Meet the Team


Kendra Weston she/her/they/them

Kendra received her bachelor of arts degree in Political Science and Spanish with Honors from Central College in 2012. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2016.
Kendra has always been drawn to the nonprofit/public interest arena. She is an AmeriCorps alum. As a student attorney, she worked on family-based immigration law and post-graduation, she represented children in their parents’ custody and divorce cases. She is a member of the Linn County Bar Association, the Iowa State Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar Association and its Family Law Institute subsection.
Kendra has been a supporter of the LGBTQ Youth Center (in Cedar Rapids), having involvement in both its formation and continuation. It was during this time that Kendra began to look for more ways to serve the LGBTQ community. 2020 was a tough year for all of us, so Lavender Legal Center was born out of necessity to provide hope and resilience for our beautiful community. In her spare time, Kendra enjoys spending time with her wife and daughter, working on her old home, and antiquing.

Founder | Executive Director | Attorney


Emma E. Walker she/her/hers


Emma E. Walker was born and raised in rural Iowa where she resides on a 3 acre vineyard along with her fur and feathered rescues. Emma works as a freelance Artist of photography, graphic and web design under Emma's Cellar Door. With a passion for nonprofits and community outreach, she has also served on the local boards of PFLAG Cedar Rapids and CR Pride. Known throughout the community as an animal activist and LGBTQ+ advocate, Emma spends her remaining free time performing in a garage band with her brother and writing a number of unpublished works. She is incredibly enthusiastic to hold the position of board Chair for Lavender Legal Center and hopes to be an asset to their mission. 


Courtney Thomas-Dusing


Courtney Thomas-Dusing is the Managing Attorney of the Intake Unit at Iowa Legal Aid. Iowa Legal Aid is a statewide nonprofit law firm that provides civil legal services to low income Iowans. Courtney went to law school at the University of Iowa in hopes of using her degree to help others. After graduating law school in 2014, she started at Iowa Legal Aid as a Staff Attorney. She feels her work at Iowa Legal Aid and now with the Lavender Legal Center is fulfilling that goal.Courtney and her wife Sarah became foster parents in 2015. They have fostered a number of kids between the ages of 9 and 18. They adopted two of the teens they fostered and both are successfully living on their own as adults. Courtney and Sarah live in Iowa City with their daughter, Maggie, two dogs, and two cats.


Lindsey Piper


Lindsey is a licensed independent social worker and practicing psychotherapist. She is an Iowa native and a University of Iowa alumna. They are owner and therapist at Piper Psychotherapy, PLC in Iowa City. Her clinical work primarily focuses on individuals and couples. Her specializations include complex trauma, self-harm, and the LGBTQ+ community. She is passionate about advocacy for the LGBTQ+ population within the field of mental health and about education for clinicians regarding the strengths and unique challenges of this community. Lindsey has extensive experience working in the nonprofit sector. She has worked with several area nonprofits during her career including


Betsy Baertlein

Member at Large

Betsy Baertlein lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband, 2-year-old son, and backyard chickens. She is an assistant professor of English language acquisition at Kirkwood Community College, where she mainly teaches adult immigrant students from Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. She enjoys getting outdoors in all seasons. Originally from Minnesota, she can be found enjoying winter sports, such as cross-country skiing, when the conditions are right here in Iowa. As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, Betsy is enthusiastic about contributing her time and talents to Lavender Legal's mission as a board member and has been applying her English professor skills to editing the organization's fundraising letters so far.


Michael Dorsey

Member at Large

Michael and his wife and dog moved to the Cedar Rapids area from Minnesota in late 2020. A Kansas City native, the Midwest region and the people who live there hold a special place in his heart. He currently serves as the Director of Operations for The Iowa Children’s Museum, and has spent the past 7 years building a career in non-profit arts and cultural institutions. He has a passion for serving a mission and giving time and effort to a good cause. Michael enjoys seeking out and trying new restaurants (especially at breakfast time), baking, and exploring new places.


Eric Gutschmidt

Member at Large

Eric Gutschmidt is the founder of Gutschmidt Properties, a property management and real estate development company in Cedar Rapids, IA. Gutschmidt Properties prides itself on providing homes for a diverse group of tenants, and investing in improving Cedar Rapids and Marion. Eric enjoys traveling the world, good coffee, volunteering in his community.