STEPHANIE LYNNE SMITH,
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR and PIANIST
Born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, Stephanie Lynne Smith holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance Degree (1998) from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Music in Chamber Music Performance Degree (2001) from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She served as Artistic Director and Conductor for several GALA choruses in the San Francisco Bay Area, commissioning an opera, a musical and countless works for chorus, was Cantor and Worship Designer for Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and toured with Bugs Bunny at the Symphony as pianist/slide guitarist, performing with the New York Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Stephanie currently tours as concert pianist for Broadway veteran Franc D’Ambrosio (“Phantom of the Opera”/“Godfather III”) and is a performance coach and producer in the San Francisco Bay Area and Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
JACE WHEATLEY, PRESIDENT
I’m the President of NWQC, the co-chair of my LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (StandOUT), and volunteer lead & secretary of Oregon and SW Washington chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. I’m passionate about this community and the work I do. I’m a mom of two special needs kiddos and married to my lovely wife. I’ve lived in Oregon most of my life, primarily in Eugene/Springfield but for the last 9 years in Portland. I’m a true Oregonian in the sense that I love the rain!
DEVEN FERTÈ, VICE PRESIDENT
Deven, a native Oregonian, grew-up as a ballet dancer and started performing at the age of 3. Throughout her life she has studied several forms of dance, and as been active in bands (she plays the drums too!), choirs, and theater productions. Looking for a deeper connection with her queer community, Deven joined the NWQC at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season and accepted the position of Membership Chair in March. In her off-time Deven enjoys cooking, collecting records, spending time with her daughter, and walking around her neighborhood in downtown Beaverton.
HEATHER SMITH, SECRETARY
Heather has been involved in her communities from a young age, and became the Secretary of the public library Teen Advisory Group at age 14. For four years she participated in organizing programs and keeping track of meetings, before she moved to Washington and found the Northwest Queer Chorus. Having been part of choirs since the age of nine, Heather has been known as a “choir mom”, and her compassion and love for people drives her to serve her community in whatever way she can.
LAWRENCE TURNER, TREASURER
A sixth-generation native to Fort Bragg, CA, Lawrence worked for a decade at Mendocino Coast District Hospital as the CIO. An avid outdoorsman, he left the techie life to join the Mendocino Land Trust and conserve our Redwood forests. Lawrence has extensive Non-Profit management experience including serving as Board President for the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus and Board Secretary for the Mount Laguna Improvement Association. Lawrence is a veteran of several GALA choruses including San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (version 1.0), the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus and is now proudly singing with the Northwest Queer Chorus.
ZACH STARK, WEBMASTER AND IT EXPERT
Zach works as a firmware design engineer for a test and measurement company called Tektronix. They heavily identify as a burner and volunteer with large scale art builds to later burn. Due to Zach’s extensive experience consulting google for advice on confusing user interfaces and other software confusions, they decided webmaster was the most appropriate position to take on.
LANDON SHIMEK, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Landon began playing piano and guitar at age eight. He sang with the the Seattle Men’s Chorus for two years before moving to the Portland area and finding a new voice with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. Landon is known for his easy going personality and his love for people and his Queer community. As a trans man, Landon’s vision is to use musical excellence as a platform for positive interactions between Queer and non-Queer identified communities.
DESTINY WHEATLEY, LIBRARIAN
I’m the librarian for the NWQC and volunteer lead for the Oregon and SW Washington chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. I’m the parent of two amazing kiddos and married to an amazing woman. I am a ride share driver and I love what I do! I enjoy meeting new people and developing lasting relationships.
MIKE WHITAKER, CO-DIRECTOR OF HAND UP PROJECT
Mr. Whitaker’s career encompasses a background in banking and branch management as well as years of working in human resources, payroll, office management, network administration, facility and staff management. Mike also has a passion for advocacy for the plight of the homeless and disenfranchised. Currently Mike is Co-Director of the Hand Up Project in Portland Oregon and also serves as Pantry Coordinator at Hand Up Projects -The People’s Pantry Emergency Food Project focusing in communities of color and the LGBTQ community.