Tony Hoang is the Executive Director of Equality California and Silver State Equality and a veteran of the LGBTQ+ equality movement. The son of Vietnam War refugees and the first person in his family to attend college, Tony is a proud first-generation immigrant who grew up understanding the marginalized intersections of sexuality, gender, race and immigration status. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Tony moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. During college, he interned with the Pacific Council on International Policy and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor before joining Equality California as a field intern in 2009, beginning his long career with the organization.
Tony went on to serve as Equality California's Database and Volunteer Manager, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff and Managing Director prior to his selection as Executive Director-designate in 2021. During that time, Tony played a pivotal role in the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation in California, Nevada and Washington, DC, implementation of statewide public education campaigns and the election of hundreds of openly LGBTQ+ and pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot. Tony helped usher in a dramatic expansion of Equality California’s budget, staff, programming — especially the organization’s political work and efforts to advance racial justice — and growth to over 900,000 pro-equality members across the country.
Tony serves the City of Los Angeles as a Commissioner on the Innovation and Performance Commission. He also sits on the boards of Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people, and DTLA Proud. He is a member of the Center for Asian Americans United For Self Empowerment (CAUSE) Leadership Network and the Pacific Council on International Policy and serves as a mentor for the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Mentoring Program.
Tony received a BA in International Relations at the University of Southern California with minors in Political Science and Natural Sciences. An avid concert-goer, cook, cyclist and traveler, Tony lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his fiancé Ian, an attorney.
Sunitha Menon (she/her/hers) is the Managing Director of Operations of Equality California and Silver State Equality. She is responsible for setting a vision for and leading the organization’s human resources, talent management, development, and programmatic functions.
As a first-generation queer person of color, Sunitha has seen how inequalities and discrimination have affected the health, safety, and well-being of marginalized communities. She has spent her career working to support these communities and address inequalities through direct action, support services, and education. Sunitha has worked in the non-profit space for over 20 years, and has focused the past ten years on organizational strategy and growth, staff development and culture building, and sustainability. Prior to joining Equality California, Sunitha founded and managed the consulting services department at RAINN, which provided tailored solutions to the ways in which sexual violence impacted organizations of all kinds.
Sunitha received her Bachelors in Sociology from UMASS Amherst, and her Masters in the Science of Social Work, from Columbia University. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family (especially her nieces and nephews), international travel, hiking, and doing anything by the ocean. Sunitha lives in Long Beach with her wife, a Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain, and their beagle-mix.
Theresa Carlisle is the Director of Human Resources Director and Administration for Equality California responsible for all human resource functional areas, including benefits administration, talent acquisition, and retention, compensation and performance appraisal, leadership development, and workforce culture.
Prior to joining Equality California, she was the US People and Culture Manager for Denmark-based Linkfire, Inc., a music industry technology company. Theresa has over twenty years of people and culture experience in the healthcare, behavioral health, and imaging industries. She graduated from Antioch University with a BA in Business Management. Theresa loves Major League Baseball and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named McKenzie.
Craig Pulsipher is the Legislative Director for Equality California responsible for leading the organization’s state policy, budget, and administrative advocacy work. Prior to joining Equality California, Craig served as the Associate Director of Government Affairs at APLA Health in Los Angeles where he oversaw statewide HIV and health care policy, legislation, budget, and political strategy. During his time at APLA Health, Craig led a multi-year campaign to reform California’s outdated HIV criminal laws, helped pass groundbreaking legislation to expand access to HIV treatment and PrEP, and spearheaded the formation of a new statewide coalition to end the HIV, STD, viral hepatitis, and overdose epidemics. Craig received graduate degrees in Public Policy and Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Erin Arendse is a Program Co-Director at Equality California, leading the organization's programs aimed at reducing disparities in LGBTQ+ health and well-being, empowering LGBTQ+ leaders and increasing civic participation within the LGBTQ+ community. She also oversees the organization's grants fundraising strategy. Prior to joining Equality California, she was the Senior Manager for Grants and Compliance at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and worked as a freelance and volunteer grant writer for a number of organizations. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with an M.A. in English, and is a former English professor, having taught at Orange Coast College and Biola University. An avid runner and hiker, Erin currently lives in Long Beach.
Sarah Morrow An serves as Development Director at Equality California, overseeing all fundraising strategies and initiatives for the organization and its subsidiaries. A recent transplant from the New York City area, Sarah has over 10 years of professional development experience including serving as Director of Development at Housing Works Inc., as well as Vice President of the Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe. Prior to Housing Works, Sarah worked at the Metropolitan Opera during their record-breaking 2011-2012 season. Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Communications, Sociology, and with a concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School. Sarah has served proudly on the boards of Housing Works and the West Village Chorale, and was an avid volunteer at the Museum of Modern Art. Sarah now lives in Miracle Mile with her opera-singer husband and two lovable (but exhausting) toddlers. (Photo: Joshua Kristal)
Chris Negri is a Program Co-Director at Equality California, overseeing education programs. Prior to joining Equality California Institute, Chris taught high school Special Education for four years in Highland Park, California. After leaving the classroom, he worked in philanthropy, community organizing, and development with the USC Shoah Foundation, Karam Foundation, and other organizations. Chris has Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning from USC, an MA in Special Education from Loyola Marymount, and a BA in History from UC Riverside. He also holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute. When not working at Equality California Institute, he serves as a Religious Advisor and Program Coordinator for Catholic students at Occidental College.
Valerie Ploumpis is National Policy Director for Equality California and Silver State Equality, based in Washington, DC. She is a political expert with more than two decades of experience in issue-advocacy campaigns, grassroots education and mobilization, coalition building, lobbying and media outreach. Past co-chair of two LGBTQ+ organizations, OutRight International Action and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, she now serves on the Council for Global Equality, a coalition of U.S.-based human rights and LGBTQI advocacy organizations. Prior to joining Equality California, she was a principal at Burnside & Associates and a senior legislative and policy advocate for several international trade organizations in Washington, D.C. She holds a BA in international relations from Mills College and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. A parent of two 20-somethings, Valerie enjoys swimming, hiking and board games.
Jorge Reyes Salinas is the Communications Director for Equality California and Silver State Equality, based in Sacramento. He was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge, where he received a Master's Degree in Communication Studies and Bachelor's degree in Journalism. As a student at Cal State Northridge, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the CSU Board of Trustees. Jorge recently served as Senator Monique Limón's Communications Director. Before that, he served as an Assembly Fellow in the office of Assemblymember Kevin Mullin and as a District Representative for Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. Jorge lives in Sacramento with his Chihuahua Terrier named Chanel and, in his free time, enjoys dancing, eating Hot Cheetos, and ordering Starbucks holiday drinks.
Tom Temprano is the San Francisco-based Political Director at Equality California, where he leads the organization's political engagement, electoral and civic engagement programs. Prior to joining Equality California Tom worked as Chief of Staff for San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman where he focused on LGBTQ+, small business, budget, and cannabis policy. Tom also served as an elected member of the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees for 5 years. He previously served as a President, Co-President and PAC Chair of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and is a former board member of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. Tom is a passionate basketball fan and enjoys exploring California with Chihuahua mix Valerie.
André C. Wade is the state director for Silver State Equality. In this role he leads legislative, fundraising and political efforts in the state of Nevada. With a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Administration, André has worked in human services for nearly 25 years in a variety of public and nonprofit contexts working on issues such as developmental disabilities, child welfare, youth experiencing homelessness national policy advocacy, diversity, equity and inclusion, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. André has served on several boards and committees focused on LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion such as the Human Rights Campaign’s Advisory Council for the All Children’s All Families program. Andre is a two-time appointee to Governor Sisolak’s Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization for the State of Nevada. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, André is a certified yoga instructor who loves spending time with his partner, Jorge, traveling to new places and having interesting experiences attending concerts, and sneaking in time reading, writing and spending time with loved ones.
Jared Godes (he/him) is an Associate Director of Donor Relations, supporting Equality California and Silver State Equality's Individual Giving program and development department by building trusted relationships, navigating intentional communication strategies, and working with colleagues to plan and execute special events in key supporter markets. Jared was most recently at The San Diego LGBT Community Center as a Major Gifts Officer, serving as a main point for major donors and implementing strategies to enhance donor experience, communications, and donor engagement activities. Before The Center, Jared worked for LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute in Washington, D.C. as the Sr. Manager of National Events & Engagement, overseeing all events and associated sponsorships, and managing the western states' individual and corporate giving. Outside of Equality, you can find Jared socializing with friends and family, experimenting with juicing recipes, at the gym, and in the sauvignon blanc aisle.
Jesse Finley Reed is the Associate Director of Marketing & Communications for Equality California and Silver State Equality based in Los Angeles. Passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, he is looking forward to helping to advance the organization’s communication and strategic goals. Prior to joining EQCA, he was the Creative Director at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, overseeing the implementation of an organization-wide rebrand, as well communication materials for a capitol campaign and location expansion in the neighborhoods of West Hollywood and Boyle Heights. He received his MFA from Yale University School of Art and his BFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and was a recipient of a DAAD Stipendium to research and produce a body of artwork investigating LGBTQ+ history in Berlin, Germany. Jesse is also a documentary filmmaker and artist, having exhibited his work at film festivals and galleries, both nationally and internationally. His first feature film, ALL MAN: The International Male Story, premiered in 2022 at Tribeca Film Festival.
Joel Gemino is an Associate Program Director, focusing on leadership and empowerment programs, and anti-violence resources. Prior to joining Equality California, Joel oversaw Youth and Family Services at The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, where he developed mentorship and peer support programs for Queer and Trans youth. In this role, he also trained hundreds of educators throughout the Greater Long Beach area on creating safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ youth. Before The Center, Joel worked in special education at Chaffey High School, where he also had the honor to serving as staff advisor for the GSA club. He received his BA in sociology from Pitzer College. In his spare time, he enjoys designing enamel pins, rewatching Buffy, and quoting Muppets Take Manhattan.
Jemila Morrison (she/her) is the Executive Manager and Board Liaison of Equality California and Silver State Equality. She provides administrative management support to the Executive Director and manages the governance of Equality California and Silver State Equality boards.
Prior to joining Equality California, she was the Project Manager for the Executive Office of The Urban Institute, a nonprofit socio-economic research organization, where she provided institutional management and governance support to the board of trustees. Before The Urban Institute, she supported executive management at the DC-based nonprofit Martha's Table, a child education and direct service nonprofit organization.
She received her MPA from the University of the District of Columbia with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Jemila lives in Los Angeles with her fiance, Vianni. In her free time, she's either practicing her DJing skills or helping her fiance record content for social media.
Michelle Castillo is the Administrative Manager for Equality California. She assists with ensuring effective and professional day-to-day infrastructure operations, and provides support in finance, human resources, technology and general administration. Prior to joining Equality California, Michelle was the Administrative/Operations Manager for Crossroads, a nonprofit project that raised funds to preserve democratic principles in Israel, and the Corporate Services Manager for Navigage, a nonprofit continuing care retirement community where she managed diverse small business functions. Michelle holds a BA in Broadcasting from California State University of Los Angeles and an MBA from University of Phoenix. She is an avid supporter of community gardens, Griffith Park and her pups Nick and Willie.
Jasmine Pantoja is the Communications Manager at Equality California and Equality California Institute based in Los Angeles. She oversees programmatic press and media relations. Jasmine grew up in the Central Valley where she obtained a BA in Communications from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). Jasmine brings a wealth of experience as the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s former Communications Coordinator and CSUB The Runner Newspaper's Business Manager. In her spare time, you can find Jasmine watching a live band perform and spending time with her family.
Shane M. Stahl is the Communications Manager for Equality California, helping to develop messaging and strategic communications planning to advance the organization's larger mission. Prior to EQCA, Shane was the Digital Communications Manager for Freedom for All Americans, the national bipartisan campaign to pass comprehensive LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections like the Equality Act at the federal level. During his tenure, Shane helped usher in historic pro-equality victories at the ballot box in places like Massachusetts and Alaska, as well as legislative wins in New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York among others. Additionally, he was part of the team that helped to deliver the first-ever successful House vote on a comprehensive LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination bill. Outside of work, Shane is a published author and entertainment critic and accomplished stand-up comic and actor.
Alexandria Hughes (Allie) is the Grants Manager for Equality California Institute, responsible for all aspects of grant prospecting, proposal writing and grant management. Prior to their work in the Californian non-profit sector, Allie lived in Leeds, England. During their time in ‘the North’ Allie worked in academia as a social policy teacher and PhD researcher, as well as in the community as an independent-living assistant and disability rights advocate. Allie holds their B.A. and M.A. in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Leeds. In their spare time Allie can be found spending time in nature with their kid, at queer DIY events, and trying to keep their houseplants alive.
Wendy Anguiano is a program manager at Equality California, primarily responsible for assisting with the LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training. Wendy has previously volunteered at LGBTQ+ nonprofits and worked in higher education within student affairs, focusing on LGBTQ+ centers. She holds a Dual BA in Women and Gender Studies and English from California State University, Fullerton, and a Dual MA from Claremont Graduate University in Applied Gender Studies and Community-Engaged Education and Social Change. Originally from Los Angeles, Wendy is excited to be back! In her free time, Wendy enjoys eating vegan ice cream and going to karaoke with all her friends.
Beatriz Baez is a Program Manager at Equality California, focusing on the OUT Against Big Tobacco Program in the Central Valley. Prior to joining Equality California, Beatriz worked in the field of Higher Education and Student Affairs working with students and supporting their development and retention through higher education. She received a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies and a MA from CSU Fresno in Higher Education, Administration, and Leadership. Beatriz resides in the Central Valley with her cats and enjoys reading, gardening, and Netflix originals.
Jorge-Armando Diaz is the Program Manager for the Nosotros VIHviendo program at Equality California, supporting and building the long-term capacity and effectiveness of non-profit and grassroot leaders who are leading HIV-stigma reduction projects or programming to support individuals living with HIV in California and Nevada. Jorge-Armando is a Latinx leader in Los Angeles for over 15 years, focusing on addressing shame and stigma associated with HIV, homophobia and issues related to culture and LGBTQ identity in the Latino/Latinx community.
Jorge-Armando holds a B.A. in Human Services from California State University of Fullerton and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He enjoys being a writer for Adelante Magazine, a Latino LGBTQ magazine where he addresses a wide variety of issues impacting the Latino/Latinx LGBTQ community through his articles.
Eric Hernandez is a Program Manager at Equality California, focusing on the Out Against Tobacco Program in Los Angeles. Before joining Equality California, Eric worked in the field of Mental Health Policy, advocating to increase behavioral health access for underrepresented communities in L.A. County. He received his B.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of California, Irvine. Eric currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Los Angeles Human Rights Campaign, where he is responsible for the organization's local digital engagement strategy. In his spare time, Eric enjoys traveling, coffee, and concerts.
Andrew Giang is a Senior Program Associate at Equality California who works on education programs. Prior to joining Equality California Institute, Andrew worked as a consultant, writer, editor, educator, and community representative for underserved communities in Los Angeles, California, and Wahiawa, Hawai'i. His work has consistently addressed inequity and school climate issues in Title I schools, establishing recognized after-school programs and lasting partnerships that positively promote education and public health in the local community. Andrew holds a M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University as well as a B.S. in Biopsychology and B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Julz Goff is a Senior Program Associate at Equality California working on education programming. Prior to working with Equality California, they worked as a college admissions consultant and ESL teacher, and as an intern with Equality California's AmeriCorps program. Their work has focused on bridging gaps in sexual health education, preparing students for the next steps on their educational journey, and providing a supportive environment for students of all backgrounds to be themselves. He is frequently found in the yoga studio or dancing under the stars with his dog, Bella, and his cat, Pumpkin. Julz holds an M.S. in Sexual and Reproductive Health from The University of Sydney and a B.A. in Chemistry from Princeton University.
Alexandra - Grissell Gomez (Ale) is the Senior Program Associate with the LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Institute at Equality California. She primarily supports curriculum development and facilitation of LGBTQ+ DEI workshops for healthcare workers and homeless service providers. Prior to joining the team, Ale worked at the Williams Institute. Ale considers themselves a bridge between institutions and activism, with their queer and trans work drawing from community, scholarship, and political engagement. Their experience ranges from facilitating Gender 101 for the Oaxaqueño Youth Encuentro, to providing personal testimonio as a panelist for the “LGBTQ Parenting 2020: Lessons from the Front Lines & Challenges Ahead” at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Ale holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University Long Beach, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University.
Adrielle Welch-Brooks is a development operations associate for Equality California. Prior to joining EQCA, she focused on interpersonal social justice work including educational programming, community food programs, and community events, in addition to being a part of the AMPAS Gold Talent Development and Inclusion program. Originally from the Bay Area, Adrielle moved south to earn her B.A. in Film and Electronic Arts from California State University: Long Beach and now resides in Los Angeles, where she enjoys the activity of the city and survives the air quality with the help of her many houseplants.
Nicholas Phillips is a Grants Associate for Equality California Institute, supporting all aspects of grant prospecting, proposal writing, and grant management. Driven by compassion and empathy, he takes pride in advancing education about and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Particularly, he advocates for reducing disparities in LGBTQ+ health and well-being. Nicholas is also a passionate cook and creative writer. He and his partner Michael are art and nature enthusiasts and can be found exploring the golden coasts of Southern California. In his spare time, Nicholas is writing a book and furthering his studies in English.
Kae Hodge (they/them/theirs) is a Program Associate working on the Los Angeles OUT Against Big Tobacco program. They graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and political science, and a minor in journalism. They served as a LGBTQIA+ representative on U.C. Berkeley’s Student Health Advisory Committee for two years, working to address healthcare disparities and provide feedback on university policies. Kaitlyn has experience in research, journalism, community organizing, and political advocacy. They have worked with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and NextGen America.
Ky Walker is a Program Associate working on the Central Valley OUT Against Big Tobacco program. Previously, Ky worked as a Mentor in the Equality California Mentorship Corps. They have a background in sexual assault prevention and advocacy, reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ activism, education, and public health. Ky holds Bachelors degrees from Sonoma State University in Women’s and Gender Studies and English with a focus in creative writing. She currently lives in Fresno with her three cats and enjoys reading feminist literature, crafts, collecting and listening to records, and gardening.
Cindy López is a Regional Field Organizer at Equality California, focusing on mobilizing members and volunteers to support Equality California’s endorsed candidates in San Diego County. Prior to joining Equality California, Cindy was an Area Director for teachers’ union, San Diego Educators Association, where she worked on revamping the voluntary funding structure of the union’s PAC to support local endorsed candidates and measures from the standpoint of educational issues. She previously served as a Teach For America corps member and taught bilingual elementary education in her childhood neighborhood.
Cindy holds a B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a M.Ed. with emphasis in Equity, Policy, Organization, and Leadership from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys trips with her daughter, Darla, to Balboa Park's museums and the San Diego Zoo, and is also an avid latin music performer.
Samuel Turley is Equality California’s Regional Field Organizer for the Palm Springs Area with a focus on recruiting volunteers, organizing events and taking action to support Equality California’s endorsed candidates. Before joining Equality California, Samuel worked for the California State Assembly as a Field Representative and Case Manager, where he represented the Assemblywoman at events, met with local organizations, and assisted constituents with state agencies. Samuel received his B.A. in Political Science last year from Long Beach State. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, reading alternate history and spending time with his partner and family.