Skip to main content

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council consists of subject matter experts and advocates for equality who offer their knowledge and expertise to advance the organization’s strategic priorities to pursue equality, enrich LGBTQ student life, empower promising students, and invest in LGBTQ studies at the University of Virginia. They provide important perspectives that are critical to the operations of QVA and its Board of Directors.

Current Council Members

Jordan Backman


Jordan Backman is Senior Vice President, People and Culture, at AMC Networks, where he oversees the human resources function in the US for the organization. AMCN is home to fan-favorite shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead. Prior to AMCN, he served as Vice President and Senior Counsel, Benefits and Compensation at Sony, where he co-led the company’s HR department.
Jordan received his undergraduate degree (B.A. with distinction, Mathematics and French) and his law degree (J.D.) from the University of Virginia. While an undergrad at UVA, Jordan was actively involved with the University Guide Service, Brown College at Monroe Hill and Phi Sigma Pi.
Jordan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Immigration Equality, a non-profit that focuses on protecting and defending LGBTQ and HIV immigration rights. He is also an officer and member of the Executive Board of the American Benefits Council, a policy-based non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., which works to advance the interests of employee benefit plan sponsors and their employees. Previously, Jordan served on the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association and also led
the Association’s Committee on LGBTQ Rights.
Jordan resides in New York City and Rhinebeck, New York, with his husband, Christopher Rosekrans, and
their dog Kenji. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading, cooking and running.

Michael Clarke


Michael Clarke has twenty-two years of experience working within University of Virginia Advancement. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Principal Gifts Development at the College of Arts & Sciences Foundation. Prior to UVa, Michael worked in sales and marketing in Charlottesville, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Michael is a 1984 graduate of UVa. He is involved with numerous non-profits in Charlottesville and Rappahannock County, Virginia. He and his husband, Norm Jenkins, reside in Crozet, VA.

Anant Das


Anant Das (“un-nunth”) is a UVA sports fan (wahoowa!), financial valuation professional, two-time Tony Nominated theatre and film creative producer, and CEO of Broadway Boxed Up, the longest-running theatre-themed subscription box. Producing credits on Broadway include “New York, New York”, “A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical”, and “The Piano Lesson”, as well as “Kinky Boots” Off-Broadway, “Windfall” in London, and the horror film “Summoning the Spirit”. He is also proudly involved with The Museum of Broadway and the Tony Award-winning “A Strange Loop”. While at UVA, Anant was involved in Class Council and the Madison House CASH program and served as President of both the McIntire School of Commerce and Athletes for Equality. Since graduation, Anant stays involved with UVA as a board member of McIntire’s Young Alumni Council and serves as Vice President of UVA’s Young Alumni Council, where he helped lead the initiative for UVA’s first Pride Night Sports Game. 


Cordel Faulk


Cordel Faulk is the director of global admissions for the Schwarzman Scholars Program. He leads the strategy and execution of the program’s selection process — designed to identify next-generation leaders and create a global network for 21st century challenges. Prior to joining Schwarzman Scholars, Cordel served as assistant dean and chief admissions officer at the University of Virginia School of Law, and the commentary editor for The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Cordel earned his BA from Virginia Tech and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.

Leah Friedman


Leah lives in Raleigh, NC, with their husband and two children. She spent the first 15 years of her career as a reporter at newspapers in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. (Yes, I started at the Cavalier Daily.) She spent the second half of her career in communications, serving as a communications director for a U.S. Congressman and the North Carolina Senate Minority Leader’s Office, as well as a senior public engagement officer for Duke Energy. Currently, she owns Leah Friedman Consulting, where she partners with clients to share her broad skill set and expertise in communications, public relations, public policy, strategic planning, and government relations. She also owns a professional organizing business, where she partners with clients to promote the benefits of living with less to stay organized.

Marc Paulo Guzman


Marc Paulo Guzman is a queer 1.5 generation Filipino-American originally from the New York City/Northern NJ area. He currently works for Bain & Co. in their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center of Excellence out of the DC office. Prior to Bain, Marc Paulo spent 9 years at UVA – 6 years as a program coordinator and assistant director with Multicultural Student Services in the Office of the Dean of Students, and 3 years as an associate director of diversity recruitment with the Darden School of Business, focused on recruiting BIPOC and LGBTQ MBA candidates. While at UVA, Marc Paulo served on the UVA LGBT Committee where he planned socials and programming for queer faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Madeleine Haeringer


Madeleine Haeringer is the Executive Vice President & General Manager of News and Programming at Crooked Media, a progressive media company which produces more than 30 podcasts, including the flagship “Pod Save America”. Prior to assuming this role in January 2023, Madeleine was the Senior Vice President of Editorial for NBC News, responsible for guiding the editorial agenda across the entire news division. She also lead NBC’s growing audio business, which became a top five audio publisher under her leadership, and worked closely with NBC Studios on identifying and developing premium documentaries, series and scripted projects. In October 2016, Haeringer was named Executive Producer of “Vice News Tonight”, HBO’s first daily news broadcast, which she successfully created, launched and oversaw all aspects of. VICE garnered 32 Emmy nominations and 10 wins during its first three seasons on the air, achieving critical success and capturing a devoted following across demographic lines. Among many notable pieces, Haeringer shepherded a provocative story featuring one journalist on the front lines during the harrowing demonstrations in Charlottesville. Prior to launching “Vice News Tonight” on HBO, Haeringer spent 19 years at NBC News covering wars, revolutions, and political transitions around the world. She was the lead producer of NBC News’s team covering the tumultuous events of the 2011 Arab Spring, including the revolutions that toppled the entrenched regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. From 2006-2010 she was the Chief Foreign Producer for NBC News, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Working alongside NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, Haeringer provided extensive field coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 50 embedded reporting trips with U.S. troops. Among the team’s many notable reports was their 2009 “Tip of the Spear” series from Afghanistan that followed a single Army company stationed in the Korengal Valley over the course of an entire year.

Among the most awarded female broadcast journalists, Haeringer is respected among her
peers for her instincts, tenacity and impeccable news judgment. She has earned every major broadcast journalism award, including twenty-five News & Documentary Emmy Awards, ten Edward R. Murrow Awards, four Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, and three Overseas Press Club Awards.

Haeringer grew up in Great Falls, VA in a restaurant family. Her dad still runs L’Auberge Chez François (Top 100 Restaurants in the US on OpenTable!). She is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia and now lives in New York with her wife Ami, their daughter Peyton, and their dog Ollie. When not fretting about the inexorable decline of the news business, you can find her being disappointed by the Commanders, awkwardly attempting to embrace the pickle ball craze, and constantly arguing with her daughter about where it is appropriate to wear crop tops (the correct answer is NOWHERE!).

Reggie Jackson


Reggie Jackson currently serves as the Acting Director of Development at the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Before joining the Academies, Mr. Jackson served as a fundraising officer in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. He began his 16-year career in fundraising at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Reggie graduated from the University of Virginia in 1995. He and his husband, Major David Schonberg, US Air Force, live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Claire Kaplan


Claire Kaplan, M.P.W., Ph.D., is a writer, educator, and consultant. She holds a Master of Professional Writing (Screenplay) from USC and a PhD in Education from UVA. She directed the Gender Violence and Social Change Program at UVA’s Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center for 29 years, and now serves as a consultant on gender-based violence issues, including Title IX, conducting investigations and facilitating educational workshops. Claire also is Associate Producer and co-host of the podcast Dear Katie: Survivor Stories. After retiring from UVA, she returned to her love of narrative film and creative fiction. She currently lives in Virginia with her wife, three opinionated cats and an unkempt garden.

Steven J. Kung 


The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Steven J. Kung is a writer-director who wrote on Dear White People and directed on the sixth season of Fresh Off The Boat. He’s been writing POC, queer, and female-forward stories for Lionsgate, Starz, Warner Brothers Animation, and the Hallmark Channel. He serves as co-chair emeritus of the DGA Asian American Committee, co-founder of the DGA LGBTQ+ Committee, and a board member of the Virginia Film Festival. A native of Virginia Beach, he holds an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA with High Distinction in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

Ethan McCue


As a 2023 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ethan received a degree with a double major in Foreign Affairs & Arabic Language. He also took classes at UVA in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. He now works as a management consultant for a boutique firm that focuses on the AEC industry. He served as QVA’s Operations Fellow from August 2021 to 2023 and was responsible for a wide range of behind-the-scenes logistics as well as event planning. In his free time he enjoys reading Spanish literature and exploring his new home of Seattle.


Sharon McGowan


Sharon M. McGowan is the Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director of Lambda Legal, the country’s largest and oldest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and individuals living with HIV. Relying on her litigation expertise and her experience in the Obama administration, Sharon leads the Legal Department’s talented team of over thirty attorneys and paraprofessionals who advocate for our community in courtrooms, statehouses, and other venues throughout the country. As Legal Director, Sharon oversees Lambda Legal’s efforts to resist any attempt by the Trump Administration – or any other opponent of LGBTQ equality – to thwart or roll back our community’s progress toward full formal and lived equality.

Kelli Palmer


Kelli E. Palmer is Head of Global Inclusion & Diversity and Corporate Citizenship for CFA Institute. She has also served as the Director of Enrichment Voyages for the Institute for Shipboard Education and as Assistant to the President at the University of Virginia. A scholar of diversity, she wrote “Faculty Service in Black and White,” a quantitative study of the impact of faculty service on tenure attainment, which was the first quantitative analysis of cultural taxation. Kelli is on the board of the Community Climate Collaborative, Peabody School, and the Piedmont Virginia Community College Foundation. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Elon University, an M.A.Ed. in Counseling from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Virginia. Kelli and her husband James reside in Charlottesville with their four children.


Thomas Pilnik


Thomas Martinez Pilnik grew up in London to Brazilian parents, and obtained his BA in Studio Art and Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia in 2016, and an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California in 2020. In between those two degrees, Pilnik worked for a short moment in New York City, then quickly returned to Charlottesville as a member of staff at the Office of Diversity and Engagement in the School of Engineering. During that time, he organized the Excellence Through Diversity Speaker Series, which occurred partially in response to the white supremacist violence that happened through the summer of 2017 and reached a crescendo on August 12th. Pilnik is now pursuing an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Connecticut.

Cody Reeves


Cody is a 2019 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Lambda Law Alliance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. After graduating from law school, Cody worked for three years as an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., where he practiced patent and trade secret litigation. Cody is currently serving as a law clerk to a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk. Cody grew up near Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is the proud father of two (cats), Bosco and Granby.

Jacqueline Schweiger


Jacqueline Schweiger is a nonprofit development professional currently consulting on database management for GLSEN. Previously, she managed donor databases for GLAAD in their New York office. She graduated from the College in 2009 with a double major in Art History and French, and received a master’s degree in Art Business from
Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. Now based in Memphis, TN, she enjoys spending time with her two young children, cheering on the Hoos, and eating Memphis BBQ.

Bob Witeck


Bob Witeck is President of Washington, DC-based Witeck Communications, Inc. (

He is a seasoned communications strategist, public affairs counselor, author and speechwriter. For nearly three decades, he also has been a LGBTQ trailblazer crafting communications and business strategies to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities. In 2006, he co-authored “Business Inside Out” (Kaplan), considered the first LGBTQ business and marketing book. While at the University of Virginia, Bob Witeck was an Echols Scholar, and the 2001 recipient of the Bernard Mayes award.

Andrew Bond


Father of two and husband to one. Andrew teaches US and Middle Eastern History to high schoolers and enjoys swimming and reading when not playing with his kids. Otherwise you will likely encounter him listening to NPR, making a mess in the kitchen, failing to calm his increasingly anxious and dependent dog, assessing contingency plans should any number of things happen in the next few months and/or folding clothes.