St. John’s Pride Inc. is a registered non-profit with the government of Newfoundland, with no formal ties to the municipality, and is entirely volunteer-run. Each year, we organize and execute an increasingly large event week in July to celebrate, educate, and advocate for the LBGTQ2S+ community in the Avalon and beyond.
St. Johns’ Pride values diversity within its Board and encourages persons with disabilities, persons of different socio-economic backgrounds, persons of colour, persons of different gender identities and expressions, persons of different sexualities, and all the persons who identify under our umbrella to run in this by election.
St. John’s Pride Inc operates under the trifold mandate of advocacy, education, and celebration, as outlined in the following document.
2019 Board of Directors
Co-Chair of Internal
My name is Derek Semerad, and I use he/him pronouns. For the last little while I have been the third gayest man in the city of St. John’s, tied with about 500 other people, and have maintained an active presence in the 2SQUILTBAG+ community of the university and of the city proper.
I joined up with St. John’s Pride, and am its current Co-Chair Internal, out of a desire to see a greater connectivity between Pride and the myriad functional queer organizations of this island. I look forward to a long walk up a steep hill with 5000 or so friends trying to make that happen this year, and next year, and all years hereafter.
I may not have a clue, and I may not have style, but everything I lack I make up in heart and determination, and I hope to inspire those two facets of joy in everyone I meet.
Co-Chair of External
My name is Paul Comden; my pronouns are He/Him. I look to this position to initiate opportunities to use my talents and skills to make a positive difference in the lives of members of the LGBTQ+ community. My experience as a law enforcement officer has allowed me to gain a fuller understanding of how Canada’s justice system can be used as a catalyst to promote social harmony and to create a more egalitarian society.
Having worked and volunteered in a variety of team environments, I value strong communication and collegiality. As a previous board member I am aware of conflicts that may arise internally and externally with the board and I am prepared to use my skills in dispute resolution and negotiations to achieve a positive outcome. My creative and inquisitive personality would allow me to contribute new ideas to the board. Having grown up as a gay youth in a small community I am aware of social stigmas and obstacles that LGBTQ+ people of all ages may encounter.
In my adult life I am currently living in the city. These experiences have allowed me to gain perspective and insight into issues that members of the LGBTQ+ community may encounter in both rural and urban areas. My goal-oriented mindset would allow me to work with the board and community members to break down these barriers in order to increase involvement and representation at Pride.
Co-Chair of Finance
I have a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in management. I have owned and managed a mental health counselling practice for the past three years which specializes in working with people in the LGBTQ+ community. I have experience managing daily finances for a small company in addition to establishing long-term financial goals and solvency efforts.
I would like to support the LGBTQ+ community in St. John’s and the surrounding areas in gaining support, recognition, and acceptance in the community.
It is very important that the community forms a strong unit of support in order for its members to feel valued and loved, which can be accomplished through strong alliances and taking responsibility within the larger community.
To celebrate Pride is to celebrate the diversity and courage of our 2SQUILTBAG+ community. By valuing the uniqueness of all our voices and by empowering one another, we build and strengthen our dynamic identity. My shared vision for our community is one of inclusivity, belonging, acceptance, and growth.
Director at Large
As a Director-at-Large of St. John’s Pride, I pledge to foster the values of cohesion, diversity, transparency, and sustainability. Together we must develop a strategic plan to further build on the accomplishments our community has achieved over the past decades. This plan will incorporate our collective visions to create a meaningful, visible, and colourful Pride event by informing and involving community leaders, non-profit groups, activists, politicians, and members of our queer and trans community.
There are many challenges we still face as a diverse Board. To continue moving forward, we must learn from past struggles and celebrate past victories. Unity is the key concept for ensuring our growth as a significant and vibrant community; by creating a visible and inclusive Pride event we can showcase our collective vision and values that will serve to strengthen the future of our 2SQUILTBAG+ alliance.
Director at Large
Hello, my name is Kelly-Anne, my pronouns are she and hers, and I’m a Director at Large. I love being outdoors and staying active with my pup Sarge.
I moved back to Newfoundland nearly two years ago to continue my career in journalism, I’m hoping what I’ve learnt working in the media will help St. John’s Pride.
I joined the Pride board to help, and to continue to be a part of a community I believe in. Thank you for voting me in and believing in me.
Director at Large
My name is Lauren Flynn, my pronouns are she/her/hers and I’m a Director at Large for 2018-2019. I am excited and eager to dedicate my time and energy to St. John’s Pride, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this work for the LGBTQI2S+ community in St. John’s and beyond.
I currently work at Johnson Insurance as a digital product manager, and I hold an MBA from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc (honours) from Memorial University. These things have worked together to develop and strengthen my skills in time-management, coordinating projects and teams, relationship building and problem solving, and I’m looking forward to using these skills with St. John’s Pride.
Director at Large
My name is Jeff butt and I use he/him pronouns. My vision for St. John’s Pride is one that makes space for everyone and I believe that the only way to achieve that is through a meaningful, ongoing and multifaceted public engagement strategy to ensure the organization is aware of, and responsive to, the needs of its members and able to build partnerships and alliances with other organizations in the community.
Through my work, I also have considerable experience in navigating complex policy issues, such as those the LGBTQ2+ community in this region and province is currently dealing with. I am also a 4th degree Black Belt in Taekwon-Do, operate my own school and have offered self-defense workshops for the LGBTQ2+ community.
I understand the importance of strong and attentive leadership, I believe in hard work and I try to incorporate the values of Taekwon-Do into every aspect of my life: courtesy, integrity, perseverance and indomitable spirit – all values I see as important in building a sense of community and reflected in the LGBTQ2+ community itself. I would love an opportunity to bring my policy, public engagement and lived experienced as a gay man, GGCLC alumnus and martial artist to bear for my community.
Director at Large
My name is Forough Emam and I use she/her pronouns. I’m a graduate student in Gender Studies at MUN. Having a Master’s in Literature, I have focused on the notion of gender by publishing literary articles and presenting at academic conferences. As a newcomer to Canada and St. John’s, I’m really excited to finally endeavor to be more socially active within the LGBTQ community and gain more hands-on experience.
Since I was a teenager in Iran, I was a member of NGOs focusing on human rights and women’s rights as well as being a member of a nationwide campaign to change discriminatory laws against women.
As a Director-at-Large of St. John’s Pride, I wish we can make this year’s parade as inclusive and accessible as possible. While I may be new to the city, I believe we all face similar challenges that we can tackle communally. Apart from the Pride Week, I hope with your support and contribution we can have a more nuanced dialogue among the community to facilitate it being more intersectional and more open to the diversity of individuals’ experiences.