Our Board of Directors



Brian Hwang (Board Chair) is a Senior Vice President at M&T Bank leading a commercial real estate underwriting team. He has spent over 13 years in the real estate finance industry working at both large Fortune 500 firms and at fintech startups.

Brian has been involved with The Pride Network for the last four years, as a volunteer, a Board Member, and now as Board Chair. He is passionate about empowering and equipping the next generation of queer leaders.

Brian is also a member of the Gay Real Estate Group of New York (GREG) and has spoken at the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) conference on impostor syndrome and developing an intentional personal professional brand. Brian graduated with a MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. Brian is originally from Los Angeles and is based in New York City.


Sam Del Propost is a principal of Kaufmann Kozuch Del Propost Wealth Strategies in New York. He is a Certified Financial Planner TM practitioner and an Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisors (sm). Sam and his colleagues have been serving the LGBT community for over 20 years providing financial planning, retirement planning, investment advice, and asset and risk management. He is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce of New York. Since 1999 Sam and his long-term partner of 36 years have lived in Maplewood, NJ, where they married in 2013 when New Jersey recognized marriage equality.


Dean Dafis is a councilman in Maplewood, NJ – the township's first out, LGBTQ+ elected councilperson. He’s a social justice advocate having worked across the country in efforts including the fight for marriage equality, to ban conversion therapy, in bail reform and youth restorative justice, reentry, the current effort to fairly and equitably legalize adult use recreational cannabis, in law enforcement data tracking and transparency, in trans health equity, in expanding social services to LGBTQ+ youth, and combating housing insecurity. A first generation Greek American who grew up in the melting pot urbanity of 1970’s downtown Philadelphia, Dean is an attorney who began his legal career in legal aid in the criminal & family courts & then later worked at prominent law firms & on Wall Street in economic fraud & white collar crime. Dean championed NJ’s first permanent rainbow crosswalks as a welcome marker of his community’s sanctuary status & inclusivity. In his words, “For our youth in particular, those struggling with doubt or isolation & in need of affirmation, I want them to have a place where they can proudly cross or walk over their fear and shame.”


Tony Parker has extensive experience in business development, contract administration, program management, and strategic planning, as well as program development and training in both the government and private sectors. Currently, Tony is Director of Federal Fleets for Lytx, Inc. a San Diego based Telematics Company. Prior to joining Lytx, Tony worked as an independent consultant introducing Small Businesses to Federal Government Opportunities, including overseeing a Small Business Administration-approved Mentor Protégé program, developing, and implementing strategic plans and protocols for transportation services technology, and healthcare and managed services organizations.

Tony has worked with the Department of State, United States Marine Corps, Department of Army, Health and Human Services, and Center for Disease Control, Veteran’s Administration, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Transportation, Corps of Engineers, General Services Administration, and Department of Energy.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio via Princeton, NJ, Tony currently resides with his husband, Scott in a Historic Flemington, NJ, home. Tony has a passion for gourmet cooking and entertaining.


Damon King is a creative strategist & producer that has devoted his career to investing in diverse communities. Graduate from Robert H. Smith School of Business in Operations Management & Business Analytics, Damon's passion for amplifying community voices and creative innovation has found him at the cross-section of many exciting endeavors:

Internationally, supporting Nicaraguan entrepreneurs through micro-loan lending programs and business consulting to community assessment and technology implementation in country-side villages in Kigali, Rwanda. State-side, developing the brand and creative north star for the LINE Hotel DC (lauded by New York Times and Forbes) renovating a local 110-year old neoclassical church into a community space and podcast studio with several restaurant concepts; to being a founding Fellow of a revolutionary corporate engagement movement addressing societal systemic racism in CEO Action for Racial Equity.

Today, he wears many hats as a technically trained facilitator, Advanced SCRUM Certified Master, and heart-centered leader driving innovation & collaboration with Fortune 500 clients at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Workforce Transformation consultant. In his free time you can find him wardrobe styling for films featured in LA Shorts International and Hollyshorts Film Festivals or styling productions featured in publications like GQ, ELLE, & Teen Vogue.


Jessie Schaffnit is an Ops Risk IT Systems Director at Equitable, a financial services and insurance company. Leading up to this role, he had worked for Siemens and Stryker in the MedTech industry in systems/process innovation within Finance, Operations, and IT. He attended graduate school at Rutgers University for an MBA in Strategy & Data Analytics and NJIT for a BS in Systems Engineering.

At Equitable, Jessie also sits as one of the Chairmen of the PRIDE Employee/Business Resource Group (ERG/BRG) activating the Equitable business principles through engagement of the LGBTQIA+ employees and allies to create and sustain an inclusive environment and building strategic partnerships. He has also been volunteering with The Pride Network since 2013 with fundraising, promoting our mission and event activation, and became a board member in the fall of 2021.


Mason Hess (he/him/his) currently works as an Assistant Vice President in the Funding Agreements Department at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), where he manages a portfolio of 25 construction and acquisition projects in all five boroughs that are funded with city capital grants. He is also a mentor for The Pride Network’s 2022 Transformational Leadership Initiative, the president of the NYCEDC LGBTQ+ employee resource group OUT/EDC, a participant in the 2022 Coro Leadership New York Program, and a member of the LSU Department of Public Administration Advisory Council. Mason was born and raised in Louisiana and has a BA in sociology and French as well as an MPA from Louisiana State University. He also has a Building and Construction Certificate from New York University.

He has always worked in the nonprofit and public sectors, including as a case manager at a Ryan White community-based organization providing services for HIV+ individuals and as a high school French teacher before going to graduate school. He then worked at the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office, where he assessed the budgetary and economic impacts of proposed legislation before beginning his tenure at NYCEDC. He is a proud resident of Queens where he lives with his husband. Mason enjoys traveling, reading about politics and history, baking, gardening, and speaking French and Spanish.


Lexi Hawley has seen and done it all. She has a wealth of fundraising and nonprofit experience, having specialized in individual and corporate fundraising; development operations; prospect research and management; and programmatic roles at Equality California, Point Foundation, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Prior to her nonprofit career, Lexi spent five years at Google as a legal analyst and began her career in Genentech's patient assistance department, Access Solutions. She is a proud 4th generation San Franciscan shamefully living in Los Angeles and earned a B.A. with honors in Philosophy from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.