Please describe your current and/or previous roles that relate to your work for justice and equality.
I am an attorney and social justice activist. I oversee centralized Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Knowledge Management at the Arcus Foundation and play a key legal and governance role for the organization. The mission of the Arcus Foundation is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes.
Prior to joining Arcus, I served as Managing Director, Global Initiatives at Out Leadership, an advisory firm specializing in LGBT business and talent development. In 2011, I co-founded Athlete Ally, a nonprofit advancing LGBT rights through sports. In this capacity and as a current trustee, I have strategized groundbreaking social justice initiatives in sports for which I was named to Vanity Fair’s Hall of Fame.
I have published in several leading rhetoric and legal journals, including the American Bar Association, Italian American Bar Association, California International Law Journal, and Cambridge University Press. I practiced law at Alston & Bird LLP, received my J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, and graduated first in my class from Lafayette College.
What about your work brings you the most joy, gives you the most pride or satisfaction?
I have the rare benefit of a career built on a few pillars, most significantly my role at Arcus and as a co-founder of Athlete Ally. At Arcus, I am inspired everyday by the incredible bravery and perseverance of the foundation’s grantee partners and the generosity of spirit and kindness of our founder, Jon Stryker. My joy comes from the people around me — their brilliance and heart — and the opportunity to help identify ways for Arcus to increase our impact. At Athlete Ally, I most enjoy the opportunity to create, to build, to imagine strategic interventions and partnerships in sports that shift the patterns and assumptions of societies at their core.
What is the greatest hurdle you’ve had to overcome as it relates to your work for justice and equality?
I was miserable early in my career and had to muster the courage to change my life—to leave a promising career and pursue opportunities better aligned with my interests. It required me to listen to and believe in myself and assume risk.
How do you empower those around you?
I try to listen to and validate their experience and shed light on the opportunities.
What short phrase would you offer others to inspire them to have hope and/or to take action?
When I was at Lafayette, the college provided me with the opportunity to have dinner with Gloria Steinem in connection with my honors thesis presentation. During that dinner and in her speech to students on campus after, she told us to “go toward the fear.” That mantra has changed my life.