The Sacramento LGBT Community Center has grown to more than 40 staff and is strategically expanding its leadership team to enhance service for clients, community members, and supporters of the organization. The Center hired Valerie Mayweather in as the Grants & Sustainability Manager, which will expand the organization’s program sustainability through the current public health crisis and beyond. The hiring of José Emmanuel Vega as the Director of Health Services and Robynne Rose-Haymer as the Director of Housing Services will strengthen management and support the Center’s health services and housing programs. And Allison VanKuiken was hired as the agency’s first Chief Development Officer to increase the Center’s donor and community engagement capacity.
“Our community continues to face unprecedented challenges during the pandemic in addition to those disparities in health, homelessness, and employment that existed before the crisis began. Bringing on highly experienced professionals into key leadership roles is part of our strategic growth plan that will ultimately improve services for the entire LGBTQ+ community,” said David Heitstuman, CEO. “We welcome these exceptional new leaders to our team and I am very excited to work with them to amplify the Center’s mission in creating a region where all LGBTQ+ people not only feel safe and welcome but are able to thrive.”
Left to Right: Robynne Rose-Haymer, José Emmanuel Vega, Allison Vankuiken,
and Valerie Mayweather (not pictured)
As the Grants and Sustainability Manager, Valerie Mayweather (she/her) oversees grant development and management processes. She coordinates grant research and writing, contract budget and reporting management, and compliance for all federal, state, local, government and foundation grants at the Center. Valerie also oversees the implementation of grants including documenting all necessary policies and procedures, system set-up, data capture, staff training and serves as a nexus between the Finance Division and Programming Division to ensure smooth program sustainability and fiscal compliance to achieve mission driven outcomes.
Robynne Rose-Haymer (she/her) brings an extensive expertise with over twenty years of workforce development, housing program development & implementation, and leadership experience. As the Director of Housing Services, Robynne leads a team of twelve housing staff across the Center’s homelessness prevention and intervention, S.T.E.P. shelter, Transitional Living Program and Host Home programs.
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. 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.
José Emmanuel Vega, (he/him) serves as the Director of Health Services for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. As the Director of Health Services, José oversees a team of eight staff across the Center’s sexual health, mental health, community resource navigation, and bilingual outreach programs. José also provides guidance for the MSW/BSW interns, and acts as a resource to the community at large.
José became involved at his local LGBTQ organization (Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, OK) 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. José 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. José holds a bachelor’s in health administration and hospital management.
Allison VanKuiken (she/they) brings nearly two decades of leadership experience from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to the role. As Chief Development Officer, Allison brings exceptional senior level strategic and visionary donor engagement leadership skills and leads a team of four development and events staff as well as a large number of volunteers and interns that support the Center’s work. Allison oversees planning and management of all of the private fundraising, community engagement, marketing, and event management, including Sacramento Pride. She will have a special focus on major gifts, the Center’s capital campaign, and private foundation grants.
In 2012 after coming out as transgender, Allison’s work shifted to LGBTQ+ issues where she became the nation’s first openly transgender campaign manager to successfully win greater equality in an election. From there, Allison went on to work in leadership roles with some of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ organizations including the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Pennsylvania, and Equality California, where she helped advance equality in state legislatures across the country, build a highly successful leadership academy, run some of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ voter registration drives, and in 2017 helped organize the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ march in Los Angeles.
As a proud member of the transgender community, Allison is particularly fond of their experience as Executive Director of Trans Can Work, where they helped build the nation’s largest gender diverse employment program. Allison is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and holds degrees in Political Science and Public Relations.