Allies are open and knowledgeable toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) issues. Allies choose to openly, actively, consistently provide support for, and advocate for, LGBTQ+ individuals and communities.

Allies support full, equal civil rights; gender equality; positive social change, and they stand against discrimination and phobias: homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

Allies are often, though not always, cisgender, straight individuals.

Allies are:

  • Good listeners
  • Dedicated to bringing about positive change
  • Continually educating themselves
  • Not seeking to be the center of attention
  • People who acknowledge their privilege
  • Always working to expand understanding and acceptance
  • Respectful of others' privacy and safety

How you can find an ally at HFC

The HFC allies listed in the section below have completed Ally Training at HFC and stand in full support of members of the LGBTQ+ community and other allies. These individuals invite you to reach out to any of them with questions, inquiries, and any challenges you might be facing. Most are not licensed counselors, but all are trained to provide effective, personalized support -- even if it's just a listening ear and a safe place. HFC allies provide welcoming, intentional, informal support and assistance, and they will keep your inquiries confidential. Feel free to build a relationship with an ally, or multiple allies, as part of your network of support and solidarity.

There is no hierarchy among allies. While you are free to reach out to any ally based on that person's area of expertise, ALL allies will welcome you, regardless of title, status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other factor.

The individuals on this page have undertaken Ally Training at Henry Ford College and have enthusiastically requested to be listed as HFC Allies. These individuals welcome contact from anyone seeking an ally.

NOTE about confidentiality: All allies will keep your information confidential. If you choose to use HFC email for your initial outreach to an ally, you may wish to simply ask them if they would be willing to have a conversation, without mentioning details of the conversation's purpose. The HFC email system is intended primarily for work purposes, though you may use it for this purpose. You may wish to take your future communications into a more private space, such as personal email or phone/text messages.

Trained HFC Allies (click for a full list of names and contact info)

Ibrahim Atallah, Ph.D., LPC
Pronouns: he, him, his
Associate Dean, Counseling

Nicole Castle-Kelly
Pronouns: she, her, hers
English Instructor

Betsy Cohn
Pronouns: she, her, hers
English Instructor

Rhonda DeLong
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Vice President Marketing and Communications

Mandy Earl
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Student Activities Associate

Kathryn Fitzner
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Computer Networking Instructor

Eric Gackenbach
Pronouns: he, him, his
Department Chair/Program Coordinator/Hospitality Studies

Troy Gibson
Pronouns: he, him, his
Success Navigator / Advising, Welcome Center

Lori Gonko, Ed.D.
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Vice President, Strategy and Human Resources

Mary Kosmalski, JD, LPC
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Counselor and Inside Track Coordinator

Jaime Paffenroth Lopez
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Enrollment Services Associate, Welcome Center

Chari Milai
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Success Navigator / Advising, Welcome Center

Joni Morris
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Financial Aid Associate

Michael Nealon, Ph.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his
Vice President of Academic Affairs

Lorraine Paffenroth
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Manager, Advising

Elizabeth Preston
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Financial Aid Specialist

Karen Richards
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Assistant to the Associate Dean, Counseling Division

Kristine Rouleau
Pronouns: she, her hers
Recruiter, Admissions and Recruitment

Jill Sestok
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Lab Associate II, Learning Lab

Scott Still
Pronouns: he, him, his
English Instructor

Sarah Sullivan
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Department Secretary, Campus Safety

Nicole Wandolowski
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Library Associate II, Eshleman Library

Nikole Ford-Kondraciuk
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Assistant Director, Enrollment Services
Assessment & Orientation

Kurt Anthony Krug
Pronouns: he, him, his
Marketing Public Relations/Staff Writer

Ashleigh Martin
Pronouns: she, her, hers (ladybird)
Graphic Designer

Lisa Masi
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Institutional Research Business Analyst

Patti Sekulidis
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Graphic Designer

Victoria Shepherd
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Faculty Lead, Graphic Design

Andrew Whitman
Pronouns: he, him, his
Corporate and Foundation Relations Specialist

How you can become an ally at HFC

Participate in Ally Training

We recommend that all allies at HFC participate in ally training, to create a community consensus on what an ally is and how you can be supportive and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ members of community.

If you are interested in Ally Training to become a better ally at HFC, please contact Elizabeth Preston, at 313-317-1530 or via e-mail at empreston@hfcc. Training will be offered once a year for anyone who is interested in providing resources, creating safe spaces, and creating an environment free from biases and harassment.

Below are some guidelines on what being an ally means at HFC. HFC ally training will give you additional tools and strategies.

Be visible

  • Wear an identifiable emblem, such as the SAFE@HFC button, a rainbow pin, or similar
  • Make your work space a place where all feel accepted and welcome. Some ideas:
    • Keep an open door and a friendly disposition.
    • Provide a comfortable space for visitors to sit.
    • Display buttons, rainbow flags, pins, or other emblems that show support for LGBTQ individuals. The display can be subtle as long as it is visible and recognizable.
    • Wear a SAFE@HFC button or other supportive emblem.
    • Openly talk about LGBTQ issues, and let it become known that your workspace is a welcoming space.
  • Attend SAFE@HFC and other events so you can be seen as an ally.


  • Understand and affirm the HFC mission to be a Welcoming College
  • Know and share the resources available at HFC to support LGBTQ+ students, many of which are described on the SAFE@HFC website.
  • Learn about the many aspects and challenges of a diverse community. Recognize and work on your own unconscious biases.
  • Understand that being an ally is not an identity. It is a commitment, and a way of life that must be worked at and sustained. It is not limited to LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Learn about the intersectionality among identities such as race, class, education, sexuality, ability, age, gender, ethnicity, size, and culture.
  • Remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. And both can be fluid during the course of one's life.
  • Understand that you do not have a "right" to share other people's stories. Let them take the lead in whether, where, or when they want to share something publicly or with other individuals.
  • Remember that just as there is no hierarchy of suffering, there is no hierarchy of "knowledge" about LGBTQ+ people and issues. Be humble. We are all on a lifelong journey of learning, acceptance, and outreach.
  • Remember that you don't always have answers, and some conversations or situations might be uncomfortable for you. Prepare to be surprised and to respond with kindness.

Take action

  • Participate in HFC Ally Training (see section below)
  • Support individuals when they come out to you. Make sure they feel heard and affirmed, and if they need resources, actively connect them with people or organizations that can help.
  • Active listening is a form of action. Often, what people really need from you is connection: to be heard and affirmed, not to "fix" something or provide concrete help.
  • Avoid making assumptions based on someone's appearance. Be open and welcoming to all members of our community, without the need to categorize or judge.
  • Be authentic in your own life. Know who you are, take responsibility for your emotions and actions, and be genuine.
  • If you witness harassment or discrimination, step in and stand with the person being harassed. Do not become aggressive or agitated; just support the person and stand (or sit) with them to provide support and human connection. If necessary, contact Campus Safety or other campus officials to intervene.

Use language carefully

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Learn and use inclusive language. Respect others' preferred names and pronouns. Use gender-neutral language for things like "partner" rather than "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" when possible.
  • Talk to those around you about LGBTQ issues in a kind, responsive, non-judgmental way that opens dialog.
  • Avoid making assumptions and using accusatory or judgmental language, which shuts down dialog.
  • Avoid generalizing your experience to other people's experiences. It is fine to share a sense of solidarity, but if someone is seeking an ally, it is usually best not to insert your own experiences too deeply into their story. (See point 1: listen more than you talk.)
  • Acknowledge your own emotions before engaging in conversation. If you are angry, offended, frustrated, or afraid, these emotions are likely to affect your use of language. Be aware of these factors.
  • Stay within your abilities. We are all human. If you encounter a situation that is beyond your expertise or that you don't feel you can handle, kindly acknowledge that, and seek help or refer a vulnerable person to someone who can help them. You are not expected to become a professional counselor -- you are there to listen and provide perspective and support. It is better to make a kind, personal referral than to attempt to assist in a way that exceeds your abilities and qualifications.
  • Respond with kind firmness to anti-LGBTQ language and behavior, by engaging speakers in conversation that is intended to educate and persuade. Keep a collegial tone; avoid an authoritative tone.
  • Remind individuals who are using inappropriate language that HFC is a welcoming college for everyone, and it is our mission and aspiration to communicate in supportive, welcoming terms.
  • Remember that not all language is verbal. Be sensitive to body and unspoken language -- including your own.
  • If you are questioned or challenged about your language, respond from a non-defensive, listening stance. We always have more to learn!