Board of Directors


liz.jpgElizabeth Parsons

Chair/Special Events

Elizabeth is a seasoned creative professional with experience in journalism, marketing, P.R., non-profit management, creative writing and more. Over the course of her career, Elizabeth has launched new magazines and edited longstanding ones, coordinated high profile events for the Grammy organization among others, and helped to create maternal/child health programs in East Africa. Elizabeth holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins U., a B.A. in Anthropology from Mary Washington U. and a certification in non-profit leadership from Georgetown U. She’s passionate about social justice, the arts, globetrotting, salsa verde, and lots of other stuff. 

Image may contain: 1 personJason Layman

Vice Chair/Program Committee Chair

Jason received his Master’s in Psychology (early child and adolescent development) from Marshall U., Bachelor’s degree from Concord U., an Associates degree in Social Work from Bluefield College and an Associate's in Nursing from Bluefield State College. Jason is an ordained Minister and has a doctorate in Divinty.  Jason served in the Navy from 1995-2003. As a member of the board, Jason plans to create a bridge between the RDC and the LGBTQ+ veterans to give a safe place to express themselves.

6094_1088571539878_3281318_n.jpgErika Joyner


Erika, a child of the 60’s, is a Jacqueline of all trades having earned a living in carpentry, electrical work, masonry, auto mechanics and as co-manager of a natural foods warehouse. She is currently, and has been for over 25 years, a self-employed bookkeeper specializing in non-profits and small businesses. She is a founder of the RDC and previously served for six years on the RDC board. She is committed to social action, non-violent communication, creative conflict resolution, and service to the LGBTQ+ community. Erika shoots a mean game of pool and enjoys creating harmony through her music and poetry.


Georgia Gallaher


Georgia offers years of experience with local non-profit's and is very active in the MCC Blue Ridge Choir. She lives in SouthEast Roanoke and is a dedicated ally within the LGBT community.

Bernard2017_(30).jpg Bernard Alvarez

Facilities Manager/Webmaster

Bernard Alvarez is a well known community organizer, activist and spiritual mentor in the Roanoke region and is also is a world renowned spiritual consciousness teacher and intuitive. He is a former Chair of the RDC , a certified Reiki Master, an ordained Minister, a Doctor of Metaphysics, author of the Book of One, video and radio producer and was featured in the film "Collective Evolution 3: The Shift". He is the host of The justBernard Show on Revolution Radio and, workshop and ceremony leader for Earth Spirit Roanoke. Bernard came to Roanoke in 2010 from Miami/Ft. Lauderdale where he sat on the Board of Directors for the Unitarian Fellowship of So.Fla. for many years and served as a lay minister and leader of C.U.U.P.S. He was very involved with the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce where he functioned as an Ambassador at local events.


Sara Guerry

Member At Large

Sara was raised in Roanoke and fell in love with the city when she moved back from Charlotte, NC. With a B.S. in Communications- Public Relations from Virginia Tech, she has several years of experience in event planning and coordination, specializing in non-profit events. Sara's passion for the Roanoke Diversity Center is as an ally believing strongly in love and acceptance for everyone. She values celebrating the wide diversity present here in the Roanoke Valley. When not volunteering or working to pay the bills, Sara loves to spend time with her pets, family and friends, and trying to cure her wanderlust. 

Nathaniel Brandetsas

Member At Large/Speakers Bureau

Nathaniel is a helping professional with a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Throughout his academic career, Nathaniel has supported the LGBT community at large as an ally and speaker, where he has educated other professionals through raising awareness of current problems of discrimination, marginalization, and oppression in care settings. Nathaniel has been published in the RoanokeGayzette and has served the broader community as an HIV tester at the Drop-In Center, and was instrumental in the development of their 2016 Ryan White community needs assessment survey. Additionally, he has designed and conducted several original research projects with the local transgender and gender variant community and incorporated those efforts into his work as an advocate and educator. As a member of the board, Nathaniel’s macro-level social work skills and talents are being applied to the RDC’s mission through his continued work as a researcher in partnership with Radford University.

peter2.jpgPeter Volosin

Member At Large


Born and raised in Roanoke, Peter Volosin has spent his life in the service of others fighting for fair wages and benefits, providing life-saving emergency care, and building stronger communities. Peter helps improve communities across the globe as a regional planner. His work as a planner has helped build healthier neighborhoods, reduce poverty in developing communities, increase economic development, reduce disaster risks related to climate change, and increase the sustainability of both urban and rural areas. Peter lives in Roanoke with his husband, Malcolm Quigley, and their dog, Rula, who they rescued while living in Mozambique. Peter’s mother, Fran Figari, taught at Cave Spring and Oak Grove Elementary schools and his father, Jimmy Volosin, is the proprietor of “Jimmy V’s” restaurant in Roanoke. Peter is an avid swimmer and qualified for the 2008 US Olympic Trials. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and urban studies from Brown University and a master’s degree in regional planning from Georgetown University.

r2.jpgRachel Hopkins

Member At large


Rachel is a mother, a designer of exhibits and immersive environments, and a birthing attendant. Through strategic thinking, effective fundraising and a vibrant approach, Rachel is dedicated to not only serving the needs of the Roanoke Diversity Center, but impacting the local economy through creative place-making.Since 2016, she has served as the Executive Director for the Science Museum of Western Virginia. She previously served as the Vice President of Development for Center in the Square and led the development of the popular Roanoke Pinball Museum.Before relocating to Roanoke in 2012, Rachel lived abroad for 10 years, both in Leipzig, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands.“Many people have asked why Roanoke? It was love at first sight! I am captivated by Roanoke’s pristine and nostalgic beauty, not to mention the limitless potential.”

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