Who We Are

Founded in 1987, PFLAG Charlotte is a chapter of PFLAG, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to supporting families, educating allies, and advocating for equality.

Our Mission

To create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.

Our Vision

An equitable, inclusive world where every LGBTQ+ person is safe, celebrated, empowered, and loved.

Our Values

Accountability – We hold ourselves and each other responsible in our work. We communicate transparently, respond timely, set clear boundaries, and take ownership of our actions.

Bravery – We are courageous in word and deed. We advocate boldly, remain steadfast in the face of adversity, make space for vulnerability, and meet people where they are to have the challenging conversations.

Community & Collaboration – We lead with love. We center our community, listen with respect and compassion, and derive strength from the collective power of our unified organization.

Inclusivity & Belonging – We ensure PFLAG Charlotte is a place where everyone belongs. We listen actively, engage with cultural humility, and ensure that the power of diverse people, cultures, and stories are respected and woven through all areas of our work.

Growth – We evolve to ensure PFLAG Charlotte is strong and current. We approach our work with curiosity, broaden our skills, learn from our mistakes as well as our successes, and adapt to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Our Team

Karen Graci

Karen Graci | she/her

Executive Director

Showing up at my first PFLAG meeting years ago, I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a group of parents sharing their experiences of supporting, loving, and advocating for their LGBTQ+ loved ones. PFLAG met me and my family where we were, and walked with us every step of the way.   I have experienced firsthand the power of PFLAG. What a gift to be able to do the same for others.

Lisa Dudzk

Lisa Dudzik | she/they

Community Engagement Manager

As a proud parent, I know how essential safe spaces and supportive communities are. Since moving to Charlotte in 2018, my family has been purposeful in building our support system. The connections we made through PFLAG Charlotte have helped us be better parents and advocates. I’m looking forward to creating more safe spaces and a larger community of allies through PFLAG Charlotte.

Mollie Burkholder

Mollie Burkholder | they/she

Educational Programs Manager

As a youth development professional and proudly queer person, I have seen firsthand the difference that accepting, supportive families can have in the lives of LGBTQ+ young people. PFLAG is a place that fosters community, offers support, and shares resources – free of judgement – so that families can not only survive but thrive in moments of struggle and joy. As someone who is deeply committed to building a more equitable and inclusive world and working toward liberation for marginalized people, I am proud to be part of an organization working so passionately to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

Asia Ruiz Smith

Asia Ruiz | she/her

Peer Support Intern

I am very excited to join PFLAG Charlotte for my social work internship. I love the work that we are doing to help build allies in the greater Charlotte area. Through this internship, I’m gaining real world experience working with diverse populations. The skills I’m learning with PFLAG Charlotte will be beneficial to my long-term career in social work. I am eager to be of assistance and be involved in the all changes PFLAG is making!

Our Board

Doug Cooper | he/him

Board Chair
Associate Professor of Psychology (Ph. D.), Johnson C. Smith University

When my teenager came out as LGBTQ+, I felt alone trying to navigate a new journey for my family. But PFLAG Charlotte provided the support I needed to support my teenager. When I was offered the chance to give back to PFLAG Charlotte and join the board, I said yes. Because I want the next family that visits the website, attends an event, or comes to a support group to know that they are not on their journey alone.

Sebastian Barr | he/him

Psychotherapist (Ph.D.), Independent Practice

As a psychologist and transgender man, I care deeply about the wellbeing of trans people and the LGBTQ+ community at large. Families and loved ones play a critical role in the happiness and health of trans and LGBQ people, and PFLAG Charlotte is an invaluable resource to these families, as well as to other allies in the Charlotte community. I’m proud to play a part in this important work!

Lee Knight Caffery | she/her

General Counsel – Americas, Aalberts N.V.

Coming Soon.
Dorie Charnin

Dorie Charnin | she/her

Psychotherapist (Retired)

When I was a teen in the 60’s, I committed to causes that stood for equal rights for all. Until LGBTQIA + people are afforded the same rights, opportunities and consideration as every other respected human being, I will not stop advocating. PFLAG Charlotte is an organization I’m proud to serve to help accomplish these goals. 

Suzanne Clements | she/her

Board Secretary
Administrative Assistant, Providence Day School

At a PFLAG event, I was deeply moved hearing families share their personal stories.  I knew then I wanted to be an ally to ensure there was a place for families to feel supported, embraced and have a safe space to share their truth.

Sarah Eyssen | she/her

Past Board Chair
Attorney (J.D.)/consultant

Why PFLAG? My precious family and our broader community.  A lifesaver and game-changer, PFLAG meets us, always exactly as we are and where we are.

Liliana Forero | she/her

Spanish Teacher, Charlotte Country Day School

My strong alignment with the organization’s mission and my passion to support my Latinx community inspire me to be part of PFLAG Charlotte’s Board. As a middle school teacher and a parent of two queer daughters, supporting LGBTQ+ families, allies, and individuals comes naturally to me. I am committed to promoting an equitable future for all.

SJ Willis | they/he

Multimedia Marketing Specialist, Ally Financial

PFLAG Charlotte has given me the space to blossom and connect to a wide-spectrum of folks in the community. I choose to serve in hopes to extend and cultivate that same space for queer youth, my peers, and their allies. I will use this opportunity to continue learning, express creativity, and build community in my hometown.

Amy Johnson | she/her

Attorney (J.D.), Moore & Van Allen

PFLAG provides the education and advocacy needed for real change. I want to be part of creating a more inclusive world for the LGBTQ+ community. Progress requires that those not directly impacted be directly affected.

N. Scott Jarrell | he/him

EY Principal, Forensic Data Analytics and Technology Leader

PFLAG Charlotte has some of the most engaging and educational programming I have seen in my 22 years in the professional world. I think that allies and friends and family have been my greatest advocates. I appreciate the opportunity to pay it forward to the LGBTQ+ community so that other parents, allies, and friends get the support and tools they need to be well informed.
Place holder. Picture to come

Jamie Mercer CPA, PLLC | she/her

Board Treasurer

PFLAG provided much needed support and education when my family needed it most. The work PFLAG does to promote understanding, tolerance and kindness within families, the workplace and the wider community is critical in these challenging times. I serve to do my part to create a more fair and inclusive future.

Annabelle Pardo | she/her

HR/Office Administrator, Pardo Law Firm

When we needed it most, PFLAG was our family’s lifeline. To serve in PFLAG is a way to pay it forward and help those who may find themselves in the same place our family was at the beginning of our journey. I want to help as many kids and youth as possible to have a supportive family where they can thrive, develop and be themselves.

Shenna Patterson | she/her

Procurement Category Manager, Allstate

Why I serve PFLAG. To promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. To honor the profound interconnection of our community. To express gratitude for the fullness of this life. 

Dr. Benjamin Simmons | he/him

Family Physician, Atrium Health

It is important that everyone feels safe when they seek medical care regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. As a physician, I feel it is important to help educate those who provide healthcare and the community to help ensure culturally competent services. I am so excited to be part of Charlotte PFLAG to help extend the reach of those educated in our community. 

Michael Sulewski | he/him

Certified Physician Assistant

PFLAG is a great resource; the services PFLAG provides are essential and should be made available to all who need them. I look forward to furthering the mission of PFLAG and its impact in our community.