Mike Fornelli

Executive Director

Mike joined Phoenix Pride as the Executive Director in January of 2018 and has been a prominent Community Leader in the Metropolitan Phoenix LGBTQ+ Community for the past 30 years. Since 1992, he has been the Owner and President of popular Scottsdale LGBTQ+ bar/nightclub BS West. His experience includes an extensive background in financial management, staff leadership, community engagement and event production. He has served with Phoenix Pride in the past as the Community Stage Manager, the Pride Pageant Director and a Phoenix Pride Board Director.

In addition, he serves as Board Director and Chief of Staff for USofA Pageantry, and he previously held a three-year term on the Board of Directors of local LGBTQ+ youth support organization one•n•ten.

In Mike’s downtime, you can often find him taking in a show with some of Phoenix’s amazing entertainers or exploring the city with his Pug, Buddy.

Landen C.L. Smith

Development Manager

Landen originally from Toledo, Ohio has been a resident of Phoenix since 2006. After coming out in 2007 he was able to attend his first pride festival here in Phoenix and has been nearly every year since. With a background in clothing retail management for nearly 15 years, Landen began working with Phoenix Pride in 2017 after winning the title of Mister Phoenix Pride. Later that year he joined the Phoenix Pride Board of Directors. In his four years on the board, he served as Audit Committee Chair, Director at Large, and later as the President before taking the leap from board service to staff. Additionally, he is the Co-Director for the Phoenix Pride Pageant. Landen previously served as Emperor XIV and Vice-President of local community non-profit, the Imperial Court of Arizona.

Outside of the office you can catch Landen dancing on stages across the valley entertaining as “Kristofer V. Lee” and traveling throughout the country whenever he has the opportunity.

Eva Steele

Director or Programs

Eva Steele she/her/hers was proudly born and raised in a small town in rural Central Michigan, being involved with Nonprofits starting in the 7th Grade with FFA and 4H. After High School and attending Community College in 2006, Eva began performing and competing in Drag and was introduced to her first Pride Festival, Michigan Pride. Being a performer helped her discover her authentic self and she developed this longing to serve and defend the LGBTQ+ communities.

In 2015, five years after beginning her transition she decided to move to Phoenix to dive into the Metropolitan Phoenix LGTBQ+ Community and develop her career. In 2017 she won the Miss Phoenix Pride Pageant and later that year was elected to the Board of Directors. In her board service, she served as the Audit Committee Chair and on the Education and Outreach Committee.

In 2018 she made the professional shift leaving Cosmetic Retail and her Board Service to become the Phoenix Pride Program Manager. In 2019 she attended the Arizona Leadership Academy and ASU Lodestar obtaining her Non-Profit Management Certification. Because of her experience in the Corporate Sector and her lived experience as a Bi-Racial trans woman, Eva created the Phoenix Pride Diversity and Inclusion Training, presented to local and national corporations agencies and entities to create lasting inclusive workplace policies and settings allowing all employees to truly thrive. Eva also serves the local organization The Imperial Court of Arizona as a volunteer and member. In 2021 Eva was sworn in as Council Member to the Greater Phoenix Ryan White HIV Services Planning Council and was announced as the organization’s first Director of Programs.

Eva’s sole mission is working hard for her community so our community won’t have to work so hard for their rights. You can catch her performing and competing across the country in pageants as “Eva Angelica Stratton” and enjoying what our beautiful state has to offer her, her partner Jericho, family, and friends.

Stella Kowalczyk

Director of Community Engagement

Stella, a third-generation native of Phoenix, grew up as a ballerina and taught herself sign language, both from the age of four. She was a peer mentor in school and truly enjoyed giving back to others, parlaying those childhood passions into her college experience and subsequent degree. She is a proud Phoenix College Bear and ASU Sun Devil.

She began her affiliation with Phoenix Pride in 2013 as a volunteer with Accessibility, becoming the co-manager and eventual manager of Accessibility which she continues to lead. She has assisted in expanding Accessibility for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community members and those with mobility needs. Each year, she continues to build upon the program with a team of skilled, nationally certified sign language interpreters, faithful volunteers, and community feedback. It’s that community interaction and feedback that has brought her to this new role.

As a 30+ year volunteer with the Special Olympics, a Program Coordinator working with volunteer mentors at one*n*ten, and Program Manager working with volunteer stewards at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, she passionately values what volunteers bring to nonprofit organizations. Coupled with S.E.E.ing the community, and keeping it her sights, Stella is excited to begin this new position!

Stella is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, The National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Unity Collective. She is a Leading for Change Fellow, a member of the Arizona Community Leadership Academy, recipient of Phoenix Pride’s Community Spirit Volunteer of the Year award, and is the recipient of Ion Magazine’s Most Valuable Volunteer award.

Jason Temple

Festival Operations Manager

BUDDY the Pride Pug

Cuddle Ambassador

Pal the Puggle

Cuddle Ambassador

Koda

Cuddle Ambassador