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Meet the C4 Board

Meet the Equality NC C4 Board

Candis Cox (she/her)

Candis Cox joined Equality NC’s C4 board in 2016, where she serves as the secretary as well as sitting on the executive committee. Candis also sits on the board of the LGBT Democrats of Wake County and previously on the board of The Crape Myrtle Festival. Candis hold a BA in Sociology from NC State university. Candis has worked helping to develop inclusion policies for numerous Triangle and national organizations. As the sole transgender person to have met with Gov. McCrory regarding HB2, Candis has received significant media attention, which she uses to educate others on the need for inclusion and improving the lives of transgender individuals. She has been featured on outlets such as CNN and MSNBC, lending a transgender voice and perspective to issues. Candis’ personal time is spent enjoying the two things she loves, her family and travel.


Frank Dorsey (he/him)

Frank D. Dorsey, II joined the Equality NC C4 Board in 2020. Dorsey is the Associate Director of Student Engagement at Johnson C. Smith University, where he is responsible for coordinating comprehensive engagement programs that create intentional opportunities for students to identify and enhance their leadership potential. Furthermore, he assists with efforts to create a more inclusive campus through policies and initiatives. Aside from overseeing the University student union, he provides leadership to JCSU student programs, including student government, student activities, intramural/club sports, Greek Life, and civic involvement. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and received his Master of Science in college student personnel from Arkansas Tech University. He is currently a doctoral student in the Leadership Studies program at North Carolina A&T State University.

Recognizing the need for LGBT resources & assistance on historically Black college and university campuses, Dorsey partook in both the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative and the Human Rights Campaign’s HBCU Leadership Summit. In Charlotte, he participated in the Community Building Initiative’s Leaders Under 40 Program to link him with compatible leaders, who are also passionate about the achievement of inclusion and justice for all. Beyond his responsibilities at Equality NC, Frank is a board member with the Carolina CARE Partnership and Charlotte Black Pride. When not serving the local community, he enjoys outdoor recreation, photography, and spontaneous trips home to Arkansas. “#StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething” – Shonda Rhimes


Tika Douthit

Flutist, Dr. Tika Douthit is an avid performer and music educator from Winston-Salem,North Carolina. Currently, Dr. Douthit is an Assistant Professor of Music and Instructor of Flute And Music Business at Winston-Salem State University and an Adjunct Professor of Music a tForsyth Technical Community College. Dr. Douthit is also Assistant Director of Bands and Conductor of the WSSU Flute Choir. Formerly, Dr. Douthit taught in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System for seven years as Director of Bands at Philo Middle School. His latest publication, “Fixing Fussy Flute Faux Pas” was the featured article in the October 2017 issue of Teaching Music, and the February 2018 issue of International Journal of Music and Performing Arts. His research focuses on African-American composers of flute music and flute pedagogical techniques. Dr. Douthit also recently joined the Instrumental Faculty of the North Carolina’sGovernor’s School in 2020.

Currently, Dr. Douthit is the Principal Flutist of the Piedmont Winds and also performs with countless ensembles and organizations across North Carolina. Prior to the pandemic, Dr.Douthit performed with the Western Piedmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra for their Educational Concert Tours, and also performs regularly with the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, and Community Theater of Greensboro. He has performed a variety of shows with Twin City Stage, Paramount Acting Company, Gallery Players, Kernersville Little Theater, Elon University, Town of Lewisville Community Theatre, Stained Glass Playhouse, High Point Community Theatre, and Greensboro College. Dr. Douthit performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician, with faculty chamber ensembles, and is now engaged with several commercial projects across the triad area.

Dr. Douthit completed the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Appalachian State University, the Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Douthit holds memberships in the National Flute Association, NC Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education, the HBCU National Band Director’s Consortium, the Intercollegiate Music Association, and has recently joined the board of Equality North Carolina.


Elinor Landess (she/her)

Elinor Landess is the Chair of the Equality NC C4 Board and has served on ENC’s board since 2015. She is a native North Carolinian, born and raised in the Charlotte area, but now calls Durham home. Elinor received a BA from Davidson College and an MA in higher education from Michigan State University. After working in K-12 education, non-profits, and higher education, she now serves as the director of the Campus & Community Coalition, a cross-sector coalition in Chapel Hill. Elinor brings a focus on younger members of the LGBTQ+ community to the ENC board, and is energized by the strength inherent in intersectional movements in the South. "As the South goes, so goes the nation." -W.E.B. DuBois


Milan Pham

Milan Pham is a queer, lesbian, feminist, immigrant, daughter, sister, auntie extraordinaire, wife and friend among other things. She works as an attorney and is a partner at Nicholson Pham, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. In her practice, she focuses on issues of family creation and protection in the context of queer and emerging families. She is an Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Fellow with the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. She serves on the National Center for Lesbian Rights National Family Law Advisory Committee (NFLAC) which develops strategy and shares resources for the protection of LGBT+ and historically unrecognized or marginally protected families. Before Nicholson Pham, she served as Director of the NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program and, before that, Director of the Orange County Department of Human Rights and
Relations. She currently serves on the Board of Equality North Carolina. She obtained her Juris
Doctor from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law. She is a budding mycologist and aspires to be a
writer. She loves her niblings, wife, coffee, dogs, reading and gardening.


Elgin Philips

Elgin T. Phillips Jr is a Senior Training & Deployment Specialist of RevenueExcellence at Trinity Health. He continually progressed in healthcare Billing & Follow-up over the last 10 years and transitioned into Corporate Training and Development during the last 7 years.  Elgin is an experienced Learning and Development Coordinator with a proven history in the healthcare industry. Elginis skilled in Public Speaking, Change Management, Adult Learning, Diversity & Inclusion and Training and Content creation.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management, with a concentration in Human Resources from Winston-Salem State University.  He also received his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a minor in Strategic Management from SouthernNew Hampshire University. Elgin has an unequaled way of capturing his audience’s attention and connecting the dots for all learners.  In his previous role, he was instrumental in the coordination,implementation and delivery of the Billing training program during the 5-year Epic transition. In his freetime, he enjoys giving back to his community with his brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, traveling, and just spending time with his family and friends.

Elgin also currently a managing partner of CTRL Lifestyle Group, LLC. In Charlotte, NC. He helps maintain and develop professional relationships and good rapport with all of CTRL contracted and patterning clients. Elgin and CTRL Lifestyle Group has been working to tell the stories of the LGBTQ community through their documentary series called CTRL My Story. Elgin wants to continue advocating for helping others to voice their stories to connect our community in multiple ways.


Crystal Richardson

Attorney Crystal M. Richardson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Political Science. She is also a graduate of the Charlotte School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate degree with Pro Bono Honors. Attorney Richardson was licensed by the North Carolina State Bar in 2013.

Crystal Richardson grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where she served as a board member of several organizations including: MeckPAC, the Human Rights Campaign, and Leading on Opportunity Council. In 2013, she served as Equality North Carolina’s first ever Moral Freedom Summer Organizer and continued on to serve as Director of Advocacy from 2014-2017. In that capacity, she was a strong leader and advocate for state and local nondiscrimination policies to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Attorney Richardson has led several media campaigns across North Carolina to demonstrate the harmful impact of a law called “House Bill 2” (HB2), which negatively impacted the lives of many transgender and gender non-conforming people in this state.

Currently, Attorney Richardson is active in advocating for the passage of the CROWN Act in North Carolina, as well as, serving on the Board for the Pauli Murray Bar LGBTQ+ Bar Association and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the NCBA Estate Planning and Fiduciary Committee. She is engaged and lives in High Point, NC, with her fiance, Ilya Parker, the founder of Decolonizing Fitness.


Marc Tiegel (he/him)

Marc Tiegel is a Consultant in the Strategic Initiatives group within Wells Fargo Risk. His work focuses on the practical application of innovative technology within financial services. In addition to his service on the Board of Directors of Equality North Carolina Foundation, he is a coach for Charlotte’s startup incubator (QC Fintech), was a semi-finalist in the Charlotte Venture Competition, and has held numerous certifications including Teacher (K-12) and Firefighter/Medic. He was the Chairman of the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance in Charlotte, served on the Board of Directors for the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program and was a candidate for Congress in 2018. He has earned a B.S. in Finance and B.S. in Business Management from Trinity University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Texas State University. His amazing fiancée Karen and son, Robert, are the central focus in his life and make his heart dance every day.


Tracy Ward (she/her)

Tracy L. Ward joined the Equality NC C4 Board in 2017 and is in her first term as Chair of the Board Development Committee. Tracy works full time as a Director, Talent Acquisition with The Fresh Market and holds additional offices with service organizations in her community.

She holds a Bachelor of Science from Winston Salem State University in Winston Salem, NC and started her professional career in behavioral health care, overseeing inpatient psychiatric units in NC, SC, and MS. Tracy obtained a Master of Science degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and shortly after shifted her career focus. Over the last 14 years, Tracy's professional leadership experience has been in corporate HR with a specialty in Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement. She joined the Board to have a voice for the LGBTQ community in the fight for equality.


Irving Zavaleta (he/him)

Irving Zavaleta is a well-known and highly regarded leader, educator and speaker with in-depth knowledge and experience in the areas of inclusion and equity. Irving has first hand experience and knows best practices for working with underrepresented populations including students of color, LGBTQIA communities and first-generation college students.

Irving currently is the Networks Director for Voting Rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

Irving previously directed the social justice initiatives at the Pro Humanitate Institute (PHI) at Wake Forest University and worked as the Assistant Director and Latinx Community Coordinator at Guilford College in the Multicultural Education Department.

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