WHO ARE WE?
We are a group of long-time activists, therapists, social workers and community organizers who seek to improve mental health for the LGBTQ community in Ventura county by providing referrals and direct access to well-trained, qualified mental health professionals with experience treating the LGBTQ population.
COMPASS BOARD OFFICERS
Micheal Frances Smith, LMFT – Board Chair
Marcy Sherbok – Board Vice Chair
Diana Lentz – Board Secretary
Susan Evergreen Hericks, PhD – Board Officer at Large
Michelle Rosenblum – Board Treasurer, Media, & Program Development
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Dina Pieleat – Creative Director & Webmaster
Edie Brown – Advisory Board Member at Large
Giselle Teller-Holt, Dr. – Clinical Committee
Jaya Daniel – Fundraising & Grant Writing
Lisa Klein – Clinical Committee & Program Development
Lynn Dorgan, LMFT – Advisory Board Member at Large
Martha Shapiro – LGBT Aging Coalition
Michael W. Shanahan, Esq. – Program Development, Legal
Sean Baker, LMFT – Clinical Committee
Vanessa Teran – Program Development
Micheal Frances Smith, LMFT
“Welcome to the world of COMPASS COMMUNITY SERVICES. We are a group of therapists, activists, community leaders and organizers who are dedicated to establishing a vibrant network of mental health professionals to serve the needs of the LGBTQ community in Ventura County.
Since the closing of Rainbow Alliance in 2011, there has been no community based mental health clinic open for LGBTQ folks.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist. I did my internship at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Mental Health Clinic. Since moving to Ventura county four years ago, I have had the privilege of joining with some of the people that helped run Rainbow Alliance as well as other therapists and activists seasoned and those just beginning. It’s a vibrant mix of talent and energy.
What we all share is a vision of a community where ALL WALKS OF LIFE can enjoy access to qualified mental health professionals as well as other services necessary to get through life.
It is up to us to help our own. Here at COMPASS we have a commitment to caring for each other, for walking our talk and mostly for listening with an open heart and a kind mind.
Whether it’s counseling services, elder care, youth programing or family focus – we have an area for you to work in with us toward our goals.
I hope you will sign up as a “COMPASS AFFILIATE” to receive our email blasts and/or that you will make an appointment with our Volunteer Coordinator to set a meeting to discuss how you might best serve your community.
Many hands/heads/hearts make this work a joy.
It’s amazing work; I can’t wait to meet you.”
Susan Evergreen Hericks, Ph.D
Board Officer at Large
I come to Compass with a passion for social justice, communication, creativity, and sexuality education. When I earned my doctorate, I was fueled with a vision of holding space for groups in a way that there could be true inquiry about the big questions in life. The passion to create these opportunities still inspires me when I see the profound potential in the
LGBTQ+ community to explode and redefine the parameters of our humanness in ways never before imagined. This sometimes chaotic but undeniable re-making is underway! The more we dig deep into our individual stories, the more we will uncover each individual genius and what indispensable gift it brings to life. I’m honored to be part of Compass Ventura in serving this revolutionary storm – to bring wellbeing on every level.
LGBT Aging Coalition
As the Director of Programs for Senior Concerns, Martha Shapiro oversees the Adult Day
Program and the Caregiver Support Center. She ensures that the programs run smoothly
day to day and that every participant is treated with dignity and respect. Martha brings to this
role a background in older adult services and caregiver support. Also the chair for the LGBT
Aging Coalition of Ventura County, Martha feels passionately that all older adults deserve
accessible services and supports to maximize their quality of life and allow them to age with
She earned her Master’s degree in Social Welfare from UCLA and currently holds her License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW). Martha serves on many community committees including the Ventura County Military Collaborative, The Financial Abuse Specialist Team, The Ventura County Compassionate Care Coalition and The Dementia Care Network.
Board Vice Chair
“All of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement. We are no
more – and no less – heroic than the suffragists and abolitionists of the 19th century; and the
labor organizers, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators, and environmentalists of the
20th century. We are ordinary people, living our lives, and trying as civil-rights activist
Dorothy Cotton said, to ‘fix what ain’t right’ in our society.” Senator Tammy Baldwin
Marcy has a long history of service with many community organizations, Including Compass:
- Regents of the University of California
- UCLA Foundation
- American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFar)
- Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
- S.C.W.U. Ventura County (Southern California Women for Understanding)
- Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC – Ventura)
- Ventura County Rainbow Alliance
- Congress of California Seniors – Region 5 Chair
- Ventura County Area Agency on Aging – Advisory Council
- S.N.A.C. of Ventura County (Senior Nutrition Action Council) – Board of Directors
- LGBT Aging Coalition – Ventura County
Board Treasurer, Media, & Program Development
A transgender entrepreneur, professional guitarist, and mommy, Michelle is an open book. She is proud and confident in the person she has become and is continuing to grow. Living a life full of wonderful friends, family, and music, she wishes to share with everyone what she has to offer.
Having had to pull together the resources and services needed to transition all on her own and having to defend her rights as a transgender parent in court gives Michelle a unique perspective on just how in need the transgender community is for help. With a background in marketing, web design, sales, and music instruction and performance, she brings a diverse set of skills to the LGBTQ community table.
Michelle has been featured in the VC Star, VC Reporter, and on KCSB 91.9 FM to tell her story and to share her music. She is honored to be in a position where her voice can be heard and her talents can be used to enrich the lives of others throughout Ventura County and beyond. You can find out more at MelodyBird.com and facebook.com/MelodyBirdie/
Sean Baker MFT, SEP
“My passion for serving the community has included speaking engagements to support teenagers who are dealing with expression of individuality, and addressing how gender bias impacts our communication and our relationships. I have also written a lifestyle column addressing gay and lesbian relationship issues. As a transgender man, I bring a sense of “knowing of” the experience of discovering and expressing gender identity as a unique individual, and sometimes in an unwelcome environment. I can offer understanding and compassion for that journey and for loved ones who are impacted as well. Personally, I’m an avid adventurer; I enjoy snowboarding and wakeboarding, hiking with my family and our dogs, and
traveling to new places.”
Sean provides adolescent, adult, family and group therapy in private practice at The New Beginnings Center in Camarillo, California, and at the PRIDE Clinic at Santa Paula West Medical Center. Certified in Somatic Experiencing and Gestalt therapy, Sean combines body-mind centered techniques to resolve clients’ distress related to trauma, eating disorders, medical conditions and self-harm behaviors. As a professor at Pepperdine University and IOP Director at New Beginnings, Sean provides training in group process, Gestalt therapy and trauma treatment. Sean has presented nationally on the integration of Somatic Experiencing into eating disorder and chemical dependency treatment. Locally, he is on the board of directors
for COMPASS Counseling Ventura County, and provides training and presentations on transgender mental health issues, Somatic Experiencing, and eating disorder treatment.
“In the late 80’s, I witnessed the agony of my best friend’s partner, David, as he was physically and emotionally ravaged by AIDS. The behavior and insensitivity of many around him was deplorable. My beloved brother, Michael, was diagnosed in 1991. He lived with me the last year of his life and I was by his side when he died, three months shy of his 40th birthday.
Other than not having him to grow old with, the hardest part of losing Michael is the thought that others will never experience his generous, charming, hilarious and loving spirit. It is my great privilege to honor the memory of David and Michael by working with and supporting the incredible people and mission of COMPASS Ventura County.”
Giselle Teller-Holt, Ph.D.
I am a registered marriage and family therapist intern in the state of California specializing in healing the addictive process, anxiety, family or origin dysfunction, and working with the LGBTQ community.
When I was in college, I had a best friend who came out our sophomore year. I witnessed this person who I cared deeply about suffer because of judgment, rejection and even vilification for his identity. It broke my heart to see my friend suffer because of something over which he had no control; he did not choose to be gay. While training to be a therapist, I was thrilled at the opportunity to work with LGBTQ population in 2010 when I took my first position with Ventura County Rainbow Alliance. Being involved with Compass Ventura gives me the opportunity to continue to pursue my passion of working with the LGBTQ community.
The thing I most respect and appreciate about this group of human beings is the courage and pride they demonstrate every day in order to live authentically. I have had the privilege of helping individuals with the coming out process, disclosing to their families, and I have been witness to individuals as they journey through the gender transition process.
I have offices in Ventura and Agoura Hills and can be reached at email@example.com.
A native of Oxnard, CA and a graduate of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCSB, I am a Mexican-American advocate for social justice, language access and human rights. I joined the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in the summer of 2013; MICOP aids, organizes, and empowers Ventura County’s indigenous immigrant communities, serving over 6,000 people annually through health and community access, community organizing, education, direct assistance and cultural promotion.
Through my work at MICOP, I envision a strong indigenous immigrant community, actively engaged to achieve just working and living conditions, equality, and full human rights in the broader community. I currently create and supervise numerous programs:
- Youth advocacy and higher education
- Education and literacy
- Indigenous immigrant culture Women’s workforce development
- Indigenous language services and language preservation
- Academic research and interns
- Reproductive justice
- Childhood education