Alexis was born and raised on the East Coast, and earned her M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also attended the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business for an MBA. After school, she gradually made her way out west and worked in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona.
She is a recent transplant to the Bay Area, which has always been a dream of hers. She currently works as an Emergency Medicine Physician at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek.
Alexis is an aspiring parent, and hopes to one day have a large, loving family. She is a proud LGBT activist and is excited to be helping work towards equality for all.
Amber Todd Serves as the Special Assistant to the City Administrator in the City of Oakland and has over fifteen years of experience in administrative and managerial work. In addition to her role with the City of Oakland she has been extremely involved in the Oakland community, boasting almost sixteen years of volunteer service to benefit underprivileged youth.
She has supported the City of Oakland’s "Combined Charities" program and is a leader in the in the East Bay LGBT community as the Founder and Board Chair for Oakland Pride as well as Board Member of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club. Amber has served on the Board of Directors for Our Family Coalition for the past four years, advocating for services and programing serving those in the LGBT community of lower social economic background.
Amber has a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Human Services from Colorado Technical University. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Amber is a proud mother to four daughters: Emiko, Akemi, Kyoko, and Kyomi. Rising from adversity and a childhood spent in the foster care system, Amber has become a valuable asset not only to Our Family Coalition's team, but to all of the communities where she lives and works.
Cara Pellegrini is currently Sr. Director of Business Practices Group at Genentech, a large biotech company headquartered in South San Francisco. A proud native of the Santa Clara Valley (now known as Silicon Valley), she fondly remembers growing up around orchards and fruit stands and has found that no matter where she has travels or lives, she is always excited to return to the Bay Area.
Cara holds an MA in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, and a BS in Sociology from Santa Clara University. Cara and her wife, Shauna have 6 children ranging in age from 10 to 24. Four of them were adopted through foster care, one was adopted from China and 1 was conceived through a “willing to be known” sperm donor.
Cara’s passion for the rights of people, animals and the planet has led her to be involved in numerous organizations over the years, volunteering or working in support of runaway and LGBTQ youth, battered women, mothers recovering from addiction, and breast cancer survivors, to name a few. She is very excited to now have the opportunity with OFC to combine her business experience with her dedication to the rights of children to experience a holistic, balanced and inclusive education.
Christina ("Christy") brings to OFC years of manufacturing and quality leadership experience with bio-pharmaceutical companies in Europe, America and Asia.
Her leadership experience includes Contract Manufacturing(CMO) management, technology transfers(aseptic drug product manufacturing), product launch teams, and ensuring cGMP compliance. She also brings experience collaborating with global organizations in a global setting, including collaboration with remote associates.
Christy's language capacities include English, Spanish, and Portuguese(Brazilian).
With nearly two decades of experience serving the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in the area of community change, Ms. Montesinos supports community leaders in addressing disparities in education, affordable housing, health care, and economic security. Through her consulting practice, Montesinos & Associates, she assists grassroots organizations, intermediaries, educational institutions, and foundations in achieving their community, organizational, and programmatic goals. Her firm believes in a society that supports equality, equity, and fairness for people of color, LGBT communities, and low-income individuals.
Over the years, she has served a range of clients, including The California Endowment, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, The Hewlett Foundation, PolicyLink, Lambda Legal, and over two hundred and fifty grassroots nonprofit organizations.
She has served on various nonprofit boards and is bilingual in English and Spanish. She holds a BA in Political Economy of Industrial Societies from UC Berkeley and an MA focused on Management and Public Policy from UC San Diego. She is a proud native of the Bay Area with roots in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Koko was born in Taiwan and came to the United States when she was 16. As the oldest of 6 children, she was responsible for her siblings throughout their school years. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelors in computer science and began her career as a software engineer.
Along the way, Koko became progressively more and more involved with the API and LGBT community, first volunteering with API-PFLAG, API Wellness Center, Asian Pacific Sisters (APS), Self Help for the Elderly and the Asian Women’s Shelter as well as APLBN (Asian Pacific Lesbian Bisexual Network).
Koko is married to Margot Yapp (first in 2002, then again in 2004 and 2008) and they live in Oakland. Their daughter, Megan, was born in 2004, and they added a pet hamster, Pancake, in 2013. When she has any leisure time, Koko loves to oil paint, play tennis and golf, and continue to build a better community for LGBT people. Occasionally, she even develops software for her clients.
Since 2010 Leroy Gaines has served as principal at Acorn Woodland Elementary School in Oakland Unified School District. He received his Masters in Educational Leadership at Columbia University's Teachers College, and his undergraduate degree in Africana Studies at Bowdoin College.
In 2014 he was recognized by Our Family Coalition for his leadership implementing the Welcoming Schools curriculum at Acorn Woodland, and shining a light as an advocate for inclusive and just schooling for all children an their families.
Lisa Fujie Parks
Lisa Fujie Parks is a queer parent, public health professional, and mindfulness practitioner and teacher who is passionate about helping children and families thrive in inclusive, equitable communities. Growing up female, mixed race, and queer in the US and Japan gave Lisa an appreciation for the power of community and culture and the need for collective action to build caring and just communities.
Lisa serves in the role of an Associate Director at Prevention Institute, a national nonprofit with headquarters in Oakland, where her portfolio includes projects and initiatives focused on promoting health equity and community resilience and preventing multiple forms of violence and trauma. Lisa blends her deep knowledge of community-based public health with her commitment to community organizing and advocacy.
She has designed, implemented, and evaluated local and state-level initiatives employing policy, communications, and coalition-building strategies. She also has extensive experience providing capacity-building services, including strategic planning, curriculum development, in-person and online training and technical assistance, and facilitation of learning networks.
Rudy is an international marketing & branding professional with years of experience, in different markets and industries, where the "what" and "how" are equally important. Very much focused on people development under the philosophy of servant-leadership to achieve and exceed objectives.
He enjoys working on corporate social responsibility projects and leading change in his community. He's passionate about agriculture, marketing, developing brands, and disruptive technology.
Steve Disselhorst is the founder and principal of Steve Disselhorst, LLC, which specializes in personal and professional leadership development and consulting for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Steve collaborates with individuals and teams to achieve short and long-term personal and/or professional goals, including coaching of LGBTQ people interested in creating families. Steve also provides consulting on diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations that aspire to create inclusive cultures dedicated to people through trust, honesty, and a deep caring for employees, customers and end-users.
Prior to founding his firm, Steve worked as a Diversity and Inclusion Business Consultant for Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. During his tenure, he led the development of strategies and programming to advance historically under-represented groups for leadership positions. Prior to this role, Steve worked in healthcare marketing and the managed care environment. He completed his MBA in marketing and co-founded the PRIDE employee resource group at a Fortune 100 company. Steve serves also on the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission, and as a speaker for the San Francisco LGBTQ Speaker’s Bureau.
Steve and his husband have two children through adoption – one through private, open adoption and the second through the foster-to-adopt program. Steve is currently in the process of completing his first book focused on his life journey to become an LGBTQ parent.
Major Chris Armijo
Major Chris Armijo has spent 19 years in the Army and is currently assigned to U.S. Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Joint Base San Antonio. Since 1998, Chris has held leadership and staff positions in the Army and around the world and currently serves on the Fort Sam ISD School Board. He is interested in cultural diversity and social change and brings a broad range of qualifications to include presentation skills, public relations savvy, program development, project management, community outreach, marketing/media relations, fundraising and management skills and is an OFC Emeritus Board Member. Chris has proven experience in cultural diversity and social change with strong skills in communications, business administration and finance management to drive results in mission planning, strategy implementation and bringing vision to fruition. Chris is, most importantly, the father of two precocious twin daughters.
Alma Soongi Beck
Alma Soongi Beck is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Group and is certified by the State Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Prior to joining Lakin Spears, Alma was principal and founding attorney of The Beck Law Group, P.C.Alma's estate planning practice focuses on revocable living trusts, wills, and powers of attorney, which includes Medi-Cal and long-term care planning, IRA Inheritance trusts, and beneficiary controlled irrevocable trusts. For unmarried and same-sex couples, she also offers consultations on the legal and tax implications of domestic partnership, marriage, and property co-ownership. Alma also assists individuals and families with trust administration, probate, and other post-death administration of property. Alma regularly conducts public and private seminars on a variety of estate planning topics such as marriage, domestic partnership, estate planning and property issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) individuals, couples and families, as well as Medi-Cal, long-term care and IRA Inheritance Trust planning.
In recent years, she has conducted public programs for Our Family Coalition (for LGBT parents and families), Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community (APIQWTC), Openhouse (for LGBT Seniors), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Barbary Lane Senior Communities, and the Horizons Foundation. She has served on the board of Transgender Law Center, Our Family Coalition, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALiF), and the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABA-NC). In addition to the schools listed above, for high school, she attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts (1988).
Diana served on the OFC board from 2011 to 2016.
Until her recent retirement and move to Arizona, Diana was a human resources professional in San Francisco, working at MUNI, the Exploratorium, and most recently at the San Francisco Arts Institute. Diana was as active volunteer in the LGBTQ community and a foster care advocate before her move, and intends to explore opportunities for involvement in her new home state.
Diana holds a BA in Developmental Psychology from UC Berkeley and an MA in Marriage and Family Counseling from JFK University.
Ali Michael Canon
Ali Michael Cannon served on Our Family Coalition's Board of Directors from 2009 to 2017. In his professional life, he works part-time as the Trainings and Events Manager for Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, working collaboratively with Public Health Departments across the Bay Area to address workplace bias. He also works as an independent consultant, creating opportunities for schools to gain competency in gender and LGBT equity with particular expertise in transgender inclusion. In addition to his private consulting, Ali is a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League, leading anti-bias and bullying prevention programs for educators, students and families. Prior to his current roles, he spent six years as a School District Administrator, managing state and federal grants that improved the lives of youth without equal access to education. Beyond his district position, he worked as a non-profit education manager for 20 years. Throughout his career he has been a strategic visionary, well-versed in coalition building and systems-change.
Mr. Cannon has a BA and MA in Women's Studies and continues to bring his strong feminist and anti-oppression lens to all of his endeavors. In addition to his professional expertise, he is a writer, organizer, activist, and public speaker. A recognized leader in the transgender community, he has been invited to speak on various panels, and he has organized numerous conferences and events for the Jewish, LGBTQ, and Queer Jewish communities. His writing has been published in From the Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond. His provocative illumination of Jewish and transgender themes can be seen in the film It’s A Boy: Journeys from Female to Male, and his essay (co-authored with TJ Michels) "Whose Side Are You On: Transgender at the Western Wall" (in Queer Jews, Routledge, 2002 and republished in Kulanu: All of Us: A Program and Resource Guide for GLBT Inclusion, URJ Press, 2007). Ali lives in Oakland with his wife, Jessica, an OUSD principal, and their 13-year-old son, Raffi.
Michael Ginther’s most important and favorite role is as Papa to Kel (aka Emma) and Audy. He and his husband adopted the kids at birth 14 and 11 years ago. They are amazing kids who are constantly surprising and delighting their parents. Michael retired when Kel was born and became a full-time dad and homemaker. Before that he worked as a staff attorney for the First District Appellate Project, primarily advising court appointed attorneys in indigent criminal appeals. He also taught for 10 years at the New College of California School of Law. He has volunteered with many San Francisco community groups including ACT UP, Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE), On Your Feet Foundation (OYFF) and 826 Valencia.
Michael has been married for 20 years (well, committed, then legally committed and finally married) to Jim O’Donnell, who recently retired after 35 years as a pediatrician and hospital administrator. Their family has been involved with Our Family Coalition since Kel was a baby. The OFC parenting group Mamas and Papas was their go-to place for support and advice when their kids were young and people they met in that group are some of their closest family friends to this day. They have participated in many OFC activities over the years, including Michael’s stint on the board of directors and his current participation in a class on parenting tweens and teens. He is honored and proud to support Our Family Coalition as a board member emeritus.
Dr. Vivienne Ming was named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. Magazine, she is a theoretical neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and author. She co-founded Socos Labs, her fifth company, an independent think tank exploring the future of human potential. Dr. Ming launched Socos Labs to combine her varied work with that of other creative experts and expand their impact on global policy issues, both inside companies and throughout our communities.
Previously, Vivienne was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, pursuing her research in cognitive neuroprosthetics.
In her free time, Vivienne has invented AI systems to help treat her diabetic son, predict manic episodes in bipolar suffers weeks in advance, and reunited orphan refugees with extended family members. She sits on boards of numerous companies and nonprofits including StartOut, The Palm Center, Cornerstone Capital, Platypus Institute, Shiftgig, Zoic Capital, and SmartStones. Dr. Ming also speaks frequently on her AI-driven research into inclusion and gender in business. For relaxation, she is a wife and mother of two.
Phillip Parkerson is a native southerner who grew up in the Deep South in Georgia, went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and moved to San Francisco in 1988. After college he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to do whatever it was in the most liberal, gay-accepting place he could think of. After reading Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, San Francisco beckoned him, and he heeded the call. In San Francisco he joined the Gay Men’s Chorus and immersed himself in the wonderful culture of the city. He started a career in financial services in 1990 and is currently the Director of Investment Operations and Principal for a large investment advisory firm headquartered in San Francisco.
A lifelong dream of becoming a father led him to become a co-parent with a close lesbian friend to two wonderful daughters born in 1995 and 2001. His oldest daughter was the second child born from the old gay/lesbian parenting group Prospective Queer Parents (PQP), which met in the 1990’s and was where he met the mother of his daughters. He originally joined the Our Family Coalition Board in the early 2000s, and served as Interim Executive Director of the organization in 2004, just prior to Judy Appel joining the organization. He is thrilled to join the Emeritus Board of Our Family Coalition to help support other LGBTQ families in the Bay Area and beyond.
Ora Prochovnick is Director of Clinical and Public Interest Law Programs and professor of law at John F. Kennedy University. For over 30 years she has specialized in LGBT family law, tenant advocacy and civil rights. Ora was a partner and founding member of Bayside Legal Advocates, a woman run community law office in the Mission District of San Francisco, and in addition to her teaching continues a private practice in queer family law, with a focus on adoptions, family creation and protection. She has a distinguished history of community service and pro-bono activities, and has received many awards from the State Bar and local bar associations in recognition of her expertise and legal assistance, particularly to the low income community.
She served on the OFC Board for eight years, which included serving as co-chair. She has also served on numerous other boards and committees including active participation in the advisory committee of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Camp It Up! Inc. Ora has been a frequent presenter at workshops and seminars, for both legal professionals and the general public. Without understanding how it happened Ora now finds herself the parent of two young adults, and is supported in everything she does by Rena, her life partner of thirty-five years (and now legal spouse) and their two daughters, ages twenty-seven and twenty-four.
A San Francisco Bay Area native and proud member of Our Family Coalition, James Raycraft is a husband, father and Emeritus Board member of OFC. James proudly volunteered his time and talents with the OFC community from 2011 to 2016. James and his husband, Mark, are parents to two transracially adopted children: Malia (five years old) and Felix (six months old), both of whom have been members of the family since birth. James splits his time, attention and dedication with his four passions – family, friends, work and community. When he is not traveling on business, James can be found in Hayes Valley at Mosaic Event Management, where James serves as the firm’s Vice President. When at home, you can find James in San Mateo – at the park with the kids, trying a new restaurant downtown, or exploring one of the many unique areas of the Peninsula. James graduated from Loyola Marymount University and was fortunate to study abroad during his university career and later live abroad following graduation. While living in Los Angeles, James volunteered extensively and was honored by LA mayor Richard Riordan, Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center) and former President Bill Clinton for his work on race relations, community building, and volunteerism. James is proud to be a part of Our Family Coalition as the organization’s work is vital to his family’s safety, wellbeing, and future. James cites travelling as his greatest pleasure; however, his husband argues that his greatest pleasure is making and completing to-do lists.
A founding partner at Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, a national public opinion research firm, Amy Simon brings three decades of political experience to her work as a pollster and communications strategist on public policy, and a winning record on ballot measure campaigns.
Amy has a special expertise in conducting innovative qualitative and quantitative research on socially controversial and emotionally complex issues, including issues relating to LGBT people and families and marriage for same-sex couples. She is a co-author of Heartwired: Human Behavior, Strategic Opinion Research and the Audacious Pursuit of Social Change, A Strategy Guide for Change-Makers.
Amy is one of the leading architects of the freedom-to-marry messaging that helped propel Maine and Washington state voters to support allowing marriage for same-sex couples in the November 2012 elections. She has also helped craft winning strategies on abortion, marijuana, medical aid-in-dying, climate change, insurance reform, and medical malpractice, as well as other issues.
Amy has a unique background among the nation’s top progressive pollsters. She was a community and field organizer, campaign manager, direct mail fundraising and persuasion consultant, campaign trainer, and political director before becoming a pollster. She brings that diverse political understanding to all of her message development and message delivery research.
Amy grew up in Boston, graduated from the University of Michigan, then spent several years working on campaigns across the nation. She worked for a decade inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway, before settling in San Francisco’s Bay Area, where she now happily resides with her wonderful, rambunctious, and spirited children.
Catherine Teare is associate director of California Health Care Foundation’s High-Value Care team, which supports policies and care models that align with patient preferences, are proven effective, and are affordable. She leads the foundation’s work on behavioral health care, including behavioral health integration in primary care and behavioral health interventions for high-cost populations. She also manages projects related to the county role in health care delivery and oral health care. Catherine has worked at CHCF since 2011 and previously led the organization’s efforts on enrollment in public programs, with a particular focus on consumer experience.
Before joining the foundation, she worked as a consultant for safety-net health care providers, foundations, and local government, providing research and policy analysis in the areas of health care financing and delivery, public and private health insurance programs for children, adolescent health, reproductive health, HIV, and youth development. She also worked as director of policy for Children Now and as a health policy analyst for the National Center for Youth Law.
She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale College and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Deborah H. Wald is the founder and managing partner at The Wald Law Group. A Certified Family Law Specialist, her work has evolved over the past 28 years from a part-time home-based family formation law practice to a multi-disciplinary full-service family law firm. Ms. Wald’s goal is to ensure that all individuals, families and children receive the highest quality legal protections available.
Ms. Wald has three specific areas of expertise: assisted reproduction law, parentage law and the law as it impacts lesbian, gay and transgender families. She has been involved in shaping California’s legislative approach to all three of these areas.
Ms. Wald also is an experienced criminal defense attorney, having started her career as a public defender and then gone on to focus on indigent criminal appeals. As a criminal defense lawyer she largely devoted her energy to protecting non-citizens facing deportation or exclusion from the United States as a result of their contacts with the criminal justice system. She also was a founder of Women Defenders, an organization providing professional, technical and social support for female criminal defense practitioners.
A teacher and author as well as a lawyer, Ms. Wald uniquely blends a practitioner’s experience with national and historical perspectives. Ms. Wald lives in San Francisco with her partner of almost 40 years and their big dog whose responsibility it is to make sure that no matter how busy Ms. Wald gets, she doesn’t forget to start each morning by taking a walk.
Martin Mitchell is Human Resources Operations Manager for Oakland Unified School District. He's a transformational leader with a career marked by success in human resources (HR) operations, recruitment, policy development/implementation, and compensation/classification. He is a trusted strategic partner and senior leadership advisor, and highly effective around organizational policy, union relations, employment law, compliance issues, and complex legal matters. Martin received an MBA in Marketing from Clark Atlanta University, and a BA from Howard University. He and his husband are proud dads of a teenage son.