It is important that we create safer spaces for the LGBTQ+ Community to foster connection and growth. I believe that we can accomplish this by using each of our unique skills together and understand that we each bring a different perspective and life experiences to the table.
I have volunteered with St. Cloud Pride since 2019. I am the Chair of CentraCare’s LGBTQ+ Ally employee resource group where we work to create safer spaces for both LGBTQ+ patients and employees. I am a part of the team that worked to achieve the Leader HEI (Health Equity Index) with HRC (Human Rights Campaign) for St. Cloud Hospital. I lead the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) task force who has worked to include tools in CentraCare’s electronic medical record to document patient’s Gender Identity, Pronouns, Legal Sex and Sex Assigned at birth. Along with continued enhancements to provide a safer patient experience for LGBTQ+ patients. I was recently nominated for CentraCare's Deb McCarl Diversity Award.
Mandy SpiczkaVice Chair
I believe that we are all connected and doing our best with the knowledge, challenges, and circumstances that we have. From a space of love and curiosity, I hope to share and acquire knowledge, support others in their challenges and be supported in mine, and honor the circumstances that make each individual's experience extraordinary. Serving on the St. Cloud Pride Board has been a great experience for me to live these beliefs and foster connections and understanding within the queer community and also with our allies throughout central Minnesota.
The QueerConnect youth events are a passion of mine within my work on the Pride Board. I have worked with children and youth my entire career. In early 2020, I started a unique tutoring service called SHINE Together, which empowers children to trust their natural brilliance by providing a holistic, interest-driven educational environment. My program supports homeschooling families as well as those looking for a full-time private K-12 alternative to conventional school and offers a space for one-of-a-kind individuals to find true community.
I volunteer for the St Cloud Pride Board because I am passionate about creating inclusive spaces and events within our community as well as providing LGBTQ+ education for our community.
I live in the St. Cloud community with my partner, Eric, and have two children. I work as a claims manager and recently completed my MBA. In addition to my time with St. Cloud Pride, I also volunteer with the Crisis Text Line.
Dusty BolstadBoard Member
I have volunteered with numerous organizations over the years, but St. Cloud Pride is near and dear to my heart. I can't wait to plan more events to bring the community together.
Working with the St. Cloud Pride board has been a wonderful journey. This is a great organization, and I can't wait to grow more within the community.
Andrew KaehlerBoard Member
I grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and received a bachelor’s degree in social work from St. Cloud State University. I have been volunteering and working in the field of sexual violence for six years and currently hold a position at Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center as a Direct Service Provider, providing services to all individuals effected by sexual violence within a four-county service area. I have a passion for social justice and have worked to increase services and awareness of sexual violence for LGBTQIA+ identifying community members. In my venture of creating resources and alliances, I started volunteering as a community member for the St. Cloud Pride Board. Through this, I eventually applied and now serve on the Board of Directors as a Board Member. I have found my engagement with St. Cloud Pride to be extremely rewarding. I love planning events and being able to provide the community of Central Minnesota with such a positive and supportive environment for all members to feel safe and included. I also enjoy learning from the other board members and community members I communicate with through my engagement with St. Cloud Pride. In my personal life I enjoy spending time with my partner and our dog Milo. Together, we enjoy spending time collecting and caring for plants, going for hikes, and spending time with friends and family.
Throughout my life, education has always been important. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social work was a huge accomplishment. Through my career working as a Direct Services Provider at Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center (CMSAC), I have been given many amazing opportunities to gain experience and grow professionally. An accomplishment that I am proud of while working at CMSAC is successfully writing and obtaining grant funding to provide a position to create/provide resources and services specifically for victims/survivors of sexual violence who identify as LGBTQIA+ and male. Another accomplishment in my career was participating on the Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group. I participated in five subcommittees: Consent, Age, Professionals/Occupation, Force/Coercion, and Capacity. These meetings involve a close examination of statutory language with debate on particular words and phrasing, as well as discussion of legal history and application of the language pertaining to criminal sexual conduct status in the state of Minnesota.
Julian CastellanoBoard Member
I have been a St. Cloud Pride Member since November 2020. I got involved with Pride with the hopes of building community and professional relationships, and that and more is exactly what I found with St. Cloud Pride! I’m originally from Willmar, Minnesota, and was new to the St. Cloud area, so I took it upon myself to build my confidence and passion of being a positive role model for youth and community members. I believe strongly in mental health, and it has always been a passion of mine to serve those of equal thinking, as I have battled mental health issues myself, becoming self-aware and building resilience while being an ethnic and sexual minority. I wish to impact the LGBTQIA+ community by working with my great team of board members to create safe spaces and open the doors to positive change and foster healthy relationships, while fighting the stigma and discrimination our community experiences. I have been in the healthcare field for seven years and currently hold the position of an Individualized Home Specialist, providing services to community members and helping them build their independence in their everyday lives, creating service plans and assessments and working with a great support team.
Being part of the Latino community and being gay myself, while facing adversity, I feel one of my biggest accomplishments was being able to turn my life around and becoming better than what I thought I could be and not what society wanted me to be. Having amazing role models, mentors, and peers played a big role in my adolescence. I, too, wish to have the same effect for others. I also know being able to impact the lives of my nieces and nephews when they say, “We are proud of you,” is the most meaningful accomplishment of them all. None compare.
One of my favorite quotes is: “In healing comes growth and the power to make a difference!”
Angel HightBoard Member
My goal is to serve our LGBTQ+ population with gratitude and purpose, so that they may feel supported and cared for. I appreciate my chosen family and our beautiful, adventurous life together. One of my favorite quotes is: "The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have." -Vince Lombardi
I am a registered Nurse with 22+ years’ experience, who is Board Certified in Gerontological Nursing. I work in Community Health and Wellness and focus on providing Safe Space Training for community members as well as businesses and professionals. As a Registered Nurse, I want to improve the health and equity of our LGBTQ+ community by educating others on disparities that we face and teaching others to be more inclusive of our community. I also serve on the CentraCare’s LGBTQ+ Ally resource group with Cody and too actively work at creating a safer, more inclusive experience for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Alex PfannensteinBoard Member
My name is Alex, I am a 22 year old non-binary folk, and I use They/He pronouns. As a student, I have made it a goal to learn as much as I can about all areas of interest and continue to develop my education through classroom and real-world settings. I strive for human rights and equality and believe that all people should have access to basic and advanced human needs. I am passionate about creating a safe-space community for any and all to come and express themselves or to be with people with similar interests and lives. As president (and former treasurer) of the Drag Troupe of SCSU, I help develop new and returning member roles and help create and build storylines or aesthetics for their roles. With years of leadership experience, I work hard to ensure that those who are seeking leadership opportunities have the ability to express those feelings and work towards their goals in a way that works best for them. I am devoted to helping any and all who need or want help and will work tirelessly to ensure that this is possible and attainable.
I graduated high school with Honors and college Cum Laude. I have been the President of the Drag Troupe of SCSU for the last two years. I have taken roles of leadership at my place of employment for the last year, as Night Lead and Pacesetter.
Ben EvansBoard Member
My goal is to get people to just be okay with people and accept everyone for who they are! I am a lover and a fighter, LOL.
After being out of the work world for many many years, I am back into a lead position. I create a safe environment for everyone in my buildings. I was a licensed cosmetologist and focused on the LGBTQ+ community and kids. I’m looking to get that back!
Parker BrancatoBoard Member
I value teamwork and cooperation and creating environments that are safe for everyone.
I have been a CMA for about five years and graduated with honors from college.