Oakland LGBTQ Center Co-founders Share Entrepreneurial Story

 
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By Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio streamed directly from their servers.

A new episode of Gay Ambitions is now available featuring Joe Hawkins and Jeff Myers, the founders of the LGBTQ Center of Oakland.

Joe & Jeff are very active members of the Oakland LGBT community and have been recognized for their leadership roles in Pride Events, AIDS Project, Human Rights Campaign, and American Civil Liberties Union.

In this interview we cover these topics:

  • Opening Oakland’s first LGBT Center less than eight months ago
  • What is on the roadmap for the Center
  • Career advice for those graduating or looking for a new career direction
  • What happened when Oprah Winfrey called Joe and asked him to come on her show.

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About Jeff Myers:
Jeff is co-founder of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center. Born and raised in Charleston, SC, Jeff has been a resident of Oakland for 16 years and is deeply dedicated to Oakland’s LGBTQ community. He has worked as a neurologic surgery scrub nurse at the University of California, San Francisco for 16 years and holds the title of Principal Surgical Technologist. In this position, he serves as a patient care advocate in the operating room. He is also a preceptor for new employees in a variety of surgical specialties and is one of the original scrub nurses on the UCSF surgical stereotactic movement disorder team that performs craniotomies for deep brain stimulation (DBS) and the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. His formal training also encompassed working in general surgical, OB/GYN surgery, general vascular, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, and urologic surgery. He also has worked to ensure the highest quality OR staffing infrastructure and environment by serving as the Co-Chair of the Workplace Safety Council, the Co-Chair/Chair of the Team Work Enhancement Committee and the Co-Chair of the Staff Mentorship Program to enhance the recognition of ethnic minorities and issues related to staff diversity in the workplace.
Jeff served 11 years in the Navy as a Certified Religious Program Specialist in the Chaplain’s Office assigned to the Marine Corps. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Carl Vincent, stationed in Japan, and was privileged to interact with diverse populations during his assignments. He holds certifications as both a Surgical Technologist and a Nursing Assistant.
Jeff has been active in labor relations. He attended California Union Leadership School, and served as a member of the San Francisco Labor Council and Vice President of Patient Care Technical (AFSCME 3299) for 8 years. He is currently a member of Labor Notes, an international labor activist organization.
Jeff has been active as a community volunteer. He served as a member of the Bay Area Big Brother/Big Sister Association and volunteered for the LGBTQ community in multiple capacities. He was the volunteer coordinator for Oakland Pride, served as a co-chair of community outreach, Pride Event Volunteer Coordinator, and he also helped to organize the Oakland Pride contingent for the SF Pride Parade working with the Office of the Oakland Mayor. He served as a co-chair of table captains for the San Francisco HRC 2006 Annual Fundraising Dinner and served on the San Francisco HRC Steering Committee when he helped to organize the HRC contingent for the SF Pride Parade. He is a member of the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ Coalition supporting People of Color in the San Francisco Bay Area and was a member of Lambda Legal.
About Joe Hawkins:
Joe is co-founder of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, and is its first Executive Director. He is also a noted Oakland-based community organizer who has been at the forefront of LGBTQ advocacy in the Bay Area for almost 30 years. Joe is a seasoned non-profit executive, event producer and social entrepreneur. He first came to national prominence as a gay activist and one of the first out gay men to appear as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show defending his right to parent his then 6-year-old son. Among his many accomplishments, Joe has helped to manage multiple non-profit organizations with multi-million dollar budgets. He was the Director of Administration for AIDS Project of The East Bay and served on the Ryan White Planning Committee. He went on to become a founding member and organizer of the East Bay AIDS Walk, working in collaboration with the Starbucks Corporation. He worked as Regional Director of Innovative Housing in Marin County, a supportive housing services program for low income families, and was a founding organizer, Program Director, and eventual CEO of OpNet Community Ventures in San Francisco, the nation’s first high-tech workforce development and training program for low income youth.
Joe has worked as a non-profit management consultant for 15 years and has helped many organizations improve the effectiveness of their service delivery to the community. He is the creator of many LGBTQ events and was the lead organizer and a founding member of Oakland Pride, where he served as Co-Chair for the first two years. He was also honored as a Grand Marshal of both the San Francisco and Oakland Pride parades. He is also the creator of Blatino Oasis, California’s largest and longest running gay and bisexual men of color retreat held annually in Palm Springs. A decorated military veteran, Joe’s social entrepreneurship and service to the community have been recognized with numerous awards, including proclamations by five mayors and three governors in California. His work with youth technology training programs was recognized by the White House and featured on Good Morning America and in numerous publications including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, the City of Oakland presented Joe with the Mayor’s Proclamation, naming a day in his honor and in 2017, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU honored him with their highest award for community activism. Joe loves living in Oakland the Bay Area and enjoys camping on the beach, touring California, and is the proud father and grandfather of three grandchildren.

40 episodes available. A new episode about every 47 days averaging 28 mins duration .