Art Avitia joined the LYRIC board in 2013. He is an Analyst in the Commercial Banking Group at Wells Fargo. Before going into banking, Art was in the non-profit fund development arena, most recently as the Development Director at Mission Graduates, a local non-profit that helps youth complete a college education. Art’s passion is creating positive change in our communities through the relationships that are built between people, institutions, and organizations. He hopes to leverage those relationships on LYRIC’s behalf! Personally, he enjoys the amazing food San Francisco has to offer, cooking, being active, traveling, and spending time with his partner.
Jamie Lee Brandi, Board Co-Chair, joined the LYRIC Board in November of 2008 and is infinitely inspired by the organization’s mission and the courageous LGBTQQ youth it serves. Originally from frigid New England, Jamie has now calls sunny Oakland home. She works for Kaiser Permanente in the area of Medicare Compliance. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys live music, watching baseball, cooking, and spending time exploring the Bay area. Jamie holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, where she also completed her bachelor’s degree.
John Viet, Board Co-Chair, joined the board in 2013 and loves LYRIC’s mission and passion. He wishes he had a program like LYRIC where he grew up in the South Bay. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Architecture, he served 2 years in an AmeriCorps program called Public Allies and worked with Literacy for Environmental Justice in the Bay View and Our Family Coalition, a non-profit that’s dedicated to serving LGBTQ families with children. John will be graduating with a Masters of Social Work program from San Francisco State University in May 2014 and is focusing on child welfare.
Julia H. Rhee is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Retrofit Republic, a styling firm and vintage retailer with a social impact. In her role, she supports individuals, changemakers, and brands to look good and do good in the world. Prior to starting a small business, Julia worked as a community organizer for low-income populations and communities of color with over a decades’ worth of youth work from New York City, Oakland, CA, and Tacoma, WA. Currently, the Washington native serves as the Executive Committee Co-Chair for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum- Bay Area. Her community and creative work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7 Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Audrey Magazine, Hyphen Magazine, The Bold Italic, ColorLines Magazine, The Global Grind, AlterNet in addition to on-screen and radio appearances on CBS-5, Huffington Post Live, MyX TV, KPFA Morning Show, APEX Express, and Radio Hankook. Recently, she was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Emerging Global Leaders Awards by NAAMBA, the National Association of Asian American MBAs. When she’s not dissecting the building blocks of quality Asian noodle soups, she teaches beginner yoga for LGBTQ & youth of color in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.
Marcus Stevens. Marcus Stevens joined the LYRIC board in the fall of 2013. He comes to the board full of excitement, energy and enthusiasm at the prospect of helping to continue the wonderful work that LYRIC does and how they serve local LGBTQQ youth. Marcus’s commitment to youth extends beyond his work with the board. He is an aspiring elementary school teacher who is enter graduate school in the Fall of 2014 focusing his studies on classroom equality and social justice. Formerly the manager of Wells Fargo’s Castro Store, Marcus has been collaborating with LYRIC since 2009, helping to create a safe space where the youth and interns could access the complex web that is the banking and financial systems of our society. Marcus has previously volunteered as a board member of Friends of Harvey Milk, spent time in Tanzania teaching at orphanages, and through making meals with Project Open hand. He is looking forward to making a positive impact and promote the mission and goals of LYRIC.
Mark Sanchez joined the LYRIC board in 2011. He is the principal at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. Before becoming an administrator, Mark served on the San Francisco Board of Education from 2001-2009. Prior to that, he taught 4th and 5th grade at several San Francisco schools. Mark co-founded Teachers 4 Social Justice in the late 1990′s and is the chairperson for the organization’s advisory board. Outside of being utterly consumed by public education issues, Mark likes to continue to explore San Francisco so that one day he can declare that he is a true soul of the city, in a sense graduating from his Santa Monica roots.
Michelle Kim is a young professional in the exciting world of technology startups. She works as a Strategic Account Manager at Moovweb, a software company offering a cloud-based platform for mobile site development. Prior to joining Moovweb, she was a consultant at Deloitte where she served as the Regional Programming Lead for the company’s LGBT Business Resource Group. She is a proud Cal alumni, where she co-founded Queer Straight Alliance and co-chaired the UC system-wide LGBTQ Steering Committee. She is passionate about queer youth empowerment and activism, and organizing around issues impacting queer youth of color from low income communities. Since her teenage years, she has worked with various queer youth services organizations and was invited to speak at the Amnesty International General Assembly in 2011 about the importance of queer youth activism. Michelle recently joined LYRIC as a Board Member and is thrilled to continue her queer youth activism work while bridging the gap between the tech and nonprofit communities!
Tracy Zhu joined the LYRIC board in 2011. She’s currently the Multicultural Fellow in the Environment Program at the San Francisco Foundation. She brings to LYRIC experience in youth development, environmental education, program development, environmental justice advocacy, policy advocacy, and cross-sector alliance building. She was the first programs and operations manager of the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park, the city’s first off-the-grid building. She currently sits in the environmental justice seat of the SF Public Utilities’ Commission’s Citizen Advisory Committee and on the board of Kayaks Unlimited, a kayak co-op in the southeast. Born and raised in San Francisco, she benefited from programs like LYRIC, Summer Search, and Meritus College Fund. She’s an alum of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest women’s college in the country. In her free time, you can find her leading hikes, biking tours or kayaking trips.
Thom Lynch is currently the Chief Development Officer at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. He was most recently the Vice President of Development for the United Way of the Bay Area. He is the former CEO & President of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center and Chief Operating Officer of Project Open Hand. He has worked in the non-profit community for more than 20 years. The majority of his work has been in the LGBT community, where he also worked on the No on 8 campaign, and is a member of the Human Rights Watch advisory board. He also served on and helped found the diversity board of the San Francisco Forty-Niners football team. Mr. Lynch is an accomplished fundraiser and leader of growing organizations. While in San Francisco, he helped found the first economic development program for the LGBT community in the world, the first job training and placement program for transgender workers, and became a well-known voice for the San Francisco LGBT community through news media and advocacy. Thom Lynch grew up in New England. Struggling himself with his own sexuality, he became a Pentecostal Christian, went to minister school and began a career as a gospel singer for 2 years. While in graduate school in Ohio, he realized he needed to come out. He left the church, moved back to New England and became a bartender, performer and later in San Francisco, a television actor. Mr. Lynch lived in Madrid, Spain for 2 years and returns frequently where he volunteers for groups such as Fundacion Triangulo and Orgullo Madrid. He returns as often as possible.