by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Out in Front Seattle, a leadership development effort seeking to secure the future of the movement for LGBTQ equality at all levels of government and society, graduated its third class of new leaders this week.
Over eight months, through six full-day sessions, two weekend-long retreats, plus professional networking opportunities and intergenerational collaboration, the class worked to gain new understanding and reinforced their own skills toward becoming inclusive, relevant, inspiring, and accountable leaders.
The latest class of graduates are Jessie Benet (King County), Jordan Duran (Gay City Health Project), Matthew Gockel (Hopelink), Jeremy Haber (The Boeing Company), Tye Larabee (Mod Content), Ruben Lozano-Aguilera (Microsoft), Ryan McMurray (Free & Clear), Caila Nickerson (Lifelong AIDS Alliance), Anthonio Petit (Aditi Consulting), Nicole Sylvester (Wimmer Solutions), and Eric Williams (Obama For America).
The road to graduation was an informative one. The students kicked off their training with a retreat that included discussion on the characteristics and challenges of leadership, leadership styles, and local LGBTQ history. They also worked on team building and networking. The retreat afforded participants the opportunity to hear from leaders and historians about their experience in Seattle's LGBTQ past. After that, the months-long programs of business savvy, community organizing, diversity, advocacy, media, national movement, and sustainability began.
Since beginning the leadership program in 2009, Out in Front has garnered an impressive group of alumni - something Out in Front officials hope will continue. Like any existing leadership curriculum, it does not come without a cost. Prospective students pay tuition based on their annual income. The tuition helps defray the costs of meals, lodging for two overnight retreats, speakers who travel long distances, supplies, and other expenses. Tuition assistance may be available for those who qualify.
Out in Front is currently seeking members for the 2012 class. Although the program is designed for emerging leaders who identify as LGBTQ, applications are welcome from straight allies who have demonstrated a commitment to LGBTQ equality.
According to Out in Front officials, they are looking for candidates who meet the following admissions criteria:
o LGBTQ-identified people or straight allies with demonstrated commitment to Out in Front's mission, vision, and values
o Identity and experience that contribute to a diverse class
o Achievements that demonstrate initiative or exceeding expectations
o Demonstrated ability to grasp complex issues and develop collaborative solutions
o Commitment to community involvement
o Interest in the empowerment, equality, and vitality of the LGBTQ community
o Ability to form enduring relationships within the greater community
o Willingness and ability to commit to the program participation policy
Out in Front Seattle was founded in 2007. its mission is to foster the development of effective, engaged, and passionate leaders in order to build a thriving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community through training, networking, and mentorship, connecting participants to some of the foremost current leaders in the LGBTQ movement. From the non-profit sector to government to the corporate world, Out in Front strives to provide a diverse look at the ways in which our community works for equality, and the ways our community can more effectively reach out to our friends and allies.
For more information, including how to enroll in the next class, visit the organization online at www.outinfrontseattle.org.
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