Alan Schwartz, CEO and Board Chair
Alan Schwartz is a strategic management and finance professional with over 30 years of experience in the private, governmental and nonprofit sectors. He is the principal of AGS Associates which advises clients on strategic development, restructuring, and financing in the United States and overseas. In addition, Alan is an experienced family wealth management advisor, and serves as a trustee of private trusts and foundations with aggregate assets of several hundred million dollars. Alan has held leadership positions in numerous public entities including: Executive Director of the Architectural Conservation Trust and Historic Massachusetts Inc., and Chairman of the Boston Landmarks Commission.
Alan has been a lifelong Jewish, Zionist and community leader. Alan has spent considerable time in Israel since he was a child, and has conducted business in Israel over many years. As an undergraduate at Boston University, he founded one of the first Holocaust Education Week programs on a college campus. Passionate about social justice and human rights, he has been deeply involved in causes ranging from the Save Soviet Jewry movement to efforts on behalf of Syrian refugees. Alan has also been a leader in LGBTQ & HIV/AIDS activism for almost 40 years, including serving as Vice President of Fenway Community Health. Alan is a leader in Manhattan’s downtown Jewish community. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, a welcoming modern Orthodox synagogue in New York City’s East Village. Among his many awards and distinctions are recognitions from: Bank Boston; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and the American Institute of Architects. Alan is most proud that the City of Boston designated him a “Special Boston Landmark.”
James Moon, Vice Chair
James Moon is a partner with the law firm Meland Budwick, P.A. James is as passionate about Israel as he is about progressive and LGBTQ issues. Although he is not Jewish, James makes the case that progressives and LGBTQ in particular can and should support Israel – the only country in the middle east where LGBTQ can find hope for a valued and respected life. James has recognized Israel’s special place in the world since he first learned about it as a boy, and has always found ways to support it, including encouraging his friends and family to buy Israeli goods from Israeli companies to show their support, especially during times when Israel finds itself under attack. James is a board member of SAVE, and Vice Chair of SAVE FOUNDATION: organizations dedicated to protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. James is also a board member of the Koyzak Minority Mentoring Foundation which brings bar members and minority law students together in mentor/mentee relationships with the goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession. James has also served on the board of the Outshine Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and chaired the Inclusion Mentoring and Fellowship Committee of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar, which is tasked with diversity outreach to and for the Florida legal community. James has been active on boards of various nonprofit organizations over the years and is also a leader in progressive and LGBTQ outreach as a recognized leader within AIPAC. Prior to his legal career, James served for approximately 10 years in the United States Navy aboard both ballistic missile and fast attack submarines as communications and cryptographic specialist and is a Gulf War veteran.
Ann Dubin, Ph.D. Vice Chair
Ann Dubin is based in the Bay Area and is the founder and principal of Civic Matters, a political research and strategy consulting firm. She aids clients in targeting and messaging across a range of issues, and has conducted in-depth research on how progressive activists view Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Ann received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where her research focused on what motivates citizens to become politically active. She also holds a master’s degree in international education policy from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s in world politics from Hamilton College. In the past, Ann was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Indonesia, and worked in Paris for UNESCO’s Section for Education in Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster Situations. As a proud Jew and a proud member of the LGBTQ community, Ann is passionate about advocating for the democratic values of inclusion, critical inquiry, and celebration of difference that those communities represent.
Andy Austin, Vice Chair
Andy Austin has been a communication professional for more than 40 years, with broad experience in both traditional and digital media. Proprietor of Words and Strategy, an NGLCC Certified LBGT Business Enterprise, Andy provides communication strategy and editorial services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. An avid networker, he is President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s Out Business Builders business referral group, and is also an active member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s New York chapter.
A native New Yorker, Andy has long been involved in the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. In his teens, while serving as president of his congregation’s USY chapter, he found his way to what became known as Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York, becoming a regular at their Firehouse meetings. Post-college, Andy served on the Chelsea Gay Association’s steering committee and continues to support its offshoot, the Anti-Violence Project.
In addition to his work with A Wider Bridge, Andy is an active member and supporter of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York’s LGBTQ synagogue, where he regularly volunteers his expertise on a range of communication initiatives. He holds a B.A. in Speech Communications from the University of Michigan.
Cindy Brown, Secretary
Cindy comes to A Wider Bridge with almost three decades of leadership experience in the non-profit sector, including serving as executive director of the MDGLCC Foundation/LGBT Visitor Center, program officer for the United Foundation for AIDS, and director of Miami Beach Pride. Cindy currently runs the Lambda Living Program for LGBT Seniors, a program of Jewish Community Services. Cindy also runs a consulting firm for non-profits, Cenergy LLC, whose numerous local and national clients have included GLSEN, Miami Beach Gay Pride, the Alliance for LGBTQ Youth, and Equality Florida. Her volunteer connections to the non-profit community have been numerous and ongoing, including serving on multiple boards. Cindy currently serves as the Vice Chair of the LGBT Advisory Committee for the City of Miami Beach, the Vice-Chair of the Mayors Elder Affairs Committee for Miami-Dade County, and a board member of the Haitian American Community Development Corporation. A Florida native, Cindy graduated from Miami-Dade College with a music education degree, and the University of Miami with bachelor degrees in both psychology and criminology.
James K. Rushing, Treasurer
James is an investor and senior advisor to early-stage companies. He also has partners with funding accelerators, incubators, angel groups and venture capital firms in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. James served as a Partner + Senior Leader with McKinsey & Company, IRI and A.T. Kearney with expertise in the global Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods sectors, delivering significant value creation for Fortune 500 clients and Private Equity firms across traditional and emerging functions, including deep capital markets and corporate finance experience. James holds an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and received his AB in Economics with honors from the University of Chicago. James currently is an Advisory Board Member of Start Out, and a member of the Open Tent Committee of United Jewish Appeal (UJA) of Greater New York. James previously severed as a Board Member of Renewal Care and the New York City Mission Society.
Bruce Maxwell, Past Chair
Growing up with a keen eagerness to serve the greater Los Angeles community, Bruce has helped clients with risk management, including a multitude of non-profit organizations, since 1987. He leads Knauf Maxwell Insurance Services, (formerly Arroyo Insurance) as a principal partner. In addition, Bruce has been a strong voice and advocate to the Los Angeles Jewish and LGBT communities. Past positions include serving as President of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the nation’s oldest LGBT synagogue, serving on the ADL Southwest Regional Board and serving on the Board of the Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, where he helped build and open the first ever low-income affordable housing for LGBT seniors in the country to be located in Hollywood, California. Bruce is an LA native, a profoundly proud graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, studied a year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and earned an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business. Most importantly, Bruce is a father to his two children, Yael and Sam, and gleeful grandfather to Jeremy.
Arthur Slepian, Founder
Arthur comes to A Wider Bridge with several decades of experience as a leader in the Jewish community along with a successful career as a leader in the business world. Arthur serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area, is the Chair of the LGBT Alliance of the Federation and serves on the San Francisco area Jewish Community Relations Council. Arthur has been a leader for more than 15 years at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, one of the nation’s oldest and largest synagogues serving primarily LGBT Jews, where he served as President from 2003 to 2006, and continues to serve in a variety of leadership roles.
Dr. Dana Beyer
Dr. Beyer is a retired eye surgeon who was a candidate for the Maryland state Senate in 2014 and 2018. She was, from 2011-18, Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, the state’s trans political organization which successfully worked the gender identity bill to passage. She served a term as a senior adviser for Councilmember Trachtenberg on the Montgomery County Council. She is chair of the national advisory board of Freedom to Work, and wrote a weekly column for five years for the Huffington Post as a weekly columnist. She has served on the Rules Committee of the national Democratic Party, and has twice run for state Delegate in Maryland. Dana has been a member of the board of A Wider Bridge since the early years, and served on the board of Keshet for nine years. She had the honor of being part of the team which removed Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM in 2011, ending consideration of trans being a mental illness, and coined the term “gender incongruence,” now used globally to refer to the medical condition applied to trans persons.
Andrea Beth Damsky
Andrea Beth Damsky (she, her, hers) is a long-time activist in Democratic politics and progressive issues-based campaigns. In the 1960’s she helped her parents found and staff one of our nation’s first recycling centers, at the age of 11 in Baldwin, NY. She campaigned for her first presidential candidate at age 16, in the early 1970’s. In her early 20s’ Andrea Beth was elected President of the Atlantic City, NJ chapter of National Organization for Women, where she organized rallies for the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights, supported local women candidates, and managed the Mondale-Ferraro Presidential campaign in southern New Jersey. Andrea Beth also came out during this time, and was active in organizing support for the gay men’s community in Atlantic City during the early AIDS crisis years.
Andrea Beth moved to Northern California in 1984. Having been raised in an unaffiliated, unobservant Jewish family, she began exploring Jewish tradition and observance at age 30, apprenticed with a cantor, taught Hebrew school and b’nai mitzvah students, and became Bat Mitzvah at 33. In 1997, she moved to San Diego to study acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and in 2000 met her wife, Randye.
Andrea Beth co-founded the San Diego Progressive Democratic Club in 2015 and served as its Vice President (2017) and President (2018). Andrea Beth is a delegate to the California Democratic Party and has served on its Credentials Committee, and currently, its Resolutions Committee. She is also a voting member of the San Diego Democratic Party.
Witnessing the rise in antisemitism and anti-Zionism in progressive spaces motivated Andrea Beth to learn about and educate others on these issues. She helped co-found San Diego Democrats for Peace in the Middle East (currently serving as VP of Political Action), Progressive Zionists of California (former Vice Chair), and Democrats for Israel-California (currently Executive Vice President). It is her joy to join the Board of Directors of A Wider Bridge.
Andrea Beth lives in La Mesa, CA. She has been serving as a Commissioner on La Mesa’s Environmental Sustainability Commission since 2017, and was recently elected to her third term as its Chair.
As an active leader in the Democratic Party, Andrea Beth provides insight and advice to local leaders, candidates and elected officials on these concerns and a variety of other issues of importance.
Andrea Beth has been a political activist since her teen years, advocating for equal rights for women, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental quality, climate change, healthcare, worker’s rights, and more. Her activism took root in the early 1980s, campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment, and for health care during the AIDS epidemic.
Professionally, Andrea Beth is a National Board-Certified Acupuncturist and Applied Clinical Nutritionist. She brings her life experience, professional knowledge, and background in Environmental Science to advocate for healthier communities through strong environmental policy and healthcare access. She is a bridge builder between communities and generations, supporting issues of vital importance to our community – immigration reform, racial justice, and equity, to name a few.
Andrea Beth and her wife Randye are in their early senior years. Randye is a Marine veteran and Union Ironworker. Their personal life together adds awareness of veteran, union, and senior concerns to Andrea Beth’s political activism.
Daniel is a native Arizonan, lifelong Democrat, and Member of the Arizona State Legislature. He currently serves on the Judiciary and Federalism Committees and is the Co-Founder of the LGBT Caucus. Daniel has received praise for his work to find bipartisan solutions; from introducing a bipartisan resolution in recognition of Israel’s Independence Day. In 2011, while working in the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Daniel took actions on January 8th with which he is credited with saving her life. That day and the aftermath drove him to advocate for Gun Violence Prevention at the state and national level, which he does to this day. Daniel is a 2018 Alumnus of the AWB LGBTQ Leadership Mission to Israel.
Sam Lauter is a public affairs professional with over 30 years of experience in local, state and national politics. Sam utilizes his years of experience to manage Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter & Partners’ (BMWL) public affairs and lobbying business. Sam began his professional career on the district staff of Congressman Philip Burton (D-CA). Following Congressman Burton’s passing, Sam continued to work for his successor, Congresswoman Sala Burton (D-CA) for three years while at UC Berkeley. After graduating college, Sam worked on the presidential campaign and Senate staff for Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), where he served as the Senator’s personal assistant and later for California Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy, where his responsibilities included field strategy, advance work, fundraising and speechwriting. Prior to forming BMWL with his partners, Sam worked at Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) where he served as its primary contact and strategist in government and community relations for both San Francisco and San Mateo counties. In his volunteer life, Sam is a key voice and fundraiser for the organized Jewish community in both the Bay Area and Washington, D.C. Among Sam’s affiliations: Past Chair of the Northern California Board of Directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); member, National Council of AIPAC; and he serves on or has served as California State Chair of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee, and as a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning, the Jewish Bulletin (now the J), Brandeis Hillel Day School, Jewish Vocational Services, the BayKeeper, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau (now San Francisco Travel), the Diller Teen Advisory Board and for several years on the planning committee for the annual Jewish Family and Children’s Services Fammy Gala dinner, among others. Sam also spearheaded the first trip in 2008 by a San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, to visit Israel, as part of the Haifa-San Francisco Sister City relationship, and co-chaired the visit for Mayor Ed Lee in 2016. Sam’s volunteer work in the pro-Israel community has been recognized with the Israel in Our Hearts award given by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, as the Champion Ally by A Wider Bridge, and several times by AIPAC. Sam and his wife Stephanie have two children, Aliza, a junior at UC Davis, and Jacob, a senior at Lowell High School (Sam’s alma mater). In addition to his family, friends and politics, Sam’s passions include Israel, photography, the San Francisco Giants, and their golden retriever, Levi. Sam graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Ron Lezell is a former CPA with Big Four public accounting experience and currently provides fiduciary services under his consulting firm dba, Teva Associates. He was also Senior Director with the national financial consulting firm, Accretive Solutions, where he provided clients with Interim Controller, CFO, and finance project work for 18 years. Ron has served on the National Boards of the Association of Reform Zionists of America and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, having been their regional Vice President in Northern California and Pacific Northwest. In 1992 and 1997, Ron represented the Reform movement as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem. Ron is a founding member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, where he has served as an officer and board member and is the former Treasurer of A Wider Bridge. Ron has holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Golden Gate University.
An experienced non-profit leader, Frank is a new Israeli citizen, having made aliyah at the end of 2017. Prior, he was both a senior staff member and volunteer leader for two-decades with the Human Rights Campaign. Frank was an instrumental member of the team that designed HRC’s largest-grassroots expansion, leading up to its 2018 midterm election, historic wins. As a fundraising leader, Frank was a part of the team that raised the funds required to build HRC’s headquarters building, a powerful, permanent presence for the community, five-blocks from the White House, and helped lead efforts to grow HRC’s mid-level donor program, the Federal Club. Prior to HRC, Frank was an entrepreneur, worked in corporate strategy & planning in the pulp & paper industry and was a management consultant in the telecommunications industry, working with both manufacturers and end-users. Frank’s active involvement in the Jewish and Zionist communities includes leadership roles with United Synagogue Youth, Hillel, United Jewish Appeal, and a synagogue with outreach to LGBTQ Jews. Living in the heart of Tel Aviv, Frank is involved with the TLV LGBT Sports Club, LGBT Olim, and volunteers with the Aguda – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel. Frank graduated from Ohio University with a Communications degree, earned an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and studied at London Business School.
Hon. Gabe Quinto
Mayor Pro Tem Gabriel “Gabe” Quinto became El Cerrito’s first Filipino-American, the second Asian-American and first LGBTQ Councilmember in the history of the city of El Cerrito. Born in Berkeley, he grew up in El Cerrito, where he attended public schools. At Cal State University, Long Beach he earned his BS in Radio, TV & Film.
Prior to his election, he served as a member of El Cerrito’s Senior Committee and as Chair of the Human Relations Commission. For many years Gabe was an elected member of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s Executive and Political committees, and Chair of the West Contra Costa County Group.
Quinto began his first term on the El Cerrito City Council on December 2014. His second four year term began in December 2018 when he was instrumental in the passage of Measure V which established El Cerrito as a Charter City and implemented a property transfer tax. Measure G was also passed to fund parks and city’s pool.
Quinto has been council liaison to most all of the city’s Boards and Commissions. In 2020 he became the first El Cerrito Councilmember to Chair the Contra Costa Mayors Conference since the 1990s when Councilmember Jane Bartke served. In 2021 Quinto became the first El Cerrito Councilmember to be on the Marin Clean Energy Executive Committee.
In 2021, Mayor Pro Tem Quinto became the first El Cerritan to be appointed as Boardmember statewide for the League of CA Cities. Gabe just finished his term as President of the East Bay Division & LGBTQ Caucus and in 2018-2019 was President of the API Caucus as well as a member of the Environmental Policy Committee. Mayor ProTem Quinto also was appointed to the Committee on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and Committee on Governance.
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf
Rabbi Steinlauf is the rabbi at Congregation Kol Shalom in Rockville, Maryland. He is the founder and director of the Hineni Fellowship for LGBTQ Jewish Leadership, a program that trains, educates and inspires up and coming Jewish leaders from the LGBTQ community to serve in leadership roles throughout the Jewish world. Rabbi Steinlauf served for ten years at Adas Israel Congregation in DC, where he was the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on this and many other issues facing modern culture and Judaism. He was recognized for his success in re-envisioning the nature of the largest and oldest Conservative synagogue in Washington, DC. In that role, he pioneered a paradigm shift that lifts up innovative modes of study and exploration of meaning as central in synagogue life. Rabbi Steinlauf founded nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel, including MakomDC for 21st-century experiential learning, and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington for meditation, yoga, and contemplative Jewish practices.
Sharon is a committed advocate for Israel with over 25 years of experience building strong bipartisan relationships in both the House and Senate and has served as a consultant to companies and industries both domestically and internationally, as well as foreign governments, regarding American legislative issues. Sharon was the former Executive Director for the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI) in Washington, DC, Sharon has extensive lay leadership in Jewish organizations, including AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Women’s International Zionist Organization Long Island Chapter, the Hillel at the Parsons School of Design, and the Women’s Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Federation. Sharon is also a successful fashion designer and business owner with more than 30 years of design experience for brands like Adidas, Ellesse, and Champion. Her collections have been featured in retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Bergdorf Goodman’s. Sharon holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a BFA in Fashion Design/Merchandising from the Parsons School of Design, New School University. Sharon is married, to Robert Kinberg, an intellectual property attorney and has two daughters, Michaela and Aliya. Sharon has had strong ties to the LGBTQ community since her days at Parsons School of Design and has always been a vocal ally of the community.