top of page

Meet our leadership team

Celeste_Carolin_Executve_Director_Mama_Dragons.jpg

Celeste Carolin, LMFTA (she/her)

Celeste Carolin is an accomplished business leader and marriage and family therapist who has made it her mission to support the LGBTQ+ community. Raised as LDS (Mormon) in Montana, she came out as a lesbian in her 20s at BYU-Idaho, which led her to work with LGBTQ+ youth and non-profits.

 

In addition to working with Mama Dragons leadership, she works as a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in helping LGBTQ+ teens and neurodiverse couples. Celeste's professional background includes senior business roles across a variety of industries, which has given her a keen sense of leadership and an ability to launch and grow organizations. She has a bachelor's degree in Leadership and Psychology from BYU-Idaho and did Master's coursework at Harvard Extension School from 2009 to 2013 in Business Management, and holds a Masters's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from NCU. Her expertise in business and mental health has helped her navigate the complex landscape of LGBTQ+ advocacy and support.

 

Celeste resides just outside Seattle in Bremerton, WA, with her partner, Jamie, their extended family, grandkids, and their dog, Jackson Blue. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors and engaging in various outdoor activities.

 

With her expertise in leadership, start-ups, and launching organizations, coupled with her commitment to the LGBTQ community, Celeste Carolin is a driving force in advancing Mama Dragons' mission of advocating for and supporting LGBTQ individuals and their families.

WendyVonSosen4_edited.jpg

Wendy VonSosen (she/her)

Wendy joined Mama Dragons in 2016 just after her daughter came out. Since then she has served as President, Marketing Director, Social Media Lead and is once again leading the marketing and design of Mama Dragons.

With a background in photography and UX/UI Design, Wendy believes in the art of storytelling to bridge gaps and increase empathy. "The more we listen to one another, the better we are able to understand the vast and varied life experiences that make us the fascinating and complex humans that we are."

Wendy and her husband recently relocated, after living in the San Francisco bay area for over 20 years, to Salt Lake City. Their four kids are scattered among California, Utah, and Arizona. When she's not on her computer, Wendy loves exploring the hills with her two dogs and scheming up her next home renovation project.

Jennifer.png

Jennifer Wennergren (she/her)

Jennifer’s understanding of the unique challenges LGBTQ+ families face, led her to volunteer with Mama Dragons and manage her local regional group. Her current role includes overseeing Mama Dragons' operations across the United States and Canada.

 

Jennifer brings a wealth of experience in non-profit organizational leadership to her role with Mama Dragons. She is a founding member and former Executive Director of an educational non-profit organization. She has also served as chairman of the board, and held multiple board and leadership positions, in several other non-profit organizations.

 

Jennifer holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Social Work from Utah State University. Her educational background, coupled with her firsthand experiences, fuels her passion for suicide prevention awareness and for providing support and education to help parents create safe, affirming spaces for their LGBTQ+ children.

 

Currently residing in Utah with her family and pets, she enjoys making blankets and Embracelets for the Give Back programs, gardening, spending time outdoors, and spending time with her family.

Chris.png

Chris Greenberg (she/her)

Chris was invited to join Mama Dragons by a friend in April 2021 so she could better support her family and the LGBTQ community. Later that year, she started helping with the northeast regional group, along with vetting for the main group. She has now taken on managing the teams of volunteers who support the main Facebook support group.

 

In addition to volunteering for Mama Dragons, Chris has also been managing another community for an online non-profit game where she’s also an in-game moderator. While Chris does not currently practice any type of religion, she attended Catholic schools through high school, studied different religions in school, and married someone who was raised Jewish.

 

Chris received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and is currently Finance Director for a non-profit mental health agency. In the past, she spent 6 years as volunteer treasurer for another non-profit and was Finance Director/Controller for marketing agencies. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons and their pets.

Julie C.png

Julie Carpenter (she/her)

Julie Carpenter joined Mama Dragons in the fall of 2018 after her 17 year-old came out as transgender. She started sending Paper Hugs in July 2020 and felt like she could really make a difference for others who needed it. She eventually joined the Paper Hugs team and quickly became a team lead for the program. She sends cards for Paper Hugs, makes blankets for Wrapped in Hugs, and makes bracelets for Embracelets. 

 

Julie is a classically trained pastry chef. She makes cakes and desserts for her family mostly as a hobby. She loves creating homemade or handmade items for others as a way to show them how much they mean to her. Directing our Give Back programs is the perfect fit for her passions and talents.

 

Julie resides in Provo, Utah, just a short drive from her childhood home, with her husband of 16 years and 2 younger children. Julie’s oldest child is now non-binary and is living in Florida with their father. Julie enjoys reading, cross-stitching, and anything involving her family.

Sherilyn_Gustafson_yoga.jpeg

Sherilyn Gustafson (she/her)

Sherilyn's passion for the LGBTQ cause stems from her own experiences as the mother of a gay son. She has been a dedicated member of Mama Dragons since 2016 and has played a pivotal role in building the organization's Facebook community as a past regional group leader of the Wasatch front Mama Dragons.

Sherilyn received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University. Her educational background has given her valuable insight into the psychological and emotional challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals and their families and is committed to helping families navigate these challenges with love and acceptance.

Sherilyn resides in Cedar Hills, Utah, where she is actively involved in her community. Sherilyn's dedication to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and their families has made her an invaluable member of the Mama Dragons team.

melissa draper.png

Melissa Draper (she/her)

Melissa Draper joined Mama Dragons in December 2019 after having a conversation with her 3rd child, the second of her children to come out to her as LGBTQ in 10 short days.  When a call went out for volunteers within Mama Dragons to help form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Team, Melissa joined as a volunteer. Melissa assisted in developing onboarding specific to new volunteers joining the Mama Dragons Volunteer and Leadership Team and is currently serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for Mama Dragons.

 

Melissa graduated from Utah State University and then worked as a mechanical designer in various industries, including medical device and aerospace, before choosing to stay home to finish raising her 4 children, 3 of whom are now grown. After Melissa joined Mama Dragons, she felt that their message of love and acceptance was so powerful that she arranged to have a couple of experienced Mama Dragons speak at a statewide homeschool conference. These Mamas left an impact by sharing their stories and have been an influence for good on many in that community.

 

Melissa lives in northern Utah with her husband and their youngest child, while their adult children and grandchildren live nearby. Melissa loves to garden, read, be in nature, and work with all kinds of fibers and textiles, whether sewing or knitting.

faith.png

Faith Smith (she/her)

Faith Smith joined Mama Dragons in February of 2021 after her 14 year old came out to her as transgender. When given the opportunity to serve as a volunteer with the Paper Hugs team, Faith took up her pen and cards and began, eventually taking on a role with the team working in the back room, managing member information for the card senders.  After serving there, Faith moved to the Public Relations team and served as an administrative assistant to the director. She now serves as Secretary to the Executive Team.

 

Faith is a classically trained pianist and mother of 7 children, many of whom are a part of the queer community. When Faith's daughter came out, there was no question of supporting her, but it came with costs. She lost her job, her family, and her church community.  Mama Dragons enabled her to find community, learn and grow and find new opportunities to serve in her community. For Faith, Mama Dragons provided a safe space to ask important questions and learn how to best support the needs of her queer kids. She has met amazing mothers who are smart and talented and love their kids fiercely. She seeks to continue to support Mama Dragons in its mission to support, educate, and empower mothers of LGBT children.

 

Faith lives outside of the Portland, OR area with her husband of 23 years and her 6 children. Her oldest has fled the nest. Faith loves to garden, knit, nap, and laugh. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sara_Urquhart.png

Sara Urquhart (she/her)

Board Chair

Sara joined the Mama Dragons board in 2021. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Political Science and has spent over two decades sitting on and running non-profit boards, supporting her husband in his elected role, all while raising four amazing children. Sara founded and runs Shift Summit and founded and managed Alt Summit for nine years. She has a master's degree in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University and currently volunteers as the Vice-Chair of the SLC Planning Commission and as Chair of the Board for the Women's Resource Center at the University of Utah.

Team-Photos-SanDee.gif

Sandee Hunter, CPA (she/her)

Board Member

SanDee joined Mama Dragons as Treasurer in August 2019 and joined the board in October 2019. She is responsible for all accounting and tax needs for Mama Dragons.

SanDee has been a licensed CPA in the state of Utah since 2012.  She has worked in the small business manufacturing industry for over 17 years and is currently the president of an industrial coating company. She has enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the nonprofit sector through her work with Mama Dragons.

SanDee is the mother of four children, one whom is non-binary. Her love for her children and the desire to make the world a better, more inclusive place fuels her passion for the work that Mama Dragons does. She and her family live in a suburb south of Salt Lake City, Utah.  She enjoys photography, painting and being in the mountains. 

Team-Photos-Lisa-Dame.gif

LISA DAME (she/her)

Board Member

Lisa Evans Dame has served on the Mama Dragons Board since 2017 and has been a member of the group since 2014. She has performed many roles with the organization including regional group leader for the Wasatch Front Group, which is her current job.  

Lisa has a background in education with a degree from Brigham Young University in Elementary and Special Education. She taught in the public schools for five years before staying home with her children and transitioning to private tutoring. She has been involved with several non-profit organizations as a fund raiser, community support and worker bee. She has volunteered her time with The Road Home, Youth Futures, Circles, and Encircle which are all organizations in the Salt Lake City area.   

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.   

She lives in Sandy, Utah with her husband David at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Their five children and their significant others all live in the area and are available for frequent family dinners and activities. They have two beautiful grandchildren and several grand pets who they babysit on occasion.  Lisa enjoys the outdoors through hiking, walking, and playing tennis and pickleball.    

tasi.png

Maoputasi Young, JD (he/him)

Treasurer

Tasi spent the last decade in K-12 education.  He has learned the first-hand from the bravery and love shown by LGBTQ+ students and their families as they navigate their formative years through institutions and structures that present obstacles and opportunities.  Tasi earned degrees in business management and law from Brigham Young University.  He has worked in, and advised, startups and has served on boards of public schools and non-profits organizations. Currently he practices law in Salt Lake City.  He and his wife are proud parents of three incredible children and a recent additional of a super cool son-in-law.  He loves spending his free time on a bike in the mountains and with a snorkel in the ocean.

neca.png

Neca Allgood, Ph.D. (she/her)

Board Member

Neca Allgood is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, particularly within the Latter Day Saints (LDS) community. In addition to being a former President of Mama Dragons, she has also served as a board member of Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, families, and friends. Through her work with these organizations, Neca has become a respected voice in the fight for the acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Beyond her activism, Neca is a successful business owner alongside her husband, owning and operating a small engineering consulting company. Her experience in the field has given her a unique perspective on the challenges faced by marginalized individuals in the workplace, and she works tirelessly to create safer, more welcoming environments for everyone.

Neca's education has also played a significant role in her life and work. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, which has given her a deep understanding of the science behind gender identity and sexuality. Neca uses her knowledge to educate others and combat harmful myths and misconceptions surrounding these issues. Her dedication and expertise make her an invaluable asset to both Mama Dragons and the broader LGBTQ+ community.

Ruth.jpg

Ruth Ashurst (she/her)

Board Member

Ruth Ashurst brings a 20-year career history in Human Resources for mission-driven, technology, and education organizations. Her expertise spans the full scope of People & Culture, with a penchant for engagement, inclusion, navigating teams through ambiguity and change, and finding win-win solutions to complex problems. She knows from study and experience that people need to feel safe and supported in order to be their best selves and do their best work, and she works daily to create such environments. 

 

Ruth is the favorite aunt to twenty-three children, including some who identify as LGBTQ+. She volunteers as a youth mentor and teacher within her faith community, where she intentionally creates safe, inclusive, and accepting environments for all identities. Her home is decorated with rainbows and she invites all to sit at her table.


Ruth holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A&M University with an emphasis in voice. She performs frequently in community events and religious services throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She is a world traveler, yogi, nature lover, foodie, and live music enthusiast.

Cole.png

Cole Brennan (he/him)

Board Member

Cole is a queer and transgender mental health therapist who works primarily with LGBTQ+ identified youth and adults. Since he came out in the late 1990’s, Cole has seen significant progress in some realms of national support for the LGBTQ+ community, and many ways in which we still have hard work to do. In his mental health work with members of the community, Cole finds particular meaning in helping his clients to deepen their love and acceptance of themselves and their identities.

Since his teenage years, Cole has had a particular interest in religion and spirituality. In 2019, Cole received dual Master of Social Work and Master of Theology degrees. The combination of these studies allowed him to deepen his understanding of the impact—both positive and negative—that religion can have on a person’s mental wellbeing, particularly for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Cole lives in Denver, CO with his partner, two young children, and two equally young pups. Outside of work and family, Cole loves exploring nature, running, and woodworking.

we (500 × 500 px).png

Emily Mayfield (she/her)

Board Member

Emily joined Mama Dragon's Board at the end of 2022. She graduated from BYU Hawaii with an Emphasis in Entrepreneurship, and currently runs a Real Estate Business where she specializes in Relocation.

 

With a lot of personal experience as a multiracial person and a person with a disability, it has allowed her to have a unique perspective in her work, and she has made it her mission for everyone to feel at home in her community. As an LGBTQ ally, and someone who is fiercely passionate about DEI, Mental Health and Disability Awareness, she works tirelessly with local nonprofits and community members to educate, build bridges, and plan events that celebrate, acknowledge, and include everyone in her community.

 

Emily currently resides in the Greater Sacramento, CA area with her husband, two teenagers, and Golden Labrador. You will often find her practicing yoga, hula dancing, spending time with friends or walking or hiking in nature, and reading as many books as possible!

Christin.jpg

Christin Kreml (she/her)

Board Member

Christin is an experienced creative entrepreneur and strategic planner with a BBA in Marketing. She has several certifications, including Project Manager Professional (PMP), workshop facilitation, and UX research. In the Summer of 2023, she joined Mama Dragons because of her passion for innovation and change and positively impacting her children's future, one of whom identifies as

non-binary.

Christin’s work has spanned many industries, including MedTech, film, media, e-commerce, marketing, and design. Her notable achievements include directing films for an NFL Player’s Foundation, spearheading the commercialization of an FDA-regulated Mobile App for Multiple Sclerosis patients, and living and traveling the USA in an RV for a year with her family.

Christin lives outside Fort Collins, Colorado, with her husband Keith, two kids, and two doodles. Her interests include baking, exploring new places, and watching action movies.

bottom of page