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Center Staff

Delores Jacobs, Ph.D. - Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs is the chief executive officer of The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center. She is nationally recognized as a skilled leader, responsible for managing one of the oldest, largest and most dynamic LGBT community centers in the country.

Since Delores took the executive position with The Center in 2001, The Center has grown under her direction from a $2 million dollar budget into a $6 million dollar organization with 50 staff members and more than 1,000 volunteers. Services provided include specialized programs for those living with HIV, youth, seniors, families, Latino services, a cutting edge permanent supportive housing project for LGBT and HIV positive transition-aged youth, and a large behavioral health department. Last year, The Center served more than 25,000 people through 60,000 service visits.

Delores is a trained psychologist who has devoted considerable time and talent to training and education efforts in the public health and non-profit sectors. In addition to a professional background that includes program design and evaluation, Delores is best known for her work creating innovative collaborations between a variety of sectors -- health care, private, public, corporate and non-profit. Complementing that award-winning work is Jacobs’ unceasing effort to empower community members and to ensure that clients and organizations remember the twin mission of all non-profits: to provide care for their constituencies and to work tirelessly to impact public policies that can improve the lives of our most vulnerable community members.
For full bio, click here.

Center Staff

Richard Beas
Holly Bookwalter
Dr. Kurt Buis
Ben Cartwright
Dr. Patricia Celaya
Rick Cervantes
Nijah Crenshaw
Beth Davenport
Cara Dessert
Victor Esquivel
LaRue Fields
Diego Flores

a.t. Furuya
Ricardo Gallego
Vanessa Goodwin
Ingrid Guerrieri
Pamuela Halliwell
Aaron Heier
Rebekah Hook-Held
Em Jackson
Dr. Delores Jacobs
Ian Johnson
Alan Kaplan
Margaret Keig

Kara Lena
Christina Laigo
Danielle Lopez
Connor Maddocks
Heather Marino-Kibbee
Morganna May
Megan Meek
Gilberto Mercado
Sarah Merk-Benitez
Cheli Mohamed
Alex Ordoubegian
Carolina Ramos

Autumn Rashak
Micah Rea
Ani Robles
Hector Roman
Bianca Sales
Dr. Joe Severino
Amber Cyphers Stephens
Alicia Tolerico
Dan Vaci
David Vance
Liat Wexler
Denice Williams
Sam Wong


HIV, STD & Hepatitis Branch of Public Health Services

Mardi Campbell
Malek Guerbaoui
Carter Hantula
Daniel Uhler

Executive Staff

Beth Davenport, LCSW, MBA - Chief Operating Officer

Beth Barnes has nearly 20 years of experience working with adolescents in various settings, including inpatient mental health, foster care and emancipated foster youth. Formerly the executive director of adoptions, senior director of quality assurance and director of program development for Walden Family Services, she also served as the director of Walden’s LGBTQ Foster Care Network, which provided safe and loving homes for foster youth who identify as LGBTQ and provided on-going cultural competency trainings for foster parents and agency staff, as well as workshops for child welfare providers around the country.

Beth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a Master of Social Work degree from Tulane University, and a Master of Business Administration degree from San Diego State University.  In 2009, Beth was named by the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine to its annual list of “Top 40 under 40,” recognizing her professional accomplishments.

Amber Cyphers Stephens, MBA - Chief Communications Officer

Amber Cyphers Stephens began working at The Center in 2004, assisting with the development, acquisition and implementation of the Youth Housing Project, one of the first projects of its kind in the United States. After leaving to accept a position as executive editor of Bottom Line Magazine San Diego, where she oversaw the complete redesign and reimaging of the publication, she returned to The Center in 2008 as director of technology and communications.

Amber holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to her wide range of management experience, she has an extensive background as an editor and writer, and has received numerous awards, ranging from San Diego Press Club awards to being named one of San Diego’s 50 People to Watch by San Diego Magazine.

 Danielle Lopez, MBA - Chief Financial Officer

Danielle Lopez’s relationship with The Center began when she started volunteering for AIDS Walk and the Women’s Resource Center.  She joined The Center’s accounting team in 2005 and stayed on through 2006, at which time she left to accept the position of Financial Officer at eJungle Corporation. Danielle maintained strong ties to The Center through volunteering for Center events and sitting on various planning and advisory committees, eventually earning the M. Corinne Mackey Volunteer of the Year award in 2007.   Danielle returned to The Center in 2008 and oversees all aspects of the accounting and finance department.

Danielle holds a Masters of Business Administration in Financial Management from National University and a Bachelors of Science in Accountancy.  She has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and has been involved in political and community activism since 1994, when she co-founded the non-profit collective Revolution Rising in Los Angeles.

Cara Dessert, Esq. - Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer

The Center’s Public Policy and Community Organizing Coordinator from 2007-2009, Cara was most recently the executive director of Immigration Equality, focused on LGBT immigrant rights. Prior to that, she worked for the California Department of Justice in the Office of the Attorney General as a deputy attorney general in the Public Rights Division, Consumer Law Section. She has previous experience working in the U.S. Central District Court of California; the Fair Employment and Housing Commission in San Francisco, CA; the No on 8/Equality for All campaign; and Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties.

Cara completed her JD at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review. She earned her B.A. at University of California-San Diego (UCSD).

Rebekah J. Hook-Held, M.A., Chief Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Officer

Rebekah Hook-Held holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Western Washington University. As an experienced policy professional, Rebekah spearheads the public policy and justice-focused advocacy efforts on behalf of The Center and the greater LGBT community. Additionally, she leads The Center’s civic engagement and leadership development programs, aimed to empower and build power within the LGBT community.  In 2015, Rebekah was honored as a “Woman of the Year” by the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Toni G. Atkins. Committed to leading in her community, and investing in leadership development, Rebekah is a member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Board of Directors, a 2013 Alumni of New Leaders Council Institute, and a member of The Center’s Young Professionals Council.