OPALGA+ BOARD NOMINATIONS FOR 2024

FOR CO-CHAIR (One position for a one-year term to January 2025 meeting – vote for only one)

  • Cas Scaman (she/her), Board Member 2023, Acting Co-Chair 2023, Oak Park,
    Full-time student/Coffee-Educator – Whirlwind Coffee Company

FOR CO-CHAIR (One position for a two-year term to January 2026 meeting – vote for only one)

  • John Becvar (he/him/él), Board Member 2022, Board Secretary 2023, River Forest,
    Semi-retired VP/CPO at Groupon and River Forest Township Clerk 

FOR SECRETARY (One position for a two-year term to January 2026 meeting – vote for only one)

  • Wendy Cole (she/her), Board Member 2022-’23, Oak Park,
    Senior Copywriter/Editor

FOR AT-LARGE BOARD MEMBERS
(Each position for a two-year term – vote for no more than five

  • Kelly Devlin (she/her), Oak Park,
    Project Manager, Discover Financial Services
  • Jayne Furlong (she/her), Oak Park,
    Event/Communications Manager, Downtown Oak Park Business Alliance
  • Dan Hanna (he/him), Gala Planning Member 2023, Brookfield, Medical Courier
  • Tim Silver (he/him), Board Member 2020-’23, Oak Park,
    Financial Advisor

RETURNING BOARD MEMBERS (With terms ending at the January 2025 Annual Meeting)

  • Leah Textor – Treasurer (2023-’24)
  • Steve Angus – Board Member at Large (2021-’24)
  • Erika Bachner – Board Member at Large (2023-’24)
  • Bob Personett – Board Member at Large (2017-’21, 2023-’24)
  • Rylan Martin – Past Co-Chair (2022-’23), Ex-Officio Member of the Board (2024)

 

MEET THE CANDIDATE(S) FOR CO-CHAIR (1-YEAR TERM POSITION)

CAS SCAMAN (she/her), Oak Park
Board Member 2023, Acting Co-Chair 2023
Co-Chair Membership (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. 

 

MEET THE CANDIDATE(S) FOR CO-CHAIR (2-YEAR TERM POSITION)
JOHN BECVAR (he/him/él), River Forest
Board Member 2022, Board Secretary 2023
Co-Chair Communications (2022-’23), Social (2022-’23), Sponsorship (2022-’23)
Semi-retired VP/CPO at Groupon and River Forest Township Clerk

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. In January 2023, I received the OPALGA+ Distinguished Service Volunteer of the Year Award. Since then, I’ve been appointed as the River Forest Township Clerk where I help the Township administer social programs to our community.

I have a track record of volunteering. I am an extremely active member of almost all OPALGA+ committees and am only one of two people that haven’t missed a single OPALGA+ Board meeting in 2023. I maintain the OPALGA+ website, emails, social media channels, direct mail, member database, by-laws and Board minutes. 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 run all the restaurant outings 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. In my two years on the OPALGA+ Board, I’ve pushed the organization into new and better areas.

 

MEET THE CANDIDATE(S) FOR SECRETARY (2-YEAR TERM POSITION)
WENDY COLE (she/her), Oak Park
Board Member 2022-’23
Co-Chair Communications (2022-’23)
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. 

 

MEET THE CANDIDATE(S) FOR BOARD MEMBER AT LARGE (2-YEAR TERM POSITION)

KELLY DEVLIN (she/her), Oak Park
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
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
Gala Planning Committee Member (2023)
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.

TIM SILVER (he/him), Oak Park
Board Member (2020-2023)
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.