Meet OutRight's New Staff

OutRight has six new team members we'd like you to meet and get to know as we head into 2020. We asked each of our new staff when did they first know they were activists and what are they looking forward to achieving at OutRight.

Chandler Bazemore is the Senior Development Manager at OutRight Action International, based in New York. He joined OutRight Action International in 2019 to lead fundraising efforts in New York City. Chandler brings nearly 20 years of fundraising and development experience from different areas, including at-risk LGBT youth services, education enrichment, social justice, community organizing and environmental protection. He believes development and fundraising at its core is about relationship building and sharing the stories of the people and communities impacted by our work. Chandler has a passion for social justice, supportive services and organizations committed to improving people’s lives. Chandler is motivated and inspired by the creation of a world where all people are respected, supported and encouraged to live their true and authentic selves without reprimand, retaliation and interference. A world where access to opportunity and resources are shared freely by all and everyone has the opportunity to live up to their full potential.

When did you first know you were an activist?

I first knew I was an activist in college registering my fellow students to vote. At first I thought this was a simple community service project that I could spend one afternoon doing but it impacted me more than I could have assumed. During the course of the day as I was registering my fellow students one of the cafeteria workers stopped at our table. She was an older black woman probably in her sixties. She shared how proud she was that we "young people" were keeping up the fight and how she was the first person in her family to ever vote. Her father and mother never learned to read or write and the small county in Virginia where she grew up had problems with the Klan who intimidated the black people to not go to the polls. As we all listened to her enthralled at her experience, I thought of my privilege. No one was standing in the way of me casting my vote. It was then I realized voting was an action, voting was a stand, voting was saying that "I exist, I am here, I have a say!" By voting we are all activist because we are involved and we are taking action.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at OutRight?

I am most looking forward to building out the major giving program at OutRight and creating new opportunities to engage our donors. Major donors are very important to any organization and having a cultivation and stewardship process that is engaging and responsive to their needs is critical to keeping and retaining them. I am most looking forward to being the bridge between our incredible program staff and our donors sharing with donors the new and exciting updates on the growth of the organization and with staff how our work is being received.


Kennedy Carrillo is the Regional Sexual and Development expert of OutRight Action International, based in Belize. Kennedy is a graduate of the University of Louisville where she completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and the University of the West Indies where she completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. After serving as Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission of Belize for 4 years Kennedy went on to establish MC Consultancy: Sexual Health and Development where as lead consultant with a group of social consultants she has been providing technical support to organizations both nationally and regionally in: Research, Strategic Planning, Policy Development, Curriculum Development, Monitoring and Evaluation and Training in several aspects of Sexual Health and Development. Over the past years she has gained extensive experience working in the Caribbean region providing technical support to key entities such as the Pan Caribbean Partnership for HIV, CARICOM, UNAIDS, USAID, the Global Fund, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and CariFLAGS among others. Presently, Kennedy serves is the Caribbean Liaison Officer for the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Platform, of the Communities, Rights and Gender Special Initiative of the Global Fund.

When did you first know you were an activist?

I never thought of myself as an activist until I realized that I had dedicated 25 years of my life to the work of HIV in my country and region. I didn’t get involved in human rights advocacy work until there was a need for me to be a voice for the most marginalized and affected by HIV. It was at this point that I made the firm decision to not only work for HIV and marginalized populations within the context of HIV but to also use my knowledge, experience and expertise in several technical areas to advance LGBTIQ human rights within a larger context. Why? Because, this work advances MY rights. For the first time I made a decision to work for my LGBTIQ community to ensure that my endeavours are reflected in improved lives and better opportunities for myself, my LGBTIQ peers and our larger community. There is so much to be done in our region and I consider myself fortunate to be able to contribute to making our lives in the Caribbean a lot fairer, just and fulfilled.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at OutRight?

Being a part of the OutRight Action International team gives me an opportunity to be a part of something larger and more impacting at a Global level. It is being a part of global vision that prioritizes the regional situations while seeing the larger picture of how every piece comes together to bring about greater impact and change. As the Caribbean Researcher, I want to be able to bring to the forefront information and data that is not usually readily available in our region about LGBTIQ persons. As many topics related to our community remain very taboo, it is important to bring to the forefront relevant information to inform evidence-based planning at the programmatic and decision-making level. I am convinced that I am exactly where I can contribute most significantly - as Caribbean Researcher for OutRight Action International!


Elise Colomer-Cheadle is Director of Corporate Engagement at OutRight Action International, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elise has over 20 years experience working in the nonprofit industry connecting businesses to causes. Her past roles include Senior Director of Development overseeing institutional, special events and individual giving at SAGE, Associate Director & Director of Latin America Programs at the New York City Bar Association’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, and Business and Partnerships Officer at the United Nations Office for Project Services where she co-established and co-managed one of the UN’s first units for partnerships with the private sector.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Elise is bilingual in English and Spanish. She holds a Master of Science in Administration of International Organizations from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University. She lives with her wife Diane and three dogs, and her interests include baking and running.

When did you first know you were an activist?

I knew I was an activist as a young child, though my understanding of advocacy and justice evolved and matured as I aged, both through experiences and education. I was exposed to human rights and philanthropy early on in life, as my mother founded UNICEF in Puerto Rico in 1979, when UNESCO proclaimed it the International Year of the Child. I was four. As early as the tender age of five, I remember the orange Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF collection boxes, and sitting at home after collection day to sort the coins, roll them, count the donations and, finally, take them to the bank to be deposited. Holding the box for donation collection quickly turned into perfecting pitches to convince prospective donor to help those less fortunate in remote places around the world. And it was through UNICEF and my mother that I learned all about stuffing envelopes for direct mail campaigns, and about hosting special events like movie premieres to raise money for worthy causes. It was during those years that the famine was ravaging Africa – the images were harrowing and they are seared in my memory to this day – it was around this time that I knew I would dedicate my life to helping others.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at OutRight?

I am looking forward to leveraging my knowledge and relationships to diversify and grow revenue, thereby helping ensure a sustainable financial future so the organization can continue to scale its impact.


Luiza Drummond Veado is OutRight's United Nations Program Officer based in New York. She is a Brazilian attorney with an International Human Rights Law LLM from the University of Essex. She worked at the Rapporteurship on Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for almost two years, where she developed thematic reports and worked on regional leading cases on LGBTI rights. Prior to this, she was a member of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Essex and has worked at the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, the Center for Justice and International Law and the Minas Gerais State Human Rights Council and its Truth Commission. Luiza has also published several academic articles on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics; trained more than one hundred activists and government officials on international and regional non-discrimination standards, with a focus on LGBTI rights; and has coordinated an award-winning video campaign on violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas.

When did you first know you were an activist?

I was born and raised in a country where inequality was (and still is) the rule, and where democracy and the Constitution are as old as me. I am so fortunate to grow up surrounded by people who wanted and fought for change. Because of that, I don’t think I ever realized that what I was doing was activism. I just couldn’t, and still can’t, understand how inequality, violence and discrimination were normalized. So the only way I could see was to try to make a difference and to make life better and equal for as many people as possible. So I continuously looked for people with the same vision as me and learned so much along the way. So, maybe, this is the first time I am actually saying it consciously that I am an activist.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at Outright?

I have a bunch of goals for OutRight’s United Nations Program, such as the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics in as many documents and official statements as possible. Also, to have queer people present on every discussion and not just on LGBTI rights discussions at the international level. But on top of that, my biggest goal is building intersectional alliances, with other organizations, activists, States and other stakeholders, and elevate the intersectional voices of queer people who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.


Daina Ruduša is OutRight’s Senior Communications Manager responsible for media relations and raising the organization’s profile, based in New York. She joined the team in February 2019 after almost three years at ILGA-Europe, the foremost European-level LGBTIQ organization. She has also worked at leading international development organizations CARE International UK and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Daina first joined the LGBTIQ movement in her native Latvia in 2006, when the second Pride march was being organized and faced hateful and violent opposition. Thereafter Daina studied history of sexuality as part of her Bachelor’s degree in History and English at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and earned her Master’s in Public International Law and Human Rights from the Riga Graduate School of Law in Latvia.

Originally from Latvia, Daina is a bit of a nomad at heart - moving to New York to join OutRight marks her 8th country of residence. She is a massive dog-lover, enthusiastic singer, and is fluent in English, Latvian and Russian.

When did you first know you were an activist?

It was the summer of 2006. The second Pride March was being organized in Riga, Latvia. There was incredible hate in the media, from politicians, a really strong opposing movement had formed, called "NoPride". I had not yet realized by own bisexuality at the time, but my best friend was gay, so I took it all very personally and wanted to be there in solidarity. So my parents, my little brother (who was 2 at the time) and I went to the first event of the day - a rainbow service at the Anglican church. Protesters arrived, and we got locked in the church. At the end of the service, as we tried to exit through the back, they saw us, and ran at us. I was holding my brother, and as a group of skinheads ran at me, throwing bags of what turned out to be feces just beyond my head, I couldn't move, I was rooted to the ground. I had never been so scared in my life. Nor have I since. After that moment, I cried uncontrollably, and realized that I couldn't not go to the "march" (a march was banned, there was an event in a hotel instead, where we symbolically marched around the room), or any of the other events organized. I went to all. Usually shaking in fear, but I went. That’s when I knew I was an activist! By next summer I had joined the organizing team.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at Outright?

I'm looking forward to having OutRight's name appear in the media more and more often. I want to build upon the great relationships we already have with media, to ever new ones, and with ever more influential outlets. I'm also excited to feature our staff, in their respective areas of expertise, through op-eds or interviews, thus building out collective image as an expert and go-to for questions relating to LGBTIQ equality.


Yvonne Wamari is Africa Program Officer at OutRight Action International, based in Kenya. Yvonne joined OutRight in 2019. She is a human rights defender from Nairobi, Kenya with nine years’ experience in advocacy, research and security management. She has worked with the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists and the Africa Centre for Open Governance (Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice). For the past six years Yvonne worked for National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders - Kenya as the Programme Officer- Advocacy, with a particular focus on human rights defenders. Yvonne is also a trained trainer, and has carried out various trainings to human rights defenders,journalists and others across Kenya on monitoring and documentation; advocacy strategies and physical and digital security management. She has worked closely with the LGBTIQ+ community and is part of the advocacy and legal strategy team in the campaign to repeal sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code of Kenya.

Yvonne is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Nairobi.

When did you first know you were an activist?

I was driven to human rights work soon after the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. At the time, I worked in organisations focused on civic education on the new constitution; and justice options for victims of the post-election violence. During this time, I worked closely with victims of the post-election violence and impacted by the accounts of two individuals. The first was a female gang-rape victim in her late twenties, who ended up getting pregnant. Despite the psychological and physical trauma, she went ahead and kept the baby. The other account was that of a Nairobi slum resident who had his hand chopped off as he attempted to rescue a lady who was being raped.

These individuals remained resilient despite the absence of recourse. Their bravery further ignited my passion for human rights, and as a result have deliberately dedicated myself to working with marginalised communities since 2011.

What are you most looking forward to achieving at Outright?

It is my hope that my time at Outright Action will accord me the opportunity to positively contribute towards change so that together we can tell a story of justice equality and freedom.