Staff Leadership & Program Coordinators

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Management Team

BioPic_HeitstumanDavidDavid Heitstuman, Executive Director of the Sacramento Region’s oldest and largest LGBTQ organization, is recognized as an imperturbable and results-driven political and communications team leader. He received the Stonewall Freedom from Fear Award in 2016 for his transformative work in the Sacramento LGBTQ community. David was also recognized by the Sacramento Business Journal as one of the region’s “40 Under 40” in 2017 for his outstanding professional accomplishments and community involvement. Before coming to the Center he was chief consultant to California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and had served four prior speakers over 12 years in the Assembly including Toni Atkins, John A. Pérez, Karen Bass, and Fabian Nuñez. He also served as trip director for Assembly Democratic Campaigns, operations director for Steve Westly’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, advance team lead for Hillary Clinton 2008, Kerry-Edwards 2004, Howard Dean for America, and the Democratic National Committee. He started his career as a communications aide to Governor Gray Davis.

In addition to his statewide and national professional career, he is active in the local community serving as Chair of the Sacramento Parks & Recreation Commission and has served as President of the Sacramento LGBT Center Board of Directors, Member–at-Large on the Sacramento Valley Gay & Lesbian Softball League Board, and as Chair of the Sacramento City Special Events Ordinance Review Committee.

David holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Administration from CSU Sacramento and a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and business from Gonzaga University. He is well known for his event production prowess including bringing the Sacramento Red Dress Party to life in 2012. He enjoys volunteering for LGBTQ activist causes, weightlifting, softball, international travel, and dinner parties at home. He grew up in the Yakima Valley of Washington State and moved to Sacramento in 2001. He and his partner Spencer reside at the intersection of Midtown/Oak Park/Curtis Park.

E-mail David | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x102

Jesse Archer attended Sierra College where he took part in putting together the first-ever Pride Days event and the Second Chance Prom. He was treasurer for the Rainbow Alliance club and very involved in promoting LGBT acceptance, education, and retention on campus.

After graduating from Sierra College Jesse attended California State University Sacramento where he majored in Sociology. Jesse is very excited to work in the Q-Spot and continue his passion for working with the LGBT community. In his spare time, Jesse enjoys playing video games and exercising.

E-mail Jesse | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x110

Biopic_EmilyBenderEmily Bender has nearly 25 years of experience in collaborating with organizations and the public.
As an openly out lesbian, she began volunteering at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center in 2002, when it was known as the Lambda Center. Her role as an adult advisor for the Friday Night Youth Group filled her devotion to create safe spaces for queer and trans* youth. In 2006, she was one of the founders of the 20 Somethings Group; a peer group that focuses on supporting young adults. Since moving to Sacramento in 1999, Emily has been involved with multiple nonprofit agencies and groups. Some of the organizations include the Sacramento International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (SIGLFF) the American Cancer Society, Capital City AIDS Fund, Mutual Housing California, and NorCal Mental Health America. Emily dedicates her volunteer time as President of the PFLAG Sacramento chapter, a support group for parents and caretakers of LGBTQ youth.

Emily has a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s in Public & Nonprofit Organizations from Chapman University. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Rhetoric & Communications from UC Davis. She was born in Nicaragua. As a native Spanish speaker, she has firsthand knowledge of cultural differences. With education and professional experience, she makes it a priority to acknowledge and incorporate those cultural differences to create inclusive, diverse coalitions.

Emily loves to travel internationally, dance, and spend time with her partner, and their dog.

E-mail Emily | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Claire has been a California resident for over 30 years. For the first two decades she honed her skills as a technical innovator and team builder for a number of high-tech companies; harnessing her entrepreneurial skills as a co-founder for a number of start-ups, she architected, designed and delivered many award winning standards, technologies and products. In 2000 she became a venture capitalist and consultant and soon thereafter realized she had lost her passion for technology.

Moving out of Silicon Valley for the first time in 2003, she found the freedom to follow her desires and passions for civil rights and social justice; volunteering for local causes, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and campaigning for equality. She joined the board of the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, and her local PFLAG chapter and volunteered her time as a grant writer for Seniors First, developing revenue streams and business plans to bring much needed services to the growing senior population.

Becoming Development Director at Seniors First, she worked with the board of directors, volunteers and staff to engage with the community, build relationships and raise millions of dollars for much-needed services.

Most recently, Claire was Director of Development and Communication at Stand Up Placer, where she managed development programs, fundraising events, grant management, marketing and communication activities to support programs and services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. By fostering an attitude of philanthropy, collaboration and donor relationship building she helped to double the agency budget and client services in 15 months.

Born in Manchester, U.K. Claire received degrees in Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Computer Science in the U.K.  She attended UCSC’s MBA program, but chose entrepreneurism over academics.

Her community involvement includes graduation from Placer County Sheriff’s Volunteer program, Auburn Police Department’s Volunteer program, Leadership Auburn and Leadership Rocklin civic leadership programs and local economic development commissions, committees and advisory groups.

She has lived through some personally tumultuous times, has two grown children and lives with her college sweetheart, BFF and wife of 30+ years, her Pitbull Bella and two cats and is grateful for all that she has.

E-mail Claire | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x111

 Jacquelyn Foust is honored to join The Sacramento LGBT Center as the Events Manager. She graduated University of California Davis in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. While studying at UC Davis Jacquelyn worked on the 48th Annual Whole Earth Festival. Jacquelyn also works at the Senior Project Manager for Capitol Campaigns, fundraising for local elected officials.

Jacquelyn remembers finding passion in politics the first time she visited the state capitol on a 5th grade field trip. She got her first opportunity to work for a lobbying firm in 2010, which ensured that she was in the right profession. Since then Jacquelyn has volunteered for and worked on countless political campaigns and devoted her spare time to making a proactive political change that helps everyone.

While attending UC Davis Jacquelyn also worked as a sexual assault and domestic violence advocate. Working to improve women’s rights has been a passion of Jacquelyn’s since a young age. In her spare time Jacquelyn enjoys painting, cooking, swimming, travelling, and lazy Saturdays with her boyfriend, his husky, and Jacquelyn’s two cats.

E-mail Jacquelyn | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Lanz Nalagan is honored to serve the LGBTQ community in his capacity as Development Coordinator for the Center. He also serves as Political Director for West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Finance Director for Sacramento City Unified School Boardmember Mai Vang.

Over the years, he grew passionate about campaign finance and philanthropy in the political and non-profit sectors, and he is grateful that his current work reflects that. After immigrating from the Philippines, Lanz grew up in the East Bay area and attended school in the beautiful Central Coast- earning a B.A in Political Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He also lived in Washington, D.C before settling in Sacramento, CA, where he’s lived for 5 years.

He’s a long-time board member of  Sacramento Stonewall and more recently with the Asian Pacific Islanders of Sacramento equivalent. Lanz is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and hopes to earn his CFRE- Certified Fundraising Executive- in the near future, to continue funding causes he’s passionate about. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, playing tennis, skiing, square dancing, and spending time with his partner, two adorable schnauzers,  family, and friends over good eats and drinks.

E-mail Lanz  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x104

Staff Members

Jerrell is proud to serve as a health educator and HIV Testing coordinator in the allied health professional capacity. He considers it an honor to join as an ally and beacon of advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.   As a southern California native, he earned his BA in Behavioral Science at California Polytechnic University, Pomona and has provided service in the health sector as a Nurses Assistant working with catastrophic brain and spinal injuries before living and serving as a Community Health Developer with the U.S. Peace Corps Guyana, South America for 3 years. While living among the population he served and working in the village setting, he received experience and vision in the community development capacity as a global citizen.

As a recent transplant to the Sacramento Area, he is passionate about humble service as a beacon of advocacy in the community. Outside of the Center, he enjoys longboarding, art walking, volunteering, and cooking.

Email Jerrell

Rodi feels honored to be working for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center! 

Rodi is currently enrolled at the University of California, Davis double majoring in Communications and Spanish with a Human Rights minor. In his spare time, Rodi enjoys traveling, reading books, and watching movies to enhance his pop culture trivia skills. Rodi has a passion for serving the LGBT community and is thankful to be given this opportunity to work for this organization. 

Email Rodi

Aubrey Grande is a Central Valley native who is proud to now call Sacramento home. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014. After college she relocated to Sacramento and began her career at a non-profit working with youth in the foster care system. Aubrey has a background in residential mental health programs, suicide prevention, and advocacy. In 2016 she was given the opportunity to begin volunteering at the Center in the Q-spot. She is eager to bring all of her passions together as the Victim Services Case Manager for the Youth Program. Aubrey is honored to be serving the LGBTQ+ community and continue her career as a dedicated advocate for youth.

Aubrey also enjoys playing softball, creating art, camping in her vintage trailer, tending to her backyard chickens, and spending time with her partner and their two dogs.

Tiffany is a Sacramento native. She is raising her two kids as a single mother and has a passion for helping people and giving back to her community. In her youth she experienced homelessness and marginalization; and this has given her the drive to work towards bettering her education and the equality of life for her children.

She enjoys baking and jamming, country line dancing to George Strait, going to country concerts, and watching the sun rise over the river. She hopes to inspire others struggling through similar difficulties. Tiffany is excited to work at the LGBT Community Center and feels this is a perfect fit for her.

Kelsie_BioPicKelsie is so excited to have the opportunity to serve her local community through advocacy and leadership.

Kelsie attended Sierra College where she received three associate of art degrees in Psychology, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and LGBT studies. While at Sierra she was an active member of the Rainbow Alliance and helped to organize many events including pride days. She was also a member of the Sierra College LGBTQ Peer Advocates where she focused on LGBT suicide prevention as well as playing a critical role in revamping and specifying safe space trainings to work within the very conservative, Placer County. She is currently an active student at California State University, Sacramento where she is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology before continuing to graduate school to pursue Social Work.

Kelsie started out as a youth programs and front desk volunteer for the
​Sacramento LGBT Community ​​Center in October of 2015. In February of 2016 she accepted a position as an Ameri​Corps ​m​ember serving at the Center in youth programs working with youth on skill development. After she finished her term with Ameri​Corps she stayed on as a staff member ​working with the youth programs​. S​he ​could not be happier.

In her spare time​,​ Kelsie enjoys spending time with friends, family, and sorority sisters. She also enjoys cuddling with her three cats.

E-mail Kelsie | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x110

Casey is so grateful for the opportunity to put his passion and skills in data management to good use for the LGBTQ Community.  He has been a member of the community for twenty years, having held positions at New Helvetia Coffee Shop and Hot Rods Burgers in his youth.

An eleven-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Casey has a demonstrated history in using for-profit business strategies to promote the success of non-profit organizations.  He began his career at the HI-Sacramento International Hostel where he exhibited an innate talent for Sales and Marketing.  He accepted a position at a corporate hotel in 2007, in order to learn more about the hospitality industry; with the ultimate goal of bringing that knowledge back to the struggling hostel.  Armed with the tools of Revenue Management, the art and science of forecasting profit based on historical trends, Casey returned to the hostel and built a data management system that assisted the non-profit hostel in becoming financially solvent for the first time in its history.

When he is not crunching numbers and ‘nerding-out’ on Excel, you’ll find Casey singing karaoke and playing table-top role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun.  He also assists his sister in home-schooling her four sons, three of whom are on the autism spectrum.  He looks forward to serving his community as Data Coordinator at The Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

Email Casey

Maihnia Lee, a not-so-recent transplant to Sacramento, hails from her hometown of Fresno, CA. But more recently, she lived in Los Angeles where she graduated with a B.A in Anthropology with an emphasis on Biological Anthropology from UCLA. Shortly thereafter, Maihnia moved to Sacramento where she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) for two years at United Way California Capital Region. Her passion lies in serving and empowering marginalized communities with community building and in healthcare, in particular women and people of color.

Outside of the Center, you can find Maihnia biking along the American River Trail, caught up in a good book or two, practicing her Bird of Paradise yoga pose, and snuggling with her Siamese cat named Monday.

BioPic_PackeyChrisChris is elated to be joining the Center health team as the new Health Advocate. He is excited to empower community members by providing positive sexual health information and to assist in bridging the link to culturally responsive resources. Chris has always been a champion for sexual health; even carrying condoms in his backpack to pass out to others in high school (which is unheard of in Gilbert, Arizona)! With years of serving populations infected, affected, and at-risk for HIV/AIDS, he feels confident that he can create linkages to support with his approachable manner.

After being certified by the State Office of AIDS in 2011 to provide HIV education and prevention, Chris really started to get involved in the fight to prevent HIV and the associated stigma. He has served the community in various rolls with local organizations including: Breaking Barriers, Equality Action NOW!, UC Davis LGBT Cancer Health Task Force, CGNIE, Community Leadership Council, and NorCal AIDS Cycle. He is also currently working part time as a Ryan White Case manager at Strategies for Change providing Substance Abuse Counseling. Chris welcomes all ideas about how we can work together in making Sacramento a healthier city to live and love in.

With his spare time he enjoys coffee, board games, Netflix, and spending time with friends and family.

E-mail Chris | ☏ (916) 442-0185 x109

Zac is excited to have the opportunity to provide services that truly allow people to feel seen and heard. Zac has lived experience on how tiring navigating the hurdles of accessing vital social services can be when merely trying to survive. Prior to working at the Center, Zac was an active Center volunteer helping staff across a wide swathe of programs where he learned first hand about the positive changes our programs have in client’s lives.. Whether providing Respite or Community Resources, Zac takes pride in offering compassionate and LGBT affirming assistance. In his off time, Zac likes to dress up in onesies and watch cartoons and cuddle with all his babies (fur babies to be exact).

Ryan Spielvogel, MD, is originally from the East Coast, but is happy to call Sacramento his home. Dr. Spielvogel received his medical doctorate at the UC Davis School of Medicine and he is a physician and faculty with the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program in Sacramento. He has been an advocate for LGBT health for years and more recently started working directly with the trans population of Sacramento. Dr Spielvogel is also clinical faculty at UC Davis and lends his clinical support and expertise to the Center.

When not busy at work, Dr. Spielvogel is busy at home with his wife and two children. He is also an avid reader and author of several science fiction novels


Elena Falken
Freya Media | Social Media Management & Digital Marketing

BioPic_FreyaElen has been in working in the field of communications all around the world her entire career, starting with a terrific four-year stint as an Air Force technical controller at the NATO Europe data gateway. After completing service, she entered corporate America and worked her way up through the marketing divisions to Director of Product Management at a tier-one global telecom, reaching millions of businesses and individuals around the world with her products and services.

Becoming disillusioned with the impersonal nature of corporate work, she took her skill sets and applied them to building a robust stable of commerce web properties with thousands of happy customers. Elen currently heads Freya Media, an online team of professionals that help small to medium business clients grow quickly by effectively leveraging the heavy power of social media and digital marketing.

According to the Williams Institute study of youth shelters, the ratio of LGBT-identified homeless youth is more than 40 percent, with family rejection the main cause. Working with the Sacramento LGBT Center strikes a personal chord for Elen; as a youth she found herself homeless on the very mean streets of Los Angeles, so she understands first hand the tremendous stress and dangers of being in such a vulnerable and helpless situation. Whether we want to believe it or not, homeless youth are still children, and they are forced to exist alone and defenseless among ruthless predators. And these kids, our kids, are right here, right under our noses. Don’t look away. #ourkids

On a lighter personal note, Elen enjoys hiking, theater, great food, video games with absorbing plots and is a Jeopardy smackdown queen. She has been in love with Sacramento for seven years now and plans to roam no more, other than lots and lots of local adventures and the occasional Trip to Somewhere Awesome with her amazing partner. The cats are on their own.

E-mail Elen | ☏ (916) 800-3152 | @freyamediaUSA |

Volunteer Coordinators & Leads

Nearly 800 people volunteer with the Center annually as board members, council members, program coordinators, event organizers, facilitators, writers, designers, receptionists, resource specialists, youth mentors, advocates, artists, HIV testers and so many more roles we couldn’t possibly list them all here. A very special group of volunteers provide leadership of key areas, giving time and talent year-round.

🔎 Learn about the Center’s history.
🔎 See the Center’s mission, vision and values.
🔎 Meet the Center’s Board of Directors.
🔎 View the Center’s financial information.
🔎 Check out the Center’s accomplishments.