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Watch: LGBTQIA+ Panel

Nonotuck Resource Associates was honored to host Pride event organizers from across the state as part of our celebration of LGBTQIA + Pride Month this June. David Conner, a community organizer from Central MA (and one of the organizers of Pride Worcester this September), and Kerry G. Zeida, a marketing executive and social entrepreneur (and one of the organizers of Pride events in Taunton and New Bedford), were our presenters at the event, which took place virtually.

David and Kerry spoke about their own backgrounds, their respective regional LGBTQIA+ communities, the mental health crisis among queer youth, and battling stereotypes and misinformation. 

“If you expose people to the beautifully human in all of us, eventually people will come around. For us, it’s about changing minds, almost one at a time,” says Kerry Zeida. “That’s all we can do, is put the positive out there. We’re not going to change people’s minds if their minds don’t want to be changed.”

David emphasized the importance of the moment and the messaging to queer youth. "I think right now, it is really important for us to focus on queer youth and make sure they feel safe. The messaging they’re getting from the political atmosphere—they have access to that—they have social media, they see all the laws being written, they see all these anti-queer laws—there are like 527 right now. They see all that and say, 'Well, where’s my place in this?'” he said. “If you’re a young trans person, and you see you’re being targeted for no reason, of course it’s going to be hard for you to have a successful and healthy life.

When it comes to this moment in history, it’s really important for us to protect trans people, because they’re having their moment. As a result of progress, they’re also receiving a ton of backlash. It’s really important for LGBTQ people and allies to come together to protect them.”

Nonotuck President/CEO George H. Fleischner says hosting David and Kerry was a powerful reminder of Nonotuck’s mission. “Their insights into the mental health crisis among queer youth and the ongoing battle against stereotypes and misinformation resonate deeply with our commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive community,” he says. “ Through these efforts, we hope to offer lasting support for the LGBTQIA+ community."

Watch the presentation above.

Presenter Bios

David Conner

David Conner is a community organizer located in Central MA and works closely with several organizations across the Commonwealth in creating inclusive spaces to uplift and celebrate LGBTQ+ people from all walks of life, including helping organize the annual Pride Worcester festival. David has ten years of experience in project management, including helping lead a multi-year research initiative chronicling and archiving the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Worcester, Massachusetts. David was honored with the Advancing Equity Award from the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ+ Youth in 2019, is an alumni of Leadership Worcester class of ‘22, and a 2023 Worcester Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient. He resides in Worcester, MA with his partner and two aging pups. 

 

Kerry G. Zeida

Kerry G. Zeida (he/him) is a veteran marketing executive and social entrepreneur who, for more than 30 years, has been building some of the world’s biggest and most influential brands in technology, media,sports, leisure, and social good.

As Vice President of Corporate Communications at global computer and communications giant NEC Corporation, Mr. Zeida helped establish the company’s multichannel, class-leading PC, notebook, and peripherals brands. While at Internet software pioneer Macromedia (now Adobe), where he was Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Mr. Zeida launched numerous creative tools that helped to define web development as we know it today. During the first dot-com boom, he was Vice President of Marketing at The Industry Standard magazine, one of the most successful launches in publishing history. As Global Director of Corporate Brand and Marketing Strategy for Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Zeida advised several of the company’s billion-dollar brands on their positioning, identity, and communications strategies, and developed tools for expanding the company’s brand leadership position worldwide.

Now based near Boston, Mr. Zeida is pursuing his life-long passion for sports and community building as a marketing consultant, fundraiser, graphics designer, videographer, and public speaker advising numerous brands and agencies, including The South Coast LGBTQ+ Network, The Tennis Congress, the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute of North America, Global Protection Corporation, and Big Ocean Media. During his tenure as the NCAA Division III Assistant TennisCoach at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he was named a two-time Coach of the Year.

Mr. Zeida is a native of Massachusetts. He received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and his M.A. from Middlebury College in Paris, France. He has also completed executive marketing and leadership training at Duke University and social media certification through Northwestern University.

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