Staff Leadership

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Staff Leadership2019-09-09T16:36:28-07:00

Leadership Team

David 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. 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 also a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business LGBT Executive Leadership Program and the Equality California Institute Leadership Academy. 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 Heitstuman | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 102

Koby Rodriguez (he/him/his) serves as the Director of Programs at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Within this capacity, Koby leads a department of 12 staff providing client-facing services to the LGBTQIA community in Sacramento, California. Prior to his appointment, he spent the previous fourteen years in higher education, most recently serving as the Associate Director of the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center, working with scholars and student staff to advance social justice and intersectionality programming in one of California’s largest university cultural centers. Before arriving to UC Davis, he led campus diversity, inclusion, residence life, and housing programs at the University of Redlands.

Koby’s radical social justice philosophies are informed by his Mixed-Latinx Queer identities. He also has experience as an instructor, conference presenter, and trainer, and currently serves as Past-President of the California Council Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE), a network of social justice educators and practitioners in California. He also previously served as the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community Region VI Representative.

Both his undergraduate (Race and Ethnic Studies) and graduate (Higher Education) work took place at the University of Redlands. Koby resides in Natomas with his partner (Mikey), corgi (Konah), and shiba inu (Bao).

E-mail Koby Rodriguez | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 106

Lanz Nalagan is honored to serve the LGBTQ+ community in his capacity as Annual and Corporate Giving Director for the Center. 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 working in Sacramento, CA.

He’s a long-time board member of  the Stonewall Democratic Club and its newly created Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento. 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, tennis, skiing, bouldering, and spending time with family and friends over good eats and drinks, karaoke, games, and any sci-fi, but especially TNG and Firefly.

E-mail Lanz Nalagan  | ☏ (916) 758-8623

Crystal is honored to join the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as Office Manager. As a long-time Sacramento area resident, she is looking forward to fueling positive change in our community!  She also serves in an advisory capacity for the Gender & Sexualities Alliance and as member of the board for the Rocklin Education Excellence Foundation. When she’s not volunteering, you will find Crystal being a mom, taking care of her many pets, being crafty, or training for a marathon. Crystal is looking forward to connecting with you and helping you make a difference!

E-mail Crystal Disho ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 101

Jesse loves to go to work as the Youth Programs Manager at the Center. He not only gets to help young LGBTQ+ people get greater access to resources and social support, but he also gets to hear their unique perspectives on life, growing up LGBTQ+, and navigating the world today.

Jesse graduated from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. He enjoys reading about social and economic theories that explore how the relationships between power, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and race construct society. His education informs his approach to creating a supportive and inclusive space for Sacramento’s diverse LGBTQ+ youth community.

Jesse spends his free time playing video games such as World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm. He enjoys the strategy and critical thinking skills that games demand. He also enjoys the unique thrill of escaping into prosocial forums were people learn to work in teams, build long lasting friendships, and most importantly, slay dragons.

Jesse is also an avid gardener. He devotes many sunny afternoons to tending to the veggies and fruits that he likes to grow. Jesse’s husband is not as interested in gardening, but he’s always happy to taste-test Jesse’s vegan culinary creations.

 E-mail Jesse Archer | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 107

Pixie is humbled and honored to serve the community as the Assistant Director of Housing.  Pixie holds a Masters of Social Work degree from California State University, Sacramento, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Human Services, and is currently completing their ASW hours towards licensure.  They identify as Queer, Intersex, Genderqueer, and at times GlitterFluid (especially when they’re wearing their glitter beard).

They feel that this work speaks to them on a core level.  Pixie has experienced being without a home on more than one occasion due to escaping unhealthy relationships/unsafe environments, financial instability, and unfortunate housing pitfalls.  They appreciate the opportunity to focus on the underlying affordable housing crisis and social justice issues that directly correlate with the disparities of homelessness, especially within the LGBTQ+ community.  It is their hope to utilize their position to create and maintain safe housing opportunities, empower and amplify others’ voices, and support community collaboration to achieve progress towards much needed social and systemic restorations.

Since free time is scarce, Pixie enjoys dancing, busting out randomly like a broken karaoke machine, painting, crafting, and inspiring deep thought provoking conversations whenever they get a chance.

E-mail Pixie Pearl | ☏  916-299-3415

Tyler Bertao is the Events Manger for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. He has more than 8 years of experience executing events. He found his passion for events at his alma mater, the University of La Verne. Here Tyler received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations. After graduation, he worked for a public relations firm in Los Angeles, focusing on the education districts within the county. He then moved to London for a year to pursue a master’s degree in Events and Experience Management. During his time in events he has worked for organizations like Pride in London, the Winter Olympics and Adobe Inc. He enjoys going to music festivals with his friends, traveling, dancing, going to the gym and lives for a nice picnic in the park.

E-mail Tyler Bertao | ☏ (916) 758-8622

Staff Members

My name is Afure Jemerigbe (she/her/hers). I was born and raised in Stockton, Callifornia.

I graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare and am looking to pursue a career in law. I strive to be an agent of positive social change, dedicated to working in the public interest field on behalf of marginalized and underrepresented people in the community.

My passion comes from my lived experience as queer youth growing up in a religiously conservative Nigerian household. I faced a great deal of scrutiny for being my authentic self and feared the possibility of being forced to leave home. I have become aware of the sad truth that many LGBT+ youth today face homelessness or are dealing with similar fears as I once did and to have a place like the Sacramento LGBT Community Center to go to for support and/or shelter is really amazing.

I have always wanted to be a part of a progressive organization like the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, so I am truly excited to join the Housing team as a Housing Advocate.

On my free time I like to read, watch movies, dance to afrobeats, workout at the gym, and spend time with friends.

 E-mail Afure Jemerigbe

Allis (They/She) is a born and raised Sacramentan and an API queer person of color. They serve as the Case Manager of the Host Home program, which is the newest of the housing programs at the Center which helps Youth experiencing homelessness to match with a local community member for a private living space. Responsibilities of theirs include supporting Youth through case management, support groups, and home visits.

Currently, they’re working to complete their MSW requirements, and previously graduated with a BA in Art from UC Davis. Work experiences have included LGBTQ community advocacy and counseling, assisting in the operations of a free HRT clinic, medical social work in a hospital setting, and coordinating events for members of the CSUS Social Work Student Association.

Outside of their 9 to 5, they enjoy learning about languages, cooking, gardening, making art, watching anime, trying to knit, doing yoga at home, hiking or camping throughout Northern California, and being  nerdy with their partner.

 E-mail Allis Padilla

Ariela Cuellar (she/her/hers) identifies as thick, queer, salvadoreña/latinx, Leo sun, Taurus moon, Gemini rising, dog lover, and pizza fanatic. She grew up in Vallejo CA (shoutout to the 707!) and on her spare time, she can be found going to local museums, hanging out with friends and family, and searching for the best pupuserias in town. Some of Ariela’s side hobbies include photography, making YouTube videos, and showing people how to make essential oil DIY products.

She graduated from UC Davis in 2018 with a major in Communication and minor in Sociology. Before joining the Sac LGBT Community Center, she was an apprentice at Lucas Public Affairs where she gained valuable communication experience.

Ariela is very excited to be a part of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as their Community Engagement and Marketing Coordinator. She is very passionate and looks forward to creating engaging online content that supports marginalized folks in the lgbtqia+ community.

 E-mail Ariela Cuellar

Casey is so grateful for the opportunity to put his passion for and skills in data management to use for the LGBTQ+ Community.  He’s 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.  Casey’s experience is bookended by other positions he has held: Research Assistant at the Institute for Social Research through Sacramento State University and Data Analyst for PG&E’s Natural Gas Vehicle Department.

When he’s 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 with his soon-to-be wife and son. He looks forward to serving his community as Data Coordinator at The Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

 E-mail Casey Maloney

Christina was born Guadalajara and raised in the beautiful and sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

She graduated from University Of Guadalajara in 2015 from the Multimedia Art School where she majored in Photography and Audiovisual Production. During her time in Mexico, she was an active member of “The Starving Artist Studio Gallery, Vallarta ArtWalk, SETAC (LGBT Center), the LGBT Galleries and participated in Art Shows like “Irreal Visual” and “Emergente”.

Even though Christina was able to experience many opportunities in Mexico that other Trans women were not, she had to leave her country and seek asylum in the United States. During the beginning of her transition and arrival in the United States, she realized of the need of bilingual services, legal resources, employment programs and support groups for the LGBTQ Latinx Community who represent one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States.

For the past 7 years, Christina has worked in the creative industry as Audiovisual Producer for “Info Channel Mexico”, an active participant in FICPV (International Film Festival of Puerto Vallarta), FICG (International Film Festival Of Guadalajara) and Premio Maguey.

Christina has also participated and covered LGBTQ events such as SF Pride 2016 -2018, Trans March #Giveusourroses 2018, Vision of Equality 2018, TDOV 2019, and Transgender National Health Summit 2019 etc.

Christina is currently in a happy stage of her life, as the Bilingual Outreach Coordinator and the facilitator for the first Trans Latina Women Support Group in Sacramento. She is able to focus on the needs of the Latinx Community and experience the diversity that makes the LGBTQ Community so special. working with the Bilingual Department of The Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

 E-mail Christina Arias

My name is Elizah Claborne (she/her/hers) and I am very passionate about Trans Women of Color issues and creating positive change for our community. I love to travel, cook, and hangout with friends and family. LGBTQ+ youth is something I’ve always been into, mentoring positive encouragement is key to the success of our young and I plan to have a spot in making that happen.

E-mail Elizah Claborne

Ericx is from the small, Danish town of Solvang, California. They recently graduated from UC Davis where they majored in Community and Regional Development and minored in Theatre and Dance. During their time at Davis, they were an active member of La Familia and ally for the Asian Pacific Islander Queers (APIQ). They worked as the Gender and Sexuality Coordinator for the Latinx community and also worked as the Campus Climate Coordinator for the Cross Cultural Center. In 2016, they received the Angelina Malfitano Award for their work in UC Davis queer and trans community over the years.

In their down time, Ericx likes to make people laugh. They are a very theatrical person with over a decade of experience in creating quality puns and dad jokes. They are fluent in the art of puppet-making and can always find a way to make something out of nothing. Ericx also enjoys playing with makeup and teaching others how to create drag personas. Their lifetime goal is to use theater as a tool for community engagement.

Ericx is very excited to be a part of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. They are looking forward to working with LGBTQ+ youth in the community.

 E-mail Ericx Perez

Kelsie is so happy to have the opportunity to serve her local community through advocacy and leadership.

As a military dependent, Kelsie has moved for most of her life but has been in the Marysville Norcal area for the last 10 years, she has recently moved to Sacramento and couldn’t be happier.

Kelsie has been working within the LGBTQ+ community for the last six years, working specifically with suicide prevention, campus climate among LGBTQ+ youth on college campuses, foster youth, and youth experiencing trauma.

Kelsie will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in Fall 2018 from California State University, Sacramento. She will then go on to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work. Ultimately, she would like to be a social worker serving those most in need.

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 worked at the center as an AmeriCorps member in youth programs working with youth on skill development. In September 2016, she became a Peer Youth Advocate in the center’s youth programs.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, doing philanthropy work through her sorority, and spoiling her three cats and one dog.

 E-mail Kelsie Hale

Kyle Sewell (He/Him/His)  officially joined the staff as a Youth Advocate in 2019 after volunteering for many months. Kyle is eager to help the center push the gay agenda that is equality! He works in the Q-spot and finds it very rewarding to work here and to help the youth that come in.

His ultimate career goal is to become a physical therapy assistant. He’s currently going to Cosumnes River College working to complete his Kinesiology degree before applying to the Medical program at UNR.

He enjoys sports and other physical activities. Some of the sports he’s done are: swim, soccer, tennis, volleyball, football, and more. Favorite hobbies in his free time are video games, ceramics, and painting.

 E-mail Kyle Sewell

Marcy Basila is a recent Sacramento State University graduate. She was an intern at the center before she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.  In the Fall 2018, she will be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration on LGBTQ issues, Seniors, and Veterans.

Marcy is a mother of four children and has a grand-pup named Sunny. She is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and is a parent to an LGBTQ+ youth. Her hobbies include cooking, shopping, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. Self-care is an important part of being a Social Worker and Marcy enjoys movies and popcorn.

Marcy’s experience from interning with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center has brought meaning and compassion with her work. Her passion to help the most marginalized has taken her advocacy work to the California State Capitol lobbying for LGBTQ+ rights.

She would like to thank the Sacramento LGBT Community Center in giving her the opportunity to be a part of their team, helping the LGBTQ+ community thrive.

E-mail Marcy Basila

Mari Wrobi (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary & intersex activist born and raised in Sacramento, California. In May 2019, Mari graduated from California State University, Sacramento with two Bachelor’s degrees; one in Psychology and one in Deaf Studies. Mari first became actively involved with the LGBTQ+ community in Sacramento in 2017, when they started volunteering at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

Since then, they have worked with the PRIDE Center at CSUS; CSUS’s LGBTQ+ club on campus, Queer Union; the Lavender Library; the Gender Health Center; Queer Voices, an educational performance panel on LGBTQ+ identities;  and so much more. Most recently, Mari became a youth member and intersex advocate with the international organization, interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth. With their “Intersex 101” educational workshop, they have traveled both the state and nation educating people on intersex existence, intersectionality, and experience. In their spare time, they can be found playing their favorite card game, Magic the Gathering (and running an LGBTQ+ Magic group in Sacramento) or performing spoken word on queer resistance and resilience through art.

 E-mail Mari Wrobi

Matías Castro (they/them/theirs) is the Sacramento LGBT Community Center’s Health Educator and Testing Coordinator. Matías identifies as queer, femme, vegan, Salvadoran, Mexican, and Brown. Born and raised in South Sacramento (and Davis), Matías feels the urgency to engage and collaborate with the community of Sacramento and surrounding areas.

Matías enjoys spending time with their partner, two youngest siblings, friends, playing video games, reading theory and post-apocalyptic books, and cooking. Matías has a bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley and is also a Sacramento City Community College alum.

Matty is delighted to serve the community as a Housing Advocate for the S.T.E.P. program. Having grown up in the farming community of Yuba City, Sacramento has long been their hub for all things queer, and they’ve found their chosen family among the LGBTQ+ community.

Matty identifies as gender nonconforming, asexual, panromantic, polyamorous, and is a member of the leather community. Assigned male at birth, they prefer they/them pronouns, having divorced the Patriarchy through intersectional feminism’s liberation.

In addition to queer activism, Matty is also a freedom of mind advocate, speaking out against religious abuse, conversion therapy, extremism and undue influence. They’re also neurodivergent, a body positivity advocate, and a parent to two queer children. They’ve taken on the criminal justice, mental health, and education systems on behalf of themself and their family, and they’re excited to channel their passion into the S.T.E.P. Program.

Moe Copeland is ecstatic to be joining the team at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as the Case Manager of the Short-term Transitional Emergency Program!  Moe’s love for housing began many years ago, working both in care homes for adolescents with developmental disabilities and residential housing in higher education.  Working with LGBTQ+ youth, the highs (and the lows), and the delicate intricacies of housing are what keep Moe’s passion for housing alive and thriving.  After clocking out, Moe can be found at your local karaoke spot, on the stage reciting a monologue or two, or brushing his fluffy beard.  Say hello!

 E-mail Moe Copeland

I am highly organized, detail oriented, and consistently meet deadlines. I like a clean workspace and a logical filing method. I find this increases my efficiency and helps the rest of the team stay on track. I thrive on setting goals for myself that are essential to my personal growth and professional success. I always challenge myself to learn new skills that will help me to improve myself, do better work and ensure quality and positive outcomes. I am dedicated, loyal, and above all passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I am naturally motivated, committed, and driven to do my best.

 E-mail Mona Ibanez

Rachel Henry is both honored and ecstatic to bring her passion for LGBTQIA+ education and engagement, training, and coalition building to the Center. Raised in the greater Sacramento Area, she has spent the last eights years studying and educating along the Central California coast.

Rachel holds a Masters of Arts in Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz. Most recently, she joins the Center after working in Higher Education at CSU Monterey Bay, where she expanded programming for LGBTQIA+ community members and improved training for the professionals that work with them. While in the Monterey Bay Area, Rachel was elected as one of the founding Co-Chairs for the Monterey Peninsula Pride organization.

In her spare time, you can find Rachel reading a good book, strength training, on the search for a fun trivia night, or cuddling her adorable pup, Jake. Rachel loves being outdoors, staying active, and trying new activities.

 E-mail Rachel Henry

Riley started their career path as a senior in high school when they took an AP psychology class, and five years later, they graduated from California State University Sacramento in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. They got their Associates Degree in psychology from American River College in May 2016 and received a certificate in technical theatre during the following semesters.

In March 2017, Riley started volunteering in the Q-Spot at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center and became an AmeriCorps Peer Youth Advocate at the center a year later. In 2017, they also served on the Transgender Inclusion Task Force at California State University Sacramento on the AB 1732 subcommittee overseeing the facilities’ compliance with California’s neutral bathroom bill. Currently, Riley holds the Youth Advocate & Project Coordinator position at the center and spends most of their time in the Q-Spot with the youth.

Riley is also a member of the Kaiser Transgender Member Advisory Council for the Greater Sacramento Area. This committee is working to help Kaiser Permanente staff and health care specialists better interact with and provide services for their transgender patients, as well as to create more efficient service portals and support systems for transgender patients within Kaiser Permanente.

Riley enjoys supporting LGBTQ+ youth as they grow and create the future of our community. They look forward to a Queer Community based in love, acceptance, compassion, knowledge, and strength. Outside of work, Riley enjoys skateboarding, hiking, video games, petting their cats, and propagating succulents.

Riley identifies as Gender Neutral and uses they/them/theirs pronouns.

 E-mail Riley Wheeler

Stephan is a First-Generation College Student, studying for a BA in Psychology at UC Davis with plans to pursue a Masters in the Fall of 2020. He is honored and excited to fill the role of TLP Case Manager at the LGBT Center and hopes to serve the community that helped save his life when he moved to Sacramento in 2013. When he arrived, Stephan was homeless, without money or family support, and dependent on drugs and alcohol. The Center provided him with resources and support and eventually Stephan was able to recover in early 2015.

Previously, Stephan’s passion to serve the LGBTQ Community brought him to A Community For Peace, a domestic violence intervention agency and was a founding member of their Tapestry Collaborative. Their task was to assess the needs for supportive services for LBGTQ and marginalized communities suffering from domestic, family and intimate partner violence. He served as the Co-Manager of Legal services. Since 2015, Stephan has operated a sober living home that serves Gay, Bi, and Trans men suffering from substance abuse and chemical dependency and is honored to bring his experience to the Sacramento LGBTQ Community Center.

In the rare occasion that he has it, Stephan routinely spends hours in the gym and seeing horror movies. He is on the Varsity Gay League kickball team of Sacramento. His food weakness is ice cream and burritos. Additionally, he plays video games and collects more books and graphic novels than he has time to read. His dream is to have a library of books that he can spend retirement (Is that a thing anymore?) reading the literature he couldn’t when print was still alive.

 E-mail Stephan Thomas

Steven was born and raised in Elk Grove, Ca and is ecstatic to be a part of the Sacramento LGBTQ+ community. Steven enjoys being apart of such an amazing organization that helps LGBTQ+ people. As someone who has experienced homelessness himself, Steven understands the value of having a roof over your head and a support system to help you get through the hard times. He enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and helping the community. He is a member of Queer Leather Association of Sacramento and enjoys helping out the group with anything they might need.


We offer a competitive salary and outstanding employee benefits*
• Medical, dental, and vision with a domestic partner option
• An employee assistance program
• An optional 401(k) retirement program
• Automatic deposit option
• Employer-paid life and long-term disability insurance
• Paid sick leave
• 10 days paid vacation during first year of employment
• 11 paid holidays and three floating holidays per year

*As of April 1, 2019 for eligible employees


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.