Austin Rowe | 2022 Board President | Founding MemberAustin Rowe (he/him) has been a REALTOR in the Memphis area for 5 years and launched his brokerage, ROWE - REALTORS, earlier this year. Austin is a founding Board Director for the national LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. He has served on multiple diversity and inclusion committees and most recently was appointed to the Tennessee Realtors Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and Memphis Area Association of Realtors Government Affairs committee.
His why: We need something to represent our community and a way to connect businesses in our community to build and support each other.
Charles "Chooch" Pickard | 2022 Vice President | Founding Member | Events Committee ChairCharles “Chooch” Pickard’s (he/him) career in Memphis spans over 25 years in the private, non-profit and quasi-governmental sectors. He is currently a principal at Architecture, Inc. His diverse career path including architecture, preservation, urban design, development, political candidacy, and community engagement/facilitation gives him the ability to bring creative ideas, innovation and problem-solving skills to any team.
His why: Chooch is excited about the opportunity to help grow his and other LGBT and LGBT friendly businesses through networking opportunities and professional development education.
Ray Rico | 2022 Treasurer | Founding Member | Communications Committee Chair
Ray Rico (he/him) is a bi-lingual Latinx entrepreneur and LGBT+ business leader specializing in advertising, publishing, and marketing strategies for companies in Memphis and beyond.His first company, Ray Rico Freelance, is a locally owned and operated digital marketing strategy company, launched in 2007. Rico also serves as managing Publisher for Focus Mid-South serving the region's LGBT+ and allies community.His why: Rico is most excited about the formation of the MidSouth LGBT Chamber of Commerce because it will serve by connecting businesses by amplifying the members through education, networking, and impacting lasting change in our area.
Credit: Brandon Dill
Virginia "Ginger" Leonard | 2022 Secretary | Founding Member | Advocacy Committee Chair
Ginger Leonard (she/her) has been involved in the LGBT equality movement for 4 decades. Most recently, she is serving as the Board Chair and President of the Tennessee Equality Project and Tennessee Equality Project Foundation
and is also serving on the Board of Directors for Friends for LIfe.
Her why: Helping to found and organize the MidSouth LGBT Chamber of Commerce felt like the next logical step in working to ensure equality for the LGBT community in the business world.
Erin Swinney | Board Member | Founding Member | Membership Committee Co-Chair
Erin Swinney (she/her) is a daughter of the city. She worked as a retirement savings expert for six years, specializing in corporate and international accounts. Active in Memphis’ LGBTQ+ community for decades, Erin’s contributions include founding outreach programs for masculine of center lesbians, speaking at college Gay Student Alliances, serving as a trustee of affirming churches, and building a network of LGBTQ+ resource groups for advocacy in the corporate sector.She serves as the Local Chair of the Raymond James Pride ERG and is a proud member of the OUTMemphis Board of Directors.
Her Why: The MidSouth is ready to lead the way in diversity and industry. She wants to see her community reach its full potential.
Chris Miller | Board Member | Membership Committee Co-Chair
Phillils Lewis | Board Member | Education Committee Chair