 18-months Jason Nichols has been one of ALIVE Magazine’s more prolific Sales Account Executives handling businesses such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brown Shoe Company and Lounge Concepts. The Washington, D.C. native moved to St. Louis in 2003 to attend Washington University where he was awarded a full, four-year merit scholarship and completed double majors in Women & Gender Studies and Psychology.
Nichols has been actively involved in the LGBT community and at 25, is the youngest member on the Board of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. He has applied his background in marketing and event programs to build a sustainable annual fundraising event titled ‘Urbanaire’.
“Being involved with PROMO has been a wonderful experience. It has opened my eyes to the strength, determination and beauty of the local LGBT community. I am very proud to be a member of PROMO, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make a contribution to our diverse community.”
GM/Director of Operations, JTK/The Maytag Store
Joey Giliberti has worked at his parent’s appliance company since he was 14-years old. He’s done a bit of everything from delivering merchandise and sweeping the warehouse floors to answering phones and selling appliances.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in 2004, Giliberti was the District Sales Manager overlooking eight stores and the entire sales force. The next year he started the Commercial Services division dedicated to property managers and real estate investors to serve their unique and timely demands. In 2006 Giliberti was brought into Operational Control where he currently manages everything that gets a consumer to his stores.
When not running the family business, Giliberti devotes time to charities that are important to him like the American Cancer society and PROMO.
“Being an out member of the LGBT has not only made me a better person, but a stronger person. It’s so important that we as LGBT people give back to our community in whatever positive way that we can. If I can show one young LGBT person that you can succeed and be gay, then that’s all I could ever want.”
Business Activation Strategist
As speaker, coach and mentor, Kelly Alcorn works with individuals and groups to help them first identify obstacles and then create an activation plan that’s life transforming. Her unique approach inspires people to dream about and identify their goals—then she successfully moves them to action so they become successful achievers.
A recently published author, Alcorn holds a leadership position on the board of ESPW (Encouraging, Supporting and Promoting Women) and is active in several local chambers. Kelly was a top ten nominee for the Spirit of St. Peters award and was recognized by Zonta as a woman of leadership in the community.
“I love being able to create a community of women to come together for fun, friendship and sometimes more.”
Business Development Manager, Pulaski Bank
Kevan Crans started with Pulaski Bank as a Business Development Manager in 2006 after some encouragement from then CEO, Bill Donius. Pulaski had recently acquired The Central West End Bank and needed someone who could market their products to the Central West End and the city of St Louis.
After making a significant impact on the deposit growth at the Maryland Plaza location, Crans soon became manager of that location, continuing in that role until 2010. This past summer the Ohio native assumed the position of Business Development Manager to focus on the continued growth of the Central West End area for Pulaski Bank.
A firm believer that one individual can impact their community, Crans served on boards such as Loosen The Leash, NARAL Pro Choice, and The Professional Theatre Council (Kevin Kline awards). He co-chaired Doorway’s RED in 2009 and was one of the head chairs for RED in 2010.
“I feel that as a gay man, it is my responsibility to serve as an example of who ‘we are’. In the Midwest there is still so much misunderstanding of who we are as a whole. I feel that by presenting myself in a positive way, I hope to make my footprint on St. Louis and in all I do.”
Managing Partner, CDS Group Financial Services
Mary Dorn began her financial career working for a national bank as an operations officer and personal banker before obtaining her insurance licenses and joining the CDS Group as an agent. Dorn quickly took the insurance agency serving the LGBT community to an entirely different level. Purchasing the company in 1997, she added Income Tax preparation and Bookkeeping services to the menu of financial services offered by the company. Dorn also changed the name from The CDS Group to the CDS Group Financial Services, LLC to more encompass what the company does.
Dorn has served on the Board of Directors for both Pride St. Louis and HRC and has worked closely with PROMO, then called PREP.
“I’ve been out even before I was ‘out’ and I’ve always felt that by being my true self—willing to answer any question honestly, without judgment has helped to change a great few minds about who we are as a community.”
Lucky You Productions
As a straight ally, Rachel McCalla started working with the LGBT community as the full time event planner for Saint Louis Effort for AIDS—she was the coordinator for Dining Out for Life and still holds the record for most restaurants recruited. McCalla also worked as the publicist at Vital Voice while launching Lucky You Productions which specializes in extraordinary weddings, events and floral design.
McCalla is an active volunteer for PrideFest, assisting with the “flow” of the Pride Parade and as sponsorship/publicity consultant for PrideFest in 2008-2009. McCalla and Lucky You business partner, Amanda Hill also volunteer for Food Outreach every April as raffle sellers at A Tasteful Affair.
“It’s so important that Lucky You Productions be a part of the LGBT community as a straight ally. We believe that all citizens of the United States should be treated equally. It will be our generation’s finest hour when we achieve true equality and a genuine separation of church and state!”
Todd Alan Vilmer
Owner, TAVRA, LLC
After a long career in estate, business and financial planning the last few years have seen Todd Vilmer transition into President and Owner of TAVRA, LLC, a nationwide “heir finder” for businesses and corporations, recovering assets owed clients from hundreds of entities.
Vilmer has been consistently active within the LGBT community having volunteered for PAWS-Pets Are Wonderful Support for the past 15-years and in 2005 founding and continuing to chair PAWS’ “Thirst for Life” fundraiser. He is a Founding Board member of iCare and is also Founder and Chairman of Project St. Louis aimed at supporting groups fighting for marriage equality and against social injustice. Vilmer has also Chaired ChoiceArt in 2010 and serves on the Board of Directors of Play It Forward.
“I am blessed to be able to have the free time to donate my time and energies to some of the greatest organizations in St. Louis. I hope my small part can in turn inspire others to give of themselves, and together we can all make a difference.”
BY: COLIN MURPHY – SENIOR WRITER