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Staff

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Mike Bensel (he/him/his), Executive Director

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Mike Bensel is Executive Director at Pride Center of Vermont.  He has been an HIV/AIDS educator, tester, advocate, and has a strong queer programming background working with Outright Vermont, SafeSpace and serving on the founding board of Pride Center of Vermont. Having a rich history with the center allows Mike to have a strong connection to the mission and values of the organization. As a queer man committed to social change, he is closely connected to the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and education within our LGBTQ communities.  Because of the Pride Center’s collaborative culture and commitment to social justice, it has been a longtime personal objective to work toward shared success with such a dedicated team. Mike is a Tobacco Cessation Counselor.

 

 

Taylor Small (she/her/hers), Director of Health and Wellness

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Taylor Small is Director of Health and Wellness at the Pride Center of Vermont. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Gender Identity and Sexuality Studies. Taylor is committed to community building and youth empowerment, as seen through her previous work at the Howard Center, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, and Northwestern Counseling and Support Services. She has a clear passion and drive to support the larger LGBTQ+ community of Vermont and volunteers heavily at Outright Vermont where she also serves as a board member. Taylor is a fierce activist by day, and at night she becomes the wildly entertaining Nikki Champagne. Nikki can be found all around town supporting LGBTQ+ events including First Friday, Burly Bear, Pop Up and more! Nikki is also a co-host of The T, alongside Emoji Nightmare, a local TV production that focuses on arts and activism across the state of Vermont.

 

 

 

Skylar Wolfe (Sky, he/him, or they/them), Director of SafeSpace

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Skylar is a queer, trans-masculine, and non-binary activist that is passionate about exploring the ways that LGBTQ+ people navigate balancing perception, visibility, and authenticity. Sky seeks to empower people to challenge not only themselves, but the cultures around them. He believes that if people can learn to both stretch and love themselves, they can also learn to both stretch and love the world. Skylar is cheesy, witty, and refreshingly transparent.

As a staff member, Skylar deeply values humility, lifelong learning, and  remaining continually reflexive to the community's needs. Sky simultaneously works towards holistic community mental health and collective social justice. 

 

 

 

Gustavo Mercado Muñiz (they/them/theirs), Transgender Program Coordinator

[Image of Gustavo (smiling joyfully)]Gustavo is a queer, non-binary puertorriqueñe born and raised on the island, and they are excited to work as our Transgender Program Coordinator, supporting and uplifting a community that means so much to them. They are a recent graduate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a focus on intersectional feminism and its roots in communities of color. They are a passionate LGBTQIA+ and racial activist who wants to work on making spaces more accessible and safe for all folks in the community and the intersections of their identities. Gustavo is always open to learning more about identities and the ways that they can be challenging and empowering for folks here in Vermont. Being very new to the state, they are looking forward to exploring a new place and meeting wonderful new people. In this role Gustavo hopes to help create networks of care and empowerment for all of us in the trans (and overall LGBTQIA+) community. Gustavo is a hugger, avid reader, Beyoncé stan, and will never say no to good vegetarian food!

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in potentially joining our team?

Click here to find out more about employment opportunities!

 

 

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