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.

Victor E. Avila

Development Manager

Victor E. Avila joined Phoenix Pride as the Development Manager in July of 2019. Prior to joining Phoenix Pride, Victor was the Director of Marketing and Events for Aunt Rita’s Foundation where he continued in the tradition of Aunt Rita’s Foundation of Executives with a passion for HIV & AIDS causes, and was responsible for the production of AIDS Walk Arizona, RED Brunch, Project RED and RED is the Night, and also assisted in the expanding HIV prevention programming and educational activities that Aunt Rita’s Foundation provides. In 2016, Victor made the jump to the nonprofit sector by joining the Phoenix Pride team as the Program Manager and had responsibility for the production of the two day annual Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade, as well as the organization’s Rainbows Festival, Miss and Mister Phoenix Pride and the Phoenix Pride Awards Reception. Victor moved to Phoenix from El Paso, Texas to work for Bank of America in 2011 as a corporate officer in their Global Risk and Compliance department and led the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group in Phoenix where he found his passion for LGBTQ+ and HIV causes. Victor is excited and passionate to put his skills to work for our community!

Eva Steele

Program Manager

Eva started getting involved in the LGBTQ+ movement in Lansing MI in 2006, where she attended her first Pride Festival. From there she soon became involved with the Michigan Pride Organization and many local pride organizations throughout Michigan. She moved to Phoenix from Grand Rapids MI in the summer of 2015 to expand her career in Non-Profit and LGBTQ+ Services. Eva became a part of the Phoenix Pride team during the year she served as Miss Phoenix Pride in 2017, where she worked with the community to raise over $40,000 for the Phoenix Pride Scholarship. In September of that year, she was elected to the Board of Directors and served as the Audit Committee Chair as well as on the Education and Outreach Committee. In May of 2018 Eva officially became a staff member as our Program Manager. Eva as also served with other non-profit organization including Arizona’s own “Read Better Be Better”, where she mentored 7th graders to assist 3rd graders in literacy comprehension skills. She works hard for her community in hopes that one day our community won’t have to work so hard for their basic rights.

During Eva’s free time you can catch her performing and competing in Drag pageants as “Eva Angelica Stratton” and enjoying what our beautiful state has to offer her, her partner Jericho, family and friends.

Stella Kowalczyk

Volunteer and Events Manager

Stella is a third-generation native of Phoenix. She grew up as a ballerina and teaching herself sign language, both from the age of four. She is also a proud Phoenix College Bear and ASU Sun Devil. She has since graduated with a degree in Communications with a specialty in Interpreting for the Deaf and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Counseling.

She began her affiliation with Phoenix Pride eight years ago volunteering with and then managing Accessibility. 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.

Stella is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a Leading for Change Fellow, in 2018 was named the Ion Magazine Most Valuable Volunteer and in 2017 received the Phoenix Pride Community Spirit Volunteer of the Year Award.

She is excited to continue her work in this new role with her Pride family and looks forward to the new challenges while continuing her work with the Accessibility Team!

Jason Temple

Festival Operations Manager

BUDDY the Pride Pug

Cuddle Ambassador

Pal the Puggle

Cuddle Ambassador