Since the inception of the BRC, our board has embodied a myriad of diverse identities. Including current and past board members, they identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, genderqueer, straight allies, transgender women, transgender men, nonbinary people, parents of transgender kids, parents of straight kids, Mexican American, Iranian/Mexican American, African American, Caucasian, Latinx, native-born El Pasoan, transplants to El Paso, bilingual, multi-lingual, working-class people, middle-class people, veterans, and members of military families.

Executive Director

Brenda Risch, PhD, LMSW

they/them, she/her - Dr. Risch has over 30 years of experience working on issues of gender and sexuality in academic, community, and clinical settings.

Director of Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso (DRIEP)

Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

she/her - Ashley Heidebrecht, The Radical Social Worker, has worked in the field of social services for over a decade. She earned her Undergraduate degree in 2008 from Wichita State University.

Volunteer Coordinator/Social Media Manager

Naomi Estrada

she/her - Naomi Ruth Estrada loves volunteer work. She has received a Bachelor of Arts in English from New Mexico State University.

Youth Services and Senior Services Coordinator

Lorena Silva-Edwards

she/her - Lori is a native-born El Pasoan and fellow Mama Bear to two kiddos. She graduated from Purdue Global University with a BS in Nutritional Science. She brings together a background in emergency medicine and education to professionally chauffeur her kids all through the valley she also grew up in. Lori’s passions include: community volunteer work with kids, young adults, seniors and any craft that involves yarn. Like many native El Pasoans, she considers her community a part of her “familia” and makes it her mission to ensure more within the community have access to all our wonderful borderland has to offer.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Intern

Max Bellman-Seeskin

he/they - Max is a Master's level intern studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Antioch University, working towards becoming a licensed counselor to serve the LGBTQIA* community.. Max has been a Board-Certified Music Therapist since 2007, with an undergraduate degree from California State University, Northridge. In addition to providing individual therapy, Max also facilitates the weekly Youth Transgender Support Group, and co-facilitates the weekly Adult Transgender Support Group.

Masters of Social Work Intern

Laura Ayala

she/her - I was born and raised in El Paso, TX. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.

Drag Queen Story Hour- El Paso Chapter Coordinator

Dede Camacho

she/her/Queen - Dede Camacho is originally from Chicago, and has multiple talents, including puppeteering, drag, and more! Dede has been in show business for 11 years running. Dede is bilingual (Spanish and English) and is known across the country for her incredible performances and amazing personality!

Program Director

Alison Westermann

she/her - Alison is a Progressive Jewish mom, wife, educator, singer, songwriter, knitter, social justice warrior and all-around student of life.

Building and Pantry Director

Julie Lucas

she/her - Julie is a Mama Bear to many kids besides her own. She has a BS in Biology but rarely uses it. She has worked for many many years in food and beverage industries as well as academia. Running the food pantry is the first job she has ever loved.

DRIEP Education and Content Manager

Diana Martinez

she/her – Diana, named for the statue of the huntress in Mexico City on Reforma Street, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas by immigrant parents from Juarez, and a large extended binational family. Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in History and a minor in Secondary Education. Diana then taught in many types of schools, teaching students of all ages and a diverse array of subjects. In 2009, Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Masters in History. Since 2010 Diana has taught at the college level at both El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. Diana grew up with a strong passion for art, history, and literature that goes into her teaching. Diana also works with others to organize community actions to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant children in detention.

Healing Sexual Trauma in the Borderlands Program Director

Alex Ramirez

they/them - Alex Ramirez is a Registered Nurse, receiving their BSN-RN at the University of Texas at El Paso. They served the community by working in critical care for more than three years, and they continue to be passionate about healing wounds from the individual to the community.

Bachelors of Social Work Intern

Dexter Zapien

they/them, he/him - Please call me Dex! I am a BSW intern from New Mexico State University.

Masters of Social Work Intern

Monica Crosby

she/her - Hello, my name is Monica Crosby. I am currently an intern with the BRC as a student completing my master’s in social work degree online at Arizona State University. I am excited to join the BRC family and looking forward to serving the community any way possible.

HIV Services Project Coordinator

Vanessa Medrano

she/her - Vanessa Medrano has always referred to El Paso as home, even when she had to leave town for school. She has a BSA in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Psychology from UT Austin. Hook 'em! She has worked with capacity building for another local nonprofit, and loves spending her Saturday mornings at the BRC Pantry with Julie and Chef Luis!



Tess English



Alex Marquez

Membership Director

Karissa Doster-Hoffman, LCSW, LCDC



Andi Tiscareño



Ross Ingram


Vice President

Mark Pumphrey


Secretary, Youth Advocate

Eman Attar



Amanda Sanchez, PhD



Kyle Erwin, PhD



Elizabeth Bambi Depew, LCSW-S, LAC


Join our Board!

Please make sure to include all relevant experience, volunteer and professional.