A Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award winning artist with 30 sterling years and global record sales in excess of 50 million, Cyndi Lauper has proven that she has the heart and soul to keep her legion of fans compelled by her every creative move. Lauper recently became a New York Times Best Selling author with her autobiography Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir, published by Simon & Schuster, and wrote the original score for the Tony Award winning Best Musical Kinky Boots.
Helping others has always been a guiding force for Cyndi and she focuses her efforts to make a difference through the True Colors Fund. An unwavering advocate for equality long before she became famous, she co-founded the organization in 2008 to bring an end to homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and create a world in which all young people can be their true selves.
In addition, Cyndi is the Honorary Chairperson and a co-founder of the True Colors Residence, the first project of its kind to provide a permanent, supportive, and secure home to formerly homeless LGBT youth in New York City. Cyndi also continues to be a tireless participant in the efforts to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic and ensure that women are treated equally around the world.
Lisa Barbaris is a 30 year veteran of the music business. She started her career in the publicity department of Elektra Records in 1985, where she worked with such artists as Metallica, Teddy Pendergrass, Motley Crue, Natalie Merchant, Simply Red, Anita Baker, and many more. In 1990, she moved to Geffen Records to serve as Director of Publicity, looking after XTC, Cher, Don Henley, Aerosmith, The Sundays, among others. Her last label position was as the head of the press department for Atco EastWest/Atlantic Records.
In 1996, Lisa opened So What Media and Management, a boutique publicity and artist management shop. In 1998, So What transitioned to being solely a management company. So What currently manages the careers of Billy Porter, Hunter Valentine, and Cyndi Lauper, with whom Lisa co-founded the True Colors Tour in 2007 and the True Colors Fund in 2008. Lisa served as the True Colors Fund’s first Board of Directors President until 2015, helping to establish the organization as the nation’s leading force working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Jonny Podell has been called “one of the three most powerful agents” in the music business by New York Magazine and has created a string of successful companies including the most recent, the Podell Talent Agency. As creator of the first “boutique agency” early on in his career, he is credited for single-handedly changing the way rock shows were booked, and at one point, the motto around town was “If you’re playing clubs and dreaming of stadiums, he’s the man to see.”
Prior to starting his current company, Jonny served as the head of East Coast music at William Morris, then head of the music devision at ICM, and ran Evolution Talent Agency (ETA), which along with his partner, quickly became home to some of the biggest artsits and their tours. After leaving Evolution, Jonny opened The Podell Talent Agency, where his longstanding success continues to thrive. Currently his roster includes Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, Allman Brothers Band, Gipsy Kings, Gregg Allman, Erasure and Cyndi Lauper, with whom he co-founded the True Colors Tour and True Colors Fund.
Cathy Nelson is the Vice President for Development & Membership for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Cathy leads a team of 55 professionals responsible for executing HRC’s organizational fundraising and membership strategies that generate more than $50 million annually to support HRC’s work. She worked with the board and the branding team that developed the ubiquitous blue and yellow HRC logo and has served on all of the organization’s strategic planning committees.
During Cathy’s 20-year tenure at HRC, she has utilized an entrepreneurial approach to create multiple revenue programs and a national membership of more than 1.5 million. She created a board of governors and local volunteer leadership structure of steering committees in 30 cities that participate in advocacy initiatives and help raise more than fifty percent of the total budget. One of her earliest initiatives was to launch HRC retail shops to promote HRC brand merchandise and attract members in key cities.
Beyond traditional methods for increasing awareness, support and membership, Cathy has pursued creative alliances with entertainers resulting in such productions as Equality Rocks, a sold-out charity concert at RFK stadium benefiting HRC, and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour that not only raised money but garnered more than 15,000 supporters for HRC-backed legislation in the U.S. Congress. She uses her talents daily to advance causes she feels passionate about while engaging and educating others about the issues. Cathy is a proud resident of Washington D.C., where she lives with her partner.
Joseph Avallone is President and CEO of Reveal 42, Inc., an integrated creative services business specializing in brand development and marketing. Prior to that, Joseph was CEO of Creative Group Acquisition Co., a leading provider of production and post-production services to the broadcast and theatrical marketplace. Joseph produced the animated film Henry & Me, whose profits support many charities, including True Colors Fund.
Joseph is a staunch LGBT advocate, and is proud to play a role in establishing equality, safety, and support for members of its community. A graduate of Long Island University, Joseph earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and is a certified public accountant. Joseph resides in Long Island with his wife and children.
Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, author, fashion designer and philanthropist, Carson Kressley is out to make over the world.
Kressley helmed Lifetime’s critically acclaimed show How to Look Good Naked and earned a primetime Emmy for his role on Bravo’s breakout hit series Queer Eye. He was a frequent style contributor on The Oprah Winfrey Show where millions of viewers accessed his expertise, style, and wit. He currently can be seen as a frequent style contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America and Live! with Kelly. In 2011, Kressley starred in OWN’s (The Oprah Winfrey Network) Carson-Nation a one-hour reality show where he traveled to small towns throughout the U.S., transforming lives one person at a time with his signature heart, humor and style.
A strong supporter of many philanthropic causes, Kressley uses his celebrity to advance different concerns, such as The Trevor Project, the Human Rights Campaign, the Empire State Pride Agenda, LIGALY, GLSEN, AIDS WALK, The Ali Forney Center and the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation. Kressley is also a trustee on the board of the True Colors Fund and The American Saddlebred Museum. He is the founding donor of the first scholarship program for GLBT youth in his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in addition to being a New York Times best-selling author with three books to his credit, including “You’re Different and That’s Super,” a children’s book promoting diversity and tolerance.
Nancy is Senior Vice President, Global Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship, for The Estée Lauder Companies and Global Executive Director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund. In this role, she is responsible for Estée Lauder’s global corporate citizenship strategy, encompassing all philanthropic, cause-marketing, employee engagement, and product donation programs. Nancy also oversees the strategic direction and day-to-day operation of the M·A·C AIDS Fund. Currently, the Fund gives away $44 million annually throughout the world, particularly in the 72 countries in which M·A·C has affiliates.
In December 2011, Nancy was appointed as the Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA provides advice and recommendations to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention of HIV disease, and to advance research on HIV disease and AIDS.
Prior to joining M·A·C in June 2006, Nancy was Executive Director of God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of life-sustaining nutritional support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.
Nancy is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and New York University’s School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review. She and her partner reside in New York City with their two children.
Kevin is a Senior Vice President at Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC, where for over 11 years he has been a trusted advisor to individuals, families and foundations on their investment needs. In addition to working with clients, Kevin has assisted with a number of firm-wide efforts related to Bel Air’s growth from a company with $3 billion in assets under supervision in 2002 to over $8 billion today. Kevin joined Bel Air in 2002 as a financial analyst and, in 2004, he became the firm’s youngest investment advisor by more than ten years.
Prior to joining Bel Air, Kevin had experience at Morgan Stanley, Century National Bank and the U.S. State Department in Berlin. In addition to his role as a member of the True Colors Fund’s Board of Directors, he currently serves on a Los Angeles committee for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kevin received his B.A. from Stanford University. Kevin and his partner Joshua Miller live in Los Angeles and will be married in September 2015.
Patrick Pocklington joined the True Colors Fund board in 2010 after collaborating on the successful 2009 True Colors Cabaret holiday benefit. Pocklington is a musical artist manager at Bill Silva Entertainment and is the lead manager for Jason Mraz, his affiliated companies and foundation. Pocklington started his music career in the marketing department at Arista Records in New York. He would later go on to become a partner in the management team of new artist Dido, bringing her to Nettwerk Management in Los Angeles. While at Nettwerk Management, Patrick was also involved in the management of other US and European artists including Poe, Groove Armada, Kristian Leontiou, Tiesto, Stefy Rae and Robert Post.
Patrick lives in Los Angeles and has been active in communities in Boston, New York, Palm Springs, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
Tony Award© winner Sara Ramirez is known to viewers as orthopedic surgeon Dr. Callie Torres on ABC’s top-rated television drama Grey’s Anatomy. Prior to Grey’s Anatomy, Ramirez was seen in the Broadway smash-hit Monty Python’s Spamalot as Lady of the Lake, for which she earned both a Tony Award© for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, and an Outer Critics Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.
Ramirez graduated from the Juilliard Drama School. Shortly after graduation, she made her Broadway debut starring in Paul Simon’s The Capeman. Following that, she starred on Broadway in Fascinating Rhythm and A Class Act, as well as Off Broadway in The Vagina Monologues. For the past 3 seasons, Sara has been the voice of ‘Queen Miranda’ in the Disney Channel animated series, Sofia The First. She has also appeared on NYPD Blue, Law & Order: SVU, Third Watch, and Spin City, in addition to several pilots. In Spring 2011, Ramirez captured a whole new audience when she performed the most prominent songs on the special music event episode of Grey’s Anatomy and released her own EP on iTunes.
In 2015, Sara was awarded the Ally For Equality Award by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. In addition to her role as a member of the True Colors Fund’s Board of Directors, she supports non-profit organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the California Writing Program’s “I Write the Future” campaign.