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Head of Nation's Largest LGBTQ+ Group to Retire

Lorri L Jean

Lorri L. Jean will retire in July 2022 as CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ organization, the center announced Monday.

The center also announced a search for her successor, to be led by the center’s board of directors and national search firm Koya Leadership Partners.

At the time of her retirement, Jean will have led the center for 25 years. The organization was “in turmoil” when she joined, and she “is recognized for having turned it around and helped it grow,” local news website Wehoville reports.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have a strong leader for so long, and now we must prepare for the next chapter. Our board has literally put years of thought into preparing for this transition to ensure that our next CEO will be a tremendous success, exactly as our beloved organization and community deserve,” board cochairs Susan Feniger and David Bailey in a letter to donors about the transition.

With 800 employees, the center offers medical and mental health services, legal services, housing, advocacy programs, and services tailored to the needs of specific populations within the LGBTQ+ community, such as seniors, youth, and transgender people. It has multiple locations in the Los Angeles area, including Hollywood, Leimert Park, Boyle Heights, Koreatown, and West Hollywood. It is larger than 95 percent of all nonprofit organizations in the U.S.

“I will have plenty of time to reflect on my retirement and time at the center in a couple of years,” Jean said in a press release. “Right now, my primary focus is helping our center and community get through this pandemic and the relentless attacks by the Trump administration. In fact, these current challenges reinforce how important it is to help prepare this organization for a successful future. And, as a future constituent of the center, I can say wholeheartedly that it’s exciting to consider the prospect of a new center leader who has a fresh perspective and the talents and skills necessary to take the organization into the future.”

The plan is for Jean’s successor to start as executive director in May 2021 and work with Jean and other senior staffers to assure a smooth transition, then assuming the role of CEO in July 2022. The center’s size and complexity make this transition period desirable, its leaders said.

Jean first took the top post at the center in 1993 and stayed for six years, after having been deputy regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency since 1989. Her job at FEMA made her the highest-ranking out LGBTQ+ appointee in the federal government at the time. After working as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now National LGBTQ Task Force) from 2001 to 2003, she rejoined the L.A. center.

For information about what the center’s seeking in Jean’s successor — and to express interest or refer a candidate — click here.

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