Board of Directors
SC Equality is led by an active Board of Directors who are strategically positioned throughout the state.
Jeff Ayers, Chair
Jeff Ayers lives in Charleston, SC. Originally from Lake City, SC, Jeff is a former funeral director and is now an independent consultant for US Airways, for which he created the TLC program. A former board chair of Charlotte's Metrolina AIDS Project, he has also served with such organizations as The Names Quilt Project, Rotary International and was former President of the Lake City Fire and Rescue Squad.
Malissa Burnette, C4 Chair
Malissa Burnette lives in Columbia and is a Partner at the law firm of Callison Tighe. Certified by the SC Supreme Court as a Specialist in Employment & Labor , she has been practicing law for 33 years. Malissa is experienced in all aspects of civil rights and discrimination law as well as family law. She has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America. Malissa joined the Board of Directors for SC Equality in 2009 and serves the organization as a project manager and member of the Nominating Committee.
Dianne P. Odom, Treasurer
Dianne Odom is a Certified Public Accountant, practicing in Irmo South Carolina. She has been licensed for 18 years and graduated from the University of South Carolina. She joined the board of South Carolina Equality in 2009. Dianne serves as the Board Treasurer and lives in Irmo with her family.
Ann Willbrand, Secretary
Ann Willbrand lives in Aiken with Pat, her partner of 14 years. After teaching organic chemistry for 22 years as an Associate Professor, in 2007 Ann retired from the University of South Carolina in Aiken. In 2004, Ann began working with SC Equality as a delegate from the CSRA Rainbow Alliance. She participated in the Fairness for All Families campaign in 2005-2006 and officially joined the SC Equality Board of Directors in June 2007. Ann now serves as the Board’s Secretary.
Chase Glenn, Board Member and Chair of the TransAction Committee
Chase is a graduate of Belmont University, as well as having received his master’s degree in counseling from Webster University. Since moving to the Lowcountry, he has been involved in both statewide and local LGBTQ organizations. He has served as a volunteer with We Are Family, raised money for Trans* Love Fund, designed the SC Equality license plate, and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer / Vice Chair of the Charleston Pride Festival. Chase works at Blackbaud, Inc., where he works directly with several national non-profit organizations. He lives in Charleston with his two rescue pups, Daisy and Cooper.
I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Chase and look forward to his leadership on our board and the TransAction Committee. Please help me in welcoming a true champion of equality to our organization.
Veronica Walters, Board Member
Veronica Walters resides in Myrtle Beach, SC. She attended UNC-Wilmington and received her BA in Theatre. Her background in local theatre production is extensive and includes several movies. She currently operates her own business, V. Walters Services. In 2005, she co-founded the T-Time support group and has been a presenter at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta. Veronica was a Board member and past President (2009-10) of The Center Project LGBT community center in Myrtle Beach. Besides now being part of SC Equality, she is currently Vice President of Red Ribbon Friends, a LGBT fund raising organization that supports Careteam of Horry/Georgetown, who provide services to directly assist persons with HIV/AIDS. Veronica joined the board in 2011.
C. Douglas Yates, Board Member
Doug Yates lives in Columbia where he is an anesthesiologist in practice with Anesthesiology Consultants of Columbia. He has been in the practice of anesthesiology for 25 years. He received his B.A. from the University of Arkansas, his M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine, and his specialty training in anesthesiology from Wake Forest University. He joined the SC Equality Board in 2009 and serves on the nominating committee.
Ethan Johnstone, Board Member
Ethan Johnstone grew up and currently resides in Greenville, SC. In 2010 he served a term as President of Greenville Technical College’s GSA. In December of 2011, he co-founded the Gender Benders group, which serves as a support and resource for transgender and gender variant folks in the Upstate of South Carolina. His personal experience with transition and passion for supporting people has served to develop this group into a valuable resource in the community. Ethan published the Southeastern Trans Resource List in July of 2012 for transgender folks living in 6 different Southeastern states. He works with professionals, teachers, and other community members on LGBT equality and inclusion, with a focus on transgender issues and regularly gives talks at various colleges and universities about his experience with gender identity.
Nichols Bleckley, Board Member
Nichols Bleckley is a South Carolina native (originally from Anderson, SC). She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Winthrop University before making Charleston her home. Nichols has been an active supporter of LGBTQ organizations throughout the state, including SC Equality, AFFA, Upstate Pride, We Are Family, and currently serves on the board of the Charleston Pride Festival. Nichols is employed by Blackbaud, Inc., where she has worked directly with thousands of non-profit organizations since 2002. She lives in Charleston with her fiancée Colleen, their son, and a plethora of animals