Board of Directors

The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s board of directors meets together as a full group seven times a year (September, October, November, February, March, April, June) for business meetings, strategic progress review, and planning sessions. Board committees meet regularly throughout the year to pursue the more detailed work of the organization and the board.

The public and the community are welcome and invited to attend The Center board meetings, with the exception of the small portion of the session dedicated to personnel matters (executive session). The meetings are from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month, to ensure that the beginning of each meeting includes opportunity for public comment and questions, allowing those unable or uninterested in staying for a full meeting an opportunity to participate or offer comment without having to make a full two hour commitment.

Please feel free to contact The Center’s current co-chairs of the board of directors at

Lisa Sanders


Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Lisa Sanders is currently the Land Acquisition Manager/Financial Analyst at Lennar-San Diego. In 2006, she started her career in land development of the Del Sur Master Plan community. She transitioned to new home construction in 2014, managing the marketing of over twenty CalAtlantic new home communities throughout San Diego. A graduate of the University of Redlands in Mathematics and an MBA with an emphasis in finance, she is an outspoken advocate in the ongoing fight for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equality. Lisa has served on multiple boards and committees, including The San Diego LGBT Community Center, GSDBA Charitable Foundation board of directors, the Nicky Awards board of governors, the No on 8 Campaign, and Lambda Archives. Lisa has a lovely wife of seven years and two beautiful daughters.

Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D.


Pronouns: He, Him, His

Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D. currently serves as the Dean of Student Affairs for Warren College at the University of California, San Diego. In this role, he has oversight for residence life, student organizations and leadership opportunities, orientation, student government, judicial affairs and community development for 4,100 undergraduate students. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts in Advertising from Michigan State University, Kafele worked as an Account Executive at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. His clients included Cotton Incorporated and Hershey’s Chocolate USA. In 2001, Kafele relocated to California and served in a similar role at Suissa Miller Advertising where his brands included Rice-A-Roni and Dole Fresh Salads.

Kafele soon transitioned back into higher education and has worked at many institutions including Loyola Marymount University (MFA ’07), Marymount College (now Marymount California University), University of California, Riverside and the College of Staten Island.

Kafele earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Southern California.

Warren Ruis

Vice Chair

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Warren Ruis is the Director of Regional Public Affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric Company. Warren has worked in a variety of roles at SDG&E and Sempra Energy, within the Supply Management, Risk Management, and Public Affairs departments. He also Chairs the Supervisory Committee for California Coast Credit Union, and is a long-time volunteer for the Make A Wish Foundation of San Diego. Warren received his BA from University of San Diego, his MBA from Pepperdine University and is an Associate in Risk Management from the AICPCU.

Simonne Ruff


Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Simonne Ruff is the San Diego Program Director for the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). She currently directly oversees CSH’s work in the region and directly engages in technical assistance, lending, training, and advocacy work that creates permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. Prior to her relocation to San Diego, Simonne worked at Neighborhood Link/Senior Link, a multi-service agency in Toronto, Canada. In addition, Simonne has experience in community based research, organizational development and program evaluation.

Simonne is former vice-president of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless as well as the San Diego Housing Federation. She currently sits on the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council Governance Board as well as the California Housing Partnership Corporation Board of Directors. She holds a Master’s Degree in Anthropology and a Diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies from York University and a Certificate in Human Resource Management from the University of Toronto.

Randall L. Clark


Pronouns: He, Him, His

Randall L. Clark is the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Sempra Energy. In this position, he is responsible for leading human resources functions, including compensation, health and welfare benefits, employee relations, executive/leadership development, talent acquisition, and diversity and inclusion programs. In addition, he is responsible for human resource information systems and payroll. Clark has served in various leadership and legal capacities at the Sempra Energy family of companies since 2001. Prior to Sempra Energy, Clark practiced law at Morrison & Foerster in Los Angeles and at Cooley Godward in San Diego.

Clark is a member of several bar associations, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society for Corporate Governance, the Society for Human Resource Management, and World at Work. He also serves as a trustee on the board of the La Jolla Playhouse, where he co-chairs the nominating committee and sits on the finance committee, and as a trustee on the board of Francis Parker School, where he chairs the audit committee and sits on the compensation, governance, and executive committees. Clark graduated summa cum laude and holds a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University, and graduated with honors from Duke University’s School of Law.



Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Joanna Clark is the Talent Acquisition Leader for Asia and Enterprise Global Services for Wells Fargo & Co. Joanna began in Talent Acquisition more than 20 years ago with AT&T because she believed there was nothing better than helping people find meaningful work for themselves while helping companies grow. Her involvement with the community began with volunteering for her daughter’s schools and working as a soccer coach in the Mira Mesa area for five years. She has also served as a Regional Champion for HISPA and a coach/mentor for Girls on the Run. Joanna was born in Los Angeles and has lived in cities across the country before choosing her adopted home of San Diego, where she lives with her wife, Yvonne, and daughter Jade, and their numerous rescue animals.

Zaneta Encarnacion

Board Member

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Zaneta Encarnacion currently serves as the Special Assistant (Chief of Staff) to Southwestern College’s Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo. Prior to this role, Zaneta served as the Executive Director of Southwestern Collage’s Foundation, and has held leadership roles in philanthropic and civic organizations for more than 15 years. Zaneta has a Master’s in Public Administration and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Chronically active in her communities, Zaneta is President-Elect for the Chula Vista Rotary; Board Member for Child Development Associates; Board Member for the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation; and member of PFLAG San Diego (South County).

janessa goldbeck

Board Member

Pronouns: sHe, Her, Hers

Janessa Goldbeck is the founding principal of Sui Generis Strategies, a professional services firm that provides organizations with the tools to pass legislation and achieve meaningful change.

A Marine Corps veteran, Janessa served as a Combat Engineer Officer from 2012-2019. She deployed in support of NATO operations and served as a Uniformed Victim Advocate, providing care to service members who experienced sexual assault. In 2020, Janessa served as the co-director of California Veterans for Biden and on the national Women Veterans for Biden council. Before the repeal of DADT, Janessa worked in Washington, DC, as a human rights advocate, serving as the national field director for Genocide Intervention Network. In this role, she led a diverse coalition to build political will for legislative and diplomatic efforts to protect civilians in conflict zones. Born and raised in San Diego County, Janessa is a graduate of San Dieguito HS Academy and Northwestern University. She is a member of Mayor Gloria’s Back to Work SD task force and a board member of MANA de San Diego and the Truman National Security Project.

Richard Gutierrez

Richard Gutierrez

Board Member

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Richard Gutierrez is a Principal/Broker Associate of Barrow Gutierrez Realty Group. He is also the past Chair and six-year board member of Metro Area Real Agents for Young Adult Housing (MARYAH). Richard has over 30 years of experience in real estate sales, development, and project management. In addition, he is a licensed California Real Estate Broker and an accomplished manager of annual budgets and overall company operations. Richard has held senior positions in various companies throughout the years, most notably as co-founder and Vice President of Royce Construction and The Royce Group. Originally from Ontario, California, Richard is now a longtime resident of San Diego and lives with his husband Rick.

Vernita Gutierrez

Vernita Gutierrez

Board Member

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Vernita Gutierrez is the Vice President of the Community and Government Relations (CGR) Department at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest (PPPSW). As part of her work, she is responsible for representing and advancing the organization’s mission by contributing to and strengthening partnerships in San Diego County through community collaboration, education and outreach.

Vernita serves on several boards and committees, including Alliance San Diego, Black Infant Health Program’s Community Council, the San Diego Refugee Forum Health Task Force, Faith-Based Action Coalition of San Diego County, and SoNo Neighborhood Alliance. She is passionate about community health, reproductive justice, youth empowerment and other social justice causes.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Vernita studied administrative systems management at Drexel University.  She relocated to San Diego, CA in 1989.

Bix Marino Kibbee

Bixby Marino-Kibbee

Board Member

Pronouns: They, Them, Theirs
& hE, HIM, HIS

Bixby Marino-Kibbee is the Center for Gender-Affirming Care Director at Rady Children’s Hospital. A nonbinary, transmasculine, queer licensed clinical social worker, they have worked in the fields of social services and mental healthcare since 2005, providing LGBTQIA-affirming care to youth and adults, and their families. Bix was born and raised in San Diego but spent years living and working on the east coast in Virginia and Boston before moving back to San Diego in 2011. As a mental health clinician, Bix has worked with individuals across the lifespan including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults and their families in a variety of settings including residential treatment, outpatient therapy, community-based wraparound services, and more recently within a large healthcare system.

Bix spent five years working with youth and families impacted by systems of care including child welfare and juvenile probation through wraparound services before joining The San Diego LGBT Community Center as the Director of Behavioral Health Services in 2015. At The Center, Bix led a team of twelve clinicians providing outpatient individual, couples, and family therapy to LGBTQIA and HIV/AIDS-impacted individuals. Through this role, Bix focused on addressing the needs of transgender and non-binary youth and adults, including increasing access to gender-affirming mental health services, helping transgender and non-binary individuals navigate healthcare systems and decreasing gatekeeping.

In 2019, Bix joined Rady Children’s Hospital as the director of the Center for Gender-Affirming Care. In this role, Bix is tasked with expanding services to include a new stand-alone multidisciplinary clinic, providing a continuum of care for transgender and non-binary children, adolescents and young adults, and implementing training across the health care system. Bix has a passion for reducing health disparities and ensuring that all transgender and non-binary people have access to healthcare that is safe, affirming, and accessible regardless of geographic location and access to financial resources. 

ben mendoza

Board Member

Pronouns: they, them, tHeirs

Ben Mendoza currently serves as a Council Representative for Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera for the Ninth Council District in the City of San Diego. Ben received their Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Seattle University and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from the School of Leadership and Education Studies at the University of San Diego.

They are passionate about supporting and facilitating leadership and identity development work and advocating for an intersectional approach to justice. They currently serve as the Assistant Parade Manager and member of the LGBTQ+ Survivor Taskforce for San Diego Pride. Additionally, they’ve been involved in Center programming such as the Young Professionals Council (Class of 2017), Project TRANS, and AIDS Walk & Run. Ben identifies as a Queer, Transgender, Non-Binary, Latinx community builder.

sue reynolds

Board Member

Pronouns: she, Her, Hers

Sue Reynolds, a nationally recognized innovator and strategic leader in nonprofit affordable housing, is semi-retired and a consultant to nonprofits. She led the growth of nonprofit Community HousingWorks over the course of two decades and created affordable apartments and life-changing resident communities for over 9,000 residents in San Diego and statewide.  At Community HousingWorks, she proudly worked with The Center to initiate North Park Senior Apartments, San Diego’s first LGBTQ-affirming and affordable apartment community for seniors. Sue is active in the community, when she is not singing in the San Diego Women’s Chorus or hanging out with her wife Allison, she serves on the board of Price Philanthropies, Mayor Gloria’s Back to Work Task Force, San Diegans for Homes (voter solutions for affordable homes), and the San Diego Eviction Prevention Collaborative. Sue was raised in Ohio and obtained her Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


Board Member

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Joel Trambley, MD, PhD, is a local physician and LGBT activist. Dr. Trambley is the Internal Medicine Residency Program Director for the UHS Southern California Medical Education Consortium. Prior to this role, he worked for Family Health Centers of San Diego focusing on LGBT care and Hepatitis C treatment, and he spent 9 years as a hospitalist and teacher at UCSD. In 2007, Dr. Trambley began working with the Human Rights Campaign San Diego Steering Committee as Political Co-Chair, and became a Steering Committee Co-Chair in 2012. He has been involved in the “No on 8” campaign, Marriage Equality USA, the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council Public Policy Advisory Committee, and electoral politics. He is a two term Chair of the City of San Diego Human Relations Commission and writes the “Politically Aware” column in San Diego LGBT Weekly.

In Memoriam

John Laird


John Laird was known and loved throughout San Diego both for his big heart and generous spirit, and as a dedicated LGBT community activist and volunteer. A former Marine, in 1981 John moved to San Diego, where he met his lifetime partner and husband, Aaron Borovoy. They were legally married on July 3, 2008.

John first became involved in the San Diego LGBT community in 1981 as a volunteer for what was then known as The Gay Center. He joined The Imperial Court de San Diego in 1982 and was elected as Grey Wolf Emperor XXI in 1992. John’s service to the community personally and through the Imperial Court de San Diego and Temple Emanu-El included the Lesbian Health Project Pink Ribbon Campaign, chair of Toys for Kids, the Nicky Award Board of Governors, the AIDS Memorial Task Force, the Grocery Hearts Food Pantry, the San Diego Rescue Mission Women and Children’s Center, The Storefront, Standdown for Vietnam Veterans, The Interfaith Shelter Project, and many others. He was also instrumental in Temple Emanu-El becoming the first Jewish organization to march in San Diego’s Pride Parade. John served as a board member of the San Diego LGBT Community Center from 2002 until his death on August 24, 2011. His enthusiasm and commitment to his community will be sadly missed.

David H. Birnbaum


David H. Birnbaum was an extraordinary human being who touched the lives and hearts of all of The Center’s staff, board, volunteers, clients and donors. Indeed, there are few in our community who David’s warmth and generosity did not touch. The passing of his booming voice, his boundless enthusiasm, his strident support of families with LGBT sons and daughters, and his enormous love for the youth in our community will be a great loss. He and his wife, Deena, have been among our community’s greatest allies, staunchest defenders, and most willing supporters.

David was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. Prior to retirement, he was a Senior Vice President with Bank America Business Credit. For the past five years, David has served on the board of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) as Support/Outreach Chair. Thousands of San Diego parents and youth have spoken to David as he offered hope, encouragement and resources for them. None will forget his warmth or kindness. David also served on the board of Ohr Shalom Synagogue. He was an active volunteer speaker for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an Ambassador for City of Hope Medical Center, and a member of the Cancer Society’s Action Network. He was a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York. David joined The Center’s board of directors in June 2001 and quickly became an active, energizing voice, advocating tirelessly for the LGBT community.


We remember and honor Ernest Green, who served on the Board from 1998 until his death on January 22, 2000. He co-chaired the Special Events Committee and was a member of the Public Relations Committee. Ernie was a lifetime title-holder in the Imperial Court. Over the years, he headed up numerous fundraisers benefiting many non-profit organizations, including The Center, and was co-chair of the Live and Let Live Alano Club from 1994 to 1997. He was a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor with Mental Health Systems in San Diego. Ernie and his work in the community will not be forgotten.

Lovel Waiters

Lovel Waiters joined The Center’s board with an extensive understanding of non-profit organizations, and experienced knowledge regarding the importance of collaborative community organizing. Lovel had previously served as co-chair of the Ebony Pride Board of Directors, and had been an active volunteer with several San Diego area organizations, including Rolling Readers, the St. Vincent de Paul Center and READ San Diego. She had also been a volunteer with The Center’s Women’s Resource Center, including facilitating the women’s writing group.

Waiters was honored for her community service with Ebony Pride, and was named Woman of the Year by the National Council of Negro Women.

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