Board & Committee Members
Jeffrey Spitz, President/Treasurer
Jeff Spitz, (He, Him, His) is a trained Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the past 25+ years. He currently is the executive Director of an outpatient substance abuse program in Orange County, NY, as well as provides private therapy. He has enjoyed partnering to create and run The Gays of Sullivan County and is now excited to be President of Catskills Pride.
Sheldon Soffer, Board Member Emeritus
Sheldon Soffer, (He, Him, His), has devoted his professional life to developing major careers for young artists and groups in the Performing Arts. Now retired, he is active in various non-profit organizations: Young Concert Artists, Dance Notation Bureau, Delaware Valley Opera. Sheldon was also an adjunct professor at New York University for 11 years, teaching arts administration. He is the recipient of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and awards from the International Society of Performing Arts and Western Alliance Arts. Sheldon introduced Shinichi Suzuki and his Suzuki Music Method to the US. A native of the Bronx, NY, he was educated at Queens College and received a Master’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sheldon resides in NYC and Damascus, PA.
Howard D. Leifman, Ph.D., Vice President
Dr. Leifman, (He, Him, His), is an international recognized expert in the area of human development. He currently advises and consults with corporate clients, consulting firms, not-for-profits and individuals specifically on: career development, executive coaching, change management, counseling, human resources, out-placement, training, recruiting and staffing and time management. He is a member of the Conference Board, Society for Human Resource Management, National Association of Social Workers and on the board of a number of charitable organizations. Dr. Leifman has a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a Master’s degree in Communications Management also from Syracuse University, a Master’s in Social Work from New York University and a Ph.D. also from New York University. His dissertation is on, "Family of origin roles and adult work roles in relation to employee adjustment, satisfaction, and success."
Gary Ott, Secretary
Gary Ott (He, Him, His) is a New York City transplant, living in Grahamsville. Professionally, Gary is a Territory Account Manger with ViiV Healthcare, and promotes the use of HIV medicine with his health care providers. Gary is politically active and serves on the Board of Directors with GlaxoSmithKline PAC. The bass/baritone enjoys performing and is a member of the Sullivan County Community Chorus. As a member of the Delaware Valley Opera Company, Gary appeared in their production of HMS Pinafore, last summer. In his spare time he enjoys, cooking, baking, playing piano and guitar and can often be found under the hood of his 1972 Cutlass Convertible, “tinkering and restoring”.
Dwayne Brown, (He, Him, His), is a Licensed Social Work (LMSW) and works in New York City. He and his partner have a weekend home in Narrowsburg. Before going into social work Dwayne had a 20+year marketing career. He hopes to utilize his love of marketing and passion for social justice to support Catskill Pride in growing and evolving.
Samantha Jacobson (they/them) is a freelance research, design and editorial strategist. Since 2015, they have provided the primary research and administrative support to Third Streaming, a Brooklyn-based consultancy serving nonprofit and government organizations focused on culture and social justice. With Eileen Joy, they are a co-founder of keepitdirty.org, a multimedia journal focused on issues of collective consciousness, propriety and ecological advocacy. Jacobson has also designed homes for clients in California and Connecticut, and completed several large-scale, data-driven landscape artworks, most recently "Flotsam (How to Live Together)," a 2.3 mile-long installation on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara (2014). They divide their time between Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Livingston Manor, where they are currently establishing a place-based art residency and clinic focused on rural LGBTQIA+ wellness and community health.
Brent Saunders, Committee Member
Brent has had more than 25 years’ experience in fundraising; major gifts, special events, individual giving, annual appeals, sponsorships, public relations, relationship building, and public speaking.
Prior to his current non-profit fundraising career, he was a performer in NYC, having appeared on Broadway, television and film. He has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association of New York Event Planners. He was a former member of SAG, AFTRA, AGVA and Actors’ Equity and the former president of the West 84th Street Block Association.