The San Diego LGBT Center Celebrates 37 Years

Honors A Decade of Leaders at Oct. 23 Gala

Join The San Diego LGBT Center and 800 of its closest friends for a delightful evening of dinner and dancing in support of the organization's vital programs and services at San Diego's premier LGBT event of the year. Enjoy the cocktail hour and silent auction from 6 pm to 7 pm in the Sapphire Ballroom, then dinner and dancing from 7 pm to 11 pm. Black tie or creative cocktail attire is encouraged.

The Center is pleased to announce the 2010 Annual Gala Awardees. Former Center board chairs James Ziegler, Jennifer LeSar, Brian Bazinet, Kevin Tilden, Robert Gleason, Richard Valdez, Hon. Todd Gloria, Bob Nelson and Dr. Shaun Travers will be honored for a decade of service and leadership at The Center's 37th Annual Anniversary Gala on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, One Park Boulevard, downtown San Diego.

The awards will be presented in recognition of the incredible dedication of these nine individuals and their families, who have given their service, support, talent and leadership to the San Diego LGBT community and The Center across the last decade (2000-2010). Each has served as not only as a Center board chair, but has also served the entire community in much broader roles and almost all have now completed their formal Center board service.

2010 Awardee Bios

James Ziegler 1999-2000
James Ziegler is a community leader with more than 25 years of experience in banking throughout California and as a small business owner. In addition, he contributes his expertise to The San Diego Foundation’s Board of Governors, the Civil Society Working Group and the San Diego Regional Disaster Board of Directors. Jim’s previous community affiliations include board service with AIDS Foundation San Diego, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mission Beach Precise Planning Board, Diversionary Theatre, El Cajon Boulevard Businessmen’s Association, San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative and The San Diego LGBT Community Center, for which he was board chair in 2000. Jim was awarded The Center’s Jess Jessop Founder’s Award in 2006, an inaugural Lambda Archives Hero’s Award in 2007, a Champion of PRIDE Award in 2002, the AIDS Walk Hero’s Award for 2001, and a Community Crystal Heart Award for 2001.

Jennifer LeSar 2000-2001
With more than 25 years of experience in the real estate and banking industries, Jennifer LeSar brings a diverse background to affordable housing, community development and urban revitalization. Prior to founding LeSar Development Consultants in 2005, she worked for 12 years as an affordable housing developer and for eight years as an investment banker arranging equity investments. Jennifer has developed and /or financed approximately $3 billion in residential and commercial properties. She has served on the boards and chaired both the Centre City Development Corporation and the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

Brian Bazinet 2001
Brian Bazinet is well known for both his ongoing philanthropy and his years of work in the food and beverage industry. After nearly 30 years with Sysco, he became the driving force behind Premier Event Catering, where he is president. Brian’s commitment to the community covers both politics and social services. He has served as a board chair for The San Diego LGBT Community Center and is a current member of the board of Mama’s Kitchen.

Kevin Tilden 2001-2002
Kevin Tilden is the Director of External Affairs for American Water and responsible for community and government relations, regulatory affairs and customer communications. In 2001, Tilden was appointed by the San Diego mayor and City Council to serve on the board of directors of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (SDCCC). He has served on the board of directors of San Diego Theatres, the Chula Vista Performing Arts Task Force, the Advocacy Council for the California Chamber of Commerce, a community advisory board to San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, the No on 8 executive committee, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego Taxpayers Association and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Robert Gleason 2003-2004
Robert Gleason is the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Evans Hotels and an adjunct faculty member (on leave) of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University. He serves as Chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Vice Chair of the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, and a Director (and former Vice Chair) of the Old Globe Theatre. He also serves on the San Diego County Advisory Board of U.S. Bank, the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council, and the national board of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. He has previously served on the boards of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the City of San Diego Funds Commission, the City of San Diego Salary Setting Commission, and the Rob Benzon Foundation, where he was a founding director.

Richard Valdez 2004-2005/2005-2006/2007-2008
Richard Valdez is a named partner in the law firm of Sandler, Lasry, Laube, Byer & Valdez, LLP. In his 15 years in practice, he has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of business disputes, product liability litigation and civil rights litigation. He was an instructor for USD Paralegal's Program for 15 years, and has been an instructor with USD School of Law and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. A former member of the City of San Diego’s Ethics Commission, he has also served as a board member for The San Diego LGBT Community Center, American Civil Liberties Union San Diego & Imperial Counties, The Access Center of San Diego, Inc., and the California State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities.

Hon. Todd Gloria 2006-2007
San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria was elected to represent District Three on November 4, 2008. Prior to his election, Todd served as District Director to U.S. Congresswoman Susan A. Davis and worked for the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency. Todd's volunteer efforts to improve the community include his work as a San Diego Housing Commissioner from 2005 until his election, and as a member of the Mid-City Prostitution Impact Panel. Todd is the Chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee and a member of the Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services, the Committee on Budget and Finance, and the Committee on Rules, Open Government, and Intergovernmental Relations. He also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transit System and on numerous SANDAG committees.

Bob Nelson 2008-2009
Bob Nelson is an advertising and public relations executive with 30 years of experience in government and communications. The company he founded, BNA Communications, advises a diverse list of clients, including utility companies, labor unions and non-profit organizations. A strong community leader, he has served as a member of San Diego's Public Utilities Advisory Commission, the San Diego County District Attorney's Community Advisory Board, the board of directors of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, and the finance committee of the Greater San Diego Business Association. He currently serves as board chair for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and the San Diego's Citizens Revenue Review and Economic Competitiveness Commission.

Dr. Shaun Travers 2009-2010
Dr. Shaun Travers is a Campus Diversity Officer at the University of California, San Diego and the Director of the LGBT Resource Center on campus. Shaun received his doctorate in education, and his research involves the leadership practice of social justice educators in higher education. In addition, he lectures on self-reflection in higher education practice, and the opportunities and challenges of working in the LGBT community. An active representative of the bisexual community, he frequently speaks at and participates in forums supporting the diversity of many social justice movements. He works with the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council, as well as the National Consortium of LGBT Directors in Higher Education. He is currently co-chair of the San Diego LGBT Community Center board of directors.

Guests will enjoy a cocktail hour over beautiful San Diego Bay, a fabulous silent auction, live entertainment by the legendary 12-piece band Haute Chile, a delicious gourmet dinner and an awards ceremony honoring community leaders who have made positive, lasting impacts in greater San Diego.

Tickets and tables are now available online: The Center Gala