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Board of Directors

Board Members:

Email the entire board at board@youthfirsttexas.org

TJ Wilson

TJ has been an international Flight Attendant with American Airlines for 34 years, providing service and safety for his passengers, whether they are youth or happen to be adults who act like youth. In addition, for the last 20 years, TJ has been active on non-profit boards in both North Carolina and Texas, most recently as an Advisory Member of the Black Tie Dinner in Dallas.

Currently, TJ lives in a 1950s-era home in North Dallas with his circus kitty, Bobo.

TJ’s commitment to the youth has an emphasis in mentoring and treating each one as an individual. With the advent of 2011, one of his priorities is to develop effective partnerships with other organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Feleshia Porter

Feleshia currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice who has been serving the GLBTQI community in some capacity for the past 30 years whether through her professional work or her volunteer activities.

Feleshia was asked to volunteer for YFT by a young FTM that wanted to establish YFT’s first gender identity group. After a couple of years of being a volunteer, Feleshia was asked to join the Board of Directors of YFT because of her previous BOD experiences with Razzle Dazzle Dallas, Oak Lawn Art Festival, Extra Mile Awards, and HRC Fairway to Equality golf tournament.

Kevin Mackenroth

Oliver Blumer
Human Development Committee Chair

Oliver has been involved in the LGBTQA Dallas community for over 29 years. He has had a private practice for 20 years as a Chiropractic Physician with subspecialties in Acupuncture and Functional Medicine. Oliver sang with The Womens Chorus of Dallas for 11 years and served on their board for 5 years. He was a founding member of Mosaic, a 16-person ensemble under the umbrella of TWCD which later formed their own non-profit organization as MosaicSong. Currently, Oliver sings with the new community chorus, Resounding Harmony, another non-profit organization.

Oliver’s personal involvement with the youth is to give some of his heart and time to support the mission and vision of YFT and make others aware of YFT. Oliver believes that we can make a profound difference in the lives of the youth and their families and in return, they change our lives. In some way, Oliver hopes to be a role model to the LGBTQA community and help Trans-youth and their families navigate the trans-experience. Educating, research, advocating, and diversity training are some of the elements he wish to empower the youth with as they walk into their personal leadership.

Cathy Gonzalez

Cathy has worked for over 25 years in the areas of information technology and business management, and has worked as an active GLBT ally for five years on the state and local levels.  Cathy is currently the EIS Training, Communications and Administration Manager for the Computing and Information Technology Center the University of North Texas in Denton. Her supervisory role covers all areas of change management pertaining to shared services for the UNT System.  She holds a Master of Science in Human Relations and Business.  In addition to her staff responsibilities at UNT, Cathy served for four years as the program sponsor and lead facilitator for UNT’s Ally Program which ensures UNT is a welcoming and diverse campus.  She is also a member of the UNT Faculty/Staff Mediation Team, and serves in an advisory committee capacity to the office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

She was asked to join the board and serve as the co-chair during a period of time that extensive changes were occurring at YFT.  Due to her professional career in change management, other board members felt her experience would be beneficial to YFT.  Most importantly, she serves on the board because she feels passionately about YFT’s mission along with the programs and services offered to the youth.  The youth deserve all that YFT offers them and it is a joy to see these amazing individuals grow and mature in a safe and nurturing environment.

Cathy served for nearly two years as board co-chair.  Currently she is working with the Resource Center Dallas to form a collaborative relationship with YFT and assisting in developing a bridging program for youth as they age out.

David Grelle

David Grelle serves on the Human Development and Services Committee of the Board of Directors.  He has also served as the Board Liason to the Youth Board prior to joining the HDS committee.  Mr. Grelle has devoted his life to children, as a teacher, specialist, administrator, and educational consultant.  He currently teaches Laboratory Science at George W. Truett Elementary School, serving as an instructional coach.  In addition to his expertise as an educator,  Mr. Grelle also brings to the board his lengthy experience working with OutYouth Austin, our sister organization in Austin, Texas.  There Mr. Grelle served as a volunteer, a group facilitator, crisis counselor and volunteer coordinator.

Chris Hendrix

Chris Hendrix has been a member of the Youth First Texas board since January 2010. He previously served on the board for four years in the position of Vice-President and President. After taking a year off, Chris returned to the board in the position of Fund raising chair. This position involves working with the fundraising staff to assist in fundraising plans and events as well as networking with outside groups to keep the YFT name in the forefront of the community.

Chris is a CPA who is currently working in the technology department (supporting the finance group) of a company in the Dallas area called Alliance Data Systems. In addition to his work at YFT, Chris also studies Spanish regularly, is in a book club, and is also on a bowling team, where he tries his best to beat his average every week!

James Nunn
Governance Committee Chair; Strategic Planning Committee Chair

James Nunn joined the Youth First Texas board in January 2010, and currently serves as the chairs of the Governance Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. James is also a member of the board’s Finance Committee and Technology Committee.

James’ previous nonprofit experience extends over 25 years and includes serving on the board of directors for the Victorian AIDS Council / Gay Men’s Health Center, serving as treasurer for three years, co-founder of Frisco Pride, a social group for the GLBT community in Frisco and surrounding areas, founding board member of Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance, founder and president of the Triangle Foundation (formerly the Collin Equality Foundation) and serving two-terms as president of his homeowner’s association.

James holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of North Texas. James also graduated from Collin College with two associate degrees. James currently works for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a donor-supported organization that places caring adults in the lives of children in one-to-one mentoring relationships. James lives with his partner, Chris, in Frisco, Texas along with their two dogs, Bosley and Colby.

Chris-James Cognetta
Volunteer Committee Chair

Chris is an Instructional Designer with specialization in Adult Learning Theory and Interactive Multimedia simulation. He recently acquired his Masters in Counseling Psychology from SMU, and is a 20-year veteran in Training and Development who has also spend 17 years teaching young adults in the Dallas County Community College district, Dallas County Jail Education and the Ford Foundation.

He joined the board with the aim of focusing on the social and recreational services that are needed by LGBTQ youth and creating awareness for those who may still feel marginalized by society.

Joining the Board of Directors on January 1, 2011.

Lee Dewey

Jo Bess Jackson

David Freudiger

Jeremy Liebbe (jeremy.liebbe@youthfirsttexas.org)