Local businessman, Art Toth, was looking for ways to give back to the community when he researched the Gay Community Center of Richmond. His extensive career in retail was a perfect match with some of the needs of the GCCR board. ”We were elated to learn that Art was interested in being on board. We’ve only had one meeting, but it’s already clear what an asset he will be,” said board chair, Beth Marshak.
After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Mathematics and Science, Art was associated with J.L. Hudson Department Store. He then moved to Richmond, becoming a Miller and Rhoads associate, with his final position there being a Vice President. He later joined Thalhimers as a Vice President. When May Company bought Thalhimers, he was offered positions, but would have to leave Richmond which he did not want to do.
After considerable thought he took a leap of faith and opened la Grand Dame. That was 21 years ago with his long list of clientele reaching miles outside of the Capital City. “I wanted to give back in some way and my experience in retail, finance, marketing….it’s what I do every day,” he shared. “There are energetic, talented people on the board and I look forward to working with all of them. The Center has a bright future and we will work together so it can achieve its fullest potential.”
Art serves on the Richmond Business Alliance Leadership Committee.
Kim has been a longtime supporter of Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elderly (SAGE), serving on the steering committee.
Kim also brings her experiences as a transgender woman to GCCR. Kim is excited about coming onboard. “I’m involved with the Gay Community Foundation to help broaden the GLBTQIA community’s understanding of the Foundation while helping the Foundation understand the community’s needs,” she shared.
“SAGE is one of the Foundation’s programs and its success is one of our priorities going forward. I’d also like to see GCCR used as more of an outreach hub for the community. We do not need to do everything but simply connect the need and the resource. The staff is certainly capable of this and for the most part is doing the job, but what the staff does is not always clear to constituents.”
Her message to LGBT youth…”Please come teach me.” Kim adds that she is honored to work with the board and looks to great times as we move forward.
Lori is a CPA and a partner with Dixon Hughes Goodman, a regional public accounting firm. She works primarily in the audit and accounting are with an emphasis in real estate and not-for-profit entities. Lori received her undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Glen Allen with her partner, teenage daughter, three Jack Russell terriers and two cats.
Salem Acuña is a latino, queer organizer, currently on staff with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a southern-regional, LGBTQ organization that works on racial and economic justice. Born in Santiago, Chile, he immigrated to the United States with his mom and younger brother at age seven. Raised in Arlington, Virginia by working-class, immigrant parents, he became politicized by both the daily struggles of immigrant life in the U.S., and by the ongoing political disarray in Washington.
Through working and loving with SONG, he has developed a strong passion for intersectional movement-building, with a focus on elevating the work and leadership of LGBTQ people of color and immigrant folks. In the last year, has worked with various social & racial justice groups in Virginia, including the Wayside Center for Popular Education, the Virginia People’s Assembly, Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Evictions (RePHRAME), and the Virginia Anti-Violence Project.
Regionally, and through his work with SONG, Salem is a member of Project South and the Southern Movement Alliance, a coalition of southern-regional, racial justice organizations that have come together build and sustain a Southern Freedom Movement.As part of the board, Salem hopes to bring enthusiasm, passion, rigor and innovation. He is committed to advancing a community center that is multi-racial, multi-class and inter-generational; a center that is inclusive, expansive, welcoming to all LGBTQ communities in the Richmond area.
Beth Marschak, Board Chair
Beth Marschak grew up in Richmond and was actively engaged in the social change movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s- Civil Rights, the Women’s Liberation Movement, the Ecology Movement, the Peace Movement, and Lesbian and Gay Liberation. She came out as a lesbian in the early 1970′s, and openly identified as a lesbian in her civil rights and human rights activism.
By the time she graduated from Westhampton College, University of Richmond, with a BA in political science in 1972, Beth had already helped to start a women’s group on campus, and a local chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was actively engaged with SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) for many marches and other actions and was an active member of the Woody Guthrie Community Center. She participated in Gay Awareness in Perspective and helped to start Richmond-Lesbian Feminists in 1975. Beth was instrumental in starting a number of coalition efforts including the Virginia Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights (VCLGR) and the Richmond Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition.
Starting as a representative of the Lesbian Caucus, Beth served on the National Steering Committee of the National Women’s Political Caucus for 16 years. Here in Richmond, she served on the Board of the Richmond YWCA for 8 years. In 1978, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the International Women’s Year Continuing Committee. And, in 1988, as a Jesse Jackson Delegate, she served as the first “out” Virginia delegate to a national presidential convention.
Beth Marschak’s work and advocacy garnered the Richmond Human Rights Coalition Human Rights Award in 1983, and the Richmond YWCA Outstanding Woman of the Year Award in Human Relations in 1990. The Richmond Lesbian and Gay Pride Coalition recognized Beth with awards in 1990, 1993 and 1999. In 2008, Beth co-authored the book Lesbian and Gay Richmond. On November 1, 2008, she conducted the first bus tour featuring the history of the LGBT community for the Valentine Richmond History Center, where she is a master tour guide. In 2009 she was recognized by Equality Virginia as one of 20 Outstanding Virginians. She continues to be an activist for civil rights and human rights.
Robyn Deane, Secretary
Robyn Deane’s professional experience includes a 4-Year degree from Penn State, many years of professional selling, some medical practice consulting, management, and even some administration. Underpinning Robyn’s work has been a desire to be of value facilitated by a passion for communication. In Robyn’s own words:“Who am I and why am I here? That has been a lifelong question and, interestingly enough, within that question you’ll also find the answer. I am a person that has lived most of her life as a ‘him’ behaving in way and living my life as the perceived consensus of the rest of the world would suggest I should have so done. From that experience has come one of the values that I cherish most and one that hopefully is rumbling around within the lives of three fantastic children, my own, that I’ve been a party to raising and, as well, the lives of as many people as I can corner into a conversation: “Question everything; make a wake!” Restated in stuffier terms, it would be to challenge the status quo and then make a difference. To that end, I am a person that has found her voice and is now continually searching for the next forum.The basics of my personal experience are not all that different with the probable exception that over a period of many years, I have developed a set of skills and evolved as a person in a social environment far more hostile than most people would dare imagine. As I said in April of 2010 at a VCU rally, when I came out as not only a heterosexual male-to-female transsexual in transition, but as the former brother-in-law to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s present governor: I don’t wake up in the morning worried about who I am; rather, I worry more about the angst felt by those that are bothered by my presence in their world. I’ve learned to pray for those that bring me the greatest angst and to love them unconditionally.I try to make at least one person’s life better for having been touched by me. I don’t know who it will be or need to know that I’ve done it; I need only treat each person as if they are the one!”
Charles Dyson is a lifelong resident of the area. He and his sisters were the fourth generation raised on his family’s farm in Ashland, VA.
A Phi Beta Kappa, Charles holds separate bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Psychology from Virginia Tech, and was named the Outstanding Student in Communication Theory by the Department of Communication in 2002. During his time in Blacksburg, Charles also taught public speaking, wrote a thesis on the Native American rights movement, and earned his master’s degree.
In early 2006, Charles joined the staff of Equality Virginia at the start of the campaign against the so-called Marriage Amendment. He remained with Equality Virginia for four years, as Business Manager, Development Associate, and most recently Communication Manager.
Today, Charles works for United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg as the Manager of Direct Marketing. He lives downtown with his spouse of seven years, Jack Marshall.
Lisa Furr is the Project Coordinator for the Central Virginia’s Task Force on Domestic Violence in Later Life, a part of the Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. A member and vice –president of the Board for the Virginia Coalition for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Lisa also chairs their conference committee. Lisa also has served on the governing body (board) of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and is a state wide trainer for the Alliance.
She previously was at Safe Harbor, a domestic violence program, as the associate director of special services in charge of the shelter and education, then as the Community Educator and Volunteer Coordinator. Prior to that she worked as the Program Coordinator for ROSMY from 1998 to 2002 where she managed youth services; volunteers and coordinated outreach and educational programs. Lisa also served as the Volunteer Services Coordinator for over 200 volunteers at Richmond AIDS Ministry and worked as a Hotline Counselor for the Virginia Department of Health’ AIDS/ STD Hotline.
Over the years she has worked as a camp director, educator, and for a few years as a travel agent. Some of the workshops she’s conducted locally, statewide and nationally have been on such topics as community partnerships, sexual assault in later life, domestic violence’s effects on children, domestic violence in the lesbian and gay community, understanding white privilege, conflict resolution and the faith communities response to domestic violence. She has over twenty –five years experience in group dynamics, training, diversity, and human resource management. Lisa holds a Master’s degree from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She and her partner, Dorothy Fillmore, live in the northside of Richmond.
Larry moved back to Virginia in 2010 after retiring December 2009. Over the last 30 plus years he lived and worked in New York City and Boston. He was an employee of Merrill Lynch for 42 years. At the time of retirement, Larry was a V.P. in the Compliance Department.
Larry returned to Virginia to be closer to family and friends. He is the father of one daughter and grandfather of 4. Of the four grandchildren, the oldest is gay.
Biography and photograph to follow
Crystal Suber is a financial advisor with Mid-Atlantic Financial Group, an office of MetLife. She has a degree in economics from Virginia State University, where she graduated with honors. With ten year’s experience in finance, she has helped individuals and businesses all over Virginia to better manage resources and improve their financial situations.
She is a member of the Richmond Business Alliance and the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Crystal has been dedicated to servicing the community since her days as a candystriper at Southside Regional Medical Center and member of the Key Club at Petersburg High School. Crystal has served on the Finance Committee with Gay Community Center of Richmond and as secretary and treasurer of Alpha Psi Kappa, Inc. She regularly volunteers with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Hands On Greater Richmond. Crystal also donated two years to marketing support for Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia. She is also presently serving on the board for Rebuilding Together Tri-cities.
Crystal chooses to spend her spare time giving back to the community. Her passion is helping people. She also enjoys basketball, tennis, and music.
Board of Directors
Receive our email newsletter and keep up with what’s going on:
Connect with Us
Find Local Businesses
The Richmond Business Alliance lets you find LGBT owned and supportive businesses. Learn more