Board & Staff
Sultan is the Executive Director of SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), an organization that works to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC, metro area. Sultan works to expand opportunities for young LGBTQ people through youth empowerment. Prior to joining SMYAL, Sultan worked at the Human Rights Campaign where he served as a director of the DC and Maryland marriage equality campaigns, and in his most recent role, led the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Project, working to make campuses safer and more inclusive of LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Sultan is the son of teachers. He is a graduate of Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, with an emphasis on double bass performance. His earliest thoughts of community organizing were about sharing his passion for classical music with other young African-American males in Baltimore at a time when as many black males were dropping out of high school as graduating. "I decided it was more important for me to change the world than to be an entertainer," he said.
Sultan has been honored with the Community Circle Award by Baltimore Black Gay Pride, named Jewel of the Month by the National Black Justice Coalition, and won the DC Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance Distinguished Service Award.
Jason Laney comes to SMYAL with more than 10 years of experience working in the non-profit industry as both a staff member and volunteer with numerous organizations. He is originally from Asheville, NC, and graduated from Furman University with a degree in Political Science. He has worked for several different membership and trade associations in various capacities including event and convention planning, exhibit sales and management, membership recruitment, and volunteer management. He is a volunteer member of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors, where he served as Co-Chair of the 2013 and 2014 HRC National Dinners, and Greater Washington, DC, Federal Club Co-Chair. He is currently a member of the HRC National Board of Governors Executive Committee. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for the DC LGBT Community Center where he served on the Finance and Board Development Committees. Jason loves traveling, outdoor activities—especially snow skiing—and participating in the many cultural opportunities offered in the DC region.
Sharifa is the Development and Communications Coordinator for SMYAL. Before arriving at SMYAL Sharifa held a variety of positions both inside and outside of the nonprofit sector. From working as the media relations associate at The Center for Health and Homeland Security to working at a startup she brings a wealth of experience with her.
Sharifa is thrilled she landed at SMYAL to apply her skills towards make a difference for the area’s LGBTQ youth.
Sharifa spent her most formative teenaged years Rockville, MD and considers herself to be from the DMV. She earned a BA from Yale in Psychology and returned to the DC area for its vibrant culture and amenable pace of life.
When not at work Sharifa can be found playing rugby, volunteering for her rugby club, being the least flexible person in a yoga class, or cooking an elaborate meal.
Adalphie Johnson comes to SMYAL with over 8 years of program experience in the non-profit arena specifically in the Sexual Reproductive Health and Youth Development fields. Although a native Washingtonian, Adalphie completed her education in Prince George’s County Public Schools and earned her Masters of Divinity from The Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
Through partnerships and working with DCPS, DCPCS, recreation centers, faith based institutions and a variety of other CBO’s and non-profits, Adalphie has been able to create, support, provide and implement safe spaces and developmentally appropriate programming to support youth in the DMV.
As the Programs Director at SMYAL, Adalphie is committed to providing safe spaces for all LGBTQ youth to celebrate who they are and to walk authentically in their truth.
When not working, Adalphie enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and engaging in new experiences.
Sarah recently moved to DC from Atlanta where she was involved with social justice, community outreach, and event planning. She has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Georgia and an MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Georgia State University. She has diverse experience ranging from academic conference planning to office management.
She has served on the Atlanta Pride Events Committee, assisted in planning of the Women and Girls in Georgia Conference, and served as special events advisor to the official programming board at Georgia State University. She is excited to merge her education in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with her experience in events and operations.
Ameriah Neal is a transgender woman of color who started her transition at the age of 18. She received an Associates Degree in Fashion Marketing from The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Fashion Design from The International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, FL.
Ameriah started her nonprofit career in 2015 working as a peer educator for HIPS here in Washington, D.C. At HIPS she used a combination of her art background and passion for LGBTQ causes to create a mural of self love for the client population. This work lead her to become the micro-enterprise consultant for Get Life, a HIPS program that helps trans women of color capitalize on the skills they posses and translate those skills into marketable work skills in order to make a living.
When Ameirah is not at SMYAL she can be found reading, drawing, designing, or painting.
Tyrese is a youth fellow here at SMYAL. As a native D.C Washingtonian, growing up, there weren’t many positive role models or programs that he knew about.
When Tyrese heard about SMYAL he took the opportunity to reach out to one of the mentors. She ended up being a great role model and someone Tyrese really looked up to. Tyrese started coming to SMYAL programs and hasn’t looked back!
Tyrese is excited about the potential to become more educated about the LGBTQ community and to grow intellectually and personally through his work.
He loves helping others - being a fellow at SMYAL is not just a job it's his passion. He’s thrilled he gets to talk to struggling, angered, and even lost youth and help them, much like he was assisted when he was younger.
When not working at SMYAL Tyrese can be found writing poetry, writing songs, and reading.
Board of Directors
K. Dane Snowden is Chief of Staff of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association where he oversees the Association's day-to-day operations.
Neil Starkey previously worked in the tech industry, holding leadership roles for 12 years in the development of now widely-used open standards for teleconferencing and multimedia communications in the International Telecommunications Union and the International Standards Organization. Neil is an active philanthropist who is dedicated to youth-related issues.
Billy Fettweis is the Manager of Development at the Children's Law Center, the largest legal services nonprofit in DC, which provides legal services to at-risk children and their families.
Tony Anderson is a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP and practices primarily in the area of administrative law with particular emphasis in public transit, transportation project development and financing, transportation labor, and disability matters.
Rob Cogorno has extensive public policy experience and currently works at the firm Elmendorf | Ryan. Rob previously worked as the Floor Director to Representative Steny Hoyer in both his Majority Leader and Democratic Whip offices. In that capacity, Cogorno oversaw the Leader's floor staff which directs day-to-day legislative activity in the House of Representatives.
Don Davis is an Employment, Labor & Benefits Associate Attorney in the Washington, DC office of Mintz Levin. He represents and counsels employers in a wide array of workplace-related matters.
Jeff Krehely is Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP) where he oversees a portfolio of the Center's domestic policy work, working closely with the policy and executive teams to advance CAP's policy goals.
Samantha Master is a black, queer, feminist activist, advocate and educator and is the African American Leadership and Engagement Specialist at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Samantha has worked extensively within communities of color to organize and build analyses around LGBT and gender justice issues.
Michael Ormonde is an area president for Wells Fargo, where he also serves as the executive sponsor of the PRIDE LGBT affinity group.
Edward Palmieri serves as Associate General Counsel, Privacy at Facebook.
Ramien Pierre is a full-time training coordinator for Arctic Regional Slope Corporation (ASRC) assigned to a contract at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Elizabeth (Liz) Rose is the Communications Director for the Economic Policy Institute, an economic think tank based in Washington, DC.
Ari Shapiro is an American radio journalist who grew up in Portland, Oregon. He previously served as White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR).
He is now one of four rotating hosts on NPR's flagship drive-time program All Things Considered.