Young Professionals Council

The mission of The Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC) is to develop and empower young LGBT professionals and their allies to preserve and grow The San Diego LGBT Community Center for future generations. The YPC endeavors to advance The Center’s twin goals of promoting LGBT health and human rights. The YPC fosters a culture of diversity, service, leadership, advocacy and camaraderie among LGBT and allied San Diegans. YPC collaborates with local business, organizations and community leaders to produce fun and dynamic events in support of The Center’s programs and services.

The YPC is led by a 7-member volunteer executive committee, elected each July by the YPC membership. Support to the program is provided by three Center staff members.

As part of its efforts to develop and empower young LGBT professionals and their allies, the YPC Academy was created in 2012. The YPC Academy helps to expand the ranks of young LGBT leaders that are ready to further equality for our community through board service for a variety of agencies, not-for-profit organizations and government commissions. Approximately 20 participants are selected each year to participate in the program.

For more information about YPC or the YPC Academy, please email ypc@thecentersd.org or fill out this contact form.

Meet the past YPC Academy classes!

Young Professionals Council Executive Committee

Co-Chair

Diego Flores

He/Him/His

Diego Flores is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate working towards licensing in San Diego. Diego graduated from the YPC Academy in 2017 has been actively participating in fundraising and social events since September 2016. Diego is also involved with research at San Diego State University Research Foundation, focusing on reducing body image concerns in sexual minority men. Diego was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA with a large, blended family. Diego attended CSU Northridge from 2008-2012 and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies. While at CSUN, Diego participated on the board of the LGBTA student organization as Events Coordinator and Vice President. Diego also helped host the 2012 Queer People of Color Conference and was one of the first employees of The Pride Center as a LGBTQ Peer Mentor. Diego moved to San Diego in July 2013 in order to start school at San Diego State University in the Marriage and Family Therapy program and graduated in 2015. As Membership Chair for 2018-2019, Diego is excited to learn from the members of the Young Professional’s Council about their interests, vision, and preferences for our growing program.

Co-Chair

Zach Bunshaft

He/Him/His

Zach Bunshaft (he/him/his) grew up in San Diego and is committed to making it an even better place to live for all. After graduating from San Diego State University, Zach moved to Washington DC to work in the legislative office of Congresswoman Susan A. Davis. Following a year on Capitol Hill, Zach realized he simply could not live without his community, so he moved back to San Diego to work as a Community Representative in the Congresswoman’s district office. In this role, he serves as a liaison for the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities, assists the Congresswoman with issues surrounding energy, the environment, and transportation, among others, and helps constituents navigate through issues with the federal government. Zach is an elected member of the Uptown Planners Community Planning Group, where he serves as its Secretary. In his spare time, Zach enjoys volunteering with the Stonewall Citizens Patrol and various non-profit and charitable organizations. A graduate of the Young Professionals Academy (YPC) class of 2018, he is excited to work with the current Executive Committee as the Community Engagement Chair to help create an empowering leadership experience for young LGBTQ+ and allied San Diegans. 

Secretary/Treasurer

Joshua Mathew Walden

He/Him/His

Josh Walden is an Associate at the law firm of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP, and is a graduate of the 2019 YPC Academy.  A graduate of UC Davis, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a double minor in Spanish and Professional Writing.  Prior to attending law school, Josh was an instructional aide in a general education and a special education classroom at a K-8 school through City Year Sacramento.  Josh earned his Juris Doctorate with a Children’s Rights Concentration from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2018.  While in law school, Josh dedicated himself to provide pro bono legal services to low-income families with special education students, receiving the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Distinguished Service Award.  As an attorney, Josh represents school districts in special education and student matters.  He is interested in helping school districts understand their legal obligations in serving LGBTQIA+ students.  Outside of his professional activities, Josh volunteers with Big Brothers of San Diego County and also sings First Tenor with the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.  

Membership Chair

Miguel Lopez

He/Him/His

As Membership Chair, Miguel aims to connect young LGBTQA+ professionals to resources that matter. Miguel is a development professional and serves as The San Diego Foundation’s Prospect Research Analyst, where he launched the organization’s first prospect research unit. In this role, he generates and continuously develops a pipeline of prospective clients for the Foundation. Miguel is a graduate of the 2019 YPC Academy. In his spare time, he likes to stay active, mediate and go to the beach.

Community Engagement Chair

Jose Gutierrez

He/Him/His

Jose Gutierrez is a first generation Mexican American and first in his family to attend college. After pursuing his bachelor’s in Psychology and working with undocumented youth apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security in the Chicago-land area, he gained a passion for social justice and equality issues in the community. Jose relocated to San Diego and has transitioned his career towards Human Resources with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. Jose currently works as an Employee Engagement Specialist for Community Catalysts of California, a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for, empower, and support veterans as well as program clients with developmental disabilities across the state of California. Jose graduated from the YPC Academy in 2019 and wanted to utilize the skills and training obtained from the Academy and apply it towards the YPC Executive Committee. As Community Engagement Chair, Jose is excited to work collaboratively with other Exec members, Center liaisons and other LGBTQ+ and Allied San Diegans to bring unique programing and provide opportunities that seek to empower and bring awareness to key issues impacting the community. Outside of work, Jose enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, practicing yoga, running the many beautiful trails San Diego has to offer, hiking, and trying new foods.

Member-at-Large

Ana Laura Martinez

She/Her/Hers | They/Them/Theirs

Growing up in a working-class and immigrant family shaped Ana Laura’s commitment to social justice. While at UCSD, Ana Laura was involved in student run centers and groups that organized around educational equity, immigration, labor, and anti-racist campus measures. Once graduated (with a dual B.A. in Ethnic Studies and History), Ana Laura worked as a peer mentor with students of color; as an organizer with UAW 2865 and SEIU-Good Jobs LA through the UCLA Labor Center; and as a graduate teaching assistant. Currently, Ana Laura is a member of the San Diego chapter of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, where the advocacy work centers on advancing reproductive justice for communities of color. Additionally, Ana Laura is the Leadership Development Coordinator at the Center on Policy Initiatives, where they coordinate the Students for Economic Justice summer fellowship, a program that supports college students in their trajectory as labor and community organizers with an intersectional lens. As a Member-at-Large, Ana Laura’s intentions are to continue to queer “professionalism”, and engage in meaningful/creative/intentional/transformative conversations that further collective growth.

The Center Staff Liaisons

Deja Cabrera

Community Health Educator & Advocate

She/Her/Hers

619-692-2077 ext. 109
dcabrera@thecentersd.org

Rebekah Hook-Held

Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer

She/Her/Hers

619-692-2077 ext. 103
rhookheld@thecentersd.org

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