OFFICERS

ACLU OF MICHIGAN BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Nathan Triplett, President, MA, JD is the Political Director of Equality Michigan and has worked in various capacities as an organizer, policy advocate, and elected official throughout his 15 years of LGBTQ advocacy and public service. For eight of those years, Triplett served on the East Lansing City Council and in 2013 was elected as the city's youngest Mayor.

During his Council tenure, Triplett championed numerous pro-LGBTQ initiatives, including an Equal Benefits Ordinance, Domestic Partner Registry, and Other Eligible Individual Benefits Policy for municipal employees. Triplett's work earned East Lansing back-to-back perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index. In addition to his work in East Lansing, Triplett served as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Michigan Municipal League and as a member of Michigan Equality, the National Stonewall Democrats, and the National Board of Directors of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). A GLSEN's Pathfinder Award recipient and the former Director of Priorities Michigan, Triplett has arduously worked to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances in cities across Michigan.

An ally of the LGBTQ community, Triplett is a graduate of Michigan State University's James Madison College with degrees in Political Theory/Constitutional Democracy and Social Relations. He also holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He lives in East Lansing with his wife and son.

Derrell Slaughter, Vice President and Chair of Nominating Committee, is a consultant at Public Sector Consultants (PSC). He has a BA in Public Policy from Michigan State University. Derrell supports the Energy and Environment division of PSC by conducting research and analysis, providing strategic counsel on a variety of public policy and regulatory topics, and contributing to written deliverables. Before joining PSC in 2019, Derrell worked for the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), where he played an integral role in the commission's implementation efforts of the state's most recent energy policy. Outside of his work at PSC, he serves on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners as the Commissioner that represents the 3rd district, South Lansing. He was elected this past November and currently serves as the Chair of the Ingham County Board of Commissioner's Democratic Caucus and Vice-Chair of its Law and Courts Committee. He is also a proud member of the ACLU of Michigan's Board of Directors where he serves as the organization's Equity Officer. 

Katherine Humphrey, Vice President and Chair of the Fund Development Committee, is a longtime advocate for women, children and families with a passionate commitment to social justice and human rights for all people. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Duke University and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling from Indiana University and served as President/CEO of Planned Parenthood in West and Northern Michigan for 27 years. Prior to that, she worked as a therapist and administrator in the community mental health sector and as a hospital social worker serving terminally ill children and their families. Kathy was co-founder of the Progressive Women’s Alliance PAC and co-founder of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. She is currently a Vice President of the Board of the ACLU of Michigan and serves on multiple regional community boards and steering committees.

Melissa Cragg, Treasurer, is the retired Chief Investment Officer of The Fisher Group.  Prior to working with the Fisher Group Melissa was the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer at The Detroit Medical Center and a corporate banker with Comerica Bank. Melissa’s board experience includes Baystate Health Corporation, Michigan’s Early Childhood Investment Corporation, The Girl Scouts of Metro Detroit and Women’s Caring Program. Melissa has also served on the Investment Committees of a number of charities including Trinity Health Corporation, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Melissa earned both her bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Washington University in St. Louis.

Michael Carter, National Board Representative, is a supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Detroit (NDS). He is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan where he received a B.A. in English.  Prior to joining NDS he worked as a Deputy Defender at the Federal Defender Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and as a Staff Attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.  Michael sits on the board of directors for the Detroit Justice Center and the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.  

Ponsella Hardaway, Affiliate Equity Officer is the Executive Director of MOSES (Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength) and a native Detroiter. MOSES, a group of diverse congregations, organizes communities, develops leaders and builds relationships to advocate for social justice. Ponsella is also a National Trainer with the Gamaliel Foundation. She has trained congregation members in South Africa, Swaziland and in the United Kingdom. Ponsella has traveled to Brazil and Mali to study NGO’s work on political and social issues.

Joe Marogil, Secretary lives in the Grand Rapids area. He received his J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and his B.A. from Michigan State University. His legal work focuses on health law and the regulation of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He has long participated in social justice and anti-war advocacy. He is an active member of both the Western Branch local chapter and the Western Branch Lawyers Committee of the ACLU of Michigan. Previously he has been involved with the National Lawyers Guild, Amnesty International, volunteered with the Illinois branch of the ACLU, and has participated in organizing numerous conferences and events on critical social justice issues. 

Laura J. Champagne's undergraduate degree is in journalism and her graduate degree is in law. While she served in both the Milliken and Granholm administrations the bulk of Laura’s career was with the International Union, UAW where she was involved in contract negotiations, including auto, aerospace and the public sector, and policy development, primarily related to health care and pensions. Laura has also been involved in advocacy for long-term-care consumers both at the state and local levels and was the Managing Director for Citizens for Better Care until it ceased operations in 2012. Laura served as Board Chair for Gay Elders of Southeast Michigan which has evolved into Metro Detroit SAGE. Laura currently serves on the Board of the Ruth Ellis Center, Metro Health Foundation, her Homeowners Association, and is a member of the Farmington Commission on Aging.

Peter Hammer is the director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School which is dedicated to promoting the educational, economic and political empowerment of under-represented communities in urban areas and to ensuring that the phrase equal justice under law applies to all members of society. Professor Hammer was instrumental in editing and compiling Judge Damon J. Keith’s new biography, Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (2013). Professor Hammer has become a leading voice on the economic and social issues impacting the city of Detroit, and has added new courses to the law school curriculum on Race, Law and Social Change in Southeast Michigan and Re-Imagining Development in Detroit: Institutions, Law & Society. Professor Hammer has expertise in the fields of domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. He is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served as lead editor for Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, a book published by Duke University Press (2003). His most recent book, Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (2013), combines his training as an economist and a lawyer to takes on questions of international economic growth and development. His scholarship also has examined the role of global health initiatives in health system development and how international law might further the objectives of global child health. Professor Hammer has spent more than 20 years engaging issues of human rights, law and development in Cambodia. He was a founding board member and past president of Legal Aid of Cambodia, an organization providing free legal services to Cambodia's poor. He is presently a board member of the Life & Hope Association, an organization in Siem Reap, Cambodia, founded and run by Buddhists monks to address the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and at-risk young women. Professor Hammer received his undergraduate education at Gonzaga University and completed his professional and graduate education at the University of Michigan, where he received a J.D. and a Ph.D. (economics). Before entering private practice, he clerked for the Hon. Alfred T. Goodwin, former chief judge of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Jessica Lieberman is a 2003 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School where she served on the Michigan Journal of Race and Law and where her primary academic interests were in race and gender discrimination, civil rights and poverty law. Upon completing her J.D., she stayed at home to raise her children for several years. Jessica now works for the law firm Salvatore Prescott Porter & Porter, a plaintiff-side employment and civil rights law firm. 

Yolanda Lipsey is an avid entrepreneur and founder of Instinctive Solutions LLC.  She is a J.D. candidate, has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, B.A. in Legal Administration and has paralegal, real estate and project management certifications. As an efficacious leader she helped build a stronger foundation to the success of many individuals, professionals, and small businesses. She mentors, performs volunteer work, serves on the board for various nonprofit organizations and has held memberships with several professional affiliations.  Ms. Lipsey owns multiple businesses and has achieved numerous awards and recognition.  During her employment with the U.S. House of Representatives she effectively managed the day-to-day operations of the district offices while traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C. to engage in committee activities.  She traveled around the country to work on social justice issues and with Vice President Biden's delegation to China.  She has written over 200 letters of support for businesses/nonprofit organizations in the Metro Detroit area helping to secure over $10 million in federal funding.  Ms. Lipsey has helped to build a stronger foundation to the success of many individuals, businesses, and professionals.


Noel J. Saleh is an attorney in private practice specializing in civil liberties and immigration law. He serves on the ACLU of Michigan’s Executive Committee as Secretary. Noel brings with him a long history of community engagement. He is a past president of ACCESS and has served on that Board since 1989. From January 2002 until October of 2005, Noel was the Post 9/11, Safe and Free Project Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Michigan. He has also served on the Boards of the National Immigration Forum, the Rights Working Group, Palestine Aid Society of America, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, National Lawyers Guild, the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit and as a member of the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U. S. Civil Rights Commission.

Buzz Thomas is a consultant in Detroit specializing in building community relationships for business and non-profit clients.  Thomas Group Consulting has been serving its clients community engagements since 2011.   He previously served in the MI State Legislature from 1997 through 2010, including serving as Democratic Floor Leader in the Senate and as Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives. He was co-chairman of the 2008 Michigan Presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Johnell Allen-Bey is the coordinator and chair for Flint Chapter of Nation Outside, CEO and Owner of Johnell’s Transportation, Co-Owner of J & J Home improvements and partner of WJZZ a radio station in Metro Detroit. Jonell is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a B.S in Behavioral Science. He received an Associates Degree from Jackson College. He enjoys Michigan Football, loves music, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Carmen Garcia serves as the Associate Director of Philanthropy for WDET, Detroit Public Radio. Carmen is responsible for increasing annual operating support for WDET by aligning fundraising efforts and securing leadership level annual gifts. Her public media experience includes fundraising for WRCJ and DPTV and she has also raised funds for Affirmations, City Year Detroit and Community Health and Social Services (CHASS). Carmen’s long history with WDET began as a volunteer on the weekly radio program El Grito de Mi Raza when she was a student at Wayne State University studying the art and science of radio and television broadcast.  In addition to raising money for WDET, Carmen serves as a volunteer reader for the Detroit Radio Information Service (DRIS) which provides news and information for people with impaired vision.

Joe Malcoun is an Ann Arbor, MI based investor and entrepreneur. He is Founder of Cahoots, a 25,000 sq. ft innovative shared office concept and place of community for tech companies and their teams in downtown Ann Arbor. He led Nutshell, a sales collaboration tool for small and medium-sized businesses, for six years as it’s CEO where he spent most of his time staying out of the way of his incredibly talented team and building external partnerships with other software companies. Prior to joining Nutshell, Joe founded CKM Capital, an early stage technology investment firm, that has invested in dozens of Midwest startups. Before founding CKM Capital, Joe was a member of the Strategy and Corporate Development team at DTE Energy and was an early employee at the sustainability consultancy GreenOrder where he led projects for leadership teams at General Electric, General Motors and a number of other F500 enterprises. He is a three-time graduate of the University of Michigan including a M.S. in Environmental Economics and an M.B.A. from the Ross School of Business. Joe is very active in the Ann Arbor community and recently led an investment group to acquire and preserve the Blind Pig, an iconic live music club. He has held multiple leadership positions on non-profit boards including 826michigan and 826 National. Additionally, he actively mentors and advises entrepreneurs both within and outside of his portfolio of investments. 

Shelly Padnos graduated from Michigan State University and went on to receive her law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School. She is the Chair of the Executive Committee of Louis Padnos Iron & Metal Company. Shelley is past president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the national trade association representing scrap processors and recyclers across North America. She was appointed by the EPA to the National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technologies Superfund Subcommittee that was charged with making recommendations to the Clinton Administration on the reauthorization of Superfund legislation. In addition to serving on the Grand Valley University Foundation board of directors, she also served as former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Grand Valley State University. Shelley lives in Douglas, MI.

Kate Wolters is the President of the KRW Foundation. Founded in 1997 by Kate and her late husband Richard, this private foundation makes grants to non-profit organizations with an emphasis in the arts, education social justice and people with disabilities. Kate is also a member of the Board of Directors of Steelcase Inc., and chair of the Steelcase Foundation, an endowed private foundation of Steelcase Inc. She was appointed chair of the Steelcase Foundation upon her leaving the post of executive director of the Foundation in October 1996. Kate serves on a  number of non-profit boards including DisArt, Grand Rapids Promise Zone and the Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund.  She serves as Co-Chair of First Steps Kent board and was appointed by Governor Granholm to an eight year term as a member of the governing board of Grand Valley State University in 2004 and reappointed by Governor Snyder for a four year term and subsequently an eight year term until 2024.  Kate was appointed to the National Council on Disability by President William Clinton in 1994 and reconfirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1996 where she served until 2003.  For eight of her nine years she served as its vice chair. Kate joined the Steelcase Foundation in 1986 as executive director after serving as director of the Grand Rapids Center for Independent Living for two years. From 1982 to 1984, she was a staff social worker in the Steelcase Inc. Counseling and Referral Center. Kate received her BA from Aquinas College and holds a masters degree in social work from Michigan State University.

Gary Boren received a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a J.D. in 1979 from the University of Michigan Law School. He is in private practice specializing in bankruptcy law. He is a member of the Michigan Bar Association and admitted to practice in Michigan state courts, as well as the Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Michigan and the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Gary is a former member of the board of directors of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Association. He is currently on the board of the Minerva Project, Inc., the Washtenaw Area Housing Coalition and the Packard Community Clinic.

Dan Varner is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. Prior to joining Goodwill, Dan served as the CEO at Excellent Schools Detroit, worked as a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and he is also the co-founder and former CEO of a nationally-recognized youth development organization called Think Detroit (now operating as Detroit PAL). Dan has received numerous awards, and his work has been recognized by two Presidential administrations. He is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and serves on numerous boards of directors, including the ACLU of Michigan, Capital Impact Partners, ConnectEd, Detroit PAL, and served on Michigan’s State Board of Education for four years. He is an attorney by training and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School.