Creating Vibrant Community
    by helping LGBTQ people along their way

    Today is National Coffee Day!



  • instagram facebookicon twitter





    760.416.7790 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Board of Directors

Mary Sue Allen, Co-Chair         Mary Sue Allen joined The Center Board in 2015. A Vice President of Human Resources for UPS West Region, Allen leads a Human Resources Department that serves over 113,000 employees in 25 states. A native of Hayward, California, Allen received her B.A. degree in Human Resources Management from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, and began her UPS career in 1980 as a part-time package handler in Los Angeles. Over the span of her career, Allen has served UPS in operations, business development, and human resources in numerous Arizona, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, and Miami. Under her leadership, UPS implemented a Global Philanthropic Strategy throughout Canada and Latin America. She has served on the Board of Directors for Girls Inc. Orange County, Leadership California, and Oakland Military College Prep Academy.
Ted Briggs, Co-Chair       With 30+ years of consulting experience, Ted is a Principal at Better Sales Comp Consultants, a management consulting firm that works to companies improve the effectiveness of their sales and services organizations. Prior to founding BSC: Ted served as the National Leader for Watson Wyatt’s Sales Effectiveness & Compensation Practice; started Briggs & Sands Consulting Group, and held positions as a business leader at both Sibson Consulting and The Alexander Group. Ted earned an MBA from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, and holds a BS degree in business administration from the University of Southern California. Ted has previously served as a Board Member for other NFP organizations including: Desert AIDS Project, California Association of Student Councils and Gay Associated Youth. He joined The Center Board in Summer 2017.
Tom Becktold, Treasurer      Tom Becktold helps companies and organizations build, reposition and strengthen their brands, identify and evaluate acquisition targets and establish innovative marketing programs. Tom joined the Board in November 2015. He previously served as senior vice president of global marketing for Business Wire, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway. A 26-year veteran of the company, he was a member of the company’s advisory board and established growth-focused marketing programs, launched successful business units and steered market share growth worldwide. Tom previously served on chapter boards for the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. A Southern California native, he joined the Board in 2015.
Jim Scheibel, Secretary      Originally from Canada, Jim Scheibel has over 17 years of experience in healthcare administration, specifically quality improvement and waste reduction, following his degree in Nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan. Together with his husband, Jim owns and operates a State Farm insurance agency in the Coachella Valley. Jim has previous served on the board of The North Central Community Center, a community-based organization for at-risk youth in Regina Saskatchewan. He currently serves on the board of Canmar Grain’s an international food production company, where he has helped build relationships with national brands such as Trader Joe’s and Costco, along with numerous international distributors.
Brian Rix            Brian Rix joined the Board of Directors in 2010. He is a principal with Burke Rix Communications, LLC with offices in Palm Springs and Los Angeles. The firm specializes in government relations, public relations, event and conference management and campaign management and fundraising. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cal State Long Beach and a law degree from the University of San Diego. He was formerly on the national Board of the Human Rights Campaign and has been active in many LGBT organizations and campaigns. He and his partner have a 29 year old son who was recently married in Palm Springs.
Joseph Burgo Ph.D         With a B.A. in English Literature, an M.A. and Ph.D in Psychology, and as a Graduate Psychoanalyst of the Psychoanalytic Center of California , Joseph Burgo, Ph.D has practiced psychotherapy for more than 35 years. He is also a noted writer having published several works on narcissism, shame, and other mental health issues. As a media commentator, Dr. Burgo has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic among others. When living in Los Angeles, Dr. Burgo taught graduate students in psychology, and sat as director of the board of his psychoanalytic training institute. He lives in Palm Springs with husband, Michael Eha.
Renae Carpenter          A native of Los Angeles, Renae graduated Loyola Marymount University in 1975 and received her Juris Doctoris from Washington University in St. Louis in 1978. Working as a Deputy District Attorney in Stanislaus County for over 4 years, she became a Deputy Public Defender for San Bernardino county in 1985, where she worked for 29 years. Renae and her wife Barbara moved to Palm Springs over 8 years ago. Since her retirement she has been involved in several community organizations, currently serving as a member of the L-Fund advisory board, the board of directors for the Palm Springs Women's Jazz festival, and has also worked on the Ethics Committee for the City of Palm Springs. Presently Renae is a member of the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast Committee and is in training to volunteer as an advocate for developmentally disabled adults.
Larry Colton        As a thirty-five year veteran of the insurance industry in the Bay Area, Larry was one of four partners at Goldman Insurance Services, serving as president for fifteen years. After successfully selling Goldman Insurance to Willis Insurance Services in 2001, Larry became President of Willis of California. After a brief retirement stint in 2010, Larry started a new insurance brokerage firm, G2 Insurance, in 2012 and sold his interest in 2017. He currently serves on the Board of G2 Insurance and Recology, a resource recovery firm headquartered in San Francisco. He also provides mentorship to start-up companies at Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California. He has served on multiple non-profit boards including San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Larkin Street Youth Center, Insight Prison Project, YMCA, Equality California and currently, Mills College. Larry joined the Board of Directors at The Center in Summer 2017.
Susan Dost         Susan is CEO and President of Sheridan In-Home Care, an award-winning brand in Greater Los Angeles and Palm Springs that provides non-medical in-home care for seniors. Susan creates concierge services to expand the scope of offerings to include visiting professionals such as hygienists, nurses, therapists, attorneys, and more to people in their homes. Susan also founded Nurse At Your Door, an on demand concierge nursing company, which has grown to over 100 nurses. She sits on the board of Cancer Support Community and is a licensed private pilot. She has a young daughter named Paloma with her wife Lindsay. Susan joined The Center board at the start of 2018.
Albert Gonzalez          Local man Albert grew up and was educated here in the Coachella Valley. Working as a Peer Group Counselor during his Coachella Valley High School Junior and Senior years developed Albert’s interest in helping others. Volunteering at Revivals and Animal Samaritans keeps him engaged with his passion for people and animals, while his work with Coachella Valley Repertory, Dez Art Theater and Palm Canyon Theater feeds his interest in the arts.  As Co-Owner and Pastry Chef at 849 Restaurant, Albert is a local businessman and literally helps feed many people some of the best food in town. With husband, Willie Rhine, the men are passionate Ocotillo members for the Center, while Albert has a particular interest in supporting Center Outreach for the East Coachella Valley
Chris Ann Kallgren         Chris Ann Kallgren joined The Center Board in 2015. A real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Palm Springs, she services Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Twenty Nine Palms, and the Palms Springs area. Kallgren believes in advocacy for the LGBT community and animal rescue. She regularly volunteers for multiple organizations to better the lives and understanding of people, youth and animals. Among her accomplishments is co-producing the Joshua Tree Gay Pride Festival, with founder Andy Woods. Recently her work has been recognized in the media and she was recognized as one of the ‘Most Influential Women Of The Valley’ gracing the October 2014 cover of Desert Outlook magazine.
Sue Knollenberg        Sue Knollenberg has thirty years of experience in non-profit organizations and health care foundations directing development programs, cultivating relationships with major donors, directing a capital campaign, and writing grants. Her experience in the Coachella Valley includes acting as the Director of Development at Desert AIDS Project and Director of Major Gifts at CSUSB, Palm Desert Campus. She took a leave from The Center board the last two years to act as the Director of Development for The Center. Sue and her wife Marsha live in Palm Desert with their two rescue dogs, Bogey and Bella. Sue is an active volunteer at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and enjoys desert gardening.
Mary Ann McLaughlin         Mary Ann McLaughlin serves as the Associate Vice President of Patient Care Services at Eisenhower Medical Center. She has worked with the organization for over 25 years. Mary Ann started her professional medical career as a staff nurse upon completion of her nursing diploma from Benedictine Hospital School of Nursing in New York. She also holds a B.S. Degree in Nursing from CSU San Bernardino and a M.S. in Nursing from Loma Linda University. Mary Ann’s professional affiliations include Gamma Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International Nursing Honor Society, and California Association of Nurse Leaders.
Michele McKee         Michele L. McKee actually officially started with the board at the end of 2012. She is a managing partner at O’Kane & McKee, LLP, a Palm Springs-based law firm providing an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the complex needs of business owners and individual clients. McKee received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio in 1996, graduating summa cum laude. While working full time as a civil engineer, Ms. McKee obtained her law degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law (Cleveland State University) in May 2002, graduating magna cum laude.
Lisa Middleton         Lisa Middleton is a member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission, Chairwoman of the Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS), a member of the Boards of Directors of the Desert Horticulture Society and the Desert LGBT Center. In 2014, she was the Center’s Interim Executive Director. On the Planning Commission she has advocated for neighborhood/developer cooperation, increased use of solar power, the creative use of desert landscaping, renewal of our downtown, sustainable projects that excel – architecturally and economically and the elimination of abandoned buildings and blighted vacant lots. ONE-PS is a coalition of 40 neighborhoods. Under Lisa’s leadership, ONE-PS has taken the lead on street repairs, vacation rental compliance, pedestrian, cyclist and traffic safety and the inclusive involvement growth of every community within Palm Springs. Lisa Middleton retired after serving 36 years with the State Compensation Insurance Fund of the State of California. At her retirement she was the Senior Vice President of Internal Affairs with executive responsibility for Internal Audit, Fraud Investigation, Public Records and Governance. She was a member of California’s Fraud Assessment Commission. In 2010, she chaired the Commission. Lisa is a graduate of UCLA and USC, receiving her Masters in Public Administration from USC. She has also completed the UCLA LGBT Leadership Institute. After 13 years together, Lisa and Cheryl were married in July 2013. Lisa is transgender having completed a change in gender roles in the mid-1990s. She is the proud parent of two adult children.
Charles Robbins        Charles Robbins has been transforming nonprofit organizations for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of experience as one of the Center’s newest board members. Mr. Robbins currently serves as the Vice President of The Village Family Services, a large Southern California family wellness agency specializing in providing safety and permanency for children and youth. Prior to arriving at The Village in July, Mr. Robbins was the CEO of The Trevor Project, a national organization focused on suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. He was at the helm from 2007 to 2011 and during his four-year tenure, the full-time staff grew from five to 24, the annual budget quadrupled to nearly $4 million, and the organization received acclaimed national visibility. His professional experience also includes serving as development director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, various senior fundraising roles at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and founding Project Angel Heart, a Denver-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization. A Colorado native, Mr. Robbins holds a certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, and he is a longtime member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) where he achieved accreditation as a Certified Fund Raising Professional (CFRE). Mr. Robbins is married to Damon Romine, Communications Director at Screen Actors Guild, and they have been part-time residents of Palm Springs for the past 11 years.
Ronni Sanlo, Ed.D        With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a masters and doctorate in education from the University of North Florida, author, LGBT historian, and playwright Dr. Ronni Sanlo is the Director Emeritus of the UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center, having previously been the director of the LGBT Center at the University of Michigan. Ronni writes with a focus on LGBT history and has over 100 academic publications to her credit including her memoir The Purple Golf Cart: The Misadventures of a Lesbian Grandmother, and the play Dear Anita Bryant. She and her wife, Dr. Kelly Watson, live in Palm Springs and are working on a lesbian history project. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Sanlo originated the award-winning Lavender Graduation, a commencement event that celebrates the lives and achievements of graduating LGBT college students.
James Williamson         James has over 25 years of financial management experience and has worked in executive management positions, including as the Chief Financial Officer for a chain of education bookstores and a private equity firm, and Director of Finance and Administration for a US government-funded international relations organization and a community development organization. James has served as a board member for dozens of nonprofit organizations over the past 20, with a particular focus on organizations that strive for equality and justice. He is a past member of the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Palm Springs Unified School District in 2014. James joined The Center Board of Directors in Summer 2017.
  • The LGBT Community Center of The Desert

    The McDonald/Wright Building

    1301 North Palm Canyon Dr, 3rd Floor
    Palm Springs, CA 92262

    760.416.7790 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Open Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm

    The Center is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) public charity
    EIN # 33-0937301

  • facebookicon twitter instagram