Board Members and Committees

  • LCSW Member Vacant
  • Disposti, Massimiliano "Max" (Chair)

    Appointed By: Senate

    Term Expires: June 1, 2023

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Massimiliano “Max” Disposti

    Mr. Disposti was appointed by the California State Senate as a public member in June 2019. He was born in Italy in 1968 and moved in the US in 1998. Upon arriving in the United States in 1998, and after moving to Southern California in 2001, he soon began volunteering his time with local agencies where he noticed the need for a stronger representation for the LGBTQI community. In January 2008, he founded the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, a non-profit organization that almost immediately increased the LGBTQI visibility in the North San Diego community. In 2011 a physical location for the same was opened, where Max operates now as Executive Director. Mr. Disposti was appointed as public member for his role of advocacy against the mental health disparities in the LGBTQI community and the negative outcomes that years of discriminatory policies have caused to the same. Today, he has founded a free mental health behavioral experience within the LGBT Center where he operates and where hundreds of patients are served each year. Max Disposti is a seasoned non-profit executive in organizational oversight, marketing/communications, development/fundraising, event planning, outreach, membership building and campaigns. Max provides ongoing coaching, board governance, training on LGBTQI competency and support for others on the team through the continue sharing of his knowledge, and experience.

  • Erlich, Ross

    Appointed By: Assembly

    Term Expires: June 1, 2023

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Ross Erlich

    Ross Erlich practices criminal law in southern California with an emphasizes in complicated criminal matters including bail, probation violations and other complex white collar matters. Ross was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and is a founding member of the Jobs Vision Success' Emerging Leaders Board (formerly known as Jewish Vocational Services) and serves on the Steering Committee for the Rautenberg's New Leaders Project through the Jewish Federation. Ross was a former Executive Board member, and current member, of Bet Tzedek's New Leadership Council and a Co-Chair of Govern for California's San Fernando Valley Courage Committee. Ross has been selected to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for both 2019 and 2020.

  • Friedman, Susan

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: 6/1/2026

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Susan Friedman

    Susan Friedman was appointed by the Governor Newsom in March 2020. Ms. Friedman was an Emmy-award winning network news producer for NBC News from 1982 to 2008 and from 1968 to 1977. She was a reporter and producer for the local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from 1977 to 1982. She is a founding member of the Alliance for Children’s Rights Board of Directors and vice chair and commissioner of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission.

  • LPCC Member Vacant
  • Huft, Justin

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2025

    Position: LMFT

    Picture of Board Member Huft, Justin

    Justin Huft has been a Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Program Director at Creative Care Calabasas since 2016, Adjunct Lecturer for the Psychology and Sociology Departments at California State University, Fullerton since 2016 and Adjunct Lecturer for the Psychology Department at El Camino Community College since 2018. He was an Adjunct Lecturer in Psychological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine from 2019 to 2020, and in Psychology at Saddleback College from 2016 to 2018. He is a member of the California Marriage and Family Therapy Association, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, American Sociological Association and Pacific Sociological Association. Huft earned a Master of Arts degree in marriage and family therapy from Chapman University and a Master of Arts degree in sociology from Arizona State University.

  • Jones, Christopher C.

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2024

    Position: LEP

    Picture of Board Member Jones, Christopher C.

    Christopher C. Jones is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP #2819) and Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). He is the President and CEO of Dynamic Interventions, the first incorporation of Licensed Educational Psychologists in the history of California. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from California State University, Northridge, and his Master of Arts degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in School Psychology from Tufts University. He worked as a school psychologist in Massachusetts and California, then left public education to open Dynamic Interventions in 2006.
    Chris was awarded the Suzanne Fisher Leadership Award by the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) in 2019. He has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the William S. Hart Union High School District for his innovative work as a school psychologist, showing dedication to students and their families. He was the recipient of the CASP Outstanding School Psychologist Award, and currently sits on the CASP Board of Directors as the LEP Committee Chair.

  • Ortega, Abigail

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2025

    Position: LCSW

    Photo of Ortega, Abigail

    Abigail Ortega has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Love Listen and Play, a private psychotherapy practice, since 2016. Before starting her private counseling practice, Ortega worked in several community and medical settings. Her diverse experience included providing assessments and therapy to people and families of all ages and backgrounds. Ortega was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Wilmington Community Clinic from 2016 to 2021 and at Counseling4Kids from 2017 to 2020. She was a Medical Social Worker at the Children’s Clinic from 2014 to 2015. Ortega held several positions at Children’s Institute Inc. from 2011 to 2014, including Therapist II and Clinical Domestic Violence Team Lead. She was a Psychiatric Social Worker at the Child Center of New York from 2010 to 2011.

  • Ranasinghe, Kelly

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2025

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Ranasinghe, Kelly

    Kelly X. Ranasinghe was appointed by Governor Newsom in July of 2020. He currently is a Deputy County Counsel in Imperial County, California practicing child welfare law in juvenile court. Previously, Mr. Ranasinghe was a partner at the law firm of Henderson and Ranasinghe LLP and a senior program attorney at National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, where he focused on domestic violence and child sex trafficking. He is a member of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and a certified peer mental health facilitator through the NAMI Connections program. Mr. Ranasinghe is also a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) and a board certified child welfare law specialist. Mr. Ranasinghe earned a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in 2005.

  • Sovec, John

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2026

    Position: LMFT

    Picture of Board Member John Sovec

    John Sovec is a therapist in private practice in Pasadena California who specializes in supporting the needs of the LGBTQ community. He is the clinical consultant for The Life Group LA , adjunct faculty at Phillips Graduate Institute, and guest lecturer at Alliant University and USC School of Social Work. Mr. Sovec is a nationally recognized expert on creating affirmative LGBTQ support, and is the author of multiple publications and speaks at conferences nationwide. He provides training for community agencies, schools, non-profits, and provides professional consultation on LGBTQ competencies.

  • Strack, Wendy

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2022

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Strack, Wendy

    Wendy was appointed by the Governor in February 2020. She is currently the CEO of Wendy J Strack Consulting LLC, with more than 20 years of experience in creating and delivering award winning advocacy, communications, and outreach programs in Southern California. Wendy is a member of California Women Lead, Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), and the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO). She also holds certifications in Basic and Advanced Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center/Joint Information Systems from the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Wendy has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside and an M.P.A. from the University of Southern California. She has also served on the City of Riverside Human Resources Board since 2018.

  • Walker, Annette

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2025

    Position: Public

    Picture of Board Member Walker, Annette

    Annette Walker has served as a School Board Member at Hayward Unified School District from 2012 to 2020, where she was Personnel Commissioner from 2010 to 2011. Walker was Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Life Chiropractic College West from 2020 to 2021. She was Director of Graduate Admissions and Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program Coordinator at California State University, East Bay from 2005 to 2019. She was a Psychology Instructor and General Counselor at Chabot College from 1999 to 2004, where she was a Psychology Instructor from 1998 to 1999. Walker was a Bilingual Elementary School Teacher at Ravenswood City School District from 1993 to 1997. She earned a Master of Science degree in education and psychological studies from California State University, East Bay and a Doctor of Education degree in Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco. She was a delegate for the California School Board Association, representing California's seventh district, and Legislative Committee member.

  • Willis, Yvette Casares

    Appointed By: Governor

    Term Expires: June 1, 2025

    Public Member

    Willis, Yvette Casares Board member

    Yvette Casares Willis, of Palo Alto, was appointed as a public member to the Board of Behavioral Sciences by Governor Newsom January 2021. After a 15 year career in professional sports, focusing on communications, public and private partnerships and community outreach, she worked with major corporations to support early-stage startups from all backgrounds, industries and regions around the world. Casares Willis left her position as Director of Partnerships for MassChallenge to relocate from Texas to California. She was Senior Sales Executive of Corporate Partnerships for the Houston Dynamo, Major League Soccer Club from 2015 to 2018. Casares WIllis was Senior Sales Executive at Buffalo Specialties from 2013 to 2015. She was Director of Premium Seat Sales and Director of Corporate Sponsorships at Live Nation Entertainment from 2008 to 2011. Casares Willis was Director of Premium Club Sales for the Boston Bruins / Boston Celtics from 2007 to 2008. She was Advertising Sales Manager for the Houston Astros Baseball Club from 2000 to 2007. Casares Willis brings bilingual stakeholder engagement and consensus building skills to her new position and looks forward to helping solve the challenges put before the BBS Board. Wanting to become a contributing member of her new community, Casares Willis actively sought this opportunity believing nothing is currently more important to individual Californians and their communities than mental health. Casares Willis is the Vice President of Membership of the Texas Lyceum and is President of the San Francisco Bay Area Texas Exes Alumni Association. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin.