The 2014 Board members:
President of the Board & Executive Producer for Entertainment
Brian Smith has been a part of the Orlando Pride for the past four years. He is excited to bring his expertise, but most importantly his passion to the COWP organization. Brian resides with his partner of eleven years in Winter Park and enjoys the arts, wine, outdoors and traveling.
#IAMPRIDE because I am proud of who I am.
I have been in the Central Florida area for 5 years and I knew it was important for me to become involved in COWP because it embraces important values that are part of my life. If I can help my community through the volunteer work of COWP then I know it is helping the LGBT community come that much closer to full acceptance. Everyone who is part of this organization is hardworking and committed to a great cause and through their dedication we can, and will make great things happen for the Central Florida community.
Secretary & Silent Auction Manager
Deb is VP Marketing & Finance for Balance Orlando, a proud MBA Orlando member. Deb is returning in her role as Silent Auction Manager for the 3rd year and has been instrumental at raising much needed funds for this organization.
#IAM PRIDE because it doesn’t just “get better,” it gets FABULOUS.
Executive Producer of Development
In his 3rd year with Pride, Eric returns this year as our Atmosphere Director and Special Events Manager. One of his primary duty is to look for new ways to “beautify” our events. Eric also manages the Pride at Halloween Horror Nights outing. Eric is a rising star at Hilton Grand Vacations, his full time employer AND one of Kesha’s favorite fans!
Executive Producer of Operations
After joining Come Out With Pride last year as the World Showcase Director, Andrew joins us again this year as the Executive Producer of Operations. In this role, he oversees the Festival, Food & Beverage, Parade, Security, and Logistics. Andrew has been a proud member of the Orlando community since moving here in 2008.
#IAMPRIDE because I believe we are united through our diversity.
Board Member at Large & Logistics Director
Originally from New York, been in FL for 25 years. A public school teacher for 35 years and a Come Out with Pride volunteer for 9 years (since the beginning).
#IAMPRIDE because I am proud to be living an authentic life at last
The 2014 COME OUT WITH PRIDE Production Team:
If you are interested in being part of the Production Team, please email by clicking here
Chair, Opening Ceremony
She’s Florida’s own – Straight Girl in a Gay World, featured columnist for What’s Happening Magazine. Karen has worked as a manager in the entertainment field and has served as chairperson of Orlando’s Most Outrageous Event – Headdress Ball; benefiting the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida. #IAMPRIDE because straight or gay we are all equal, one love!
Michelle, an Illinois native, moved to Orlando from the Midwest in 2012 to manage the Florida territory for General Mills Convenience. Since then, she has fallen in love with The City Beautiful and its welcoming community, and is excited to be a part of the Pride Production team for the first time this year. Michelle’s passions include: food & drink, traveling, rugby and event management.
#IAMPRIDE because each and every person deserves to feel proud and safe being their authentic self every day, all day, no matter where they are.
Food & Beverage Director
Michael has been involved with the Central Florida community since the mid-1990’s, dedicating his time to the Special Olympics of Florida and the Wat Florida Dhammaram Buddhist Temple. Currently, he is the Commercial Property Manager and Manager of IT Solutions at Real Property Specialists, Inc., an Orlando-based commercial real estate and brokerage company. In his spare time, Michael is an avid epicurean and is the President/Founder of Fatty Fatty Moo Moo, a local food blog. With his love for food and drink, it’s no surprise that Michael jumped at the opportunity to join Come Out with Pride as their Food & Beverage Director.
#IAMPRIDE because I believe that all people are created equally and my contributions to Come Out with Pride and the LGBT community help create awareness and visibility for our cause.
I moved to Orlando 4 years ago from New Jersey after graduating from Montclair State University with a Degree in Finance. I was inspired to move to Orlando while I was attending The Disney College Program because of the open and welcoming community. I currently work as an Associate for Bank of New York in Lake Mary, Florida. I am also very active in the Central Florida Softball League.
I am a nomad at heart. However, after spending two years in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, I returned home to Orlando. Reared in a military household the values of integrity and family are ingrained into my being. I care for the Orlando community and firmly believe these same values are imperative to the success of The City Beautiful. One of my passions is advocating for diversity and equality for all and due to this, I collaborated with the NOH8 Campaign to bring them to Florida for a Festival of Equality State Tour. This served as my impetus to join Come Out with Pride and proudly serve in the capacity of Parade Director. I also work full time at RE/MAX Town Centre managing our Central Florida offices and am diligently assisting our team with the launch of our Miami office. I believe that equality is not a concept; it isn’t something we should strive for either, it’s a necessity.
#IAMPRIDE because I believe in a stronger community.
Talise L. Johnson is a “Southern Northerner”, who has made Orlando home for the last 13 years. She joins Come Out with Pride for a second year as Director of Security. She has been actively involved in volunteering in the community for the last 5 years; especially the LGBT Community. Studied Communications and Theatre at Barry University; where she directed and produced the “first student produced and directed” play that raised funds for Helping Hands, a charity that supports abused and at-risk children. As a natural born performer of the arts, Talise enjoys pursuing her many creative hobbies that include writing, dance, acting and film production.
#IAMPRIDE because I believe in LOVE for ALL humankind.
Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director
Work for Publix Supermarkets. Helps out with campaigns such as March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network, and the United Way. Help out the Community by Volunteering with Come Out With Pride and also by doing the Corporate 5K every year with the Publix team. Anything I can get my hands on to help I try to take on.
Ben Laube serves as the Technology Manager for Come Out With Pride which includes managing improvements to the COWP website and other technical tools. His day job is being President for POLR Marketing, a Orlando based web marketing company whose focus is to take companies to the next level by increasing their web presence. In his free time, Ben enjoys scuba diving, sky diving and any activity that involves high adrenaline.