Our Staff

Our Staff

Darrious Hilmon, Executive Director

Darrious Hilmon has nearly 20 years of measurable experience in strategy driven fund development, event management and marketing. Darrious comes to Affirmations from the Chicago Urban League, where he served as a member of the executive management team with lead accountability for planning and execution of all fund development activity, as well as design and implementation of organization and program evaluation systems. Prior to joining Affirmations, Hilmon was the Chief Development & Marketing Officer for Youth Guidance, where he led fund development activity, as well as the agency’s marketing and communications initiatives. In addition to winning the highly-coveted Neighborhood Builder Award from Bank of America, Hilmon led Youth Guidance’s efforts to cultivate significant partnerships with the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.

Prior to Youth Guidance, Hilmon served as Vice President of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, where he was responsible for strategy development, and management of corporate, foundation, government and United Way partner relationships. Previously, Hilmon served as Marketing & Development Director for Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, where he led the team responsible for winning the Neighborhood Builder Award from Bank of America (the first Detroit non-profit to ever win the award), and the Achieving Excellence Award from DTE Energy.

Hilmon has also completed successful stints with the United Negro College Fund, where he oversaw the Detroit (MI) edition of the annual Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon, and Global Hue Advertising, where he supported the creation and execution of public relations and community engagement initiatives for Global Hue clients including Daimler Chrysler, Kmart and Verizon. A Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Hilmon is the Essence® best-selling author of the novels, 5 Dimes (Penguin/NAL; 2003) and Divalicious (Penguin/NAL; 2004), and the anthology, Mad Love (Author house; 2005).

Shyam Suchak, Senior Director of Operations

Shyam Suchak brings nearly a decade of measurable leadership and organizational development experience to Affirmations. He has developed a keen ability to lead and motivate teams while focusing on organization goals. Shyam’s experience in performance management and process improvement have resulted in improvements to delivery of quality services in his previous positions.  Prior to Affirmations, Shyam served as Director of Community Programs Operations and Organizational Development at Anne Grady Services, a private non-profit organization in Toledo, OH, providing services to the developmentally disabled individuals. In this position he provided leadership to three departments with approximately 150 employees combined. Shyam earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication from the University of Toledo and a Masters of Organizational Leadership from the Lourdes University. He has attained his Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). Previously, Shyam served as Vice President on the board of the Autism Society of Northwest OH.

Born and raised in Tanzania, where he spent 20 years of his life, Shyam lived in India for five years before moving to the United States in 2001. He enjoys traveling, international music, and spending time pampering his pets. In addition to English, Shyam speaks fluent Hindi, Gujarati, and Swahili.

Charlotte Myers, Director of Development

Before joining Affirmations as the Director of Development, Charlotte Myers previously served as a development officer at the University of Michigan's Rackham Graduate School. She is responsible for design and implementation of Affirmations' individual, corporate and foundation fund development campaigns, as well as signature fundraising events. She also serves as a board member of the Jim Toy Community Center in Ann Arbor and holds a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.

Jill Proctor, Director of Marketing and Communications

Jill Proctor previously led marketing for special exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She oversees planning, coordination and execution of all marketing, communications and public relations initiatives for Affirmations. Prior to her work at the DIA, Proctor held marketing positions at CARFAX and Volkswagen Group of America and is a former volunteer for the HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Ypsilanti. She holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Michigan.  

Jill currently lives in Lafayette Park, Detroit, and enjoys distance running and Detroit history.  She is also the coordinator for the Affirmations Run Club.

Lydia Ahlum Hanson, Interim Director of Programs

Since March 2013, Lydia Ahlum Hanson, MSW, MPH has managed Affirmations’ robust Health & Wellness program area, which works to address LGBT health disparities through professional training and development, LGBT-affirming mental health services, community education, coalition building, and connection to health resources.

In 2012, Lydia graduated from University of Michigan’s Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work programs with a focus in sexuality and gender-related health disparities and community organizing. While studying at University of Michigan, she worked at the Center for Sexuality & Health at the School of Public Health where she worked on a project that investigates structural factors that influence HIV infection among Black and Latino men who have sex with men in the Detroit metro area. Before graduate school, Lydia spent three years coordinating The Corner Health Center’s Theatre Troupe, a high school peer education outreach program in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Originally from rural Maryland, Lydia moved to Michigan in 2007 and currently lives in southwest Detroit. She is a member of Detroit Radical Social Workers and serves on the vestry of St. Peters Episcopal Church, which houses numerous ministries and organizations with a commitment to justice.

Kelsey Hug, Community Resource Manager  

Lilianna Reyes, Youth Program Manager 


Megh Hollowell, Community Engagement Coordinator



Tevin Giles, Youth Program Coordinator


Volunteer Spotlight

I came out alone and it was rough so I wanted to make sure no one else was alone.  I'm a big advocate for LGBTQ rights.  Watching this organization grow from a blueprint to what it is today has been amazing.

Upcoming Events

25 Nov 2015

25 Nov 2015

25 Nov 2015

25 Nov 2015

Partner Spotlight



One of the leading finacial services providers in the country helps bring career development skills to 15 underserved youth with generous support of the Affirmations Youth Workforce Development Program.