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Young Professionals Council

The Young Professionals Council (YPC) is a diverse group of young LGBT professionals and allies, dedicated to the preservation and future growth of The San Diego LGBT Community Center.

The mission of YPC is to develop and empower young LGBT professionals and their allies through the Young Professionals Council Academy (YPC Academy). The YPC Academy will help 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.

The YPC fosters a culture of diversity, service, leadership, advocacy and camaraderie among young LGBT San Diegans while developing the next generation of LGBT and LGBT-allied civic leaders.

For more information about the group, please download the YPC Basics here.

For more information on upcoming events and meetings, visit the Facebook page at

Young Professionals Council 1st Tuesday Series

The YPC hosts its 1st Tuesday Series on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. Check out the Young Professionals Council Facebook page for updates on upcoming meetings, mixers, workshops, and events. Everyone is welcome to attend, participate, and learn more.

Information about 2016-17 YPC Executive Committee Elections is here.

Meet the 2015-16 Young Professionals Council Executive Committee 2015-16

 Rick Cervantes, Co-chair

Rick currently works at the San Diego LGBT Community Center as Social Media Coordinator. Prior to coming to The Center, he was part of the marketing & public relations team at Mo’s Universe. He has been involved in the local LGBT community since moving to San Diego from Lodi, CA in 2006 to finish his bachelor's degree at San Diego State University. During his time at The Center, Rick has become engaged in HIV/AIDS advocacy, and has become very vocal about his usage of and support for PrEP - the once daily pill used to prevent HIV infection. Rick is a co-founder of San Diego Remembers, and has served other community organizations such as San Diego Pride, the Stonewall Citizens' Patrol, San Diego American Flag Football League, and the SDSU LGBT Alumni Chapter. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Prabha Singh, Co-chair

Prabha Singh currently works as support staff for the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council as an employee of The LGBT Center. Originally from the East coast, Prabha received her B.Sc. from the University of Maryland and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health at National University. Prabha also volunteers for a UCSD health-research study observing AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in San Diego. Prabha is also fluent in Hindi and looks forward to working with different community organizations in the near future.
Jeremy Bloom, Secretary/Treasurer

Jeremy has worked in the non-profit fundraising and political organizing fields for over seven years. He has volunteered for multiple organizations in the Santa Barbara area and sat on the board of a community based foundation and faith group. Jeremy and his partner, Robert, moved to San Diego in early 2015 and he is looking to becoming more involved in the San Diego LGBT community.

Sarah Merk-Benitez, Membership

Sarah Merk-Benitez currently works as the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Before The Center, Sarah was worked in the faith non-profit sector, as a high school and young adults pastor. She has extensive one-on-one and group experience with diverse, at-risk youth. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and is currently working on a double Masters degree at Bethel University. Sarah has volunteered at several non-profits, including The Center and the Stein Education Center; and has led several international aide and relief trips to Haiti. She's passionate about people and acting on behalf of those who are treated unjustly. Born and raised in San Diego, Sarah has always had a love for the city, but more recently has fallen in love with her neighborhood of Hillcrest. Her passion for social justice and human rights extends from those internationally to those walking the streets of her very neighborhood.

Hector Salas, Community Engagement

Hector Salas, a San Diego Native, currently works as a New Business Development Manager for a Local Private Insurance Firm. Prior to the insurance world, he worked in the hospitality industry for 13 years and served as Director of Public Relations for the SDCA. Hector graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in Political Science. Find Hector on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Anthony Ehlers, Member-at-Large

Anthony is originally from the Chicagoland area, where he completed a bachelor of science in Health and Human Sciences with emphasis in Deaf Rehabilitation Services at Northern Illinois University.  After college he worked with a Northernwestern Illinois Association, a deaf education program.  When he first moved here in 2012, Anthony worked with The Arc of San Diego in a variety of supervisory roles.  In August 2015, Anthony started with Deaf Community Services as a Employment Advisor/Interpreter working in partnership with California's Employment Development Department. He enjoys volunteering with various nonprofit organizations, most recently working on the operations team with  San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and the accessibility department with San Diego Pride. He would like to continue working with the diverse communities of San Diego.

Mulika Musyimi, Member-at-Large

Mulika was born and raised in a small town in Kenya, East Africa, and came to the United States in 2003. He studied at Truckee Meadows Community College community in Reno, NV and earned a general studies degree and an arts degree respectively, while serving as an elected senator in the student government and as ambassador for the campus outreach and public relations programmes. He became active in civic engagement during the 2008 election cycle with a stint at a “Get out the Vote” grassroots campaign doing phone banking. He relocated to San Diego in 2011, and the annual Aids Walk in 2014 was his first volunteer assignment through The San Diego LGBT Community Center and out of that, many other events followed. He is the clinic administrator at a Posture Therapy and alignment clinic in San Diego, a YPC 2015 fellow, an avid soccer fan, a freelance personal trainer and a 2015 prospective transfer student at University of San Diego studying corporate social responsibility and sustainable enterprises.

The Center's Staff Liaisons to the YPC are:

Ben Cartwright, Director of Community Outreach: 619-692-2077 ext. 106,

Rebekah Hook-Held, Director of Public Affairs: 619-692-2077, ext. 103,

Young Professionals Council Academy 

The mission of YPC is to develop and empower young LGBT professionals and their allies through the Young Professionals Council Academy (YPC Academy). The YPC Academy will help 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. 20 candidates will be selected for the 2016 class.

Be a part of the 2017 Academy: The application period for the 2017 YPC Academy is open from November 1-December 31, 2016. Please check back later for additional information and the application.

Please feel free to reach out to the YPC Staff Liaisons, Ben Cartwright and Rebekah Hook-Held for additional information about the YPC Academy:

Check out the YPC Academy graduates

YPC Academy 2012 | YPC Academy 2013 | YPC Academy 2014 | YPC Academy 2015 | YPC Academy 2016