MEET OUR TEAM
Javier Rivera-Rosales, Interim Executive Director
Since graduating from Sonoma State University, Javier has grown to understand that creating true community and acceptance for LGBTQ+ youth takes determination and effort. As a member of the community, he recognizes the crucial need to foster safe spaces where all feel supported. As Program Director, he is honored to share his experiences working with the SRJC Health Center and as one of the Intern Program Coordinators for the LGBT Center in San Francisco. His journey encompasses traditions, cultures, religion, and ethnicity, which brought him to the place he is today. He continues to ask the question he believes is essential to his values and moral character; “what does the world need from me?”
Michael Ellison, Program Assistant
Michael came out as a gay male in the spring of 2014. At the time he needed community and positivity regarding his sexuality. Starting as a member, he took the initiative to become a youth leader and Peer Counselor to continue to support himself and the community. Soon after becoming an alumnus, he joined the board of Positive Images to represent the voice of the membership. He recently stepped down as a board member, to take on the position of Program Assistant. He believes that Positive Images is a powerful organization and community for LGBTQ+ youth. As Program Assistant, Michael promises to do his best for Positive Images.
Nancy Vogl, Group Facilitator
Nancy joined Positive Images in 2000 as Co-Director with Jim Foster. As a youth development professional experienced in movement organizing, community engagement and the non-profit community, she brings her skills in communication, leadership development, service, grant writing, structure and process to help build the organization to its current success. A leader in second wave 70s feminism, she was one of the first lesbian-pride touring musicians. She currently enjoys her absolute favorite role as “Leadership Coach” for our youth-led team, envisioning and implementing all aspects of the Positive Images mission. Nancy still writes music and lives in Santa Rosa with her partner of 25 years.
Jim Foster MFT, Co-Founder & Consultant
Jim Foster has dedicated his entire career life to working with youth and their families, first as a teacher and then as a counselor and therapist. He is a knowledgeable, caring, energetic, and spiritual person who goes to the heart of individual struggles while nurturing and supporting strengths. Jim provides guidance and support to the staff and group facilitators at Positive Images.
Under Jim’s guidance as Executive Director from 1990-2016, Positive Images became a peer-led organization with members of the group assuming strong roles in leadership, thereby tapping into the enormous amount of knowledge and creativity of its members. This leadership has been responsible for many of the ideas and forward movements of the organization, including the initial establishment of a Positive Images office and eventually a Queer Youth Center, the first and only center of its kind in Sonoma County.
Susan Kay Gilbert, Facilitator, Petaluma branch of Positive Images:
Susan feels privileged to be able to work with young LGBTQ+ minds and hearts. Susan earned her Master of Arts degree in Education: Public Health Policy and Practice, from Mills College and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts, from San Francisco State University. Her activism and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community began with her work as the news anchor for the Gay Boston television show, followed by her work as the anchor and entertainment reporter for San Francisco’s Gay Cable Network. From there, Susan went on to produce and host her own lesbian-themed television shows, “Susan Kay’s Wide World O’ Women!” and “The Inappropriate Show–TV for Lesbians and People who Look Like Lesbians,” which featured interviews with outstanding Bay Area lesbians and queer folks. She worked as a teacher for the Oakland Unified School District, and volunteered as a panelist for the Pacific Center in Berkeley, before becoming a facilitator for Positive Images’ Petaluma branch–a position she’s held since 2013.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Christian Sullberg – Chair
A long time resident of Sonoma County, born in Healdsburg, California, Christian opened his first pastry cafe Moustache Baked Goods at the age of twenty two. Since then his commitment has been creating pastry and menus that celebrate our region and farmers.After his feature on the Cooking Channel he embarked on his second project, Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie. He is the driving force behind the creative team at Moustache & Noble Folk; 2016 has been a major milestone for both of his companies as they were selected as one of the Top 25 LGBTQ Businesses to work for in the Bay Area.
Deborah Klein – Vice Chair
A native Californian who moved to Sonoma County in 1970, Deborah has had many careers and owned several successful restaurants, the first of which opened in 1977 in San Francisco. Obtaining her doctorate in education in 2004, she has worked in city, county, state, and federal government in both California and New Mexico in the areas of therapeutic justice programs, youth advocacy, instructional design, and performance improvement. In her private practice as a certified executive coach, Deborah has successfully coached over 150 clients. She currently works for the County of Sonoma Information Systems Department, designing and developing whiteboard animation videos for public information programs. Working with Positive Images continues her lifelong commitment to supporting her LGBTQ+ community.
Francina Richardson – Treasurer
Francina is a nearly life long resident of Sonoma County. She has been an active business woman having owned and successfully run several restaurants as well as the wholesale foods company known as La Casa Foods. Having sold her restaurants and foods business in the late 1990s she has bought and sold commercial real estate and worked as a consultant in the purchase and sale of small businesses. Francina has been active in the volunteer community in Sonoma Valley. She is the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of four. Spending time in Siskiyou County at her second home is her favorite pass time.
Jessica Hoh – Secretary
Jessica has served on the board for a year. Originally from Sonoma County, Hoh has experience working in HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual violence education, domestic violence crisis counseling, youth empowerment, grant writing, and teaching sexual health. She earned her Master’s in Human Sexuality in 2014, focusing her studies on domestic violence and gender dynamics between lesbian and queer women.
Susan Cohen graduated from the City University of NY and did graduate work at The New School of Social Research. Over the years, she has served on numerous boards in both SF and Sonoma Counties. While living in San Francisco, she was a school teacher and guidance counsellor for children ages 10-13. For the past 35 years, she has been a resident of Sonoma County. Susan was president/owner of Alladin Mortgage Corp in both Marin and Sonoma counties. For a number of years, she taught finance at the Santa Rosa JC. With both experience in finance and social work, she sees herself as a ‘financial social worker.’ Upon retiring from Alladin Mortgage Corp, she became involved in building houses in Sonoma County and currently engages in philanthropic work.
Adam is the Vice President of Professionals Services for ZeroChaos, a software and service company with $3 billion in annual revenue. In his role he oversees multiple departments; among them are Implementations, Independent Contractor Compliance, and S.O.W management. Adam has over 20 years of progressive management experience with proven expertise in Information Technology, Project Management, Contract Management, HR law, and strategic planning. As a father of three, Adam is deeply interested in Positive Images, because he believes his children should grow up feeling that it is OK to be who you are.
Sarah started her work with Positive Images as a volunteer mentor, and later joined the Board of Directors. She currently works for Justia, a legal marketing firm. Her professional background includes practicing law at a mid-size firm in San Francisco, with an emphasis on litigation related to public agency matters, employment, financial services, and professional liability. Before attending law school she served as a congressional staff member to Representative Barbara Lee in Oakland. Sarah is originally from the Bay Area, and obtained both her B.A. and law degree from U.C. Berkeley.