The board of freedom2b is made up of a team of individuals who are passionate about helping LGBTI people who have suffered due to the conflict between their faith, sexuality and gender identity.
- Michelle Kolev is freedom2b’s chairperson, and lives in Melbourne with her partner Linda and 4 children. Michelle comes from a fundamental Pentecostal church background and has known Linda for over 17 years. She currently works as an Assistant Kindergarten teacher and has previously been a mentor for mother’s suffering domestic violence.
- Linda Cropley is the co-convenor, member of the board and chapter leader, and lives in Melbourne with her partner and four children. She works as a Community Health Nurse with the Royal District Nursing Service, Homeless Persons Program. Linda attended Pentecostal churches from her early 20’s, becoming involved in music ministry.
- James Nevein has travelled an unusual spiritual path, starting out as a Baptist as a young teenager, the Assemblies of God, and later the Quakers. More recently James has been attending Ashburton Baptist Church in Melbourne. James has a background in marketing/fundraising and believes freedom2b needs to ensure it has the funds it requires to meet current costs and expand across Australia. “Every State should have f2b.”
- David James has considerable management experience in both the commercial and the community sectors. He has been on the management committees of a number of community organizations over the years. David has a long Christian heritage and remains committed to his local church in Sydney. He is Secretary to the freedom2b board.
- Ben Gresham is a qualified town planner by profession and works for a local council in Sydney’s lower North Shore. His own experience of reconciliation makes him passionate to see freedom2b help others. Ben is part of the Sydney Chapter leadership and also leads freedom2b Youth in Sydney. In addition to his involvement with freedom2b, Ben is a panel speaker for Family Planning Australia in the Same Difference Program which aims to tackle homophobia and end discrimination in high schools. Ben has been part of Hillsong Church since 2004 and has played a major role in seeing the church become a safer place for LGBT youth. Although not quite there, Ben hopes that “one day the church will welcome LGBTI people with open arms”.
- Eric Lee is a lecturer in accounting at Deacon University (Melbourne) and is also pursuing his PhD studies. His Christian association is with the Salvation Army, and he serves as freedom2b’s treasurer.
Under the board sits a vast number of volunteers who serve on our website, at our chapter meetings, at youth events, and at other gatherings (and parades!) The growth and development of freedom2b will be nurtured by the passion and commitment of these leaders.
Leadership within the freedom2b network can be extremely rewarding as those in leadership assist LGBTI people come to new places of resolution regarding faith and/or sexuality and develop healthy relationships. These guidelines have been prepared to ensure that we maintain a professional image and that networking with freedom2b is an enjoyable and beneficial experience for all.
- Whilst we recognise that it is preferable for leaders to have had some experience within a Christian context, we acknowledge that there will be others who, because of their personal or professional experience, will add value to the organization and/or those involved with freedom2b.
- Leaders will have familiarised themselves with our mission, objectives, guidelines, and target market.
- Leaders should be aware of activity on the online community and where possible be involved.
- Leaders will demonstrate their commitment to keep freedom2b a safe place and therefore lead by example, If they become aware that an individual is intending to use our connections for predatory or inappropriate behaviour, they will, in the first instance, make the individual aware of our guidelines and seek their commitment to uphold them. If the individual demonstrates that are not aligned with these important values they will be asked to leave. (Some people within our network are vulnerable and need to be protected. Our reputation is also important to us and we don’t want the credibility of our network undermined by those who would seek to use if for other reasons. I.e. sexual contact)
- Leaders will ensure that the confidentiality and privacy of members and their details are respected; e.g. when communicating to the group all email addresses are placed in the BCC section of the email. Contact details will not be given out without the prior consent of the individual.
- Leaders will make themselves aware of the various support and crisis resources available in their area, and will not seek to provide professional advice unless qualified to do so.
- Considering our broad target market and that freedom2b has no agenda except to network and offer support, leaders will not promote a particular belief system, denomination, or church. Resources are provided on the website for individuals to make their own choices.
- The board shall agree on the scope, roles and responsibilities of leaders within freedom2b.
Our Commitment to our Leaders
The board of freedom2b recognises the crucial role that its leaders play in accomplishing the organisation’s objectives, and the sensitive and demanding work that their role entails. We therefore make the following commitment to our leaders:
- To provide the best resources at our disposal at no charge to our leaders
- To be available to our leaders in a timely manner for consultation, advice and debriefing in regards to issues that may arise in the course of their activities with freedom2b
- To provide access to professional assistance should the board deem this to be advisable.