Board of Directors

Sam ZzeniaMessler

President / Secretary

Brooklyn-born boy raised in Buffalo where he began his teaching career in 1971. After relocating to California immediately following the Blizzard of ’77, Sam sought a climate far from snow and cold adding a career in the airline industry to that of being an educator working with students from middle school to high school to college. After 30 years of teaching, 14 years enjoying passenger relations with airlines, and four years with Sony PlayStation as Senior Manager of Learning and Development and Quality Assurance, Sam retired. Disliking the life of a couch potato, he ventured into the world of volunteering, at one point working on 13 separate projects simultaneously. Together with Floyd Barten, they transformed a vision into reality giving birth to the first annual Desert Hot Springs Pride Festival in 2016-2017. In the beginning, Sam took on the role of President of DiversityDHS. Today, he is the Secretary focusing on organizational communications, community relations, fundraising, and festival logistics. Sam is a proud member of the DiversityDHS team and looks forward to meeting all supporters of the LGBTQ+ community within Desert Hot Springs and beyond.

Floyd “Andy” Barten

Vice President

Floyd “Andy” Barten has been a resident and local business owner in Desert Hot Springs for over 7 years. Having grown up in a small town in Oklahoma he says he had always been accepted by his family and community. He has been married to Kent Helser for 27 years with two daughters and six grandkids. His favorite thing he likes about Pride Festivals is seeing all the diverse people coming together to celebrate love.

Pride festivals are about our community opening its arms up to all who find it comforting and empowering. It is about spreading hope that not only are things getting better but things will continue to improve because we won’t forget about the lives of friends and family we lost; the battles and the pain we suffered that now affords us a growing list of equal rights in the United States.

Ben Kincaid

Treasurer

I grew up in Utah and always have been excited to be involved in the LGBTQ+ Community since the ACLU Lawsuit at my high school to band our Gay Straight Alliance (see movie “Out of the Past”). In Utah, I served on the board of GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) as their Community Organization Outreach Director. In 2002, I moved to Oregon where I became a Co-Organizer for the Gresham, Oregon PFLAG Chapter (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians & Gays). In 2011, my husband and I moved to Maui, Hawaii where we joined their LGBT community outreach group called “Both Sides Now”. We helped spearhead the organization to become “Maui Pride” where I became the Communications Director. I helped service the community by offering social awareness activities, provide food to the community through our community potluck events, and supported youth through toy drives and our scholarship program. I moved back to the mainland, and in 2019 have joined the Board of Directors for DiversityDHS where I want to bring my life experiences to help support and develop the LGBTQ+ community here.

Ken Ayres

Director At-Large

Ken Ayers has always believed in and has been working towards Social Justice in a variety of ways. Ken’s educational background includes: BA, Psychology, MA Psychology and CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) Psychology & Counseling. Ken has held a wide range of positions within the human service field. He has also served on a variety of New England human service boards and committees in leadership and membership roles. Since moving to Cathedral City two years ago, he has joined the boards of DiversityDHS and Prime Timers of the Desert.

Edward Noriega

Director At-Large

I am a humble and hardworking person. My specialty of over 30 years consists of bringing happiness and joy to those around through the beautiful sound of music. Throughout the course of my life. I am dedicated to see change within our city as a member of the DiversityDHS board.

Maria Noriega

Director At-Large

I am a permanent resident of Desert Hot Springs. I have worked in Planning, Transportation, Trash Hauling and Administration. I have always enjoyed giving to those around me in my community. I am excited to be on the DiversityDHS board and looking forward to all of the events that will take place in the future.

Craig Dunham

(aka GingerBear)

Director At-Large

I moved to the Coachella Valley in 2008, after many years in the Long Beach/LA area. I’ve never looked back. I’ve always been compelled to “give back” to the communities I am a part of in order to keep those communities vibrant and flourishing. I am a member of the Palm Springs Sisters, part of the larger Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a world-wide organization of activists working to spread joy and end guilt associated with being a member of the LGBTQ+ communities, whether providing financial support or emotional support, we must help and assist each other. DiversityDHS means so much to me because when I first moved to the valley over 10 years ago, DHS had a “reputation”. As “that side of I-10” continues to grow and provide homes and lives to all people, and as we continue to grow the acceptance of our LGBTQ+ lives and involvement, we must be sure to include all members of our community, no matter their reputation. I am proud to serve on the board for DiversityDHS, bringing my years of experience in organizing and activism and fundraising to serve a much needed voice in DHS. We mush have UNITY in our COMMUNITY.

Jean Dunham

Director At-Large

I grew up in Queens County, New York City. My first college degree was in Accounting and I became a CPA. After many years in New York I and my family moved to an area in North East Pennsylvania. As my family grew I started working for UNIVAC as a controller. UNIVAC being a Main Frame Computer Manufacturer I went back to college and received my degree in Computer Science and UNIVAC gave me the opportunity to become a computer programmer and moved me to San Francisco, California. After several years I started my own Computer Systems Company with major clients such as AT&T and PG&E.

The next move was to Las Vegas, NV with PG&E still a client. In Las Vegas I created an HOA for the home community I lived in and was the HOA President & Treasurer for several years. Also became the President of the Social Action Seaton Singles group.

Now living here in Rancho Mirage, California I have been the chair of the Nurture, Hospitality and Community Ministry for Bloom in the Desert Ministries and now I am the chair for the Revenue Development Ministry. I also spend 3 years as the Treasurer of The Colony HOA where I currently live.