The Pride Center wouldn’t be on the map today (literally) without our incredible team. We’re grateful for every one of them.
Working both nationally in the US and provincially in Ontario, Canada, Frankie has been entrenched in social justice advocacy and programing for over 20 years. His career began facilitating workshops around intersectionality, leadership, advocacy, equity, and anti-oppression. Advocating for the expertise of people with lived experience, he coordinated peer education programs around HIV prevention, substance use, and harm reduction. He later worked as a Capacity Building Assistance Specialist partnering with Native Communities supporting with the design and implementation of their own HIV prevention campaigns and educational events. He also supervised and operated a peer-run Ontario-wide LGBTQ phone/chat support line.
Most recently, Frankie co-directed a province-wide harm reduction capacity building program to support networks of frontline workers, their managers, and public health units around overdose prevention, best practices regarding equipment use, and advocating for extremely marginalized and silenced communities. This work included education and training both in-person and online in the form of webinars, an online course, and the development of standardized web-based toolkits.
Frankie implements his work through a lens of intersectionality, is deeply connected to his Filipino roots, and has a complicated history with the messiness between gender and sexuality. He has worked as a consultant to nonprofits, been featured as a plenary speaker at conferences across Ontario and the US, is an excellent baker, and brings his humor and life experiences with him everywhere he goes.
Verna Barrientos, LCSW #106867
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Mental Health Clinician & Intake CoordinatorÂ
Verna is a Bay Area native. She is a lover of both formal and informal education and received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from San Jose State University in 2018 and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in 2022. By Verna obtaining her MSW degree and becoming an LCSW, she is living proof that it is important for people with mental health challenges to dream big because they can accomplish amazing things in their lives.
Verna has lived with depression and anxiety since she was a teenager, and several of her family members also live with mental health challenges. Verna strongly believes that some of the ways to end stigma around mental illness are by creating spaces for open and honest conversations about mental health and wellness, having unconditional love and support from peers, friends, family, and chosen family, and for service providers to be knowledgeable and empathetic about mental health, mental illness, and everything in between. Verna is a strong believer in the importance of self-care. She practices self-care by reading thought-provoking books, playing card games and ping pong, practicing mindfulness, having deep and meaningful conversations, and going for walks on the beach with her pound puppy Zero.
Marilyn-Rose Calosing Fernando
Marketing & Community Engagement Lead
650-465-6789 (text ok)
Marilyn is the Marketing and Community Engagement Lead for the San Mateo County Pride Center. She is a First-Generation Filipina-American who graduated with BA in Women and Gender Studies from San Francisco State University in 2017. She has been an organizer with the San Francisco Dyke March for the past 5 years and has served as the co-chair for the past 2 years. Her experience as an organizer with the Dyke March and identity as a QWOC has emphasized her devotion to creating safe, accessible and inclusive spaces for Queer folks to gather and build community. She is originally from Salinas and moved to San Francisco 10 years ago. If the Golden Girls were zodiac placements, she describe herself as a Rose Sun, Blanche Moon & Rose/Dorothy cusp rising. Outside of work, you can find her karaokeing to George Michael, watching cooking shows, and thrifting or re-watching episodes of Bobs Burgers on her spare time.
Health Equity Coordinator & Clinical Program Analyst
Born and raised in Fremont, Alex has lived in the Bay Area his entire life. Driven by his passion and dedication to help improve the lives and well-being of fellow LGBTQIA+ individuals, Alex earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University in 2016. Since then, he has gained valuable experience serving local community-based nonprofits and has specialized in work with homeless and at-risk youth. As the Pride Center Case Manager, and a member of the queer community himself, Alex brings his knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity to the forefront of his work. By cultivating the unique strengths and abilities of the those under his care, and by connecting them to any resources and services they may need, he aims to help individuals achieve wellness and autonomy while meeting their goals. Outside of work, Alex enjoys unwinding by spending time with his loving partner and family; staying fit through yoga, dance, and kickboxing; rocking out on the drums; and binge watching his favorite shows with his cat.
Supervised by Ralph Notor, LMFT#35208
(650) 240-8885 (text OK)
Jessica (or Jess) grew up all over the United States in her childhood, which showed her the value of seeing the world through different lenses at an early age. She applies this empathy-led approach to her therapeutic practice, centering her care in curiosity about how a client experiences the world, and appropriately advocating for them in relation to these experiences.
Jessica obtained their bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Francisco State University. In and after their time as an undergraduate student, they worked and volunteered in a variety of settings – including day programs, correctional facilities, research labs, retail locations, live-in care homes, transitional living facilities, camps, and international preschools – and learned a great deal from everyone theyâ€™ve worked with.
Jessica is currently in their second year of a Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program and looks forward to continuing to work with the LGBTQ2IAP+ community among others as their career goes on. When Jess isnâ€™t working or studying, she likes to practice ever-important self-care by spending time at the beach, reading poetry, traveling, going to live music shows, and caring for her cat who will sometimes make playful appearances in video meetings.
StarVista San Mateo County Pride Center Trainee
Supervised by Dr. Neeru Madan, Licensed Clinical Supervisor #30872
Katrina grew up in San Diego and was introduced to a variety of cultures and foods from an early age that has fueled her curiosity for how each person’s cultural identities influence how they navigate the world. She tries to live her life by the three principles of curiosity, empathy, and authenticity. The mindset that she tries to navigate the world through is as a realistic optimist by balancing a strengths-based advocacy approach, while acknowledging structural and societal norms and barriers that impact our daily lives.
Katrina obtained her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology with a minor in leadership studies from Western Washington University. She likes to view situations from multiple perspectives and described her degrees as psychology is how people think, sociology is how people interact and leadership is how you influence others. Katrina has worked with a variety of ages from 5-year-olds to adults in a variety of settings including working with kids with autism, an emergency shelter for 13-17 year olds, and recently 16-24 year olds at San Jose Job Corps. Katrina specializes in working with transitional age youth from teenagers to early 20’s and especially with the LGBTQ+ community.
Katrina is in her 4th year of a PhD Clinical Psychology doctoral program in the LBGTQ+ and diversity and community mental health concentrations. She looks forward to continuing her work with LGBTQ2IAP+ community. In her rare free time, Katrina loves to bake, travel, paint, be in nature, and spend time with friends.
she/her/hers or they/them/theirs
Volunteer and Peer Group Coordinator
Elana Ron (She/they) grew up in the Bay Area and lives in Half Moon Bay. She is excited to be joining this team because she understands the importance of what the Pride Center and its groups bring to the community- without an LGBTQ+ teen group that she was involved in, she would not be the person she is today. Having been involved in theatre since childhood, Elana was immersed in the LGBTQ+ community long before realizing she was part of it.
While her degree is in Musical Theatre, she has a passion for history and making sure that all voices can be heard. She has previously worked in customer service for a number of theatre companies and Olivia Travel (a lesbian travel charter company), and spent a few years teaching. She also is involved with CoastPride- helping to organize and facilitate their Aging Well and Family group, teaches music, dance, and theatre classes for children and is often part of community theatre shows. Her variety of work and life experience has taught her the importance of listening to communities, showing up when needed, and helping to train and organize volunteers. Non-profits- whether a community center, mentoring program, or theatre company cannot survive without their volunteers, so Elana understands the value of making sure everyone can feel prepared and valued when they decide to step up and help. She has four rescue dogs that you may see behind her in Zoom meetings.
Andrea "Drae" Roth
Mental Health Clinician
Registered Associate MFT#117800
Registered Associate PCC#7880
Supervised by Ralph Notor, LMFT
Andrea is a Hapa, born and raised in the Bay Area. Her passion for helping those with complex intersectional backgrounds led her to get her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco social justice orientated MFT program and to work with ethnic-, sexual-, and neuro-diverse adults, children, parents, and families combined for over 3.5 years. She is dedicated to making therapy a truly healing space, one in which ones true self can be discovered after clearing away the distorted lens that the world, others, or even that one may see oneself through.
During her spare time, she loves testing out new baking and cooking recipes with her friends and family, dancing, and rock climbing. She also enjoys listening to stand-up, picnicking in the park, and trying her hand at DIY projects.
Jazz Sharpe Slavin
Supervised by Diana Fuerza, LCSW #26887
Jazz is thrilled to be in their final year of graduate studies in Marriage and Family Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy. Their previous work experience has always centered on supporting others in a variety of roles and settings, including customer service, early childhood education, in-home caregiving, and donating time towards organizations that advocate for sexual minorities. Jazz has devoted the past five years to volunteer work in creating welcoming and affirming spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals to feel encouraged to express their full selves through process-based art groups, community clothing swaps, and social meet ups at various museums and queer owned venues.
Jazz takes pride in their intersectional identities as a multiracial, neurodivergent, non-binary, pansexual. Their personal strengths include compassion, flexibility, and openness to the varying walks of life as they have collected and witnessed multiple experiences that challenge societal norms of survival, love, family, success, and healing. Jazz understands the importance of meeting people where they are at in life and collaborating together on their therapeutic goals. They are a devoted lifelong learner in culturally responsive, trauma-informed, 2SLGBTQ+ affirming, sex-positive, harm reduction, expressive arts therapeutic practices.
During their free time, Jazz enjoys taking family dog walks along the coast, experimenting with different art mediums, and tending to their ever growing houseplant collection.
Phone: (650) 695-0006
Low (she/they) is the Administrative Coordinator for San Mateo County Pride Center. She has several years of administrative experience working for corporate and nonprofit organizations. She is a founding member of the San Mateo County Pride Center and helped open the doors for the first ever Pride Center in San Mateo County in 2017. Most recently, she worked for a national LGBTQ+ study that focused on how being LGBTQ+ influences physical, mental, or social health over time. She is ecstatic to return to the Pride Center where she can continue to provide support to the community throughout San Mateo County where she feels like coming home. Low enjoys spending time her family and her niblings (gender neutral term for niece and nephew) and seeing them learn and grow.
Azisa Todd, MPH
she/her/hers or they
Lead Trainer & Events Coordinator
Azisa (Zi) Todd was born and raised in Oakland, and uses she/her/hers/they pronouns, or simply Zi. Much of their community work started young when Azisa was a Girl Scout and continued into high school. While in high school, she did the usual queer things like co-organize the Queer Straight Alliance and Feminist Club. After, Zi went on to undergrad, served as a member then director of BlaQue, UCLA’s Black LGBTQ+ organization. Zi hosted events, workshops, and study sessions up until the pandemic hit. Having since graduated from UCLA, she decided to jump back into academia and pursue a master’s in public health at San Francisco State University with an emphasis in community health education. Azisa’s long-term goal after completing the MPH program is to pursue a DrPH or PhD in public health and teach what they have learned to college-level students.
Azisa is excited to be the Lead Trainer and Events Coordinator position at the San Mateo County Pride Center because of their background in organizing and hosting events for the queer community in LA and the various workshops Zi helped develop; doing this form of work is both rewarding and joyful for Zi. Outside of academia and work, she is learning how to roller skate and watch a lot of anime.
The San Mateo County Pride Center is an innovative and ongoing collaboration between four local nonprofit organizations and San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), each with strong community roots and a demonstrated commitment to improving the lives and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. Together, these four organizations created the Pride Center as a means to provide a safer space in which the LGBTQ+ community can truly thrive with faster, easier access to direct services. Along with providing guidance and support, each of the collaborators meet together as one staff for case consultation, cross training, and the sharing of resources.
Learn more about our partner organizations
Outlet of Adolescent Counseling Services empowers Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQQ+) youth and builds safe and accepting communities through support, education, and advocacy. Outlet envisions a world that embraces, empowers, and celebrates LGBTQQ+ youth.
Peninsula Family Service strengthens the community by providing children, families, and older adults the support and tools to realize their full potential and lead healthy, stable lives. They envision a community where opportunity, financial stability, and wellness are secured for all.
StarVista delivers high impact services through counseling, skill development, and crisis prevention to children, youth, adults, and families. Their vision is for all children, youth, and adults to receive quality services to support them in reaching their potential.
Additionally, we are proud to work with other local LGBTQ+ organizations such as the PRIDE Initiative and the LGBTQ Commission of San Mateo County, PFLAG, Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, and the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center Clinic.