Max was born in Rome Italy in 1968 and arrived in the U.S. in 1998. He has since worked and volunteer in social justice related causes and human rights. Founder and Executive Director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center and Pride by the beach.
Education and Training:
Bachelor degree in Political Science (2011) and Master on Non-Profit Leadership and Management (2016).
LGBTQ Competency Trainer: Police Fire and Sheriff stations. School Districts, Hospitals, Community Clinics, Women Resource Centers, corporate environments, youth providers and more. Max’s expertise are also on human trafficking prevention, LGBTQ immigrants and queer homeless youth.
Max is currently involved with:
Senate appointee -California State Board of Behavioral Science Chair (BBS)
San Diego LGBT Leadership Council since 2009
SD County Sheriff LGBTQ Advisory Council since 2013
FBI advisory summit since 2016
Oceanside MLK Scholarship Award Committee since 2013
Oceanside MLK Civic Award Committee since 2013
Advisory Committee for Behavioral Health Services since 2019
Health and Human Services Advisory Council District 76 since 2019
City of Oceanside Community Relation Commissioner 2008-2011
Advancing Compassion Board member 2012-2014
Board member of the Oceanside Mainstreet Association 2012-2016
Oceanside Library Board 2014-2019
Some Awards and Recognitions:
2010 San Diego Harvey Milk Award
2011 Lambda Archives “Heroes, Pioneers & Trailblazers” Award
2013 Martin Luther King Community Award by the City of Oceanside
2013 KPBS Local Heroes Award
2013 Stonewall Service Award, San Diego LGBT Pride
2017 Digna Ochoa Human Rights Defender Award Amnesty International #471
2019 San Diego Museum of History. Local LGBTQ personal Profile.
2019 City of Oceanside Local Hero for Independence Day Parade
2019 Citizen of the month award from Congressman Mike Levin
Born in Tijuana, Mexico Allan moved to America at five, living six to a two-bedroom.
Allan began organizing in high school with San Diego Youth Pride, GSA Network and GLSEN. He’s served as president of two young democrat chapters and in many roles with the California Young Democrats, including interim president. Professionally, Allan has worked on myriad political campaigns for pro-equality candidates for local, state, and national office, including the No on Prop 8 Campaign.
Out magazine named Allan the “heir apparent,” in their 2007 100 People of the Year. The same year, Allan earned a Point Foundation Scholarship.
Allan has served on the board of directors of GSA Network, Equality California Candidate PAC, San Diego Democrats for Equality, and Pozabilities.
In law school and post-bar, Allan worked at the California Department of Justice’s Health, Education, And Welfare Division, while now-Vice President Kamala Harris served as Attorney General.
Allan earned a Juris Doctor from California Western Law School, serving as an Associate Editor of the Law Review and elected president of the Student Bar Association. In undergrad, Allan studied Political Science at San Diego State, serving as Co-Chair of the then-student-run LGBT Resource Center.
Allan currently serves as Chair of the Consumer Committee and Co-Chair of the Strategies and Standards Setting Committee for the County of San Diego’s HIV Planning Group.
San Diego Youth Pride Activist of the Year 2004
Point Foundation Scholar 2007
Honors Society Provost Scholar, San Diego State 2007
Out Magazine 100 People of 2007
Nicky Community Award – Youth Activist 2008
San Diego Equality Business Association Scholarship 2009
R. Scott Hitt Foundation - Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality Grant Recipient 2009
San Diego Pride Volunteer of the Year 2014
California Western Law School Public Interest Award 2016
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 is the founder of the North County Justice Allies, a local social justice organization and the Addiction Awareness Initiative. She has served on the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission, was the keynote speaker at World AIDS day, designated as the 2019 a MOXIE award recipient and served on the 2018 North County Women's March Committee. Lisa previously served as the NC Center volunteer gala chair for three years.
Bianca was raised in the Coachella Valley and moved to San Diego in 2016. Her background in ABA therapy was honed working at a school district and in-home services for children and young adults. Most recently, Bianca supported various functions for a queer, woman-owned small business.
Throughout her time at the North County Center, Bianca has served as program staff for our anti-tobacco campaign, as a member of the Pride Planning Committee, and as a volunteer for the front desk.
In whatever role Bianca held, she has led with compassion and inclusiveness. As a lesbian and the first Hispanic woman to direct youth programs for the North County Center, she seeks to foster an accepting and safe environment for queer youth.
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.
Shawn was born and raised in the Metro-Detroit area of Michigan. He moved to San Diego, CA in 2015. He earned an undergrad degree in sociology and cultural anthropology. Shawn attended National University for a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. He did his internship in Hillcrest working with people who identify LGBTQI+. Shawn specializes in gender and sexuality and has training in working with offenders and survivors of domestic violence.
Shawn has been involved in presenting training on gender identity including obstacles people may face in regard to gender identity, social and medical transition, pronoun usage, as well as defining masculine and feminine for college students, youth, and families. For a year during his practicum, Shawn facilitated a transgender and non-binary coming-out group for people of all ages.
Conducting his work with an eclectic approach, Shawn believes that clients are the masters of their own life and by exploring a person, a couple, or a family’s core belief(s), changing their narrative scripts, and practicing new behaviors, change is possible.
As a native Hawaiian, Jeri was born in Honolulu and raised in Oceanside as a "marine brat". For over 20 years, Jeri has done film, tv and theatre working behind the scenes. She has travelled all of North America touring as a hair supervisor for multiple Broadway tours. During that time, she has been a part of many fundraising campaigns; Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA), Easter Bonnet Broadway Cares, It Gets Better campaign in Vancouver BC as well as the committees of She Fest San Diego and Pride by the Beach, Oceanside as Entertainment Chair. In addition, Jeri has added a new hat to her resume’ as an executive producer and documentary filmmaker.
A very out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community for many years, Jeri continues to educate Lgbtq Pacific Islanders and other POC cultures. She is honored to continue her advocacy work for North County LGBTQ Center.
Anthony was raised in Texas and moved to San Diego in 1986. Anthony received his master’s degree in Marriage Family Therapy at Alliant International University, San Diego. Anthony’s passion is working with the LGBTQI community experiencing complex/relational trauma. He is level 1 trained in Trauma Affect Regulation Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET) and is currently a student of Somatic Experiencing International (SE). In recent years, he has worked at a women and children’s residential program and outpatient program for co-occurring issues.
After existing in a dark depression for many years, Anthony was ready to live as his authentic self. In 2004 Anthony began his journey of gender affirming transition. Before becoming a therapist, Anthony volunteered for many years at the LGBT Youth Center San Diego in 2005-2006 as a co-facilitator for a transgender youth support group. While training for his LMFT, Anthony was one of the first call operator trainers helping to launch peer support crisis line Trans Lifeline.
Max Cooley has lived in San Diego County his entire life and spent the majority of his time in North County. He works full time as a creative writer and artist along with working for the North County LGBT Resource Center.
Maintaining a traditional career with comorbid mental and physical disabilities has been increasingly difficult for Max, however he uses his position to advocate for and represent other disabled and queer individuals. Joining the North County LGBT Resource Center as a volunteer for its 10th Anniversary Gala, he was able to form a relationship with the staff, help with fundraising as well as social media and other communications.
Through a flexible job schedule Max can be a part of this group that made an impact in his youth, as well as assist in its plight for increasing Covid vaccinations in North County. He genuinely never imagined such an opportunity to arise for him.
A born-and-raised San Diegan, Katrena grew up soaking up the sun and finding any excuse to sing. She attended Biola University where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Passionately and energetically, her heart has always beat for serving others; be it through performing on stage or behind a desk. Since graduating, she has used her degree to work with women in recovery from substance use, as an ABA therapist for children with Autism, and as a youth ministries director. As director, Katrena uplifted and centered youth through various programs and community events.
Katrena identifies as a queer, mixed (Black and White) woman, and is so excited to be the first to learn and fulfill the duties of the Volunteer Specialist at the North Country LGBTQ Resource Center.
Born and raised in North San Diego County, Lisa attended Palomar Community College and then California State University San Marcos (first in her family). Her work in nonprofit social justice, housing, substance use prevention, animal services, case management, elder/hospice care, and public health education spans nearly 25 years, since 1998.
Lisa’s volunteer work includes serving on the executive committee for Casas de Luz; as Co-Chair for North County World AIDS Day; and as Board Vice President and Development Committee Chair at Fraternity House, Inc.
She is also known as the token Lesbian writer for the RAGE Monthly — a Southern California LBTQ magazine — and is passionate about all things theatre and Disney.
New Jersey Italian-American families are close-knit, and Jennifer’s was no exception, even though she knew early that she was different. While her teenage friends were forming crushes on boys, she was crushing on girls. These unsettling feeling never went away, but college brought confidence in exploration.
Away from family in Philadelphia with her first girlfriend, she joined Act Up. In the marches and rallies, her activism was awakened. Attending the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1993, made her pledge her life to always be loud and outspoken for her community.
Since then, Jennifer has volunteered for local LGBT Resource Centers while living in Philadelphia and Atlanta. In Atlanta, she served as a Youth Peer Counselor, helping LGBTQIA+ youth come out to their friends, family, and schools.
Jennifer also supports electing pro-equality candidates and currently serves as Vice President for the Vista Democratic Club and is an appointed Public Arts Commissioner for The City of Vista, where she resides with her wife, Delia, and their two fur babies.