WASHINGTON – Today, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute and the David Bohnett Foundation announced three graduates of the David Bohnett LGBTQ Leadership Fellowship. The three fellows for the July 2014 class spent three weeks of 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 Chris, Darden, Diana, and Steve 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 their 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.”
Diana Bishop has led the San Rafael, California police force since 2012, where she leads of team of 87 and serves the largest community in Marin County. Bishop began her career in 1985 in the Santa Clara Police Department, rising to through the ranks to retire as a Captain. She has an Executive Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. She is also a graduate of the 219th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.
Steve Hansen was elected to represent District Four on the Sacramento City Council in November 2012. He has worked as an advocate for neighborhoods, civil rights, and responsive government. For more than two years, Hansen worked for Equality California, a statewide advocacy group for the rights of LGBTQ Californians. During his two years as Legislative Director, California made tremendous progress in recognizing the LGBTQ movement as a civil rights issue. Hansen is a graduate of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Gonzaga University.
Darden 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.
Chris Seelbach was named by the White House a “Champion on Change” in 2013, for making history in 2011 by becoming the first openly gay person ever elected in Cincinnati. Since taking office, Seelbach led efforts to extend equal partner health insurance to all city employees, create a domestic partner register, LGBTQ police, fire and mayoral liaison, and require all contractors to adhere to an inclusive non-discrimination policy. These combined efforts should lead to a score of 100 on HRC Municipal Equality Index, making Cincinnati one of the most LGBTQ friendly cities in the country.
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 – these three graduates are part of the June class and four others will go through the program in July. 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. Some of the county’s top gay and lesbian political figures are among the list of distinguished alumni, including Houston Mayor Annise Parker and New York state Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan).