OPALGA+ BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

  • John Becvar (he/him/él), OPALGA+ Board Co-Chair (2024-’25), info@opalga.org
  • Cas Scaman (she/her), OPALGA+ Board Co-Chair (2023-’24), info@opalga.org
  • Wendy Cole (she/her), Secretary (2024-’25), wendy@opalga.org  
  • Leah Textor (she/her), Treasurer (2023-’24), treasurer@opalga.org  
  • Steve Angus (he/him), 2nd term At-Large Member (2023-’24) 
  • Erika Bachner (she/her), 1st term At-Large Member (2023-’24)
  • Kelly Devlin (she/her), 1st term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
  • Jayne Furlong (she/her), 1st term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
  • Dan Hanna (he/him), 1st term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
  • Bob Personett (he/him), 1st term At-Large Member (2023-’24)
  • Tim Silver (he/him), 3rd term At-Large Member (2024-’25) 

Interested in serving on a committee in 2024? Contact info@opalga.org.

 

2024 BOARD MEETING DATES 

The OPALGA+ Board meets the third Wednesday of most months from 7pm-8:30pm. If you are interested, please write info@opalga.org to be sent the meeting invitation. Board meetings are open to all Members in Good Standing and invited guests. Board minutes are posted here.

  • January 28, 2024
  • February 21
  • March 20
  • April 17
  • May 22
  • June 19
  • July 17
  • August 21
  • September 18
  • October 16
  • November 20
  • December 17

MEET YOUR 2024 OPALGA+ OFFICERS:

JOHN BECVAR (he/him/él), River Forest, Co-Chair 2024-’25 (john@opalga.org)
Board Member and Volunteer of the Year 2022, Board Secretary and Volunteer of the Year 2023
Committee Co-Chair Communications (2022-’24), Social (2022-’23), Sponsorship (2022-’23), Gala Committee (2024)
Semi-retired VP/CPO at Groupon and River Forest Township Supervisor

  • I have a long history of community organizing. For fifteen years, I’ve served as President of the Triangle Neighbors Association where I helped raise $1.5 Million to purchase, build and maintain a community park (Space Park). Prior to that, I spent several years on the executive board of Lake View Citizens’ Council where I helped expand its membership to thousands of residents and businesses and keep the community informed of zoning, safety and other quality of life issues. In 2018, I was honored by Crain’s Chicago as one of Chicago’s LGBT notable executives for my work promoting LGBTQ+ awareness both at Groupon and in Chicagoland. I received the OPALGA+ Distinguished Service Volunteer of the Year Award in both January 2023 and January 2024.  I’m also the River Forest Township Supervisor where I administer social programs for the River Forest, Illinois community.
  • I have a track record of volunteering. I am an extremely active member of almost all OPALGA+ committees. I maintain the OPALGA+ website, emails, social media channels, direct mail, and member database. Since joining the Board in January 2022, our email base has almost doubled. I secured the media placement and then represented OPALGA+ on TV with the CBS2 Chicago interview. Since becoming co-chair of sponsorships, each year we have raised more money for our Scholarship Fund than in any prior year. I put together and ran all the restaurant outings (2022-’23) and attend almost all OPALGA+ events working the registration table.
  • I was an outsider to this organization coming in with many ideas of what other organizations have done. I bring an MBA from Vanderbilt University and 30+ years of work experience in Marketing, Strategic Planning, Finance, HR and Operations working for leading companies like Citibank, United Airlines, Sears Holding and Groupon. In my first two years on the OPALGA+ Board, I’ve pushed the organization into new and better areas and I’m honored to be Co-Chair for 2024-’25.

CAS SCAMAN (she/her), Oak Park, Co-Chair 2023-’24 (cas@opalga.org)
Board Member 2023, Acting Co-Chair 2023, Co-Chair Membership and Volunteer Committees (2023)
Full-Time Student/ Coffee Educator- Whirlwind Coffee Company

  • This is the first non-profit board experience I have had but I have had experience working for various non-profits in administration throughout my career. I have worked in event planning and coordination and have experience creating events from the ground up with limited budgets. I am very organized and personable and have found those skills to be invaluable to me as a part of the OPALGA+ board so far.
  • As a member of the OPALGA+ board I have been the co-chair of the membership committee which has the goal of creating a more inclusive environment within OPALGA+. I have also worked to find more ways to involve younger members of the community in events with OPALGA+. As a student at DePaul University, I have been an advocate for other queer students within the College of Education and I have worked with administration within the college to be more inclusive of transgender students with regards to name and pronoun changes on licensures and class rolls.
  • I have really enjoyed my time on the OPALGA+ board and have found it to be a really welcoming and inclusive community. I believe that my perspective on the board as a younger member of the community has been invaluable. I look forward to potentially having the opportunity to both learn from the deep history of the organization while helping the organization move forward.

WENDY COLE (she/her), Oak Park, Secretary 2024’25 (wendy@opalga.org)
Board Member 2022-’23, Co-Chair Communications (2022-’24)
Senior copywriter, Wipfli LLP

  • I’ve been an on-again, off-again participant in OPALGA+ activities over the past decade or so, but a staunch advocate for our community and the causes of fairness, equal opportunity, and family protections for as long as I can remember on the East Coast and in greater Oak Park. An Oak Park resident since 1999, I (and my former partner) have been committed to increasing sensitivities in the larger community and public school system about LGBT families since my kids were toddlers. I helped launch and served as co-president of Rainbow Families of Illinois in the early- and mid- 2000s, which ensured that our kids had meaningful connections (and lots of art projects) with other families that resembled ours, drawing from all around greater Chicago. Also I serve currently on the Oak Park Temple board. I know how to get things done.
  • Professionally, I am a longtime journalist (including two decades as a correspondent and writer for TIME magazine based in NY and then the Midwest),magazine editor, and lately, digital content writer for a top 20 advisory firm.. I strive to tell stories that inform, engage, and possibly inspire. This is especially challenging at a time when attention spans have shrunk and information sources have exploded, but the need for reliable, actionable info that breaks through the noise is as critical as ever.
  • I have worked hard the past two years to help elevate the content we share with our increasingly broad and diverse audience as OPALGA+ Communications co-chair. I would look forward to continuing to share higher impact stories of our activities and our members. We are at an important inflection point to define and decide what kind of lgbtq+ organization we want to be going forward and I’m interested in contributing ideas and energy as a continuing board member and secretary. I’d like to continue the communications work I’ve been involved with for the past two years: Writing, editing, proofreading, and brand strategy.

LEAH TEXTOR (she/her), Oak Park. Treasurer 2023-2024 (treasurer@opalga.org)
Board Member in 2022, Playdates Co-Chair (2022-’23)
Controller

  • When my wife and I moved to Oak Park 3 years ago we moved to this area to find a community that would embrace us and our young family. Oak Park has been welcoming but we struggled to find families like ours that we could socialize and network with for support, friendship, and as real-life examples to our daughter that families are extremely diverse! When we started the Playdates at the Park through OPALGA+ we had our insecurities and doubted if anyone would come, but it has been so rewarding to see so many families choosing to participate and it has brought diversity to the event offerings of OPALGA+ and expanded the OPALGA+ network. 
  • I want everyone to have the opportunity to live freely and openly be themselves and that is what OPALGA+ supports and encourages in our community. I want to be a board member so I can help create an OPALGA+ that reflects the diversity of our community through social events, community involvement and advocacy efforts. This is an important time for OPALGA+ to exist because there has been an unprecedented upsurge in discriminatory legislation across the US and the calls to roll-back LGBTQ+ rights have grown bolder. I want to be a board member so I can help guide our organization to be actively involved in advocacy efforts.
  • I have experience with finance and accounting and want to use that to assist OPALGA+ in our cash management, strategic budgeting and streamlining our reporting and compliance. I do not have prior board experience, but as an interim at-large board member of OPALGA+ in 2022, I have helped expand our event offerings with family playdates and I want the opportunity to continue to stretch OPALGA+’s reach within the community as an elected board member.

MEET YOUR AT-LARGE BOARD MEMBERS:

STEVE ANGUS (he/him), Oak Park, 2nd Term At-Large Board Member (2021-’24)
Director of Sales

  • I currently serve as the executive sponsor of the LGBTQ+ employee resource group (Spectrum @ Elkay) at my workplace.  I feel very strongly that DEI journeys need to be front and center, whether in the workplace or in the community.
  • Having been involved with and a member of OPALGA+ for 5+ years, I feel I have good insight into how our organization operates as well as the need for energetic and service-minded board members. 
  • In the past I have served OPALGA+ in various ways:
    • 2019 – 2023 Donut Day Chairperson
    • 2019 – 2020 Social Committee
    • 2020 “Oscar Party” Organizer
    • Participant in “A Day in the Village” and community holiday parades
    • Potluck Host, as well as attending most potlucks 🙂
  • I would like to bring my personal energy and serve OPALGA+; if I am elected, I would be committed to the OPALGA+ Board and attend as many board meetings as possible.
  • Besides being service-minded, I also bring strong organization skills, and an empathetic and common-sense attitude to many issues facing our organization.  I have a professional background in sales and various forms of marketing which would be useful at times when thinking of ways to get the word out about OPALGA+ in our own community.  

ERIKA BACHNER (she/her), River Forest, 1st Term At-Large Member (2023-’24)
Education Committee (2023-’24)
River Forest Village Trustee

  • Curated curriculum and facilitate Race Conscious Dialogues for People of Color
  • Founded and Co-Chair the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group to the Village of River Forest Board of Trustees
  • Wrote and passed Village of River Forest Flag Policy in 2021 that allowed the Progressive Pride flag (2021 & 2022) and Juneteenth flag (2022) to be flown at Village Town Hall.
  • Promoted and spoke at first School District 90 Inclusion & Pride Parade in River Forest where over 200 people, mainly families, rose the Progressive Pride flag together at River Forest Village Town Hall
  • Worked with Maywood Trustee Miguel Jones to write and have our two villages formally vote on and sign the Twin Village Covenant (2020) signifying the shared focus to work and live as one community.
  • Start River Forest Village Board meetings with a Land Acknowledgement in my public comments honoring indigenous people who first stewarded this space and that the land was colonized. 
  • OPALGA+ is an important community organization that is in a period of transition and I believe I have experiences and skills that could be very useful to this process. While most of my family and friends knew I am bisexual, I made this public a couple of years ago at a Village Board of Trustees meeting when speaking about the importance of representation and what it would mean to the River Forest community to raise the Pride flag during Pride month. Immediately, I received messages from other bisexual women and those in the LGBTQIA+ community in River Forest about how much it meant to them to hear publicly an elected official be out and proud. I think I can bring that intentionality and energy to OPALGA+.
  • I am currently serving on the River Forest Board of Trustees – items I previously mentioned are some of the ways I have helped the Village and Trustee Board. Previously, I have served as Board member and Treasurer for PASO – West Suburban Action Project where we significantly grew the client base and fundraising, then reworked the mission and strategy of the organization to better align with the needs of the community (especially during the pandemic). Co-Founded and was the Co-Lead of Indivisible Oak Park Area, where we grew the base of Oak park and west suburban activism and awareness of progressive issues and actions. I have a professional background in finance and client relationship management, marketing, event planning, and contract negotiations. Personally, I have been a community organizer and activist, working with volunteers, strategic planning, and maintaining relationships with other local, state and national non-profits and elected officials on several key issues, mainly around marginalization and common sense laws around gun violence.

KELLY DEVLIN (she/her), Oak Park, 1st Term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
Co-Chair Scholarship Committee (2024), Scholarship Committee Member (2023)
Project Manager/Discover Financial Services 

  • I moved to Oak Park during the pandemic and have participated in many OPALGA+ activities since joining at the end of last year. I have been very impressed with the sense of community and breadth of opportunities that the group offers; I really want to take on a more active role so that I can give back – it has been great to feel like a part of this community – it was exactly what I was looking for when I moved here.
  • After joining OPALGA+, I volunteered for the  scholarship committee; that has been a fantastic experience! I am also a member of my company’s DE&I council and PRIDE committee.  I have served as a committee chair for an Employee Resource Group at Discover Financial Services for the past 3 and a half years. In my role on that leadership team, I help determine our mission, budget, goals and I schedule and  plan events for hundreds of employees.
  • I would love to have the opportunity to expand my contribution to OPALGA+ and  our community!

JAYNE FURLONG (she/her), Oak Park, 1st Term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
Event and Communications Manager – Downtown Oak Park Business Alliance

  • I have greatly enjoyed being a part of the OPALGA+ community since moving to Oak Park last year. I think OPALGA+ is a very unique entity that has the capacity to do much good for the whole queer community in our area. I think there are many opportunities for OPALGA+ to be an even larger presence and I would like to contribute to the continued growth and vibrancy of the organization.
  • In my professional capacity, I proposed and organized the first Pride event for my organization this past July, which included participation from many local organizations including OPALGA+. I am also on the DEI committee for my organization. In my personal life, I am an open book for anyone with questions about the community, gender identity, etc that I encounter through my involvement in community theater and yoga communities, as I believe in education and discussion as tools for awareness and acceptance.
  • I believe my professional experience with events, communications, and marketing has given me organizational and interpersonal skills that would help me contribute to OPALGA+ as a Board member. I have served on two previous non-profit Boards. One was a well-established theater group in Tigard, OR, where I served on the play selection committee. During my time there, I worked to expand the scope of plays they produced to include more diverse works. The second time I was a founding member and Vice President for a theater company in Austin, TX, where we built the company from the ground up, from concept through non-profit registration to presenting full productions.

DAN HANNA (he/him), Brookfield, 1st Term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
Gala Planning Committee Member (2023); Co-Chair Membership Committee (2024)
Medical Courier

  • Participant in River Forest and Oak Park community parades, as well as field trips including the Fox River Paddlewheeler. OPALGA+ Gala Planning Committee 2023 Current member of Pride at Trinity Health (PATH). HRC – Las Vegas Steering Committee 2014-2016 Copy Editor, QVegas Magazine. Honored both locally and nationally for my work as Human Rights Campaign – Las Vegas’ Social Media Chair Honored as one of Las Vegas’ “34 People With Pride” by QVegas Magazine
  • I look forward to offering my organizational skills as well as an analytical eye regarding event planning, process management, QA, etc. I’m very happy to have connected with everyone in the OPALGA+ area, and look forward to contributing to the development of additional facets of the groups offerings, as outlined in Our Mission.

ROBERT (“BOB”) PERSONETT (he/him), Chicago, 1st term At-Large Member (2023-’24),
Co-chair Sponsorships Committee (2022-’23), Community Service Volunteering (2023-’24)
Retired Federal Employee

  • Past OPALGA+ Board Member 2017-2021
  • I have volunteered and participated in most of the OPALGA+ sponsored events.  When provided the opportunity, I introduce myself to folks (those who identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ally) and provide them information about our organization.  Usually I give out the OPALGA+ wristbands and our business cards.
  • I bring experience and enthusiasm to the board.  My previous work on the board speaks for itself.
  • I served for 30 years as a local union steward and/or officer in my previous employment.  During my tenure as an OPALGA+ board member between 2017-2021, I helped raise a substantial amount of money for the organization.

TIM SILVER (he/him), Oak Park, 3rd term At-Large Member (2024-’25)
Board Member (2020-2023); Gala Committee Co-Chair (2022-’23)
Financial Advisor

  • I have served on boards since I was in junior high school and have led many. I have extensive home-owners association experience. I am familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure. I am also a business owner and fiduciary, so well aware of my duty to put other’s interests first and provide good stewardship to the organization.
  • I enjoy serving on the OPALGA+ Board and desire to continue my service to the organization. I believe it is important to volunteer and give back, and helping to steer the organization’s activities and directions is important to me. Since joining the board we have expanded our social outings, increased awareness, broadened membership, raised more dollars for scholars, and continue to expand the presence of OPALGA+ in mission and activities.
  • I live an out and proud lifestyle. I seek to understand and promote diversity through lived experience. As an OPALGA+ At-Large Board Member I strive to live our mission and keep the organization true to our mission.