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MEET OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

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Liz Welch (She/Her)

Liz Welch comes to Mama Dragons with extensive advocacy and lobbying experience in LGBTQ+ and religious freedom at the Federal, State, and Local levels.  While at the ACLU, Liz led a National Faith Coalition that supported efforts to advance protections for LGBTQ+ communities while preserving the rights of faith communities. She also co-facilitated a Transgender  Education and Advocacy Project working to train and support Trans activists in advocating for their rights across the country.

 

Liz's work is heavily influenced by the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Liz has a passion for creating a community around complex issues and lifting the voices of those who are most impacted, especially in places where ‘courageous conversations’ can change minds and open hearts. 

 

In addition to her work on LGBTQ+ issues, Liz is a trained mediator, experienced facilitator, and event coordinator for everything from hyper-local Pride events to coordinating the rallies at the Supreme Court of the United States for the biggest cases of our time.

 

Liz has spent the majority of her life living in the Rocky Mountains while working at the national level.  She currently lives in a self-renovated old home in Billings, MT with her three obstinate hounds and an extensive garden. She is the proud mother to Mariah who is a public defender and an avid baker.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Celeste Grimshaw (she/her)

Celeste Grimshaw has been a member of Mama Dragons since 2016 when she learned about the group on Facebook. Over the years, she's taken on various volunteer roles from being a member of the vetting team to that of website lead.

 

With an undergraduate degree in pre-law and a professional background in the medical laboratory field, Celeste balances her work commitments while finding joy in being a wife and a dedicated mother to her four children. Celeste and her family live in beautiful Rhode Island along with a grumpy Yorkie and their four cats. When she’s not sweeping up cat hair, she enjoys caring for her plants and riding her Peloton.

 

As the Director of Regional Facebook Groups, Celeste oversees the day-to-day operations of the regional groups, nurtures new leaders, provides guidance, and fosters a positive learning culture within Mama Dragons' regional communities.

 

Dedicated to making a lasting impact, Celeste is committed to advancing Mama Dragons' advocacy and support for their diverse community.

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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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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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.

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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.    

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Maoputasi Young, JD (he/him)

Interim 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 addition 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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M Valentine (she/her)

Board Member

M is a seasoned people and culture leader, coach, and organizational alchemist whose purpose is to make the world of work more human-centered and joy-filled. Her professional background includes expertise in leadership, culture-building, learning & development, change management, and diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Nerding out on any of those topics is one of her favorite things to do along with reading to be inspired or to escape, being creative, and cuddling with her fur babies. 

 

While she is new to Mama Dragons, as a queer woman of color and a mother, she is excited to do her part to support and uplift this leadership team and the community of mothers and caregivers. M holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bethany College, WV, is a certified Brain-based Coach through the NeuroLeadership Institute, and a certified Usui Reiki Healing Master.

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