Oleg Karpynets began volunteering at the Center's Welcome
Rebecca Rolfe is a community activist who has worked on issues of social justice for over twenty-eight years. She is passionately committed to creating an environment where inequities based on gender, race, economic status, and sexual orientation are addressed effectively. She credits her commitment to community activism to her mother, who taught her the importance of commitment to community, a strong sense of justice, and the individual's power to make a difference.
Ximena was born in Colombia and moved to the US with her family at a young age. She grew up in the sunshine state and went to school at the University of Florida, where she completed a Master of Arts in International Business. About four years ago, she moved to the Bay Area and started a career in the economic development sector of nonprofits. So far, Ximena has had the chance to work for two other non-profit organizations that have made a tremendous impact in the lives of many entrepreneurs and their families: Women’s Initiative and Mission Asset Fund. Over the last few months, she has been working on consulting projects for the family business her parents started over 15 years ago. She is also thrilled to be part of the SF LGBT Center's team as the Small Business Consultant.
Bri Barnett is the SF LGBT Center’s Development Associate. She loves connecting the broader LGBT community to the Center’s work and mission. Bri came to the Bay Area as part of her coming out process and looks forward to building a safe and equitable LGBT community that strengthens long-term San Francisco residents and welcomes those seeking refuge in the Bay.
Prior to working at the Center Bri was involved in organizing for labor, environmental, racial, and housing justice. Her professional experiences includes time spent conducting outreach for the Union of Concerned Scientists, campaign work in the East Bay, and volunteering with Causa Justa:Just Cause and the Transgender Law Center’s fundraising departments.
Outside of work, Bri pursues understanding and embodiment through mindfulness, yoga, cooking, and reading.
Leisa is excited to join the center as a financial services associate. She arrives with 5 years of experience teaching personal finance classes to K-12 students throughout the bay area. Leisa believes in education above all else and hopes to empower the community through financial education.
Leisa's background includes a BA in Political Science from UCLA and prior to entering the working world formally she held an internship at LifeWorks Youth Mentoring (now a part of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center) focusing on LGBTQ youth aged 14-24.
In her spare time you'll find Leisa singlehandedly trying to save the United States Post Office by sending out hundreds of postcards to people across the globe, hashtag snailmail!
Benjamin Bustamante is the Manager of Employment Services on the LGBTQ Employment Services team. He comes to us by way of being a former client. Upon his move to San Francisco from Sacramento in 2012, Benjamin sought the assistance and support of the Center’s employment programs. After a brief time as a local project manager, he wanted to give back to the community that welcomed him with open arms and chose to help other LGBT job seekers by joining our team.
With experience in internet and software start-ups, statewide energy conservation, alternative energy, and political legislative consulting, Benjamin brings a wealth of experience in fast-paced work environments. Benjamin has been called a “bridge” by many colleagues because of his ability to work with diverse groups, individuals, teams, and other stakeholders.
Since moving here, Benjamin has built very strong connections in the LGBT community through his work and volunteering in many organizations and groups, including: AIDS LifeCycle, Bridgemen, Bears of San Francisco, Folsom Street Events, Castro Bear Presents, Laze Bear Weekend, and AtmosQueer.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Center's Trans Employment Program Team. I was born and raised in Jamaica where I lived a very sheltered life. After spending my entire life living in this small tropical country, I decided to move to New York City. This was the beginning of a brand new life for me.
After living in New York City for four years I decided to move to San Francisco for a better and more fulfilling life. I chose this city because of its rich LGBT-friendly history and its wide acceptance of a variety of different identities, orientations, cultures, and backgrounds.
I love to sing and I am developing a greater appreciation for all genres of music. I enjoy all types of artistic expression – art, theater, orchestras, and so much more. I also love the sciences and I am eager to expand my knowledge in the ever changing and rapidly growing technological field.
I look forward to growing in this wonderful city and I am really excited about giving back to my community in whatever way I can – and to quote a phrase from a song of one of my biggest possibility models, “I was here”, Beyoncé.
Clair Farley is a community leader, writer, and trans advocate. She is the Director of Economic Development at the San Francisco LGBT Center. Established in 2004, the San Francisco LGBT Community Center’s Economic Development Department is the first initiative in the nation to comprehensively address the economic barriers faced by low- and moderate-income LGBT individuals and families.
Clair works across the country and internationally to advocate for increased visibility of LGBT communities. Her story is highlighted in several films showcased on Netflix and National Geographic. She was invited to White House to participate in the inaugural LGBT Innovation Summit and in 2015 was recognized as a “Soldier of Social Change” in the SF Magazine's Annual Women in Power Issue.
Diana is the Center's Manager of Financial Services. She joined the Center after five years of credit and housing counseling experience at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco. In her current role, Diana helps San Francisco’s LGBT community take concrete steps towards their goals of homeownership and financial success. She hopes that those she meets with feel empowered to make positive changes in their finances by working together to create a conscious spending plan. After many years of classes at UC Berkeley Extension, she has successfully passed the Certified Financial Planner exam in the fall of 2015.
Her interests include Roth IRAs, car camping, Costco, and progressive politics.
Rosemary Gardner is our Community Programs Manager. She recently moved to the Bay Area from Seattle. She is excited to bring her creative energy and project management skills to the Center. Before moving to the West Coast, Rosemary spent 15 years in Charlotte, N.C. where she worked in non-profit, arts management, and photography production.
In her spare time, Rosemary competes in roller derby and volunteers with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as Chair of the Records Committee. She enjoys contemporary art, traveling, and running -- usually accompanied by Kenya, her sweet Doberman.
Valkyrie Jacobson-Smith is the Youth Activities Coordinator for the Center’s Youth Program. They are excited to bring 11 years of experience in youth empowerment, community organizing, and event coordination to the program.
A native of Seattle, Valkyrie started their career working for LGBTQ non-profits, including Lambert House, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and the NW Network for Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, where they served as Peer Educator. Valkyrie has continued to make LGBTQ youth advocacy a primary focus of their career through their work family and relationship coach and sex educator. Valkyrie is also a coach, helping families of all structures create and maintain open lines of communication regarding their sexuality, gender and relationship(s), and cultivating healthy connections built on mutual respect.
In their off time, you can find Valkyrie involved in local community theatre projects, blues/swing dancing, preparing for camp counseling at Camp Ten Trees, or co-hosting the Polyamory Weekly podcast!
Avery Nguyen is Community Programs Associate at the Center. While having been born and raised in San Francisco, they are a budding community activist and organizer, particularly for queer and trans communities of color in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area. Prior to joining the Center, they were Public Health and Policy Intern at a health justice intermediary non-profit before finally giving in to doing the LGBTQ community work that inspires them. They feel the most empowered in the company of their QTPOC communities, however loose or tight the connection.
In their free time, Avery practices resistance by working with queer and trans Asian/Pacific Islander community orgs, enjoys journaling, attending poetry events, and dreaming and scheming about a safer world for their beloved trans fam.
Alberto R. Lammers is our Director of Communications.
He started his career at Simon & Schuster before moving to HarperCollins Publishers where he spent 10 years in the publicity department. During his tenure at HarperCollins, he was personally responsible for hundreds of bestselling authors, including: celebrities, television personalities, musicians, artists, historians, scientists, politicians, and RuPaul.
Alberto has also worked at Consumers Union, parent company of Consumer Reports magazine, and the Ad Council. Until 2014 he was in Washington, DC, working on Constitutional and legal policy at the Cato Institute. Most recently Alberto was at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in San Francisco, doing communications work for their policy, legislation, and impact litigation work.
Born in Peru and fluent in Spanish, he is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Alberto lives in San Francisco with his husband Brent and their dogs Barney and Duff.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Roberto has worked in social justice and community-building for over 18 years. Currently the Director of Development and Marketing at the SF LGBT Center, and employed at the Center since 2002, Roberto spent nearly a decade heading many of the Center’s innovative services and cultural programs. As Director of Community Programs, he led the arts and culture programs; children, youth and family services; and community development and policy initiatives. Prior to that, Roberto managed peer-led HIV prevention programs for gay and bisexual youth at the STOP AIDS Project in San Francisco. Over the years he has also served on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and as president of the board of directors of Bay Area Young Positives. In 2012, Roberto was appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee as a City Commissioner for the San Francisco Arts Commission where he currently serves as Vice-President. Roberto holds a B.A. in Social Science with an emphasis in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University and he resides in San Francisco.
Mike comes to the Center bringing a wide variety of skills he acquired from numerous working experiences. Some of these include coffee houses, video stores and 4 years at The Greystone in Noe Valley. When not hard at work here on the facilities team, Mike enjoys good movies and bad sci-fi.
Ellora supports the Center’s mission to promote economic empowerment for the LGBTQ community as Employment Services Specialist. She is passionate about increasing holistic wellbeing for queer, trans, and gender nonconforming communities and has a particular interest in mental healthcare. Outside of her work at the Center, Ellora is a visiting scholar in the Department of Community Health Systems at UCSF, where she supports several studies on sexual minority stress and LGBT mental health, and is completing a post-baccalaureate program in psychology at UC Berkeley.
As an undergraduate, Ellora edited the alternative weekly newspaper and developed an interest in queer theory, anti-racist organizing, and liberation psychology. Prior to joining the Center in 2017, she worked as a professional matchmaker and relationship coach at a dating startup in San Francisco and as a college admissions counselor specializing in personal statements. Ellora holds a BA in English with Honors in Nonfiction Writing from Brown University.
Fresh! White, our new addition to the Employment Services team, is a Certified Professional Life & Career Coach, Writer, Speaker and Community Activist. Fresh! comes to us with over 15 years working with schools and nonprofits in roles including, Assistant Teacher, Senior Manager, Event Planner, and Technical Volunteer. As a coach, Fresh! works with clients to create fuller and richer experiences on their life path; such as reaching particular goals, developing new skills or habits, creating new work, or simply living their dreams in larger ways. Fresh! has the honor to be a coach for members of the Brown Boi Project, a racial and gender justice project focused on young masculine identified individuals. He is a volunteer Coach for LeaderSpring, a nonprofit Executive capacity program. Fresh! is also a core coach with Prism Coaching, a group which provides culturally-aware coaching formed around the concept that understanding cultural experiences profoundly affects and strengthens culturally diverse clients, as well as allies, in the coaching process.
Fresh! is returning to the board of the San Francisco TransMarch where he will work as liaison between the March and the SF City’s staff and events teams. Fresh! is also a long time consultant and volunteer for with The SF Speaker’s Bureau and Marin's Spectrum Center. He is a speaker and facilitator, with a focus on respect and inclusion for LBGTQQI people as members of ALL of our Bay Area Communities, including schools and workplaces. Fresh! is also a certified Speaker for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, which offers transferable skills for speaking, facilitation and leadership.
Fresh! is excited and honored for this opportunity to bring his professional coaching and community leadership to the Center ‘s Employment Services team , which includes the nation’s first Trans Employment Program (TEEI). Follow Fresh! on LinkedIn and Twitter.