Board of Directors
My family relocated to Southern California during my sophomore year of high school from Mobile, Alabama.
After high school I went on to earn my bachelor degree. For three years I worked in the field of education, where I taught elementary school and coached high school sports.
I went on to work in the nonprofit field where some of my responsibilities included program and event planning, fund raising, recruitment, training, budget management and public relations for over 30 years. After retiring and doing nothing for three years I decided it was time for a change. I landed in the Coachella Valley making Desert Hot Springs my new home. I went to a DiversityDHS event held at Playoff where I had the pleasure of meeting Sam. After telling him I was looking to get involved in the community he invited me to a meeting to find out more about the group. Since I enjoy working with diverse and inclusive groups with with common goals and objectives, this seem to be a perfect fit.
I am looking forward to working with Kip and the rest of the Committee for the betterment and to advance diversity for all residents in our community.
Sam Zzenia Messler
Immediate Past President
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 Immediate Past President focusing on consulting, 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. Sam encourages everyone to join the team as volunteers by signing-up at: www.diversitydhs.org
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.
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.