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Guest Speakers

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D.C

Donna RoseDonna Rose

Donna Rose is a nationally recognized speaker, educator, author, writer, trainer, and advocate on transgender and transsexual issues. She has been invited to speak and provide trainings at corporations, colleges, universities, and conferences across the country. She was the first transgender board member for the Human Rights Campaign. Donna is active in the leadership of several national GLBT Advocacy organizations, is the author of an award-winning memoir, Wrapped in Blue, and is heavily involved in national corporate diversity efforts.

Gary GatesGary Gates

Gary J. Gates is a recognized expert on the demography of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population.  He co-authored The Gay and Lesbian Atlas and publishes extensively on the demographic, geographic, and economic characteristics of the LGBT population.  Many national and international media outlets regularly feature his work.  He holds a PhD in Public Policy from the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University along with a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vincent College and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Rev George Walker Jr.Reverend George B. Walker, Jr.

Reverend George B. Walker, Jr., serves as the Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. George has worked extensively in social justice and philanthropic causes, as an employee, board member, and volunteer. In February 2012, President Barack Obama appointed him to be a member of the President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He is a graduate of Morehouse College (BA History) and The Divinity School, Duke University (M-Div). He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC). George is a former Peace Corps volunteer, is fluent in Spanish, and holds a black belt in taekwondo.

Joe SolmoneseJoe Solmonese

Joe Solmonese is the former president of the Human Rights Campaign from 2005-2012. He is the former CEO of Emily’s List, where he oversaw one of the nation’s prominent pro-choice Democratic political action committees. Solmonese has worked for numerous campaigns and in government positions. He held top fundraising positions at the 1992 Senate campaign of Les AuCoin and Barney Frank's 1990 Congressional campaign.[3] Solmonese began his career as an aide in the office of Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. On February 22, 2012, the Obama campaign announced the appointment of Solmonese as one of 35 national co-chairs of the campaign. Joe Solmonese helped establish the corporate consulting firm Gavin/Solmonese as a managing director and founding partner, leading the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Joe leads the firm’s Corporate Strategy, Public Affairs and Policy practice, where he advises corporations on organizational effectiveness strategies and policy development and implementation.  Solmonese lives in Washington D.C. He graduated from Boston University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications.

Jonathan CapehartJonathan Capehart

Jonathan Capehart is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and has been a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post since 2007. He is an MSNBC Contributor and has been a member of the Reporters Roundtable on “This Week with George Stephanopolous,” and substitute host on “The Brian Lehrer Show” and “The Leonard Lopate Show” on WNYC. Capehart was deputy editorial page editor of the New York Daily News from 2002 to 2004, and served on that paper's editorial board from 1993 to 2000. In 1999, his 16-month editorial campaign to save the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem earned him and the board the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. Capehart left the Daily News in July 2000 to become the national affairs columnist at Bloomberg News, and took a leave from this position in February 2001 to serve as a policy advisor to Michael Bloomberg in his first successful campaign for New York City mayor.

Michael GuestMichael Guest

Michael Guest was America’s first openly gay, Senate-confirmed Ambassador and served as Ambassador to Romania from 2001-2004. He was also the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Czech Republic from 1996-1999, Deputy Political Counselor in France from 1991-1994 and served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs from 1999-2001 along with many other Washington, D.C assignments. Mr. Guest has also been a consultant to the Council for Global Equality. He holds an MA in Foreign Affairs (magna cum laude) from the University of Virginia and a BA in History and Political Science (summa cum laude) from Furman University.

Rashad RobinsonRashad Robinson

Rashad Robinson serves as Executive Director of ColorOfChange, the nation’s largest online civil rights organization. ColorOfChange has been at the forefront of issues ranging from fighting for justice for Trayvon Martin, to battling attempts to suppress the Black vote, and ending Pat Buchanan’s tenure as an MSNBC analyst. Robinson has appeared in hundreds of news stories, interviews, and political discussions. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, Newsday and Huffington Post. For the past four years, Washington Post’s “The Root” named Robinson to “The Root 100,” a list of influential African Americans under 45-years old. Robinson has received numerous awards for his work and has previously held leadership roles with GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Right to Vote Campaign and FairVote. Robinson currently serves on the Board of Directors for ALLOUT, the Global Campaign for LGBT Equality, Applied Research Center and State Voices.

Steve WalkerSteve Walker

Steve Walker helps to shape and implement the DNC's political organizing program to amplify the accomplishments and election of Democrats nationally. Walker has over 20 years of grassroots community organizing and public health experience, serving as an advocate, activist, educator and administrator in the areas of civil rights, environmental justice, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, LGBT equality and offender rights. In 1993, he founded and served as President of the African-American Lesbian and Gay Alliance of Houston (AALGA), which provided empowerment programs for LGBT persons of color. He advocated on a national level as national secretary of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum (NBLGF) and Co-Chair of the National Black Gay Men’s Health Coalition. He was a core organizer of a contingent of black gay men who marched proudly and openly at the Million Man March in 1995. Steve currently resides in Washington D.C and continues working with the LGBT community as an advocate and mentor.

Chai FeldblumChai Feldblum

Chai R. Feldblum has served as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010, having been nominated to serve by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the Senate. President Obama nominated her to serve a second term ending on July 1, 2018. Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Commissioner Feldblum was a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. At Georgetown, she founded the Law Center's Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, which represented clients such as Catholic Charities USA, the National Disability Rights Network, and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. She also founded and co-directed Workplace Flexibility 2010, a policy enterprise focused on finding common ground between employers and employees on workplace flexibility issues. As Legislative Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union from 1988 to 1991, Commissioner Feldblum played a leading role in helping to draft and negotiate the ground-breaking Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Later, as a law professor representing the Epilepsy Foundation, she was equally instrumental in drafting and negotiating the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Commissioner Feldblum has also worked to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, was one of the drafters of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and is the first openly lesbian Commissioner of the EEOC. She clerked for Judge Frank Coffin of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun after receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She received her B.A. degree from Barnard College.

Mara KeislingMara Keisling

Mara Keisling is the Founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Mara is a transgender-identified woman and a parent. As one of the nation’s leading voices for transgender equality, Mara has appeared on news outlets and is regularly quoted in hundreds of national and local print and broadcast media. Since NCTE was founded in 2003, the organization has been a part of coalition efforts that have won significant advances in transgender equality. Mara is a graduate of Penn State University and did her graduate work at Harvard University in American Government. Mara has almost twenty-five years of professional experience in social marketing and opinion research.

Amanda SimpsonAmanda Simpson

Amanda Simpson works in the United State Department of Defense and is the Executive Director of the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force. In her role, she leads the Army’s efforts to implement large-scale renewable energy projects. She previously held the role of Special Assistant to the Army Acquisition Executive. In that role she was a principal advisor to the United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology on all matters relating to Army acquisition, procurement, research & development and logistics. Upon her appointment to the position of Senior Technical Advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security in 2010, she became the first openly transgender woman political appointee of any Presidential administration. Amanda Simpson received her Bachelor of Science in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1983, her Master of Science in Engineering from California State University, Northridge in 1988 on a Hughes Aircraft Fellowship and her MBA from the University of Arizona in 2001 on a Raytheon Fellowship.

Also invited to speak:

  • Keith Boykin
  • Tammy Baldwin
  • Tim Gunn
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