CAPI 2019 Speakers & Presenters

Andrew Childers

Market Manager,
Steelhead Productions

Andrew Childers is recognized as a marketing and public relations subject matter expert. Through his experience in market and business development, both domestically and internationally, his experience has led him to find success within several industries, marketing, and tradeshows alike. As a former business owner in an international marketing, sales, and consulting firm, he can teach you how to make and leave a lasting impression through your marketing and public

Bob Leyh

Programs Manager,
San Diego Pride

Bob Leyh is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and San Diego Pride’s Programs Manager. He currently oversees Pride’s largest programs; the volunteer-led Parade, Festival, civic engagement, and community outreach programs. Robert has been involved with Front Runners and Walkers, an LGBT running club; Special Delivery, a meal-delivery service for people debilitated by AIDS; Scouting for All; and AIDS Walk San Diego. He is also the former vice president of San Diego Democrats for Equality. Mr. Leyh has dedicated his life to LGBTQ community service and philanthropy; a passion he helps to instill in others in San Diego’s LGBTQ community.

Chad Ballard

Vice President,
Casswood Insurance Agency

Chad Ballard is a graduate of Texas A&M University, has twenty-two successful years in the insurance industry, has been involved with Pride organizations since 2000 and is Vice President of Casswood Insurance Agency.

In 2002 Chad attended his first InterPride Conference in San Francisco, became affiliated with Casswood and in 2005 accepted a career opportunity in their California office. He immediately became involved in the Palm Springs community joining the Desert Business Association and serving on the Board. Chad was recognized as Board Member of the Year in 2008, served as President 2011-2013 and was honored to be named Business Person of the Year in 2015.

Employed by the largest gay-owned and operated insurance agency in the United States – Casswood has been insuring Prides for over 30 years, insure 90% of the Prides in the U.S., and have been administering the InterPride Insurance Program since 1994.

Chad enjoys working out, running, playing golf, traveling, spending time with family, friends and sharing life’s adventures with his husband of twenty-three years.

Ernie Yuen

President, CAPI
Executive Director, Las Vegas PRIDE

Ernie, or his friends call him “Pineapple” recruit by Steve and Elaine Wynn as a Design Engineer for the world-famous Bellagio Hotel & Casino Conservatory.  A 15-year member of Las Vegas PRIDE, Ernie join the board when the organization was about to file for bankruptcy and was 60K plus in the red. He and 20 new fellow board members was given the task to turn the organization around- fast forward 10 months later all depts was paid and the organization had a 78K reserve at the end of their celebration.

Being a volunteer was in Ernie blood sitting on the multi-board in Hawaii, Aloha Week Festival, Floating Lantern Festival, Gay and Lesbian Hawaii Film Festival, Hawaii LGBT Center, Honolulu Gay Men’s Chorus, helping his community was a perfect fit.

Chairing every committee on the Las Vegas PRIDE Board, serving every Executive position Ernie was promoted to Executive Director in 2014, same year Las Vegas PRIDE published their Non-Profit- Las Vegas Magazine- Ernie was assigned the task of Publisher for the Magazine. Ernie currently is serving his first term as President of CAPI and has chaired/ hosted 4 CAPI AGMs and 1 InterPride AGM here in Las Vegas.  Ernie would like to welcome all of you to Las Vegas and CAPI!

Fernando Lopez

Executive Director,
San Diego Pride

Executive Director for San Diego Pride, Fernando Z. Lopez, moved to San Diego in 1999 as a homeless youth and has since become a prominent LGBTQ community leader. In his time with San Diego Pride, Fernando oversaw the creation and growth of several programs fostering leadership skill development in LGBTQ young people, expanded LGBT voter outreach, and increased San Diego Pride’s international relations work. He has developed partnerships with several major athletic organizations to combat homophobia in sports, and has worked with law enforcement, first responders, and the armed services to increase LGBTQ sensitivity and compassion through trainings and policy reform.

Freddy Lopez


Freddy Lopez is a Las Vegas local and MassMutual Representative with over 15 years of experience in the finance and banking industry. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Freddy is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Lee Business School, with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Risk Management and Investments.

From financial literacy and savings to insurance and investments, he has combined his professional knowledge and experience with his personal desire and drive toward volunteerism and nonprofit work in order to give back to his community.

Gardenia Partridge

San Diego Pride

Gardenia Partridge oversees the entertainment department at San Diego Pride and has been integral to the success of San Diego Pride for over 7 years. She honors the values of diversity, inclusion, and equality by booking a diverse representation of LGBTQIA artists and allies who use their public life to advocate for the LGBTQ community and highlighting inclusive entertainment for all Pride events. She maintains a volunteer spirit by donating her time and talent to other Pride organizations in cities such as Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and more.

Jamie Lee Sprague-Ballou


The Reverend Jamie Lee Sprague-Ballou is a 56-year-old Trans activist in Las Vegas. She has been a resident of Las Vegas since 1995 and has been hosting the Transgender Day of Remembrance since 2006. She is the founder and lead organizer of Las Vegas Trans Pride and with the help of her husband, David Ballou has opened Transcending the Gender Box which is a drop-in-center that is geared for the Trans expansive community and is opened to everyone “regardless who you are or where you are on life’s journey.”

She is a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary earning her Master of Divinity on May 20th, 2017, which made her the first Transgender graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary. She was ordained the following weekend on Saturday, May 27, 2017, by the United Church of Christ, which made her the first Trans Female to be ordained by the United Church of Christ. She is currently the pastor of Mary Magdalene Friends United Church of Christ and she is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Spanish program at UNLV.

Jean Carlos Lopez

Business Owner

Jean Carlos Lopez was born and raised in Southern California. He went to UC Riverside where Got a Degree in Political Science. He also had the opportunity to study abroad in Canterbury, England where He went to the University of Kent for two years to study Politics and Theatre. He’s been through every industry, from being a co-Manager in retail, bartending, club promoting, running a music studio, running a theatre company, to performing professionally with both with choirs and solo. He was a jack of all trades, master of none. He joined this industry of Marketing and Management training because he was able to focus on one thing, helping people. When he started his business, it helped him understand that unless we invest all of our time and energy into one thing at a time, we don’t see maximized success. That is what his business is all about, people. His ultimate goal is to help people change their lives and being a part of their growth is his mission and purpose in life. He has helped expand multiple businesses and is expanding his own business twice in the next 12 months.

Jim McMichael

Specialty Markets Manager,
Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority

Jim McMichael is currently the Specialty Markets Manager with the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority) handling the LGBT market, international MICE groups from Brazil and Mexico as well as cultural tourism programming.  Previous to joining the LVCVA, Mr. McMichael spent 18 years in the shopping center industry with The Rouse Company and General Growth Properties in various marketing positions in South Florida and Las Vegas.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Mr. McMichael serves on the Board for the IGLTA Foundation, the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism at Valley High School and works with various community groups throughout the Las Vegas Valley including Las Vegas PRIDE and the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association.

Jorge Solorio

Vice President, Las Vegas PRIDE
Regional Director, InterPride

Jorge Solorio is proud to have been a very active Board member with Las Vegas PRIDE, and has donated countless hours to the LGBT community. He feels a great sense of accomplishment, personal growth, and community pride.

To show his commitment and dedication to this organization, Jorge has helped represent Las Vegas PRIDE in many other cities’ PRIDE festivals, CAPI, and InterPride; even becoming a Regional Director.

His actions within the PRIDE movement shows that he is dedicated to representing the LGBT community in a positive light all over the world.

Paul Huddleston


Paul Huddleston was the President of Austin PRIDE from 2011-2018 and was elected to the CAPI Board of Directors in 2018 to serve the remaining 1-year term of the Secretary position. He currently resides in Palm Springs, California.

Richard Bell

Vice President of Member Services,

Richard Brethour-Bell is the former president of Santa Fe Pride and the current CAPI Vice President of Member Services. He’s a graduate of the University of New Mexico (UNM), and currently is completing a Masters in Health Administration from the UNM’s School of Public Administration. Richard has given workshops on racism, misogyny and misandry, and conflict resolution.

Steve Mitchell

Board Member, Las Vegas PRIDE
Senior National Co-Chair, Spectrum

Steve is the Senior National Co-Chair of Spectrum (LGBT+ ERG) for a global bank, workshop presenter at Out & Equal, member of the Out & Equal Bisexual Advisory Committee.

Steven / Carnal Knowledge

Associate Board Member,
Las Vegas PRIDE

Steven founded Building Blocks: School for Kinksexuals, the BDSM education program in Las Vegas.  He is an Associate Board member for Las Vegas PRIDE and runs the Proudly Inappropriate Adult Playspace at the Las Vegas PRIDE Festival.

Steven frequently presents on BDSM and inclusion.  Find him in vanilla settings like GenderFest, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, American Lung Association Lung Force Expo, University of Nevada Las Vegas, or at kink events like Southwest Leather Conference (Phoenix), Dark Odyssey Winter Fire (Washington DC), Kinky Kollege (Chicago), International Ms. Leather/International Ms. Bootblack (San Jose), Colorado Leather Fest (Denver), Biggest Little Fur Con (Reno), DomCon (Los Angeles), TES Fest (Piscataway), and Trauma (Columbus).