HRC Blog

What is a Steering Committee?

HRC’s work in Cleveland is led by the HRC Cleveland Steering Committee. You may be wondering: what exactly is an  “HRC Steering Committee?” Steering Committees are the backbone of HRC at the local level. Think of them as HRC’s local “chapters.” They are led by the local members of HRC’s national Board of Directors (HRC’s national policy making Board) and Board of Governors (HRC’s local community building Board) and are made up of other leaders in the community who care deeply about the mission and vision of HRC. HRC currently has Steering Committees in 30 cities across the country, including Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio. Steering Committees provide essential local visibility, outreach, membership building, political activism and fundraising via a strong, diverse and talented leadership team, which in Cleveland, is made up of the following people:   

Rory Cahn, Federal Club Co-Chair (Board of Governors)
Jane Daroff, Major Donor Co-Chair (Board of Directors)
Timothy Downing, Major Donor Co-Chair (Board of Directors)
Mike Frank, Political Co-Chair & Volunteer Coordinator
Alex Frondorf, Political Co-Chair
Suzanne Hamilton, Steering Committee Co-Chair (Board of Governors)
Quentin Jamieson, Web Content Manager
Alana Jochum, Dinner Co-Chair
Wally Lanci, Dinner Co-Chair
Char Ligo-Hamilton, Diversity Strategist
Christopher Panek, Federal Club Co-Chair
Michael Smithson, Steering Committee Co-Chair (Board of Governors)
Justin Weseloh, Membership and Community Events Co-Chair
Daniel Symons, Volunteer Coordinator
Michelle DeLozier, Membership and Community Events Co-Chair
Shana Johnson, Corporate Sponsorship Co-Chair
Trey Hornung, Corporate Sponsorship Co-Chair

The Cleveland Steering Committee has several overarching goals:

  • To support the political and educational goals of HRC, which include providing programs to create fair and equitable workplaces for LGBT people, to protect the health and safety of LGBT individuals and families, and to care for and protect LGBT families and children.

    • To secure the financial resources necessary to carry out HRC’s work in these areas.

    • To raise money for and elect HRC endorsed candidates for public office.

    • To create a strong presence for HRC in the Cleveland area.

  • To increase the number of HRC members in the Cleveland area.

    • To increase the number of volunteers engaged in HRC activities in the Cleveland area.

  • To improve communication and build relationships with Cleveland’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other community leaders and organizations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the HRC Cleveland Steering Committee or becoming a volunteer, please contact us by writing either of our steering committee co-chairs: Suzanne Hamilton ( or Michael Smithson (

Article By:  Tim Downing, Co-Chair, National Board of Directors, and member of the Cleveland Steering Committee