Max was born in Rome, Italy in 1968 and lived there for thirty years. After college he pursued his volunteer aspirations and worked with different human rights non-profit organizations. Upon arriving in the United States in 1998, and after moving to Southern California in 2001, he began volunteering with local agencies and noticed the need for a stronger North County San Diego LGBT community. In January 2008, he founded the North County LGBT Coalition, a non-profit organization that almost immediately increased LGBT visibility in the North San Diego community.
After four years of hard work, an outpouring of community support, and the help of a dedicated Board of Directors, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center opened in 2011, where Max now operates as Executive Director.
In addition to his work at the Resource Center, Max is active in the San Diego community at large. His current work involves the following: San Diego Leadership Council, Mainstreet Oceanside Board Secretary, Advancing Compassion Board Member, SD County Sheriff LGBT Advisory Council, Oceanside Library Board, and the Oceanside Martin Luther King Advisory Committee. From 2008 to 2011 he worked as the Oceanside community relations commissioner.
His awards and recognition include the following: the 2010 Harvey Milk award, the 2011 Lambda Archives Heroes, Pioneers & Trailblazers recognition, a 2012 nominee for the Rotary Club Oceanside Citizen of the Year award, the 2013 Martin Luther King Community Award by the City of Oceanside, 2013 KPBS local Heroes award with Carolyn Bolton, and the 2013 Stonewall award of San Diego LGBT Pride.
Linda is a native Californian who has lived in San Diego nearly all of her life and in North County since 1989. She has worked with non-profit organizations involved in disaster services, water safety, the developmentally disabled, and suicide prevention. Since the early 1990s she has been a member of LINC, Lesbians in North County.
In the private sector Linda has experience as a receptionist, office assistant, and an administrative assistant. She has also worked as an ambulance dispatcher.
Linda believes, "There is a reason LGBTQ people often refer to one another as family. We are good at creating kinships and we need each other." She is very grateful for the LGBTQ community and its straight allies, and wept when she saw the first uniformed military personnel march in the San Diego Pride Parade.
Linda welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the efforts of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.
Lisa was raised in Michigan by working class parents, moved to California in 1983, and finally planting her roots in Encinitas where she married and raised a family of four children. Lisa came to Pride by the Beach with prior experience on the Encinitas Educational Foundation Board as a community partner director, a history of grassroots organizing specializing in fundraising events, and mobilizing people around important local issues of social justice.
Lisa serves on the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission, helped coordinate the AIDS quilt display for PRIDE, served on the 2018 North County Women's March Committee, and has worked as the NC LGBTQ Resource Center Gala chairperson.
Relle is a native Southern Californian, has lived in North County for their entire life, and has recently graduated from Rancho Buena Vista High School. Relle interned with an event coordinating company as an assistant, and gained experience in event planning. In 2015, they became an active member of their high school Gender Sexuality Alliance soon became their president. Through their GSA, they became active in the LGBTQ+ Community by planning events and collaborating with GSAs from other schools. They began speaking in classrooms on their campus which sparked their activism.
In 2015, Relle began volunteering with Project Youth at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, from which they gained experience helping at LGBTQ Youth events. Relle planned events such as games and movie nights, gathered youth involvement in other Center events, and ran social media accounts for Project Youth. In the fall of 2016, they began planning the high school events for Project Youth such as LGBTQ+ Youth Ice Skating, LGBTQ+ Leadership Summit, Trans Youth Salon, etc. In their downtime, Relle enjoys dying their hair variations of rainbow and being active in the community.
Born and raised in Brawley, CA to a religious family, Sam had to leave home at the age of sixteen after coming out to his parents. He ended up on the streets of Hollywood where, thanks to the help of GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services), Sam graduated High School and was emancipated from group home living.
Shortly after, Sam took off hitch hiking throughout the Republic of Mexico for five years,. He finally decided to return to the good ol’ US of A where he settled down in Oceanside, CA to receive his AA at MiraCosta College & his BS in Biology at Cal State San Marcos. With a friend, Sam helped start an Aztec dance group (Calpulli Omeyocan) in Oceanside 2007, where he remains an active member in the Latino community.
Leea was born and raised in Springfield Massachusett. Early in her career, she was a quality engineer in the Aero Space Industry. She left mechanical engineering to become a telecommunications engineer which she did for 37 years, in one form of high tech or another.
In her teens, she became very interested in religion and spirituality. While being raised a very strict Roman Catholic she struggled with who she really was, as she was identified male at birth and this was completely against her religion.
After a near death experience in 2006, she wondered what life was truly about, and came to the conclusion she could not live her life for others. She came out and told everyone that she could not live the lie anymore and had to be true to herself. At that point she started living her life. After truly making the decision she became an activist and advocate for the trans community. She volunteers for the detention project at the Transgender Law Center, is a team leader for operators at the Trans Lifeline. Now works as a Case Manager for Unicorn Homes.
Bek was born and raised in North County San Diego and became an advocate shortly after discovering his true place within the LGBTQ+ community in December 2017. Through the support of the people closest to him and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, he achieved rapid personal growth after finally being able to become his authentic self. This led to not only becoming the Gender Advocacy Project vice-chair, but also being offered a position as a support specialist for the YMCA's Our Safe Place program in August 2018.
Bek had learned the process for legal name and gender change in the state of California and helps adults and minors achieve this huge milestone with ease. He has also facilitated for the Come As You Are support group at the Center, ran youth activities at the Escondido Palomar Family YMCA drop-in center, and supported local GSAs. During this time, Bek had attended the MiraCosta Technology Career Institute and graduated with a Biomedical Equipment Technician certificate in November 2018. Now, he works for GE Healthcare at the Sharp Hospitals, North County LGBTQ Resource Center as the Gender Advocacy Project Coordinator, and volunteers for Our Safe Place.
As an LGBTQ affirming psychotherapist, Robyn Shapiro began her professional career as a registered nurse, managing a forty-bed, acute care, locked Adlerian psychiatric unit in Chicago. After several years, she transitioned into the medical device industry, serving in key sales management roles in organizations where she built and led sales teams, provided strategic direction, ensured tactical execution, while consulting with hospital and healthcare provider clients.
Robyn’s goal is to help her clients change their narrative to one of strength and hope, clarity and evolving wisdom. Her approach is empathetic, warm, respectful and supportive. She provides psycho-education and skill building to empower clients to overcome challenges, grow and achieve their highest goals.
Bianca was born in Palm Springs, Ca and after 19 years decided it was time for a change and moved to Oceanside, Ca. Bianca is currently going to school to become a special education teacher and working as an RBT with children with autism. After moving to San Diego Bianca realized she wanted to be more involved and be part of the LGBTQ community in San Diego. She found North County LGBTQ Resource Center online and shortly after started volunteering at the front desk, the rest is history.
During her time volunteering Bianca first hand saw the impact and support the center has provided for many individuals and wanted to be part of that. Bianca joined this years Pride by the Beach committee and took on the position of volunteer coordinator as well. The center has not only been a warm and welcoming place to volunteer at but also an amazing work opportunity as Bianca is now the We Breathe campaign promoter and is excited to bring awareness to the tobacco use in our community.