Staff Team

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Staff Team2021-09-22T15:09:43-07:00

Leadership Team

David Heitstuman, MPPA, Chief Executive Officer

David Heitstuman, Chief Executive Officer 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 | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Koby Rodriguez, Chief Program Officer

Koby Rodriguez (he/him/his) serves as the Chief Program Officer at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Within this capacity, Koby leads a department of 20 staff providing client-facing services to the LGBTQIA community in Sacramento, California. These client-facing services include Health Programs, Latinx Outreach, Community Resources, Youth Programs, Housing, and the Outreach & Training Institute. 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 | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 106

Corrigan Gommenginger, Chief Finance Officer

Corrigan Gommenginger (He/Him/His) is excited to be joining the Sacramento LGBT Center as CFO. Corrigan has been an operations and finance leader for healthcare, human services, and charitable organizations for 15 years. Corrigan previously served on the Board of Directors of Equal Rights Washington to help achieve Marriage Equality through the vote of the people- the first in the country.

In his spare time, Corrigan can be found cycling or kayaking along the American River with his Husband Rev. Dave and corgi, Duke. Corrigan also enjoys reading, home improvement projects, camping, meditating, and traveling.

E-mail Corrigan | ☏ (916) 442-0185

Robynne Rose-Haymer, Deputy Chief Program Officer

Robynne Rose-Haymer serves as the Deputy Chief Program Officer for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. With over twenty years of workforce development, program development & implementation, and leadership experience, Robynne’s continuing passion is helping young people obtain the education and skills they need to pursue their goals. Robynne began her career as an ‘on the ground practitioner ‘ working directly with low income families and communities of color on health & well-being and education issues. As local school district employee and leader, she planned the implementation of the WIA & Adult Career Technical Education programs districtwide. Focused on making an impact, Robynne extended her range to include consulting and grant writing for non-profit organizations seeking to build new programs or shore up existing ones seeking to serve community.

As a graduate of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP- Class VI), Robynne took her leadership skills to the next level by strengthening her boardsmanship and program management skills. Additionally, since Robynne completed the Prosperity Now Platforms for Prosperity Fellowship in partnership with Bank of America, Robynne has become a champion for financial capability integration into workforce development programming. In 2018 she graduated with a master’s in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness and started the journey for a doctorate at the University of the Pacific. Of all her accomplishments, her greatest is being a proud Mimi to two fabulous grandchildren and parent of three successful children.

E-mail Robynne | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 126

Lanz Nalagan, Acting Chief Development Officer

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 settling down in Sacramento, CA.

He’s a former board member of  the Stonewall Democratic Club and currently serves on the board of directors of 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, spa days, reading (especially self-help books!), watching anything from Legally Blonde and West Wing to Star Trek and Ocean’s 11 and listening to anything from Broadway showtunes and punk rock to Motown and Lady Gaga. You’ll find him chasing his naughty boy Teddy – an adorable chocolate labradoodle – around his house in Rancho Cordova’s Anatolia neighborhood.

E-mail Lanz  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 125

Alexis Sanchez, Director of Advocacy and Training

Alexis Sanchez, A Los Angeles native, got her start in activism in 2016 after the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. She participated in a project that went across the country to the site of different gun related hate crimes and culminated in a rally for common sense gun reform and increase hate crime protections for the LGBTQIA+ community. After visiting the spot where a transgender woman of color was murdered, she decided to dedicate her life to bettering the lives of the transgender community and pursing policy changes that will help to bring more opportunities to trans individuals – especially trans women of color.

Alexis’ background is in public health policy with a specialization in substance use disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community. She was a thought leader in her field and worked to raise awareness of how systems of oppression (such as housing discrimination or over-policing) lead to shorter lifespans and poorer health for marginalized peoples and how the only way to improve the health of marginalized communities is the dismantling of these systems. She also served on the City of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board for 4 years and in this role worked to create numerous policy changes and campaigns to create a safer city for transgender people.

Alexis is an alumni of the Equality California Institute Leadership Academy, and has participated in many initiatives that train underrepresented minorities to run for office. She serves on the Board of Directors for Still Bisexual, a national bi+ advocacy organization.  Alexis was named Woman of the Year 2020 for CA-28 by Representative Adam Schiff. She spends the bulk of her free time trying to improve her community through volunteering, community organizing, and media advocacy to help normalize trans identities.

E-mail Alexis  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 115

Jose Emmanuel Vega, Director of Health Services

Jose Emmanuel Vega, serves as the Director of Health Services for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jose became involved with his local LGBTQ organization (Dennis R. Neill Equality Center) at age 22. First as a volunteer, then as an advisory board member, and subsequently as staff taking the role of Deputy Director. He is passionate about the inclusion of diversity and intersectionality, eliminating homophobia, advocating for LGBTQ+ protections and rights, education, health, and community relations. Jose served as chair, appointed by City of Tulsa Mayor for the Hispanic/Latnix Affairs Commission and served as a City Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission for the City of Tulsa. Jose holds a bachelors in Health Administration and Hospital Management. During his time in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jose worked with elected officials to introduce bans for conversation therapy, advocated for hate crime city ordinance, directed and organized Tulsa Pride, spearheaded the rename of 4th Street to Pride Street which runs in front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. He created city programs for Tulsa youth to learn about local government, allowing them to interact with city officials, tour city facilities, and encourage city volunteerism. Jose also created the first of its kind LGBTQ+ leadership program to grant opportunities and provide necessary tools for future leaders in his community. In his spare time Jose travels, writes and produces music, applies for acting and modeling gigs, volunteers, motivates and helps others to become involved in the community by passing the mic and amplifying voices in marginalized communities.

E-mail Jose | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 122

Simone Thomas, Director of Housing Services

Simone Thomas stands rooted in honesty, transparency, hard work and empowerment.  Her passion for serving Sacramento’s youth emanates contagiously.  As a strategic planner and executor, she is able to see the bigger picture and zoom into each programs’ framework to ensure quality, effectiveness and advancement.  Simone’s accredited leadership development makes her decision making reputable and respected by the organization and community. As a futuristic leader, Simone has the vast ability to energize others to fortuitously tackle feats with an unequivocal mindset.

As the current Director of Housing Services, Simone develops collaborative relationships with community leaders, businesses and advocates to meet the needs of the region’s transitional-aged youth.  Simone strives to supply young adults with fundamental life skills, employment readiness, medical/ mental health resources and education opportunities.  Simone’s love for learning and development began during her undergraduate studies where she learned various facilitation styles to promote cohesive group dynamics.  Simone believes in the idea that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’. Therefore, capacity building is at the forefront of her training goals while empowering all staff to use their distinctive talents and to appreciate the talents of others.

Born in Jamaica, Simone grew up in New York and Pennsylvania and is the youngest of eight children. Simone and four of her siblings are first generation college graduates. She and three of her siblings earned their BS from The Pennsylvania State University. Simone went on to be the first in her family to receive a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management specializing in Organizational Leadership and is currently pursue her PhD in Organizational Management.  Her primary focus of research is to assist small and large organizations in fostering positive, structural change while redeveloping its core mission and values. Simone currently lives in Midtown Sacramento and enjoys experiencing the diverse community promotions Sacramento offers through art, music and food.

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

Jesse Archer, Assistant Director of Youth Programs

Jesse Archer loves to go to work as the Assistant Director of Youth Programs 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.

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

Valerie Mayweather, Grant Finance Manager

Valerie Mayweather

 E-mail Valerie 

Jason Alviar, Communications and Marketing Manager

Jason Alviar (he/him/his) joins the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as the Communication and Marketing Manager, bringing over nine years of digital marketing, communications, and public relations experience to the role. He has a passion for visual storytelling and finding innovative solutions to overcome challenges and obstacles that face most nonprofit organizations.

Jason was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in Fairfield, CA, moving to Sacramento in 2008 to attend Sac State. He started his professional career during his time as a student where he led large-scale student-driven public relations awareness campaigns and events. Upon graduating he would eventually find work freelancing as a social media producer, providing digital support to small local organizations, chambers of commerce, and school districts. His work would eventually lead him to the California Coalition for Youth where he found his passion for nonprofit marketing and communications eventually leading him to doing more freelancing as a digital content creator for the Rainbow Community Center in Concord, CA.

When not working, you can usually find Jason behind a camera shooting award-winning short films and taking photos of friends and family. He can also be found performing improv comedy at local theaters in Sacramento and writing sketches with his comedy troupe. Jason is also a connoisseur of bad cinema, enjoying classic films like “The Room” By Tommy Wiseau, “A Talking Cat?!” by David DeCoteau, and “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” by James Nguyen. But what Jason enjoys the most is spending time watching reality competition shows with his partner, Priya and his chihuahua-pug, Bandit.

Jason holds a BA in Public Relations from California State University, Sacramento and joined the Center in April of 2021.

E-mail Jason  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 104

Melissa Muganzo Murphy, Grant and Program Sustainability Manager

Melissa Muganzo Murphy joins the Sac LGBT Center team as the Grant and Program Sustainability Manager. As a Southern California native, she has thrived in Higher Education and Community Organizing efforts for over 15 years and is excited to bring her skills and training to the role. She holds a BS from UC Davis (Community and Regional Development), MA from Sacramento State (Higher Education Leadership) and executive certificate from Sacramento’s Entrepreneurship Academy (Entrepreneurship). Outside of working for the center, Melissa enjoys running her emerging entertainment company that centers freelance producing, storytelling, and acting in Black-centric visual projects.

Currently, Melissa is utilizing her voice to advocate for equity and inclusion as a community member for the BEST committee for the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Visit Sacramento 2021 LGBTQ advisory board. As a wife, stepparent, and artist, Melissa values work that creates visibility and affirmation for the most vulnerable voices and is proud to join a team whose mere framework holds social justice at its core.  In her downtime, you can catch Melissa listening to her favorite podcast(The READ), travelling with her family and friends, and finding new ways to do her hair because “Black Girl Magic” is life!

E-mail Melissa  | ☏ (916) 442-0185 ext. 128

Staff Members

Aaron Armer, Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager

Aaron Armer (they/them) is a 23 year old whose advocacy is focused on decolonizing internalized messages of white supremacy and they believe we have to be just as committed in dispelling stigmas surrounding Black, Brown, and queer communities as society is at perpetuating narratives that cause harm to our strong already very vulnerable communities. They want to re envision a world where those who are most marginalized have sufficient resources, legislation and love allocated to protecting their livelihood.

Ben Tremoureux, TLP House Manager

Ben Tremoureux (He/Him/His, They/Them/Theirs), is excited to help members of the LGBTQ+ community in his role of TLP House manager.  Growing up in Rural Northern California Ben has made it a goal to make every place he lived a more inclusive space for LGBTQ+ individuals through club and volunteer work. He recently finished classes of an AA in English from Sierra College. He hopes to encourage independence in those he works with and encourage individuality. Ben eventual career plans is to write inclusive fiction and young adult books and to push for inclusivity and representation in media. He enjoys playing videogames, writing, reading, and dungeons and dragons in his free time.

Casey Maloney, Data Coordinator

Casey Maloney 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. 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 wife, Shantra and son, Aaron. He looks forward to serving his community as Data Coordinator at The Sacramento LGBT Community Center.

 E-mail Casey

Ericx Perez, Bilingual Outreach & Community Resource Specialist

Ericx Perez 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

Gray Muranaga, S.T.E.P. Program Coordinator

Gray Muranaga (they/them/theirs) is proud to be joining the Sacramento LGBT Center as a Housing Navigator and Case Manager. Gray graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2018. They spent the time after graduation providing support to families in the social work and human services field, and are excited to provide that same support to youth in their community. Because of their passion for social justice and advocacy, Gray is hoping to go back to grad school for a Master’s in Social Work in the near future. In their spare time, Gray likes to watch Netflix, cuddle with their cat (and teach him tricks!), longboard, do jigsaw puzzles, and play video games. Gray identifies as an agender, genderqueer, androgynous, butch lesbian.

 E-mail Gray

Halia Salinas-Collins, Youth Advocate

Halia Salinas-Collins is excited to join the Sacramento LGBT Center team and serve youth in her community. She was born and raised in Sacramento, CA and is pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature.  Halia has always been curious about the ways media and literature shape our communities’ values and beliefs. Her goal is to become a clinical social worker with an emphasis on mental health and education. She enjoys drawing, writing, and taking long naps!

 E-mail Halia

Jack Hooks, Gender and Sexual Health Program Coordinator

Jack Hooks (He/Him) is happy to join the team as the Gender and Sexual Health Program Coordinator. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2020 with a Master’s degree in Health Administration. He is a Black transman who is passionate about improving health disparities within marginalized communities. He believes in celebrating everyone in their authenticity. He is committed to giving back as much as he can and feels honored to be serving the LGBTQ+ community.

 E-mail Jack

Kyle Sewell, Youth Advocate

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

Lauren Pulido, Community Engagement Manager

Lauren Pulido (he/him/they/them) serves as the Community Engagement Manager for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Lauren graduated in 2019 from California State University, Sacramento with a B.A. in Women’s Studies, becoming the first person in Sacramento State’s history to graduate with a minor in LGBTQ Studies, a program Lauren helped create. After graduating, Lauren held space as a representative to California’s District 7 Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. During his first four months within the California State Legislature, Lauren facilitated raising the Transgender Pride Flag over Sacramento’s City Hall and California’s State Capitol for Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2019. This was the first time in our nation’s history that the Transgender Pride Flag has been raised at a state capital building. Lauren is also a columnist for Northern California’s LGBT publication, Outword Magazine, where he writes about his personal experiences and journey as a transgender man, as well as amplifying the lived experiences of other Sacramento trans and gender non-conforming community members.

He also sits on the board of the Gender Health Center and Visit Sacramento’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. Lauren will forever dedicate his life to embracing the movement, living authentically, and breaking down barriers to help build a society focused on equity and protecting our most historically marginalized communities.

Lauren lives at home with his beautiful wife, Faith, their three cats, Whitney, Prince, and Dolly, and their giant African tortoise, Bernie. Lauren enjoys gardening, spending time in nature, visiting new places, and dancing to RuPaul.

Leslie Parada, Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager

Leslie Parada, (She/Her/Hers) is honored to be serving as the Sexual Health Testing Counselor and Case Manager at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. She is a Latinx lesbian woman with a passion for public service and education. She graduated from Sacramento State University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Leslie has volunteered and worked on congressional campaigns, food banks, after school programs, and the LGBT Center! Doing so has given her a greater grasp of the community she serves and the knowledge and skills to be able to help the undeserved and underrepresented groups in Sacramento.

In her spare time, Leslie loves to take her rescue Pit Bull Terrier, Brent, out for hikes on mountainous trails and scenic walkways. She loves to read up on history, sociology, and culture. Leslie also has an affinity for learning languages.

Leslie’s goal is to eradicate the stigma surrounding sexual health issues in the Black and Brown local queer communities and to promote health education and wellness.

 E-mail Leslie

Marcy Basila, Community Resource & Groups Coordinator

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

Mari Wrobi, Prevention and Intervention Coordinator

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

Matty Phoenix Pendragon, Resident Case Manager – Host Homes Program

Matty Phoenix Pendragon is delighted to serve the community as the Resident Case Manager for the Host Homes program. Having spent her first two years with the Sacramento LGBT Center serving as a Housing Advocate at STEP, she plans to continue channeling her lived experience in TAY homelessness, along with a trauma-informed, client centered approach to support our youth and help shoulder a new generation of Host Homes.

Matty is a demisexual, panromantic, polyamorous transwoman, and is a member of the leather community. She’s served two terms as Board Treasurer of the Queer Leather Association of Sacramento, has been a co-moderator for Tri-County Diversity’s Parent Support Group, and co-founded Yuba-Sutter Mixers; Yuba City’s first social and education organization for queer, trans, and polyamorous adults.

In addition to queer activism, Matty is also a freedom of mind advocate, speaking out against religious abuse, conversion therapy, and undue influence. She’s also a body positivity advocate and a parent of two queer children. She’s taken on the criminal justice, mental health, and education systems on behalf of her family, and considers her tenure with the Sacramento LGBT Center—particularly, having helped shape STEP from the program’s inception—to be one of her proudest contributions to the community.

Monaliza Ibanez, Receptionist/Community Resource Aide

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

Morgan Summers, S.T.E.P. Housing Advocate

Morgan Summers (They/them) is honored for the privilege to serve their community as a Housing Advocate at the S.T.E.P. House. When asked how they would describe Morgan, youth stated the following:

“Fun, easy to approach, and easy to talk to.”

“Nerdy in a good way. Just wants everyone to have fun. Inclusive. Whenever we play board games and stuff tries to get everyone involved.”

“Super genuine, caring, compassionate, honest. You have integrity. You follow the rules. You have respect for others. You’re always smiling and vibrant. You’re very present. You’re very aware and attentive.”

“They are very understanding. They’re kind, intellectual, and honest.”

“Memorable, outgoing, fun, chill to be around.”

“I feel like you’re fun and you try to engage with us and stuff… You can be pretty meticulous, but that also means you are good at checking up on stuff.”

“Morgan is a very kind and caring person who encourages us to strive for our best! We have great conversations and from them I have learned a lot from majestical creatures to important life lessons. It is always great spending time with Morgan!”

✉ E-mail Morgan

Rae Billeci, Office Coordinator

Rae Billeci is excited to join the team as Office Coordinator. Sacramento is Rae’s hometown, and she has been involved in local activism since she was a teenager. Rae also serves on the board of directors for Sacramento Take Back The Night, which aims to resist sexual and gender-based violence through community-led action. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking, concerts, and crafts. Please let her pet your dog!

E-mail Rae

Refugio Pantoja, Mental Health Clinician

Refugio Pantoja joins the Sacramento LGBT Community Center as a Mental Health Clinician to help meet the mental health related needs of those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community in the Greater Sacramento area.  Before starting at the Center, Refugio worked in providing direct mental health services to children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as providing crisis intervention to children throughout the state of California at the California Youth Crisis Line.  Before returning to graduate school in the fall of 2016, Refugio worked at the California Coalition for Youth working to support advocacy work and outreach to help empower homeless, foster and runaway youth, including participating in legislative advocacy at the state level.  Since starting their training as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 2017 (Licensed in August 2020) Refugio has provided psychotherapy services to children, families, groups, and couples both in English, and Spanish.

Refugio holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from CSU Sacramento, and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) in Marriage and Family Therapy at CSPP at Alliant International University expecting to graduate in summer of 2021.  During his time off, Refugio can be found spending time with friends, traveling, running, playing video games or reading.  Refugio was born and raised in Monterey County, moving to Sacramento in 2010 where he has lived since, recently moving to the Natomas neighborhood in 2019.

 E-mail Refugio

Robert Portillo, Executive Assistant

Robert Portillo (He/Him & They/Them) is honored to be working with the LGBTQIA+ Sacramento community. As Executive Assistant he will be the direct line to the Chief Executive Officer. He will be the primary point of contact for external constituencies and as a liaison to the Board of Directors and leadership team. Their degree in International Studies: Latin American Studies from Humboldt State University is beneficial to the Center because they have a diverse background in politics and social issues. They studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina where they were immersed in the Latin American culture and LGBTQIA+ issues in the country.  From working at an environmental lobbyist firm to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Robert has experience in varying work environments and working with diverse groups of people.

In his spare time, Robert loves to spend time with his pup, Chewy, reading, going on a run, and hanging out with his friends. Robert loves to explore new cities and travel to experience other LGBTQ communities.

E-mail Robert

Thienthy Nguyen, S.T.E.P. On-Call Housing Advocate

Thienthy Nguyen (she/they) is grateful for this chance to join the STEP program as an On-Call Housing Advocate. Having recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Psychology, she is excited to return to the town she was born and raised in to serve the LGBTQ+ community here.

She spent the majority of her time at Cal being involved in the queer community on campus. She focused on exploring the intersectionality between being LGBTQ+ and Asian, serving as the Secretary & Finance officer of Cal Queer & Asian. In addition, they served on the planning committee for Cal’s annual QACON, a conference dedicated to bringing queer Asians nationwide to Cal to participate in workshops and a variety of activities. They are excited to bring their experiences and perspectives to the Sacramento LGBTQ Center.

At the moment, she aims to return back to graduate school for a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. She hopes to become a licensed counselor who can provide mental health support to the LGBTQ+ communities. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, watching cat videos and anime, and playing video games and D&D.

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.