Meet Our Team: Ashe and Stephen

Meet Our Team: Ashe and Stephen

By: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Staff on February 15, 2023

Funders for LGBTQ Issues is pleased to welcome Ashe Helm-Hernàndez as our new Senior Fellow of Philanthropic Organizing and Stephen Switzer as our new Director of Finance and Administration!

We sat down with them to learn more about them and their work. 


What strengths do you bring to your work? 

In my work, I bring a level of unshakable faith in my personal being, strong character, and respect for all people’s dignity. I draw my strength from my trancestors/ ancestors. I bring a level of diplomacy and discernment to my work. I also try to be courageous when my instincts tell me.

What motivates you?

Gospel music, Spiritual leadership, and affirmations motivate me! I created an affirmation jar for myself that sits on my desk. Anytime I am overwhelmed, under a deadline, or just tired of screen time, I pull a quote from my affirmation jar. My favorite quote is: “I come as one, but stand as 10,000! – Maya Angelou

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

The best professional advice I’ve received has been: “The first part of making it… is showing up.” This has given me more confidence and motivation to do what I‘ve set out to do. I show up for myself, and then I can show up for others. I am also consistent; I learned this from being a youth mentor and educator. That it takes consistency to prove I can be reliable.

Who has inspired your career path?

There are many people who’ve inspired me. However, I’d say Audre Lorde, as her writings have had the most impact on my spirit and my desire to do the work I am passionate about.  In Lorde’s writing, she gave so much of herself to us to remind us that we must express ourselves and “to speak even if our voice shakes!” I found power in my voice because Audre taught me, “it is better to speak. remembering. we were never meant to survive.”



What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?

I never considered myself a “money person” or even that good with math.  I was terrified of making mistakes in my first bookkeeping role as the staff member responsible for a health cooperative.  I learned the language of accounting slowly and had good mentors, but only recently went back to school for formal education.  Our movement needs more folks to do accounting and make it accessible. The most inspiring part of my work has been using popular education to train people on reading financial reports, making budgets, and feeling empowered around money.  

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Vulnerability allows you to be a stronger leader. Don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Learn as you go. Everyone is struggling with something.  

Who has inspired your career path most in your life?

My mother was a payroll secretary, and my grandmother was a part-time bookkeeper.  Neither of them went to college or had any professional training. Their confidence in themselves to do something high-stakes without any training inspired me to take my first job in this field. For all you self-trained finance folks out there, I see you, and let’s connect! 

We’re so excited to have you join us, Ashe and Stephen!

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