It’s Not Just About Community…It’s About Family.
Fierce Friends of Phoenix was created with one mission in mind: to create a welcoming and safe place for people of the LGBTQ+ community to come together, meet new people, and create friendships. Here’s the thing… in our community, we rely on the kindness of each member because for some of us, we have no other place to go. Our members come from everywhere—all races, cultures, affiliations, socio-economic backgrounds, but most of us feel disconnected and different.
For some of our members, Fierce Friends events are the ONLY place they have where they can be themselves. For some, our events provide a safe place for meeting like-minded people because their friends don’t understand them.
We realized that we needed to do more, offer more, so in December 2017, Fierce Friends of Phoenix became a non-profit organization. Our mission is simple, we’re a social LGBTQ+ organization based in Phoenix, Arizona with the goal of building a strong bond with the community and our allies while helping individuals feel accepted and safe.
In just over a year, we’ve gained new friendships, community support, and established lifetime relationships. While we spend time creating social events that bring individuals together, we are also doing what we can to support the larger community. With this growth, we are happy to have brought on 7 new members in 2019:
| Jason Bobis, Event Coordinator | Chay Lemons, Event Coordinator | Theresa Nicole, Fundraising Coordinator | Miguel Pedraza, Fundraising Coordinator | Mariah Akilah, Program Coordinator | Enna Warner, Board Member | Caronda Jones, Board Member |
Here’s how you can contact the Fierce Friends of Phoenix & find out about their upcoming events:
ANDREW RASCON, Executive director
Andrew Rascon is a Phoenix native dedicated to serving his community. Andrew serves as the executive director the Fierce Friends of Phoenix. He is also the founder of The TEA Phoenix—an evidence-based, HIV prevention tool at The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. He is the newly appointed board member at the ‘Board of Health’ for Maricopa County and is proud to bring his experience to the forefront.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.”
SHAWNA Hoelscher, Vice President
Shawna Hoelscher has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and has resided in the valley since 2011. Shawna joined Fierce Friends just after the group’s launch to build her social network after moving to the downtown area in October of 2016. As Vice President of Fierce Friends, Shawna is committed to bringing her leadership and business skills to the organization as they start on their non-profit journey.
Professionally, Shawna has worked for Asurion, Inc. since 1998 and is currently a Director of Operations in the Customer Solutions department. Within Asurion, she is a Steering Committee member for their internal, non-profit division called Compassion Forward. Compassion Forward provides support to employees in need after a catastrophic and/or life-altering event. The committee also provides support and funding to charities in the affected communities that support children and education. Additionally, Shawna is the Co-Chair of Asurion’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group and works to build a diverse and inclusive environment across their North American locations.
STEVEN SPENCER, Community Liaison
Steven was brought on to the Fierce Friends of Phoenix team to open, develop, and market to new territories in the community as the team liaison. He also follows the team closely with any tasks that the group could need such as presentations, marketing, event planning, and creating proposals. He has an extensive background in the graphics arts industries with a BA in Graphic/Information Design from Central Connecticut State University.
RICKY SEDILLO, Secretary and treasurer
Ricky Sedillo is originally from New Mexico and been living in Arizona since 2006. Ricky has been with Fierce Friends of Phoenix since the first event and has said, " I have made lots of great friends and have met lots of wonderful people through the events. I am grateful to be working with an organization that is open to and values all members of the community and am very excited for what the future holds."
He currently works for Sonora Quest Laboratories and has just received his Bachelor's Degree in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Ricky is also a volunteer with Ignite, which is an outreach program with a goal to eliminate stigma and normalize the conversation around safer sex and HIV. You can find him as well as other Ignite volunteers around the city distributing safer sex materials, giving free HIV tests, and talking openly about safer sex, HIV, and STD's.