Laura Newman, Board President


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.

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.

David Ferrante, Board Member

David Ferrante was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1964, and he obtained his Bachelors from Louisiana State University in 1986 and his J.D. from Loyola University in 1990.  He moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and has practiced law in the field of insurance defense for the past 24 years.   While in Law School, he performed pro bono work for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for abused, abandoned and neglected children.  David prepared wills for clients of APLA and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Alliance for Housing and Healing (provider of housing and assistance for HIV positive individuals) and Brave Trails (camp for LGBTQ youth).    David is a Partner at the law firm of Wesierski & Zurek in Los Angeles.

Carla Hacken, Board Member

Carla Hacken is a veteran film producer whose latest projects include the critically acclaimed feature film Hell or High Water, for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and The Producer’s Guild nominations for Best Picture. Most recently, Hacken served as President of Production at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment where in addition to Hell or Hight Water, she developed and served as one of the Producers or Executive Producers  of Brad’s Status, The Book Of Henry, Demolition, and Sleeping With Other People.  She recently transitioned back to producing under her own banner, Paper Pictures and is currently producing Amy Poehler’s directorial debut, Wine Country for Netflix.

One of the film industry’s most respected executives, Hacken notably spent 15 years as Executive Vice President of Production at Fox 2000 Pictures. During her tenure, she oversaw the development and production of numerous motion pictures, including Walk the Line, The Devil Wears Prada, Unfaithful, In Her Shoes, The Family Stone, and both The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Percy Jackson franchises, among many others. Prior to joining Fox 2000 Pictures, Hacken was a talent agent at ICM in the Motion Picture Talent Department where, over the course of nearly 10 years, she built a prestigious client roster of actors, writers, and directors.

Ryan Hrair Sarkissian, Board Member

Ryan Hrair Sarkissian is a real estate developer and agent in Northeast Los Angeles. He has degrees in psychology from Occidental College in Los Angeles and in culinary arts from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco – which he finds helpful in being a better agent to clients and a better spouse to his husband. Ryan Has worked with LGBTQ+ organizations for over 20 years, ranging from being the Co-Chair Pride South Florida to participating as an ambassador for Gays & Lesbians Initiating Dialogue for Equality (GLIDE) and public speaking engagements to youth and adults.

Ryan is enthusiastic about his involvement with Brave Trails because of how impactful and life-changing the organization’s work is for today’s youth and recognizes how much he would have benefited from such an experience in his own childhood.

Current Board Members can click here to make a Board Member Dues payment.