Freedom to Marry, Inc. Board of Directors

Cox

Barbara Cox | Chair

Barbara Cox is the Clara Shortridge Foltz Professor of Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. She began teaching at California Western School of Law in 1987, after four years with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Women's Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at California Western from July 1997 through December 2001.
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Kerr

Otho Kerr | Vice-Chair

Otho Kerr is a Partner and the Chief Operating Officer of EKO Asset Management Partners. EKO is a specialized investment firm focused on discovering and monetizing unrealized or unrecognized environmental assets. Prior to joining EKO, Otho was an Executive Director at Oppenheimer Asset Management. He has worked in the investment banking and asset management industries for over twenty years, having begun with Goldman Sachs & Co., where he worked in the Investment Banking Division. He began his professional career as an attorney with the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
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Dixon

Benjamin Dixon | Treasurer

Benjamin currently serves as Private Equity Controller for Och-Ziff Capital Management. Och-Ziff is one of the largest alternative asset managers in the world with approximately $38 billion in assets under management as of November 2013. He is a Grant Thornton trained CPA with an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
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Brown

Jennifer Gerarda Brown | Secretary

Jennifer Gerarda Brown is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law, and a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. She has organized two symposia on marriage for same sex couples: the symposium in 1996 was one of the first to examine issues of extraterritorial recognition; another in 2004 focused on public policy debates in Connecticut. Both symposia have been published in the Quinnipiac Law Review.
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Chavez

Christine Chavez

Christine Chavez has a made a lifetime commitment to civil rights, the labor movement, and community organizing. She was born in the City of Delano, in the heart of California’s Central Valley where she was surrounded by the farm worker movement. Today, Christine works for the United States Department of Agriculture. She serves as the Farmworker Coordinator. Prior to that she served as the United Farm Workers’ political director where she raised public awareness to protect the civil rights of farm workers and the larger immigrant community.

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Disney-Britton

Tahlib Disney-Britton

Christian, husband, father, and arts manager, Tahlib is one of the co-founders of Alpha Omega Arts, a Midwest-based partnership of artists and arts professionals which helps clients achieve their most ambitious goals in the areas of collecting and exhibiting religious art. Tahlib and his partners work with faith-based groups, museums and educational institutions throughout the Midwest including the creation of the Alpha & Omega Project for Contemporary Religious Arts at the Indiana Interchurch Center.
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Garcia

Helio Fred Garcia

Fred has coached more than 250 CEOs of major corporations, plus thousands of other high-profile people in other complex fields, including doctors, lawyers, financial executives, and military officers, and government officials. These executives were in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, energy, heavy manufacturing, biotechnology, computer software, financial services, law firms, advertising agencies, religious denominations, universities, and not-for-profit advocacy groups.
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Roth

Jordan Roth

Jordan Roth is the President of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theatres. Current and recent productions include The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys, American Idiot, Fela!, Hair and Spring Awakening. Jordan most recently produced the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Best Play Clybourne Park. He hosts a popular interview series at the venerable 92nd Street Y, where recent guests have included Bono and the Edge, Daniel Radcliffe, Nathan Lane, Laura Linney, Elaine Stritch, Sean Hayes, Patti LuPone and Harvey Fierstein among others. Jordan created Givenik.com, where theatergoers can purchase tickets and give 5% of their ticket price to the charity of their choice. He serves on the boards of The Broadway League, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Times Square Alliance.

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Thoron

Sam Thoron

Sam Thoron's rich history of dedication both to PFLAG and the GLBT community began in spring of 1990 when he became part of the steering committee for the San Francisco Chapter of the PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Sam and his wife Julia have been married for 50 years and have lived in San Francisco since 1964. They raised their three children, two sons and a daughter, in that city. They are proud grandparents of five.
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Zobler

Andrew Zobler

Andrew Zobler is the founder and CEO of the Sydell Group Ltd. Sydell is an owner, developer, and manager of lifestyle hotels. It is a company built on the idea of sharing, collaborating, and encouraging the creative process to create unique hotels deeply rooted in their location and architecture.
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Barbara Cox

Barbara Cox is the Clara Shortridge Foltz Professor of Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. She began teaching at California Western School of Law in 1987, after four years with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Women's Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at California Western from July 1997 through December 2001. She is the past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues, is the past Chair of the A.A.L.S. Section on Women in Legal Education, and served on an AALS taskforce on the problems of preventing sexual orientation discrimination in religiously-affiliated law schools. From 1984-1987, she was co-chair of the Madison, WI, Taskforce on Alternative family rights which drafted the city's domestic partnership ordinance (one of the first in the nation), and she helped obtain domestic partner health insurance benefits at CWSL. She has authored briefs for national gay rights organizations on family law issues.

Barb has published numerous articles or book chapters on various issues concerning marriages, adoptions, and other legal relationships of same-sex couples and questions of interstate recognition and Full Faith and Credit by state courts, and has spoken on these topics across the country. She edited a book manuscript for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, analyzing choice-of-law issues for all fifty states concerning recognition of marriages by same-sex couples. She was a member of the San Diego steering committee for the No on Knight/Proposition 22 campaign.

Barb has been out as a lesbian since 1976. She and her partner had a private commitment ceremony in April 1992, and have been registered domestic partners in California since 1998. On July 18, 2003, Barb and her spouse were married at the Metropolitan Community Church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Their marriage is recognized in California but not in Wisconsin, where they live part of the year.

Otho Kerr

Otho Kerr is a Partner and the Chief Operating Officer of EKO Asset Management Partners. EKO is a specialized investment firm focused on discovering and monetizing unrealized or unrecognized environmental assets. Prior to joining EKO, Otho was an Executive Director at Oppenheimer Asset Management. He has worked in the investment banking and asset management industries for over twenty years, having begun with Goldman Sachs & Co., where he worked in the Investment Banking Division. He began his professional career as an attorney with the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Otho received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from The Harvard Law School. He was the first member of his class to receive the Dartmouth Alumni Award. Throughout his career, Otho has sought to merge his professional career with his interest in social justice. Otho was a co-founder of the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem. He was a fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generation Leadership Program. He has served and serves on numerous not-for-profit boards.

Jennifer Gerarda Brown

Jennifer Gerarda Brown is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law, and a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. She has organized two symposia on marriage for same sex couples: the symposium in 1996 was one of the first to examine issues of extraterritorial recognition; another in 2004 focused on public policy debates in Connecticut. Both symposia have been published in the Quinnipiac Law Review. She has written extensively on sexual orientation and the law, including three articles on marriage (her 1995 article estimated a $6 billion boost in tourism-related revenue for the first state that celebrates marriage for same-sex couples). She was principal drafter of the Amicus Brief of Senator Lowell Weicker, et al, on Behalf of Plaintiff-Appellants in Elizabeth Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, Connecticut Supreme Court No. 17716, (November 2006)(with Martin Margulies, Emmanuel Margolis, & Mary-Kate Smith).

She is co-author of "Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights" (with Ian Ayres).

Professor Brown holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College (A.B. 1982) and the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D. 1985). She has taught at the University of Chicago, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)-Cardozo Law Institute, University of Iowa, Santa Clara University, Emory University, University of Illinois, Georgetown, Harvard, and Yale. Her areas of expertise include alternative dispute resolution, LGBT legal issues, lawyers' professional responsibility.

Additional publications in the last several years related to LGBT legal issues include: Peacemaking in the Culture War Between Gay Rights and Religious Liberty, 95 Iowa Law Review 749 (2010); “For You Also Were Strangers in the Land of Egypt”: How Procedural Law and Non-Law Enable Love for “Strangers” and “Enemies”, 28 Quinnipiac Law Review 667 (2010); Addressing Partisan Perceptions, in Rethinking Negotiation Teaching: Innovations for Context and Culture (C. Honeyman, J. Coben, and G. De Palo (eds), 2009); What Does Lawrence v. Texas Mean for the Future of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’? 14 Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy1211 (2007) (panel remarks); Mark(et)ing Nondiscrimination: Privatizing ENDA with a Certification Mark, 104 Michigan Law Review 1639 (2006) (with Ian Ayres); The Inclusive Command: Voluntary Integration of Sexual Minorities into the United States Military, 103 Michigan Law Review 101 (2004) (with Ian Ayres); Hope and Misgiving about Lawyers, Consensus-Building, and Social Problem-Solving, 5 Nevada Law Journal 370 (2004/2005); Debate and Decision-Making About Marriage Rights in Connecticut: Envisioning A Third Way, 23 Quinnipiac Law Review 597 (2004).

Christine Chavez

Christine Chavez has a made a lifetime commitment to civil rights, the labor movement, and community organizing. She was born in the City of Delano, in the heart of California's Central Valley where she was surrounded by the farm worker movement. Today, Christine works for the United States Department of Agriculture. She serves as the Farmworker Coordinator. Prior to that she served as the United Farm Workers' political director where she raised public awareness to protect the civil rights of farm workers and the larger immigrant community.

Christine once heard her grandfather say "we don't need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation." Taking it to heart she has come to master the art of modern day campaigning and community organizing. Christine has helped elect numerous candidates to high office from the current Mayor of Los Angeles to the California Assembly Speaker and she is no stranger to presidential campaigns. In 2004, Christine campaigned for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in the State of New Mexico. And most recently she served as a surrogate speaker for then candidate Barack Obama. Christine traveled to Colorado and Texas in the 2008 Primary.

Latina Magazine recently named Christine as one of their top Latinas for her longtime involvement with civil rights issues; particularly, her work on marriage equality. She has been recognized by the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for leadership on helping to end discrimination. Various women organizations such as the Chicana Latina Foundation of San Francisco and the Rhode Island Women's Fund have paid tribute to Christine's dedication and hard work.

Christine's work has not been limited to the United Farm Workers. She understands that solidarity with other unions is labor's lifeblood. Over the years, Christine has joined workers of Service Employee International Union 1877 and their battle against L.A. International Airport, United Food and Commercial Workers strike against California super markets, and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees long fights against L.A. area Hotels and the University of Southern California.

Christine considers her ongoing involvement with the Latino and African American Leadership Alliance as an important project to bring two historically disenfranchised communities together to forge peace and unity.

Christine resides in Washington DC with her husband Oscar and their dogs Boycott and Buddy. Her work is based on the values passed down to her from her grandfather Cesar Chavez...the fight for civil rights, social justice, and labor equality.

Tahlib Disney-Britton

Christian, husband, father, and arts manager, Tahlib is one of the co-founders of Alpha Omega Arts, a Midwest-based partnership of artists and arts professionals which helps clients achieve their most ambitious goals in the areas of collecting and exhibiting religious art.

Tahlib and his partners work with faith-based groups, museums and educational institutions throughout the Midwest including the creation of the Alpha & Omega Project for Contemporary Religious Arts at the Indiana Interchurch Center. A practicing Roman Catholic, he is a vocal advocate for religious and artistic freedom.

He previously served as Program Director at Freedom to Marry in NYC, and before that he served for 10 years as Director of Community Engagement at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. In 2008, he re-enacted the journey of flight from oppression in the US to freedom in Canada when he and his longtime partner Greg Disney journeyed to Niagara Falls, Canada to be wed in a religious (and civil) ceremony. Today, he and Greg call Indianapolis their hometown.

Benjamin Dixon

Benjamin currently serves as Private Equity Controller for Och-Ziff Capital Management. Och-Ziff is one of the largest alternative asset managers in the world with approximately $38 billion in assets under management as of November 2013. He is a Grant Thornton trained CPA with an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

After completing his CPA requirements Benjamin joined Design Within Reach in 2000 as a catalog retailer of designer furnishings with $2 million in sales. Strong cash flows and over 50 store openings led to a successful 2004 IPO and 2005 secondary offering. During this transformation, Benjamin was Director of Finance and Principal Accounting Officer.

He later joined Columbus Nova as Assistant Controller during which time the investment management firm’s assets under management grew from less than $500 million to over $2.5 billion before joining Macquarie as a Vice President within the Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA) division. Benjamin was quickly promoted to Senior Vice President heading the MIRA Americas Finance team and was responsible for the financial operations of over $10 billion of assets under management across several private equity and real estate funds in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Benjamin grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains and lived in San Francisco during and after obtaining his Bachelors of Science in Accounting at Golden Gate University. He moved to New York City in 2005.

Helio Fred Garcia

For more than 30 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world.

Fred is the author, most recently, of The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively, 2012, FT Press/Pearson. Fred is president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and executive director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership. He is based in New York and has worked with clients in dozens of countries on six continents.

Fred has 33 years of experience counseling securities firms, banks, insurance companies, specialized financial and professional service firms, corporations, not-for-profits, and governments. He has particular expertise in crisis, change, and risk management; crisis communication; international security issues; international financial transactions; corporate governance; business ethics; and leadership.

Fred has coached more than 250 CEOs of major corporations, plus thousands of other high-profile people in other complex fields, including doctors, lawyers, financial executives, and military officers, and government officials. These executives were in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, energy, heavy manufacturing, biotechnology, computer software, financial services, law firms, advertising agencies, religious denominations, universities, and not-for-profit advocacy groups.

Fred has been on the New York University faculty for since 1988, and has received his school’s awards for teaching excellence and for outstanding service. He is an adjunct professor of management in NYU’s Stern School of Business Executive MBA program, where he teaches crisis management. He is an adjunct associate professor of management and communication in NYU’s Master’s in Corporate Communication program in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. In that program he teaches courses in communication strategy; in communication ethics, law, and regulation; and in crisis communication.

Fred is also on the adjunct faculty of the Starr King School for the Ministry - Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, where he teaches a seminar on religious leadership for social change. And he is on the leadership faculty of the Center for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. In that program he teaches an intensive seminar in the Master’s in Advanced Studies in Crisis Management and Security Policy.

In 2011 Fred was designated an International Distinguished Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he gave a series of lectures and workshops for graduate students and with senior government, corporate, and NGO leaders. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, U.S. Defense Information School, the Brookings Institution, and other universities.

Fred is a frequent speaker and author on topics including crisis management, business ethics, communication as a leadership discipline, and journalist/source relationships. In addition to The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively,, he is co-author (with John Doorley) of Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication, second edition 2011; first edition 2007 by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. His two-volume book Crisis Communications was published by AAAA Publications in 1999.

Fred has an MA in philosophy from Columbia University, and studied classical Greek language and literature in the Greek Institute of the City University of New York Graduate Center. He has a BA with honors in politics and philosophy from New York University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount Saint Mary College.

Fred's philanthropic work is focused on multi-faith and social justice causes. In addition to serving on the Freedom to Marry Board, Fred is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA. In his role as the seminary’s Board Chair, he also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Theological Union, also in Berkeley. He is an International Trustee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He is also a member of the boards of trustees of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation in Washington, DC and of Disaster Chaplaincy Services in New York. Fred is immediate past chair and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and a former trustee of the Purchase College Foundation. He was named Westchester County (NY) Arts Patron of the Year for 2006 by the Westchester Arts Council.

Read Fred's Blog and follow him on Twitter.

Jordan Roth

Jordan Roth is the President of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theatres. Current and recent productions include The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys, American Idiot, Fela!, Hair and Spring Awakening. Jordan most recently produced the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Best Play Clybourne Park. He hosts a popular interview series at the venerable 92nd Street Y, where recent guests have included Bono and the Edge, Daniel Radcliffe, Nathan Lane, Laura Linney, Elaine Stritch, Sean Hayes, Patti LuPone and Harvey Fierstein among others. Jordan created Givenik.com, where theatergoers can purchase tickets and give 5% of their ticket price to the charity of their choice. He serves on the boards of The Broadway League, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Times Square Alliance.

Sam Thoron

Sam Thoron's rich history of dedication both to PFLAG and the GLBT community began in spring of 1990 when he became part of the steering committee for the San Francisco Chapter of the PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Sam and his wife Julia have been married for 50 years and have lived in San Francisco since 1964. They raised their three children, two sons and a daughter, in that city. They are proud grandparents of five. Their eldest, Ben, lives in San Diego with his wife and three sons. The second, Joe, lives in Eastsound, Washington, with his wife, and a blended family of four children. Liz, the youngest, with her partner, Lisa, is a homeowner in Oakland.

In September 1992 Sam was invited to join the PFLAG National Board as Regional Director for the Mid-Pacific Region. This term of board service ended in 2001. In 2002 he was asked to rejoin the National Board of Directors as National President. He served in this capacity through October 2006. His board service continued until 2011. He is now honored as President Emeritus.

Julia and Sam continue to build on their proud history of advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, working with their deep commitment to justice and fair play for all citizens to realize the visions of Freedom to Marry and PFLAG.

Andrew Zobler

Andrew Zobler is the founder and CEO of the Sydell Group Ltd. Sydell is an owner, developer, and manager of lifestyle hotels. It is a company built on the idea of sharing, collaborating, and encouraging the creative process to create unique hotels deeply rooted in their location and architecture.

The company launched its first hotel collaborations in 2009 with the Ace New York and Ace Palm Springs. Sydell followed with the Saguaro Hotels in Palm Springs, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. The NoMad Hotel in New York came next followed by The Freehand in Miami. Sydell is currently developing The 389 room Line Hotel collaboration in Los Angeles with Chef Roy Choi, designer Sean Knibb, nightlife team The Houston Brothers and art and design collective Poketo. Also under development is the 220 room Line Hotel in Washington DC, a joint project with Soho House in London and a new Freehand property in Chicago with Broken Shaker the award winning cocktail bar launched with the first Freehand in Miami Beach.

Prior to founding The Sydell Group Andrew was a Partner, Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and General Counsel of André Balazs Properties, a hotel management and hotel and residential development firm. During Andrew’s tenure the company developed: One Kenmare Square, 40 Mercer Street, Hotel QT, The Raleigh Hotel, and The Standard, Miami, and acquired the site for The Standard New York.

Prior to joining André Balazs Properties, Andrew was Principal in the managing member of Lazard Freres Real Estate Investors, LLC, a real estate opportunity fund with in excess of $2.5 billion of invested equity capital. Before joining Lazard, Andrew was the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. In such capacity, Andrew was responsible for overseeing acquisitions across all Starwood brands in North America.

Before joining Starwood, Andrew was a partner in the real estate group at Greenberg Traurig in their New York office specializing in hotel transactions.