BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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DANIEL MERK-BENITEZ

Chairperson

Daniel (he/him/his) has been active with the HTC since 2014 and served in various capacities. Born and raised in San Diego, Daniel has lived in Hillcrest for nine years and loves the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood. Professionally, Daniel is an interior designer. Unprofessionally, Daniel likes throwing any kind of gathering that gets a lot of different people in the same space.

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BYRON ROSS

Vice Chairperson

A native San Diegan, Byron has loved watching San Diego and the surrounding areas continue to grow into the beautiful city we live in today. Byron has lived in Hillcrest for a little over a decade and has been involved in the community ever since! By day, Byron is an Insurance Broker for Commercial Businesses. In his off time, Byron enjoys meeting new people and traveling to new places, in total he has been to 19 countries and plans to add many more to his list!

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MARY MCKENZIE

Secretary

Mary McKenzie has lived in Hillcrest for roughly 20 years and has served on the Board of the Hillcrest Town Council since 2013 (with a brief absence in 2020). She views the HTC as an essential conduit of information for the residents of the Hillcrest community.

Mary is a long-time adjunct professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego. She received her Master’s degree and Ph.D. from U.C. Santa Barbara and in 2006, she was awarded her J.D. from USD.

Mary has been an active member of several organizations in San Diego: these include the San Diego World Affairs Council, the San Diego United Nations Association, the San Diego Diplomatic Council, and the Uptown Democratic Club. 


When we are not in a pandemic, Mary enjoys travelling, trying new types of food, and going to live music. But she is also content at home where she hangs out with her three cats and her chihuahua, Lula. 

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DAVID MIER

Treasurer

Both living and working in the neighborhood, David has been active with the Hillcrest Town Council since 2011 and joins the board as its treasurer. In addition to his work at UC San Diego Health, David is also an active board member for MANA de San Diego and the San Diego Padre’s Hispanic Community Leadership Council as well as a volunteer member of the Stonewall Citizens' Patrol. David and his wife work hard to spoil their fur baby, Lady Kitty Bumpkin, attend as many baseball games as possible each season and stay well fed regularly dining from Hillcrest’s many amazing restaurants.

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MIAH EARN

Member at Large

Miah was born in Canada and moved to California as a teenager. Growing up Miah wanted to save the world. She did work with the Peace Corp and the Caribbean Conservation Corp (CCC). Then Miah wanted to save the children. She worked as a child abuse residential counselor. Miah has a BS and BA from SDSU in psychology and worked 10 years as a independent living skills counselor with the developmentally disabled. Soon, she decided the best job for her was in working events. Miah worked for 24 1/2 years at the best hotel in downtown San Diego where she lost her job due to COVID. Miah has chosen at this time to volunteer to make the neighborhood the best place she wants to be. Miah is currently a volunteer resident on the Hillcrest Parking Committee (HPC). She is also currently the treasurer and board member of the Uptown Community Parking District (UCPD) and a new member of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) board. Miah has been a resident of Hillcrest over 25 years. Her focus is to make/keep Hillcrest a safe, fun, social and friendly area for people to gather and live their best life. Miah is an ally. Her goal for Hillcrest is for everyone to be happy expressing themselves, but most of all feel safe and connected being who you are. Miah supports you!