Meet the Board
Equality NC (C4)
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.
Elinor Landess (she/her)
Elinor Landess is the newly appointed 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
Andrew Spainhour (he/him)
Andrew Spainhour has served in many roles since first joining the Board in 2001, including Foundation Chair (2004-06), Board Nominations Chair (2015-17), and Executive Director Search Co-Chair (2017-18). His current assignment is Governance Committee Chair. A graduate of Davidson College and UNC School of Law, Andrew lives in Greensboro and is SVP, General Counsel of Replacements, Ltd. His other current community work includes serving First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, the Greensboro Public Library Foundation, the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Prior service includes work for the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Guilford Green Foundation, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Triad Health Project, and Triad Stage. To help fight North Carolina’s unconstitutional Amendment One, Andrew was a co-founder of the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. He enjoys meals with family and friends, yoga, long walks, yard work, reading, movies, and travel.
Scott Taylor (he/him)
Scott Taylor is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the C4 of Equality North Carolina. This is his fifth year on the Board, where he has also served as the Secretary of the C4, and on the Executive Committee. Scott has a passion for politics, and also serves as the Chair of the PAC Committee. This body makes recommendations to the Board for the Equality NC Voter Guide, which encompasses endorsements from the local level to the Congressional level, including the judiciary and ballot initiatives. Scott is an attorney, currently a sole practitioner, and lives in Chapel Hill, NC, where he also went to undergraduate school. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Scott served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Western Samoa, and also studied Japanese for two years at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.
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.
Equality NC Foundation (C3)
Jenna Beckham, MD, MSPH (she/her)
Jenna Beckham, MD, MSPH has been a longtime supporter of Equality NC and was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Equality NC Foundation board in 2019. She is a North Carolina native; she grew up in a small town but has lived in the triangle for over 15 years. She completed all of her education and professional training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - undergraduate, medical school, graduate school in the school of public health, and residency training. She is an obstetrician-gynecologist and works as a faculty physician at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh as well as for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic at various locations throughout the state. She is a member of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) and provides comprehensive and gender affirming care to LGBTQ patients. She lives in Durham with her partner, Harrison, and their three large dogs.
Ivan Canada (he/him)
Ivan Canada rejoined the board of the Equality NC Foundation in 2018, after having served a 3-year term over ten years ago. He lives in Greensboro where he is involved numerous community efforts and organizations. Ivan currently serves as the executive director of NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, a human relations organization that promotes understanding and respect among all cultures, races, and religions through education, dialogue, and advocacy. As a native North Carolinian, he is committed to making his home state a more welcoming and inclusive place for all people.
Canada holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been recognized by the Triad Business Journal as a "Forty Leader Under 40" as well as the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce with the "Change Agent Award". He also serves as Vice-Chair of the board of directors for the Center for NC Nonprofits.
Donna E. Oldham (she/her)
Donna E. Oldham is chair of the board of the Equality North Carolina Foundation. An award-winning senior corporate communicator, she is Senior Manager of Community Engagement – Americas for Amazon Web Services. A lifelong resident of North Carolina, she worked as a newspaper and television reporter and editor; director of internal communications and brand for Ahold Delhaize, a global grocery store chain, director of communications at Duke University Hospital; senior communications manager at Dell Inc., and senior communications manager for GE Energy’s Corporate Center of Excellence. A crisis communications and diversity/inclusion/equality expert, Donna is APR certified (Accredited in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America) and has earned Six Sigma black and green belts for global operations and crisis communications planning and implementation.
A graduate of Winston-Salem State University with a degree in Communication Arts, Donna attended graduate school at Duke University in Durham, NC. She serves on numerous civic and community boards including the Winston-Salem State University Foundation, and the North Carolina Advisory Board of the U S Commission on Civil Rights. She is a 25 plus year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, The Links, Incorporated and the Junior League.
Cole Rizki (he/him)
Cole Rizki is Equality NC Foundation Board Secretary and has served on the board since 2017. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Program in Literature at Duke University, and his dissertation focuses on transgender activism in Argentina. Rizki’s work considers how the relationships between Argentine genocide and state terrorism shape contemporary transgender human rights claims. In Fall 2016, Rizki taught Duke’s first “Introduction to Transgender Studies” service-learning course where his students partnered with local non-profit organizations to develop resources for trans and non-binary folks.
Rizki received his B.A. from Smith College and M.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spanish and Portuguese. Before moving to Durham, he lived in Buenos Aires for one year while on a Fulbright Grant. Rizki currently serves as Trans Subcommittee Chair of Duke’s LGBTQ Task Force where he works with administrators, faculty, and staff to develop LGBTQ inclusive policies for the university and hospital systems.
John Sherry (he/him)
John Sherry is Equality NC Foundation Treasurer. Sherry joined the board in 2014 and has a Master’s in Business Administration from George Washington University. He currently works as a Risk Manager for BB&T, managing a bank asset portfolio. In addition to Equality NC, Sherry has been an avid sportsman with Stonewall Sports Raleigh and a Masters Swimmer with Raleigh Area Masters.
Sherry joined the board as marriage equality began to spread across the United States. He realized that despite the fact same-sex marriage was now legal, basic non-discrimination protections are still not available in NC. He and his husband Wesley Sherry, currently foster two children with hopes to adopt. Sherry is committed to making NC the best state for him and his husband to raise their family, and ensuring that the LGBTQ community has equal protection and access to public accommodations including protection from religious discrimination in adoption services.
Mark 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.
Summer Wisdom (she/her)
Summer Wisdom is Equality NC's Development Committee Chair and has served on the board since 2016. She lives in Boone, NC and works at Appalachian State University in the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership. She attended Appalachian for undergrad, and received her Master’s Degree in Sociology from East Carolina University in 2011. Summer's graduate research focused on LGBTQ student services in higher education, and upon graduation, she was hired to open ECU’s first ever LGBT Resource Office. She spent two and a half years bringing the office to life, establishing initiatives such as an LGBTQ peer mentoring program and the campus’s first ever LGBTQ graduation ceremony, the Lavender Launch. Summer would like to thank her dear friend, colleague and mentor Aaron Lucier, who nominated her to serve on the board. Aaron was an integral part of Summer’s research and the creation of the LGBTRO, and is a past board member of ENC himself.
Irving Zavalata (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.