Laura Newman, Board President

2011-07-15_10-28-17_851[1]Laura Newman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Los Angeles. She was a Staff Counselor at The Relational Center after having received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Previously Laura received her B.F.A. in film from the University of Southern California. Laura’s career spans from production executive, to partner in a gallery/retail store, to Licensed General Contractor. Laura has also been on several Board of Directors, and currently proudly sits on the Board of Camp Brave Trails. In addition, she has spent the last several decades as a mentor, tutor and advocate for teens and members of the HIV/AIDS and transgender community. Laura and her husband, Jim Tauber, counsel couples as co-therapists using relational/gestalt, experiential psychodynamic, and a psychobiological approach.




Kimiko Martinez, Board Secretary

1531766_10155463464645355_3430531534739475515_nKimiko Martinez is a mother of two and a strategic communications professional dedicated to building a world where all people are treated with respect and dignity. As an award-winning writer and former journalist, she’s been engaged in social change for more than a decade and has worked with some of the biggest nonprofits in the country, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and Planned Parenthood. Through branding, marketing, communications, copywriting, and integrated campaigns, she’s continually shaping the narratives that further ideas worth caring about.



Jessica Weissbuch

JessIn 2002, Jessica moved to Los Angeles from Chicago in order to pursue her dream of working in television production. As time passed, she realized her longing to work with people in a more meaningful way, and was compelled to work with youth in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) community. In March 2010, Jessica earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University with a specialization in LGBT psychology and became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2016. Jessica is honored to be one of the co-founders of Brave Trails and continues to work with youth, building their leadership skills with programs that support LGBTQ youth to take a stand in their communities and be the leaders of tomorrow.  Jessica lives to see queer youth become empowered individuals who work together to change the world.



Michael Carney, Board Vice President

Michael Carney is an actor and talent supervisor with two decades of experience in the entertainment business. Working with various major networks, he has been a talent supervisor on shows such as the Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Miss America, The People’s Choice Awards, Miss Universe, The Super Bowl Halftime Show, and many more. In the narrative world he has produced and co-written numerous content, including the hit series Moonshine for the Emmy and Webby Award winning network,, as well as the series Blankslate for the FOX/NBC web site Born in Connecticut with family on both coasts, he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, double majoring in Psychology and Psychobiology, and relocated to Los Angeles once he graduated. He has worked with Love146, an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention. His passion for helping both the LGBT community and youth makes Brave Trails a perfect organization to focus his attention on, helping it shape the young leaders of tomorrow.



Kristin Vallacher

Camp Brave Trails for LGBTQ TeensKristin grew up in Boca Raton, Florida as a competitive ballerina who ultimately left the sport due to its (at the time) anti-gay politics and interpersonal relations.  She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2008 with a double major in Spanish Language & Literature (with a concentration on postmodern South American poetry) and Linguistics & Cognitive Science (with a concentration on queer/LGBTQ psycholinguistics among millenials). She was also the president of the Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance. Currently a personal trainer and Coach at The Phoenix Effect, an LGBTQ-owned and operated fitness studio in Hollywood, she first learned about Brave Trails and its mission by way of coordinating and hosting a fundraiser in 2015 (thank you, David Ferrante!) and had the honor of joining the Brave Trails Board of Directors in 2016.  She is excited to help develop Brave Trails while spreading and contributing her personal pursuit of self-empowerment through reclaiming the body.