Orlando – The new chief of The GLBT Center of Central Florida should fit right into Orlando—he’s a Disney fan, a dog lover and he has a long history of working with non-profit organizations.
Terry DeCarlo, 52, started his new role as executive director of The Center Oct. 6.
He comes to Orlando from South Florida, where he was Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events at Broward House for eight years. Broward House is a non-profit social services organization based on Fort Lauderdale that helps people with HIV/AIDS and other health concerns. Before that, DeCarlo was the Marketing and Communications Director for CARE Resource in Miami.
At Broward House, DeCarlo would “produce big events there to bring in the money.”
He brought in events featuring Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho, and spearheaded a successful burlesque fundraiser.
DeCarlo is originally from New York and was raised on Long Island. He’s been in Florida for just over two decades, following his parents to the Sunshine State. It’s where he met his husband, Bill Huelsman. They’ve been together for 18 years and were married two years ago under the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City.
DeCarlo earned his degree in marketing and communications while serving in the Air Force for seven years.
He said a friend told him about the opportunity to head up The Center in Orlando, and it made sense.
“Bill and I are Disney fanatics,” DeCarlo said. “We both have Disney tattoos. We were up here every 6-8 weeks. We always said, when we finally retire, we want to retire in Orlando.”
After a few telephone chats with The Center’s board chairman, Tim Vargas, DeCarlo traveled to Orlando to meet with the Board and they made an offer.
“Terry has experience not only in nonprofits but in HIV/AIDS service organizations,” Vargas said. “Given that The Center is the largest HIV testing agency in Central Florida, it only makes sense that our next leader should have strength in HIV and AIDS service organizations.”
Even though a move to Orlando made sense, DeCarlo and his husband talked it over for more than a week.
“He finally looked at me and said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” DeCarlo said.
One of the concerns was uprooting their family from South Florida. DeCarlo’s mother plans to move to Orlando by December. The couple has rented a townhouse where they’ll live with their Pomeranian corgi mixes—Sir Budrick von Beaverhausen and Beauregard Picket Burnside—while they search for a home to buy.
He said he’s most excited about being close to Disney, being closer to their Orlando friends, and creating something at The Center.
“There’s such an amazing base that has been laid here,” DeCarlo said. “To take the work they’ve done and elevate it even more, that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
His plans include pumping up the SAGE program, which stands for Seniors in A Gay Environment. DeCarlo said in South Florida it’s “such a vibrant program” and he sees lots of room to grow in Central Florida.
From our media partner Watermark