Board of Directors
David M. Comstock, President
David is an Assistant Vice President, Junior Scrum Master, and the current President of the Pride resource group for M&T Bank. A graduate of Erie Community College, he holds an Associates of Science in emergency management and graduated in 2022 from SUNY Empire State College with a Bachelor of Science in business, management, and economics with a concentration in human resources. David is an active volunteer and supports WNY through a variety of board and committee positions. As an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion he works to build relationships and partnerships across networks and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace and WNY community. David is a two-time scholarship recipient from embrace Western New York.
Bryan Ball, Vice President
Ashley Litwin, Secretary
Ashley J. Litwin is a graduate of Mercyhurst University, where she studied Political Science and Environmental Studies, graduating in 2005. She then continued her education at the University of Buffalo School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor in 2008. Upon graduation, she worked in various areas of law in private practice including commercial litigation, real estate, and civil litigation. After 5 years of working exclusively on legal matters, Ashley started Litwin Realty, a local real estate brokerage, where she serves as the owner and broker. She serves on the Government Affairs Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Buffalo Niagara Realtors Association working to ensure safe and equitable housing opportunities for New York residents. Ashley also volunteers for a local animal rescue by fostering animals in need.
Harry has always enjoyed the enriching and fulfilling experience of working in a team environment with professionals and others of diverse cultural backgrounds. Harry is a results-oriented administrator, motivated community educator and classroom teacher offering over 30 years of professional experience. He helped to develop, implement and facilitate student support groups, teacher training and parent/community workshops.
Harry has worked extensively with children from kindergarten to the collegiate level. He developed and implemented a required Drugs & Sports course for all students participating in a team sport, sports medicine or athletic training at Canisius College. Additionally he has worked with recovering adults through Jobs Training Partnership Act (JTPA) formerly Project Up-Grade. His experience as a vocational counselor with Project Up-Grade provided him an opportunity to collaborate with employers, unions and business leaders.
As an administrator and Drug Prevention Specialist Harry supervised, trained and scheduled a staff of Prevention Educators, Student Assistance/Prevention Counselors and agency support staff. As the Director of Programs he was involved with all aspects of agency management including: grant writing, development and implementation of agency mission and goals, as well as budget and personnel policies. Harry administered, reviewed and reported on grants with the Buffalo Public Schools, BOCES Non-Public Schools Consortium, the Erie County Department of Mental Health and the United Way of Buffalo. Under his supervision Harry’s teams created innovative support programs for youth, educators, employees and their families throughout Erie County.
On his creative side Harry enjoys drawing, painting, pottery and photography. He also worked as a jewelry designer for a company specializing in unique one of a kind designs before retiring.
Harry has served on the Buffalo Brunch Committee for the last several years as a committee member and co-chair before becoming a board member. He now looks forward to assisting embrace Western New York to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
Molly Ranahan – Arent
Countess – Jai “CJ” Richards
CJ was born in Jamaica and raised in Brooklyn. She moved to Buffalo when she started at D’Youville College, where she earned her degree as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. CJ was a leader of the Alliance Club, the LGBTQ association at the college for several years. There she helped bring understanding, organize campus events, and support community service outreach. CJ has been a part of the embraceWNY community for almost 10 years. Starting as a volunteer, then becoming a member of the Buffalo Brunch Committee for the past several years before joining the Board this year, she has enjoyed meeting members of the LGBTQ+ community in Buffalo. CJ is currently working as a Physical Therapist where she aims to bring the best care while always trying to promote knowledge and understanding for the LGBTQ community. CJ recently married and she and her wife moved into their home together during the pandemic while she worked on the front lines with COVID patients. CJ looks forward to traveling again soon and expanding her family in the coming years, starting with rescuing a pup!
Gary A. Wilson, Esq. holds a B.S. and M.S. from Cornell University in Urban and Regional Planning as well as a J.D. from the University at Buffalo. Gary has been an attorney in Buffalo for over 12 years. He began his legal career working for the Buffalo Public Schools joining their legal team as Assistant Legal Counsel for the Buffalo Board of Education. Upon leaving the school district, and after a brief employ with the University at Buffalo, Gary joined the Erie County Department of Labor Relations as Deputy Commissioner and then transitioned to Commissioner until 2021. He served as the Principal Law Clerk to the Hon. John Licata in the 8th Judicial District. Judge Wilson was elected as the first openly gay Buffalo City Court Judge serving all residents of the City of Buffalo. Gary brings a large background in public service specifically with organizations aimed at advancing LGBTQ+ rights and looks forward to continuing that work with embrace Western New York.
John is a Western New York native, who grew up right along the Erie Canal in Middleport, NY. He attended Niagara University and graduated with his Bachelors in Computer Science with a minor is Sociology. John works as a Software Engineer at M&T Bank. In his role, he builds new banking products in the financial tech space, in hopes of better serving under represented communities. At work, he is also the Professional Development Chair for the Pride WNY Resource Group with a goal to empower coworkers to embrace their LGBTQ+ identity and learn how to bring their full self to their career. John is a strong believer that technology is the solution to establishing equity by broadcasting resources, opportunities, and information to a wider, more diverse audience.