The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Commission of San Mateo County attracted numerous talented applicants in its latest recruitment to fill five open seats. A total of 33 applications were received from throughout San Mateo County, demonstrating keen interest in the important work of the Commission. After a thorough review by a panel comprised of two County supervisors, the Commission co-chairs and staff, five applicants were offered appointments to the Commission.

The large applicant pool reflects the on-going interest in the Commission that was initially created as a nine-member body in 2014 and expanded shortly after to 11 members due to the large number of initial applicants to serve on the Commission.

“The Board highly values the work of our advisory commissions,” said Supervisor Dave Pine, who serves as the Board liaison to the Commission. “We were thrilled to receive such an extraordinary number of applications for the LGBTQ Commission from very qualified residents which demonstrates the continued excitement about the Commission’s efforts to improve the quality of life and well-being of LGBTQ County residents.”

The five new commissioners are:

Steve Disselhorst (member for an initial term ending June 30, 2022). Disselhorst, along with his partner and daughter, lives in San Bruno and has extensive experience working and leading diversity initiatives at Genentech and Abbott. He has also volunteered with Our Family Coalition and the SF LGBTQ Speakers Bureau.

Dana Johnson (member for an initial term ending June 30, 2022). Johnson, currently with the County of San Mateo‘s Probation Department, has been volunteering with the LGBTQ community for many years. Johnson has been with the SMC Pride Initiative for 14 years and has been helping to coordinate the annual Pride Celebration since it started in 2012.

Giuliana Garcia (member for an initial partial term ending June 30, 2020). Garcia is soon to be a homeowner in East Palo Alto and has lived for 10 years in San Mateo County. She currently works for Oculus/Facebook and was a founding member of Amazon’s Glamazon Group while also being part of Lesbians Who Tech.

Carmen O’Shea (member for an initial partial term ending June 30, 2020). O’Shea is a parent and a passionate advocate for transgender youth in San Mateo County schools. She is an Air Force veteran with 20 years of experience in marketing, human resources, and diversity and inclusion, and currently is SVP, HR Culture & Engagement at SAP. She also serves on the board of the East Palo Alto YMCA.

Krystle Cansino (member for an initial partial term ending June 30, 2021). Cansino is a proud member of the Filipino community from South San Francisco. Cansino has over 10 years of experience working in mental health services and the LGBTQ community. She has extensive volunteer and civic experience and currently works for the City/County of San Francisco as Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist.

The Board of Supervisors approved these appointments at its July 23, 2019 Board meeting. The new commissioners will be sworn in by Supervisor Dave Pine at the next LGBTQ Commission meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019.

The Commission reports and makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding policies, programs, procedures and legislation affecting LGBTQ individuals in San Mateo County. The Commission also provides a public forum for input from the LGBTQ community to identify unmet needs. Among other initiatives, the Commission conducted the first wellness assessment in 15 years of LGBTQ community members of San Mateo County. The Commission regularly honors and participates in Transgender Day of Remembrance, and supports the San Mateo County Pride Initiative and Pride Center.

The Commission recently elected its co-chairs for 2019-20: Kristina Perez has been a commissioner since 2016 and served as co-chair in 2018-19. Grant Whitman, who occupies the Youth Commissioner seat, has been a commissioner since 2018.