PFLAG Cleveland Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is the driving force behind PFLAG Cleveland's efforts at not only support, but also education and advocacy in the greater Cleveland community. The board consists of both elected (executive board) and non-elected board members. Please learn more about our board members below.

PFLAG Cleveland Executive Board Members

TomFalcone,PFLAG Cleveland, president

Tom Falcone, President

I am a gay man. I was married for 26 years to the mother of my three sons. I came out in October of 1996. I started attending PFLAG with my ex-wife the following spring. I eventually met my now husband, Mike. We were married in November, 2015. Now we are all one big happy family.

Sharon Groh-Wargo, Vice President & President Emeritus

Sharon Groh-Wargo, Ph.D., has been an active member of PFLAG Cleveland for many years and president since 2005. Sharon sought out PFLAG to meet other parents of gay children when her daughter came out at the end of her freshman year in college. What she found was a warm and welcoming group of dedicated volunteers living the PFLAG mission of support, education and advocacy. Her energy is sustained by witnessing the remarkable personal growth of the many individuals and families she is privileged to meet through PFLAG.

Sharon is a full Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the neonatal nutritionist for MetroHealth Medical Center. She is a founding member of MetroHealth’s Gay Straight Alliance. Sharon is a member of Equality Ohio and participates in their state leadership meetings and annual lobby days in Columbus. Sharon and her husband Frank have been married for 39 years and have two adult children. Lauren and her wife Mae reside in Columbus. Danny, a recent college graduate, is currently teaching English in Thailand and heading to graduate school soon. Sharon and Frank are Federal Club members of the Human Rights Campaign.

Art Thomson, Treasurer

Art retired from Cleveland Clinic in 2017. He now volunteers his time for several non-profit organizations. Art received his undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MA from Ohio State University. Art originally turned to PFLAG Cleveland for assistance and support in 1995 at a time when he was coming out.

Art's husband is Jes Sellers and together they have three wonderful adult children and three granddaughters. His email address is thomson.art@gmail.com.

Kavita Sherman, Secretary

Kavita Sherman began attending PFLAG Cleveland support group meetings in 2012 after her oldest child, a high school student, came out as gay and began taking on activist roles to support the LGBTQ community. PFLAG Cleveland provided a safe place for Kavita and her husband to express their concerns and views and get valuable feedback. That turned out to be very fortunate because a year later when Kavita’s child left for college, Kavita learned her oldest child had found new words that better described who they are: a nonbinary transgender person who uses they/them pronouns.

As Kavita and her family wrapped their heads around what their oldest was going through, they worked hard to stay supportive of them. It took a lot of education, love and letting go of expectations and naysayers, but the end result is that Kavita feels fortunate to have her family intact and know that her trans young adult is thriving and happy.

As Kavita became involved with the LGBTQ community, she took her ally role more seriously. She had held various committee roles within PFLAG Cleveland, but in 2019 agreed to join the executive board as secretary. She also provides communications and social media support for PFLAG Cleveland. If you want to reach Kavita, the best way to contact her at: mail@pflagcleveland.org.

PFLAG Cleveland Board Members At-Large

Jes Sellers, Co-Founder PFLAG Cleveland & Vice President Emeritus

Jes Sellers, Ph.D., is a co-facilitator of the PFLAG-Cleveland Monthly support group. Dr. Jes Sellers is a licensed psychologist, director of the Case Western Reserve University Counseling Services and co-chair of the University Provost's LGBT Faculty & Staff Committee. He has degrees from Penn State University and the University of Florida. When Rob Daroff asked his mother, Jane Daroff to start a Cleveland chapter of PFLAG in 1985, Jane turned to Jes to join her in the effort and from that moment on, PFLAG became a compelling cause to which he and Jane have dedicated considerable time and energies. Jes formerly served as PFLAG Cleveland Vice President and is also a longtime Human Rights Campaign Federal Club member. Jes is married to Art and together they have three adult children and two granddaughters, Neal & his wife Darcey of Washington, DC, Robin of New York City and Jesse of Allentown, PA. His email address is sellers.jes@gmail.com

Jane Daroff, Co-Founder PFLAG Cleveland

Co-founded PFLAG Cleveland with Jes in July 1985. Continued to co-facilitate to the present. Work with Jes in Univ. Counseling Service as Clinical Social Worker. On National Board of Directors of Human Rights Campaign (HRC). On Alumni Board of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU); Alumni Board of Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS); co- chair Deans Advisory Comm MSASS; co-chair of Univ. Provost's LGBT Faculty and Staff Committee; ex-officio member of board of CWRU LGBT Center. Married to Bob. 3 sons and 6 grandchildren. Email: j.daroff@aol.com

Marianne Buccini, At-Large & Secretary Emeritus

Marianne M. Buccini, MSW, LISW-S, is a counselor/associate professor at Cuyahoga Community College. She is actively involved in Safe Zone Ally Training at Tri C, a program that educates students, faculty, staff and administrators about LGBTQ people and prepares them to provide a safe haven for LGBTQ students and employees.

As an advisory board member for PFLAG Cleveland, she has worked on updating the PFLAG Cleveland brochure and website. She represented PFLAG at the AIDS Walk, Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival and several panels at local churches and educational institutions. Marianne served on the subcommittee for the Great Lakes PFLAG Regional Conference, held in Cleveland, September, 2013. She currently serves as chairperson of the Membership Committee.

Marianne also serves as a Board Associate for Fortunate Families, a Catholic organization of parents seeking justice for our LGBTQ children within the Catholic Church.

"Through my volunteer service for PFLAG Cleveland, I have met wonderful people all working for equality for LGBTQ people. I look forward to continued service." Marianne can be reached at marianne.buccini@gmail.com

Alan Cohen, At-Large

We belong to Kendal at Home which is a program that allows seniors to remain in their homes with services as needed to facilitate safe, comfortable living. It works. The burden is off one's family, and one is assured that needs are covered at no additional cost. This is the reward for Margot's 38 years of teaching French and gazillion years of doing theatre (acting and directing); and Alan's 38 years of editing, selling and theatre (box office and house managing). It also covers a relationship that began in jr. hi and now boasts 4 adult offspring. It recalls many foreign trips including a first year of marriage spent in paris. #1 daughter started us at PFLAG about 15 years ago and we have been happily active members ever since, and look forward to many more years of volunteering.

Craig Hoffman, At-Large

Craig grew up in a blue collar family in rural Pennsylvania, the 4th of 5 children. He received a Bachelors of Science degree in biology from Juniata College and a Masters of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. After his home congregation in Pennsylvania withdrew their support of his ordination process when he came out as a gay man while in seminary, Craig joined an Open and Affirming congregation in Boston, Church of the Covenant, which eagerly sponsored him for ordination. In 1993 he was ordained to a ministry of pastoral care with persons living with HIV/AIDS at a drug rehab facility in the South Bronx, HELP Project Samaritan, and subsequently a similar ministry continued at the Bailey-Holt House in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. After several years providing pastoral care, he moved into administrative ministry, serving as a church business administrator at a church on the upper west side of Manhattan. While working at the church, he entered into a Non-profit Management degree program at New York University.

Shortly after receiving this master’s degree in 2000, he and his then partner - now husband, Rev. Allen Harris, moved to Cleveland. Craig worked for the National offices of the United Church of Christ and later the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. He currently works at Old Stone Church on Public Square, where he serves as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Senior Pastor.

He and Allen reside in an 1890’s home they rehabbed on the Near West side of Cleveland using green materials and building techniques and concepts. They celebrated their relationship in a Holy Union ceremony at Church of the Covenant in Boston, MA in June 1990 and have registered as Domestic Partners in three cities; New York City in 1990, Cleveland Heights in 2003 and Cleveland in 2009. They were legally married in Maryland in 2013. Craig is an avid environmentalist and social justice advocate. In addition, he serves on the advisory board of the Cleveland chapter of PFLAG (Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). His interests include architecture and historic preservation, genealogy, the study of systems and politics – both church and secular.

Quentin Jamieson, Chapter Membership Chairman & Secretary Emeritus

Quentin joined PFLAG Cleveland in October 2008, recruited by founding member Jane Daroff. Quentin has served on the Advisory Board ever since serving as the chapter's primary technical contact, including managing its digital assets like the logo and website. Quentin's primary goal as a board member was to increase PFLAG Cleveland's membership through the impact of its digital, web, and print media. Since 2009, PFLAG Cleveland has seen an 80% increase in membership. In March 2015, Quentin was elected Secretary of PFLAG Cleveland and supports the chapter through maintenance of its meeting records, minutes, and correspondence with the chapter's membership. He was re-elected in 2017. In 2019, he passed the Secretary torch to Kavita Sherman, and took up residence as the Chapter Membership Chairman.

Quentin grew up in Amherst, OH. He earned his B.S. Astrophysics at New Mexico Tech (2005) & Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University (2014). While at CWRU, Quentin served 7 years in the CWRU Graduate Student Senate including 2 terms as President, the first openly-gay President. His re-election to a 2nd term as President was fueled following successful leadership of several important graduate student initiatives, including a phased-in subsidy of doctoral student health care premiums. Following the successful defense of his PhD, Quentin joined the ranks of Cleveland Clinic working in healthcare administration. Quentin's chief interests include hiking, Jeeps, photography, cooking, and soap-making. Reach Quentin at quentin@pflagcleveland.org


PFLAG Cleveland Board Member Retirees

Tonya Young, Vice President Emeritus

Tonya Young is a native of Virginia. She has a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration, and eight years of Project Management experience. Tonya's life passion is servicing others as well as her community. Having been blessed with influential mentors who've helped her on her path to success, Tonya believes she has the responsibility to give back to the community that has given so much to her. She has utilized her gifts in various ways including serving as the current Vice President of PFLAG-Cleveland, a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a 4th grade reading and math tutor, and a volunteer for a local food bank and various homeless shelters. Tonya is currently pursuing a certification in grief recovery. She is committed to helping African American families heal from unseen wounds and strengthen relationships through conversations, support and love. Her most cherished memory is the first time she saw her now husband and falling in love with her best friend. Tonya can be reached at: tsmoov1913@yahoo.com.

Thomas R. Roese, Legislative Coordinator

Tom Roese began coming regularly to PFLAG meetings in 2008. The initial reason for attending meetings was to seek a way to work with some family who were having issues with his and his partner’s sexual orientation. What we found was a group of dedicated, caring, and supportive members who have helped us tremendously to gain strength and acceptance of our sexuality and how it fits with our family. In addition, it’s helped Tom find his politically active voice. Tom is a professional artist, who does graphite urban landscapes; Dolan/Maxwell Gallery in Philadelphia represents his work. Tom taught art in a public high school for 29 years, and drawing at the Cleveland Institute of Art for 32 years. Tom is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art (BFA) and the University of Northern Colorado (MA). Tom and his partner have been together since 1996. His website is: http://www.thomasrroese.com and his email address is: info@thomasrroese.com.

Denise Webb, Social Outing & Social Media Administrator

Denise Webb, Social Outings Coordinator & Social Media Administrator, is a mother of 2 daughters (1 straight and 1 a lesbian.) Though Denise's reaction to her daughter's “Coming Out” in 2014 was not a good one... she has grown and developed to be a fierce Mama Bear for her daughters and the LGBTQ community as a whole. As a family, their journey involves growth, discovery, change and openness. Denise and her husband also lead a ministry at their Open & Affirming Church (Dover UCC.) The ministry is to encourage the LGBTQ Community, their family, friends and allies. The Ministry is called “I AM”: Inclusion Affirmation Ministry. Denise can be reached at webbsong4@cox.net

Ruth Fonoroff, Board Member At Large

In younger years, my husband Allen (died 1998) and I watched the rejections and problems endured by gay friends: One school dropout abused drugs, another just wandered, and a college friend killed himself at age 29. So we had some insight when son Paul who had just graduated from college told us he was gay. That was the 70s when there was heavy prejudice against people who were “different,” and few honest facts were passed around.

What had we learned? That accepting Paul’s sexuality was essential in helping him accept himself and find a place in life.

Today, thank goodness, PFLAG meetings offer in a loving, helpful way a plethora of ideas and solutions. You may hear a teenager afraid to tell his mother he is gay—That might end a treasured relationship. Or there may be parents confused about how to treat a lesbian daughter. I leave those meetings amazed, thankful and at peace.

Oh yes, what happened to Paul? Now at age 56 he is a longtime film critic with a longtime partner, a close friend of his older sister and younger brother.

Ruth graduated from the University of North Carolina, and earned an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University.

For 11 years, Ruth was a reading and English teacher for the Cleveland Board of Education.

For almost 20 years she was an education writer: Her column “Report Card,” appeared in several newspapers including the Cleveland Press. For seven years she wrote and sold the newsletter “Effective Classrooms” to U.S. and Canadian educators

Brian Javor, Board Member At Large

Brian Javor has been a member of PFLAG since 2009, first attending a meeting at the suggestion of his mom following his reluctant coming-out in 2008. He has discovered an enclave of tremendous support and hope in PFLAG. Brian graduated from North Olmsted High School in 2008, 12th in his class and a Silver Eagle athlete-scholar, and from Baldwin Wallace University in 2012, B.A. in Sustainability. As a Youth Board Member, he endeavors to further competencies in leadership and media/technology. He regards this appointment as an opportunity to gain strength and confidence as a person; the future looks promising.

Logan Sherman, Board Member At Large

Logan Sherman became involved in PFLAG during high school when Logan's parents needed help coming out of their own "closet" about their gay child. As a PFLAG board member, Logan offered their perspective and helped to bring the PFLAG Booth back to Cleveland PRIDE. The summer before Logan left for college, they found support in PFLAG yet again as they came out as transgender. Although Logan does not currently live in Cleveland, they continue to stay connected to the PFLAG organization which has made such a difference for them.

Logan is currently studying Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. They are involved in trans-related activism as well as activism around LGB identities and advocacy for victims/survivors of sexual violence . Logan plans on pursuing a Masters of Social Work and continuing to advocate for LGBTQ folks and social justice in the future.

Robin Richmond, President Emeritus

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