EQCA
Equality California
About EQCA

Rick Zbur
Executive Director

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Native of: New Mexico
  • Alum: Yale University and Harvard Law

Rick Zbur is a distinguished lawyer with a long history of advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and environmental causes. Zbur retired from Latham & Watkins, one of the world’s largest and most respected law firms, where he was a senior partner and practiced law for 29 years.

Read Rick's full bio here

rick(at)eqca(dot)org

Gary Collis
Deputy Director, Programs and Development

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Native of: Galesburg, Il.
  • Weirdest job: Corn detassler

A native of Illinois, Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational management at the University of Illinois. Gary joins EQCA after working as a civil litigator in Los Angeles for seventeen years, most recently at Gordon & Rees LLP, handling a wide range of disputes in trial and appellate courts. Gary is responsible for development at EQCA, including organizing the Equality Awards held annually in five cities throughout California. Gary also administers many of EQCA’s programs, including Health Happens with Equality, the Breakthrough Conversation and Central Valley undocumented LGBT immigrant outreach.

gary(at)eqca(dot)org

Laurie Hasencamp

Laurie hasencamp

Interim Chief Operations Officer

Laurie served for 10 months in 2012 as EQCA’s interim executive director and currently serves as board treasurer. A long-time backer of Equality California, Laurie has dedicated her time to community service since retiring from practicing law in 2002. She is a member of the Founder’s Council of The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and a former member of the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal.

Tony Hoang
Chief of Staff

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Home town: Houston, Texas
  • Loves: College football, concerts and cooking

As Chief of Staff, Tony directs many of the day-to-day activities as well as manages many of EQCA's external relationships with allied coalitions and organizations. He is the point person on staff for EQCA PAC's activities and manages the organization's field team. Tony started his journey with EQCA as a field intern in 2009 and has served in various capacities throughout the organization with the most recent being the Operations Director. A native Texan, Tony earned his B.A. in International Relations with dual minors in Human Rights and Natural Sciences from the University of Southern California. During his undergraduate career, he also worked at the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

tony(at)eqca(dot)org
 
Melissa Estrada
Field and Data Associate
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests: Googling, Locked up raw, psychology today, and quoting Dr. Seuss
  • Quote: Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you'er than you. --Dr. Seuss

As Field and Data Associate, Melissa works behind the scenes to keep EQCA humming by making sure the money's counted, the data's entered and just generally doing what needs to get done. Melissa has worked multiple campaigns with EQCA, and shows her dedication with a smile every day.

Brad Lundahl
Program Assistant

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Native of: Vancouver
  • Hobbies: Sailing and being on the water

Brad Lundahl is a pre-medical student with a background in immunology and biology. He grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and attended the University of British Columbia. Brad has spent the last three years in a binational relationship, travelling between Vancouver and California, and has become intimately familiar with the U.S. political system — specifically, the challenges facing binational LGBT couples, which encouraged him to enter the political arena and fight for the rights of all LGBT individuals. Driven by his passion for health care and equality for all minority groups, Brad hopes to focus on advancing the progressive legislation he seems as integral to the growth and prosperity of California and the country he now calls home.

brad(at)eqca(dot)org

Jo Michael
Legislative Associate

  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Native of: Colorado
  • Alum: University of Southern California

Jo Michael began at EQCA as a Legislative Fellow in August 2012 and is now working full-time on legislative advocacy projects. Jo is a graduate of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and is admitted to practice law in California. He has previously worked at Family Equality Council, Advocates for Informed Choice, ONE Archives and as a field organizer for the No on 8 campaign. He currently serves on the board of SacLEGAL. Jo has been involved in the movement for equality since 2003, when he co-founded his high school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance and hopes to continue working in the movement throughout his career.

jo(at)eqca(dot)org

Valecia Phillips
Director of Finance and Administration

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Native of: New York
  • Sings with: Angel City Chorale

Valecia Phillips is a seasoned chief financial officer with broad and progressive experience in the arts, public media and government. Prior to joining EQCA, Valecia served for a decade as director of business and finance for UCLA Live, an internationally renowned performing arts program at the University of California Los Angeles. In her hometown New York, she held a variety of leadership and analytical positions at Sony Music Entertainment, Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. She received her MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

valecia(at)eqca(dot)org

Ewan Stark
Program Manager

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Home town: Tigard, OR
  • Favorite meal: Breakfast

As program manager, Ewan coordinates the outreach and education for the Health Happens with Equality campaign, participates in community and LGBT pride festivals in Southern California, and assists with development and events throughout the year. Ewan was born and raised near Portland, Oregon and completed his Bachelors in Public Health from Oregon State University by moving to Los Angeles for an internship with Equality California. He loved it and stayed.
ewan(at)eqca(dot)org

Josh Steichmann
Communications Manager

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Home town: Ann Arbor, Mi
  • Loves: Mixtapes, book learnin' and photography

Josh started volunteering for EQCA as a wedding present for a high school friend whose wedding he officiated prior to Prop. 8, and now works on the communication team, getting the word out about all the great stuff EQCA does. He has a journalism degree from Eastern Michigan (go Emus) and has previously worked as a rock journalist. His beard is the envy of the office.

steichmann(at)eqca(dot)org

George Zander
Coachella Valley Field Manager

  • Alum: University Of Washington, Seattle
  • First love: Political Action
  • Second love: Cooking
  • Third love: His cat, Petey

Local coalition building, voter contact, volunteer recruitment and management. George has been actively involved in Democratic Party and LGBT issues since 1980, when he was one of the first board members of Seattle's first openly lesbian and gay lobbying organization, The Dorian Group. He has worked for dozens of issues and candidates, including being the Chair of the King County Democratic Party, the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign and staff for Senator Barbara Boxer. He sits on the Palm Springs Police Advisory Board, and the PSPD LGBT Outreach Committee, as well as Vice Chair of the Warm Sands Neighborhood Organization and remains on the steering Committee of the Desert Stonewall Democrats. He lives with his husband Chris and three loving cats — Petey, Satya and Charly.

george(at)eqca(dot)org

 

Meet the Field Staff

Brandon Benoit
Street Canvasser

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite breakfast: Eggs Benedict
  • Favorite cheese: Gouda

Brandon rocks the street team out of West Hollywood, and needs to get full a bio sent in.

Brianna Eaton
Assistant Street Canvass Lead

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds
  • Goal: To become a child psychologist

Brianna raises awareness and funds for EQCA's Breakthrough Conversations project. She has previously canvassed on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Brianna loves to read and follow politics along with camping, fishing and pretty much anything to do with the great outdoors.

Justin Florez
Phone Bank Lead

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Inspirations: John Lennon, Freddy Mercury and his Mother
  • Aspirations: To find true love and play music forever

Justin has been an avid activist, fundraiser, phone banker and canvasser since 2008. Being at the front line of the fight for equality is something he takes great pride in. He loves going to live concerts, cliff jumping and singing in the shower. He hates pollution, cigarettes and anti-equality extremists.

Scott Gizicki
Street Canvass Lead

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Hometown: Detroit, Mi.
  • Favorite Holiday: May the Fourth

Scott has been the bedrock of the street canvass since he took over, and he hopes to further his passion for non-profits with a position in development.

Jesse Quintanilla
Assistant Street Canvass Lead

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite hairstyle: Ponytail
  • Already sick of: "Jesse's Girl" jokes

Jesse Quintanilla is someone else who is awesome despite needing more bio information turned in.

Arturo Valencia
Phone Banker

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests: Advocacy, Social Justice, and a dog called "Pinky"
  • Entertainment: Sci-Fi movies and U.S. National Parks

Arturo came to Los Angeles back in 1990 via Tucson, Arizona. He got his start as an HIV/AIDS health educator and outreach worker in East L.A, and is now a part of EQCA's phone team. He also works as an HIV pre/post test counselor at John Wesley Community Health. With a strong outreach and canvassing background, Arturo applies his 15 years of experience reaching out to people delivering one message: We need to secure legal protections for LGBT Californians. 

Roman Venalonzo
Phone Bank Lead

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite Artists: Red Hot Chili Peppers & Santana
  • Travel Highlights: Egypt and the Giza pyramids

Roman Venalonzo is extremely passionate about music, kids, and LGBT rights. He enjoys playing guitar, traveling, and hanging out at home with Cali the Pit Bull and friends.

Jay Xavier
Street Canvasser

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
  • Favorite team: The Knicks, baby

Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, this modern day nomad has moved from New York to Florida and then California, trading good pizza for good weather. After seeing the world, Jay has now settled here in beautiful Los Angeles and works as an activist, bringing equality to one human at a time.

 

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