Darden Rice joins distinguished list of government leaders as graduate of Harvard Kennedy School

WASHINGTON – Today, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute and the David Bohnett Foundation announced St. Petersburg Councilmember Darden Rice as a graduate of the David Bohnett LGBTQ Leadership Fellowship.  Rice was one of three fellows for the July 2014 class where she spent three weeks in intense state and local government programing at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass.  The program helps senior executives hone their skills and furthers the leadership potential of already accomplished public servants.
“I congratulate Darden on this accomplishment – this intense program for senior executives at the Harvard Kennedy School is transformational,” said Torey Carter, managing director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.  “It provides a continuum of leadership development that bridges personal and professional growth with the skills necessary to address challenges that affect her community.”
“The current graduates from the Leadership Fellows program will join their alumni colleagues in leading exemplary lives of public service as open LGBTQ American citizens,” said David Bohnett, chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation. “The Fellow program empowers LGBTQ leaders who are making a difference in the world, honing skills and furthering their leadership potential.”
“This three week course has been one of the most insightful career experiences I have invested in. We immersed ourselves in a challenging environment to push ourselves to look at leadership in a new way,” said St. Petersburg City Councilmember Darden Rice.  “In addition to bringing back a whole new perspective and energy to lead, I have grown from the experience of discussing meaningful and challenging leadership issues in context of critical case studies with a diversity of colleagues.”
Rice is a civic leader who brings over 15 years of experience in working for national, state, and local organizations in communications and issue-based advocacy campaigns for the public interest. Those issues include promoting access to affordable, quality healthcare; defending voting rights by fighting unfair voter suppression laws; protecting clean water; and promoting clean energy. She received her B.A. in American Studies from Eckerd College. Rice was President of the St. Pete League of Women Voters and was elected in November 2013 to St. Petersburg City Council.
Since 2002, the David Bohnett Foundation in partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute has sent a select group of LGBTQ fellows to participate in the summer program. The intensive, three-week session offers a balance of traditional and hands-on learning experiences to help public officials meet the changing needs of their communities. Rice joins a distinguished group of alumni, including some the country’s top lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political leaders – Houston Mayor Annise Parker and New York State Sen. Tom Duane (Manhattan).