Meet our board members
Kassi Talbot | President
Kassi Talbot (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate for Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University. She has been a co-learner/educator for the past six years. She teaches Middle School Social Studies and High School Spanish in Pescadero. Kassandra holds a M.A. in Education, Equity and Social Justice; concentration in antiracist teaching and transformative practices in the rural context. Her ultimate goals include using her position in the community to catalyze transformations in the current school system into one that serves all students equitably. She hopes community members and former students will come back to the coastside community to continue the fight, lead and support future generations. Kassandra is a Red Cross First Aid Instructor, Trauma Informed Instructor and local radio host for KPDO 89.3.
When she is not working on projects for the youth, Kassandra enjoys spending the day with her partner and dogs, cooking, watching a good anime series and surfing.
Kelly Kramer | Treasurer
Kelly Kramer has had a successful career in information technology for over 30 years. Starting as an IT leader in major law firms, the majority of her career has been at the global consulting firm McKinsey and Company, advancing to Director in Technology and Digital Services Leadership and Excellence.
Kelly is also a licensed Resource Parent in San Mateo County, California. As a child advocate, she has provided emergency care for children suddenly brought into protective custody, working with county agencies and the family court system. She has extensive knowledge and experience in childhood trauma, attachment disorders and medically fragile infants.
She lives with her Covid companion, Brody, a rescued 5-year-old German Shephard, and is a hot yoga enthusiast who enjoys biking and hiking the coastal trails.
Leila Lurie | Secretary
Leila Lurie is a resident of El Granada and school-based therapist at Fremont Union High School District. She has over 20 years of experience in schools working with a diversity of young people. She is presently responsible for the District’s social and emotional learning curriculum and training. As a member of the District’s leadership team, she has spearheaded its equity training and developed numerous trainings on Trauma Informed Care and Implicit Bias. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in professional psychology from the John F. Kennedy University Campbell, where she obtained her Marriage and Family Therapist license. She is a certified trainer in Integrative Treatment of Complex Trauma for Adolescents and as a Complex Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. She is also a certified RISE trainer on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.
Mary Bier | Member
Mary Bier is the current Mayor of Pacifica. As a lifelong resident of Pacifica, she is extremely honored to have been elected to serve her community. Prior to being elected to council Mary served as the chair of Pacifica’s Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission, and served as board member for Pacifica Resource Center and Pacific Coast Television. Mary is the director of Alcohol and Other Drug Services at the Daly City Youth Health Center and has been providing substance use prevention services in Jefferson Union High School District since 2005 when an alcohol related accident took the lives of two Pacifica teenagers, one of whom was her nephew, Jonathan. Her work has led to numerous grant-funded programs and opportunities for youth to address their substance use in a holistic and restorative model.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Minor/Certificate in Holistic Health from San Francisco State University and is now bringing her strong sense of community and tireless work ethic to CoastPride.
Dana Theractivist Johnson, MSW
Dana Theractivist Johnson | Member
Dana TherActivist Johnson, MSW, is a transgender non-binary community activist, Author, documentary Filmmaker, DEI&B Consultant and Professional Development trainer. Dana received a master’s degree in social work, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and has a variety of professional certifications. Dana’s an Author and Filmmaker of the memoir, TherActivist: They/ Them/ Theirs, a narrative embracing Identity, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The TherActivist embodies a “therapeutic activism” approach, while servicing and empowering BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dana serves as a LGBTQ Commissioner and PRIDE Initiative co-chair for the County of San Mateo. They’re a Peer Support Worker for the Q-Corner, a LGBTQ+ peer wellness center of County of Santa Clara. Dana has 17 years’ experience counseling and working with justice-involved youth. They have co-coordinated the San Mateo County Pride Celebration since 2016 and has been on the coordinating committee since its existence in 2012. They’re the emcee of San Mateo County Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) program. Dana’s also a Fellow of Equality of California, Institute Leadership Academy, and Inaugural member of San Mateo County Leadership CORPS Council.
Dana’s motivated in assisting in the implementation of inclusive policies and protocols, and passionate about providing LGBTQIA+ equity services, social justice services, and activism to marginalized communities. When Dana’s not busy servicing the community they spend time engaging in self-care modalities.
Beth “Basa” Pielert
Beth Pielert | Member
Beth Basa Pielert’s career spans 26 years in the film and gaming industry as a writer/producer/director and editor. Pielert’s first film, Kiss My Cleats, premiered at the Frameline Film Festival 23 and she has been an active juror of documentary submissions ever since.
Pielert formed Good Film Works in 2001 while writing and directing Out of the Poison Tree for PBS, a documentary that explores truth and reconciliation for survivors of the Cambodian Genocide. Some of her credits include award-winning films such as The Corporation, winner of 24 international Awards, including the Sundance Audience Award, and Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial, winner of the Alternative Spirit Award and Best Documentary at the Palm Springs ShortFest.
For five years Pielert was the Video Director at EA|Visceral Games, directing behind-the-scenes documentaries and marketing trailers for Dead Space 2 and 3, Army of Two and Battlefield Hardline.
Pielert is currently co-directing and producing Echoes of Our Past: A Salmon Story with the indigenous-led Children of the Setting Sun Productions. Echoes is a collaboration with Vision Maker Media and will air on PBS in 2024.
Lauren Smith-Wells | Member
Lauren Smith-Wells has spent the past 15 years building startups from the ground up, and brings to the Board expertise in strategy, operations, and finance. She is currently the VP of Operations and Strategy at Crafty Counter, an award-winning, plant-based egg company. She lives in Pacifica where she is also a member of the Pacifica Economic Development Committee, and helped formalize its city-wide Pride celebration in 2023. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College and a Masters in International Business from Tufts University.
Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza | Member
Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza serves as the 10th president of College of San Mateo (CSM), established in 1922 as the first college in the San Mateo County Community College District. She is a longtime leader in the district having served as the Vice President of Instruction at Skyline College in San Bruno for four years (2017–2021). Prior to this, she served as the founding Dean of Academic Support and Learning Technologies (2014–2017) and the founding Director of the Learning Center (2011–2014) at College of San Mateo.
President Taylor-Mendoza leads for social justice and liberation, recognizing our shared responsibility to address the historical legacy of racism to create a more just system of access, reward, and long-term equitable outcomes. She is co-author of Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges: Theory and Practice in Achieving Educational Equity and applies theory to practice as an instructor in the Educational Leadership Program at San Francisco State University.
President Taylor-Mendoza has served on a variety of county councils and boards, including workforce and economic development. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Human Investment Project (HIP) Housing and has served on a range of State Chancellor’s Office committees. She is an Aspen Institute Presidential Fellow and an adviser to the Chancellor’s Office on the Aspen Trustee Fellowship, where she provided strategies to support trustees in their roles as district leaders identifying regional workforce gaps and measuring student equity goals.
A proud community college alumna, Dr. Taylor-Mendoza holds a B.A. in Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles, an M.S. in Counseling, California State University, Northridge, and a Ph.D. in Education, Claremont Graduate University.
As recent empty-nesters, she and her husband James spend time up and down the San Mateo coast, hiking, surfing, and plotting their next vacation trip to exotic locales. Daughter Aramis is attending Caltech studying Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace. Her son Kendall lives and works in Southern California.
Jeanne Vargas | Board Member, Founder
Jeanne founded CoastPride in 2019 along with a group of like-minded community members. A coastal resident since 1989, she enjoys the seaside life with her family, wife, and grandkids.
She has had a massage therapy practice in Half Moon Bay since 1999. Being an advocate for our LGBTQ community is one of her true passions.
Jenny Walter | Member
Jennifer Walter assists tribes, courts, local governments, and organizations on social reform issues. She brings over three decades of experience and expertise in strategic planning and communications, community outreach, project management, organizational development and collaboration to promote social justice change.
She has a passion and commitment to strengthening tribal/county/state/federal relations and elevating LGBTQ issues through a race and equity lens.
Ms. Walter’s experience includes over twenty-year career as a lawyer for the California Judicial Council where she led a statewide tribal needs assessment, obtained funding for and launched a unit focused on tribal/state relations, initiated and consulted on the documentary, Tribal Justice, served as lead counsel to the California Tribal Court-State Court Forum, and developed statewide policies relating to children, youth, families and concurrent jurisdiction of tribal and state courts. She serves as a tribal appellate judge for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition. She was the first cochair of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission and served on the commission for 5 years.
She lives with her wife and their 16-year old daughter in Half Moon Bay, California.
Meet our staff
Cameron Zeller | Operations Director
Cameron lives in El Granada with their partner, Demi. They enjoy making music, spending time with family around the Bay Area, and being outside. Cameron has been working in construction and project management for the wastewater sector for 10 years. In 2021, they had the opportunity to begin working part-time at CoastPride, supporting all of the amazing work done by the all-volunteer board. They are now the Operations Director at CoastPride, helping to deepen the foundation of the organization’s existing programs and expand services based on the needs of the coastside LGBTQ+ community.