ABOUT US

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

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.

Gretchen Kohlhepp | she/her

Volunteer & Sponsorship Coordinator

In PFLAG Charlotte, my family and I found a safe and supportive community when we needed it most. We chose to volunteer with PFLAG Charlotte to pay it forward. It is extremely rewarding to be involved with an organization that lifts up LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. I would encourage anyone who is interested in making the world more inclusive and equitable, so that every LGBTQ+ person is safe, celebrated, empowered and loved, to volunteer with us.

Parker Smith | they/them

Operations Coordinator

I made my way to Charlotte in 2015 to pursue a career in the nonprofit field, specifically to support trans and nonbinary youth at Time Out Youth Center. Coming from rural North Carolina, I knew the challenges that came with growing up queer in the rural South. I also know firsthand how important familial support is for the happiness and success of LGBTQ young people. Through supporting the parents and family members of LGBTQ youth in their journey of learning how to support their loved ones, PFLAG Charlotte is one of the first organizations I worked with in Charlotte. I’m thrilled to join this team and contribute to the growth of this incredible, invaluable organization and connect again with the people that make such an impact on the LGBTQ community of Charlotte.

Kelly Leech | she/her

Healthcare Outreach Manager

When my child came out in 2018, my family reached out to PFLAG Charlotte. We were met with kindness, understanding, information and most importantly a path forward. I am thrilled to help expand our definition of family through my work and connections with PFLAG Charlotte.

Ray McKinnon | he/him

Executive Director

As a recently out Black gay man, I have found that caring, just, and affirming spaces were essential to my personal growth, safety, and journey to self-acceptance. Our work at PFLAG Charlotte helps families and friends learn how to love authentically. Now, more than ever, we need spaces where all people can learn to become better allies and accomplices in the struggle for equity, inclusion, safety, celebration, empowerment, and love.

Persia Mohseni | she/her

Peer Support Intern

Persia Mohseni is in her Master of Social Work program with UNC-Charlotte with the goal to obtain her LCSW to provide mental health services in private practice. She also aspires to expand her yoga studies to explore Yoga Therapy. Persia currently coordinates drug prevention education for youth, parents, and youth-serving adults and delivers psychoeducational support groups with teens.
I am excited to be joining PFLAG as a Social Work Intern and to advocate and support the LGBTQ+ community. I am dedicated to promoting equality and unity in Charlotte and in supporting PFLAG in building belonging and creating and expanding spaces where individuals are honored and understood.

Our Board

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!

Lindsay Burrell | she/her

Corporate Planning and Forecasting Executive, Bank of America

My brother came out as gay over 25 years ago and I saw the struggle for him to be his true self. Today and every day, I challenge myself to be the best ally I can be to the LGBTQ+ community- taking action and advocating for all. Everyone has the right to respect and human kindness, to be who they want to be all the time. I am excited to be a part of an organization that helps support and educate families and friends of the LGBTQ+ community, one that drives inclusivity and a welcome place for everyone to find love and comfort.

Lee Knight Caffery | she/her

General Counsel – Americas, Aalberts N.V.

Coming Soon.
Dorie Charnin

Dorie Charnin | she/her

Psychotherapist (Retired)
Horizon Counseling Center- Founder/Director/LCMHC/LMFT

My passion for advocacy began in the 1960’s and continued into my adulthood through my professional work as a therapist and teacher. Horizon Counseling Center, founded in 1991, provided services to the LGBTQIA+ community and their loved ones for almost 30 years.
The support and resources that PFLAG Charlotte offers to families and to the community are powerful tools that aid in healing, communication and growth. PFLAG Charlotte is an organization that I’m proud to serve as a board member.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jamie Mercer | she/her

Managing Member, Jamie Mercer CPA, PLLC

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

Assistant Professor, Wingate University, Physician Assistant Program

Physician Assistant at Avance Care (PA-C)

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.

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.