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Introducing the 2015 Board of Directors

SpeakOUT is proud to introduce the newly elected Board of Directors for 2015. This talented group of new as well as tenured members offers a wonderful array of experience, interests, and commitment to help chart the next leg of SpeakOUT’s journey. If you are interested in learning more about SpeakOUT and how you can become involved with the organization, please email Executive Director Ellyn Ruthstrom at or read an earlier post with more details.

Bill Barnert headshotBill Barnert is the most tenured member of the Board of Directors, having been speaking for SpeakOUT since 1980. He was a co-host of SpeakOUT TV (the weekly cable show produced by the organization from 1993-2007) and PrideTime for Boston cable. Bill is proud of the organizations he has helped to co-found, including the AIDS Action Committee, Brown University TBGALA, and the Cambridge Men’s Group. Bill has sung with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, danced with the ReneGAYdes, drummed with the Freedom Trail Marching Band, and has volunteered at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s GSA, “Project-10 East.” Currently, he sits on the City of Cambridge GLBT Commission, and he helps run the Cambridge Men’s Group. Professionally, Bill is a User Experience Designer, and is active in BostonCHI. In what’s left of his spare time, he is an amateur actor, comedian, and playwright.

Michael Bookman headshotMichael Bookman’s attendance at SpeakOUT’s Speaker Training in 2012 inspired him to learn more about the organization and he has been volunteering and speaking for SpeakOUT ever since, joining the Board of Directors in 2014. Michael has served on the Volunteer Recognition Committee and as a disaster services instructor for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, and as the co-chair of Boston Pride’s Human Rights and Education Committee. Currently in graduate school at Emmanuel College, Michael holds a bachelor’s degree of science in psychology. He is a human resources professional and belongs to the Society of Human Resources Management. Michael has been a proud member and executive club committee member of Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organization that helps its members develop their public speaking and leadership skills, for over six years.

Michele C-C headshotMichele Canero-Conklin has been on the SpeakOUT board since 2012. Her passion is community service, and she is especially dedicated to life preservation and meeting and connecting with people one-on-one, wherever they may be on this journey we call life. Michele is a seasoned, dedicated, compassionate, and service-oriented campus law enforcement/communications professional with a true passion for mentoring youth to become successful leaders and mentors. She’s also a mother of two adult children, coaches little league softball, and teaches self-defense and CPR/first aid classes.

George Grattan headshotGeorge Grattan’s career track and volunteer history has wound through the woods of academia, non-profits, marketing, writing, acting, public speaking, board service, environmental activism, and general “doing of stuff.” George joined the board of SpeakOUT the fall of 2014, and prior to that was a board member of Living Routes, an environmental study-abroad program. His day gig focuses on marketing academic and social media content for Bentley University in Waltham, where he resides with his wife Mary. He has worked in the past for Earthwatch, the Urban Ecology Institute, Boston College, and the College of the Holy Cross. He’s co-authored and co-edited both editions of Writing Places, a place-based composition reader for first-year college courses, and can be found every third Tuesday of the month at a “Bi Guys Bowling Night.” A SpeakOUT newbie speaker, he looks forward to many future speaking engagements.

Jenn Guneratne arrived on the Boston scene nearly five years ago following several years of studying across the pond in England. Jenn has a background in music, theatre, and photography, and she currently works at Boston University’s College of Communication. In her spare time, Jenn enjoys yoga, cycling, and recently developed a small obsession with learning to play the banjo. Jenn officially joined SpeakOUT’s board in July 2014, having initially signed on as a volunteer in late 2013 to assist with the organization’s social media presence. Since then, she has watched the board build with a number of highly talented and enthusiastic members who she is thrilled to be working with during this time of growth.

Tracey Solomon-White headshotTracey Solomon-White is a fashion, entertainment and communication industry insider who is happiest working and playing in her hometown of Boston. With that said, it’s been a personal goal to use her passport at least twice a year to explore countries such as Europe, the Caribbean islands, and Central America. Tracey was elected to SpeakOUT’s Board of Directors in December 2014 and previously held committee positions with New England Financial, Wayland Public Schools, and Sporty Rich Entertainment. A lifelong volunteer, specifically dedicated to organizations that improve the lives of women and children, Tracey donates her time to Rosie’s Place, More Than Words, and the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation. Currently, Tracey is employed at Sotheby’s Imprint as the Account Liaison for cosmetics company, L’Oreal. Tracey’s favorite diversions are anything to do with fashion, reading books of all genres, and playing with make-up—though none of those activities compare to recreating unique meals for her husband and three kids.