SF Pride Board Wants New CEO
As a longtime critic of SF Pride for a number reasons - commercialization of the event with too much corporate sponsorship, the disastrous tenure of Amy Andre as executive director, etc - I was pleased when the board hired Brendan Behan to be the interim executive director in 2011.
He's got experience working with community groups, the vendors, the safety monitoring team, and corporations too, in addition to speaking flawless Spanish and possessing a smart economic understanding of the annual Pride parade and weekend celebration. From all outward appearances, Brendan has stabilized the group and struck a healthy balance of listening to LGBT critics and corporate donors.
So why is the SF Pride board looking for a new leader and starting the search process with an ad on Craigslist? From the ad:
SF Pride seeks a visionary and business savvy Chief Executive Officer
(CEO) experienced in leading nonprofit organizations in the strategic
thinking and capacity building efforts that support efficient operations
and sustainability. The ideal candidate will have a strong background
in staff and volunteer management, strategic planning, community
partnerships, and working with diverse constituencies . . . A
background in large-scale events production and advocacy will be a plus.
The candidate should be a proven consensus builder and collaborator
able to clearly articulate SF Pride's goals and policies to the public
and elected officials.
Hello, SF Pride board of directors? The CEO you're looking for is already working for your organization and doing an excellent job. I recommend keeping him in place.
After working with Brendan on International Day Against Homo and Trans Phobia on May 17, and getting to know and respect him more, I experienced first-hand what a fab ED he is. I emailed him today for a statement about the Craigslist ad and privately praised him. Here is his response in full:
Thank you for the kind words. I've really enjoyed working with you in this capacity since coming on as ED. You are engaged in so much important work for our community, so please know how much I appreciate all that you do.
The board made the decision to conduct a search for the Executive Director position. I care so much about Pride and what Pride does for the community, and my priority right now would be to stay if the board will have me. The board has not precluded me from applying, and it is my hope that my record will speak for itself, having brought Pride back from the brink of the worst financial crisis in the history of this organization.
I know that the board has a lot to consider and that they always welcome input from the community about the direction of Pride. Pride is, after all, something that we as a community have built together over the years.
Whatever the board's decision, I remain committed to seeing Pride through this transitional period, and I will continue to advocate for and support Pride in its effort to represent our community and our many voices.
The Pride board would do us all a favor and hold off on showing Brendan the door or hiring a new executive director. At least do what Lyon Martin Health Clinic recently did and hold a public meeting, about looking for a new leader, giving the LGBT community a chance to weigh-in on this issue. Let Brendan continue to do good work!