MEMBER OF

AND
The New York State Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Health and Human Services Network

 
COMMON LGBT ISSUES: Click on each topic to see subtopics

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The RAI Board of Directors is comprised of a cross-section of the community we serve. Current and past members include people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender as well those from varying age groups, urban and rural populations, and people of color.

 

Jonny Puglia, President

JonnyJonny Puglia holds a BS in Environmental & Climate Sciences from SUNY Albany. He moved to the Capital District from Long Island in early 2009 to secure a transfer to SUNY Albany. There Jonny became President of the student Pride Alliance & was on multiple LGBTQ Committee Task Forces, aimed to improving the University’s Sexuality, Gender Expression & Identity concerns.

It was at SUNY Albany that Jonny met Chad Putman (Prior President) and jumped on board with RAI, maintaining and improving the MOU with The Trevor Project. Currently Jonny focuses on facilitating “Team Trevor” Lifeguard Workshops to the local schools, community centers & places of worship in the Capital Region. He is the current Liaison to National Trevor and hopes to improve and grow the Trevor-RAI relationship to higher levels. Jonny also is working on developing a LGBTQ Health Guide, featuring local and affirming Medical Specialists in the area.

He would also like to add that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." and Jonny chooses to use that to his fullest potential!

Chad Putman, Vice-President

Chad Putman holds a LMSW from the School of Social Welfare at SUNY Albany. He has been the Board President for RAI since 2009 and has over a decade of experience in human services, currently working as a Chemical Dependency Counselor in Latham, NY. In January, 2011 he was appointed to the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission where he plans to advocate for LGBT equality and human rights.

Since becoming board president Chad secured a MOU with the Trevor Project which allows RAI/Trevor volunteers to provide lifesaving workshops here in the Capital Region. He successfully advocated with LGBT Network colleagues to establish March in NYS as LGBT Health Month. Chad lead the way in developing the Capital District LGBTQ Medical Clinic Coalition and continues to network with state and local officials focused on the creation of an LGBT medical clinic here in Albany. He wants you to know, "I am committed to developing a solid network of LGBT health and human services here in the Capital District, because Our Health Matters!"

Click to contact Chad.

 

Andy Little, Board Treasurer and Website Manager

Andy is now in his second career as a Presbyterian minister, and served a church in Schenectady, NY. His first career of 30+ years was as an optician and a greedy, unscrupulous businessperson. As he explains, "After the battle between my relentless need to accumulate and my conscience reached the point where there was nothing left to do but fall down and curl up into a ball, I walked away from the rat race and became poor and happy."

Andy attended Methodist Theological School, Westminster College at Cambridge University, and the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities where he earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Liberation Theology and Ethics. He is active in The Church Within A Church Movement and in the Trevor Project.

Click to contact Andy.

 

Jenna Zirbel, Secretary

Jenna comes to RAI from Iowa where she served on the Iowa Gender-Specific Services Task Force of the Iowa Dept of Human Rights. She also spent five years in various levels of grass roots organizing and was a volunteer with a faith-based organization. Her work has also included ministry involvement, including five years in lay and seminarian capacities and four years in professional ministry. She served as a full-time British Methodist minister in an ecumenical parish near London.

Prior to her involvement with the ministry, "Jenna" was a speech language pathologist in educational settings. She holds a BS and MS in Speech Language Pathology, and two other Masters degrees--one in Divinity and one in Theological Studies. Jenna is ordained in the The Church Within A Church Movement and active in the Trevor Project.

Click to contact Jenna.

James Taft

JamesJames Taft was born and raised in southern New Hampshire. James has lived in Schenectady, NY for the last 14 years.  James is an avid bird watcher. James is also dedicated to the local community and participates in the Schenectady Pride Committee.  James has volunteered his time to assist with HIV/AIDS auctions which took place in Provincetown, MA.  James is very excited to be a member of the Board of Directors for RAI and plans to dedicate alot of his time to the activities and programs of RAI.