September 14, 2021
Dear Out In Front Community,
As we all chart our own paths out of a difficult and painful pandemic, Out in Front is changing the way it supports leadership development in the Pacific Northwest. As of the end of this June, Out in Front ceased to function as an independent nonprofit. Out in Front is very excited to announce that it will be handing its carefully honed training materials to the GSBA to use in that organization’s work of leadership development. The GSBA is a long-standing leader in the Puget Sound’s LGBTQ+ community and has encouraged the emergence of new leaders through its scholarship program.
GSBA has supported and partnered with Out in Front in various ways over the past decade. Our decision to offer the Out in Front training program to the GSBA did not come easily or lightly. After extensive reflection among board members, the board concluded that the GSBA is ideally positioned to bring Out in Front’s training mission to the largest and most diverse audiences possible. We wholeheartedly believe that this transition is the best way to honor the legacy of Out In Front as a pioneering leader in LGBTQ+ professional development in the Pacific Northwest.
Mark Rosen, Acting President & CEO of GSBA, shared that “GSBA has been a longtime supporter of the work of Out in Front and applauds its Board on making the difficult decision to sunset the organization. We look forward to working with dedicated OIF leaders to help us shape the expansion of leadership training and cohort building to those in our community who are most marginalized. We believe that doing so will help further our mission of promoting both economic and educational equity.”
After seeing the positive effects of bringing GSBA scholars together for leadership development work and community building over the past several years, GSBA Scholarship Program Manager, Taylor Briggs, is excited to incorporate OIF curriculum and reach a broader audience than GSBA has ever been able to before. “There are so many LGBTQ+ students and young entrepreneurs in our community who have the vision, passion, and capability to make the world a better place. I am excited to work with OIF leaders and my fellow GSBA training staff to help provide a space for this next generation of leaders to continue exploring their unique talents and skills to learn and grow into the best versions of themselves.”
Strong and effective leadership requires resolve and optimism in the face of challenge. This decision has come after almost two years of careful deliberation. Out In Front has always sought to keep its curriculum updated and relevant to current issues. As we wrapped up our 2019 cohort it was becoming clear that to fully address diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum, the organizers and the presenters would require a significant re-thinking of the program. At the same time, we were confronting issues of sustainability and volunteer commitment that are common to volunteer-run nonprofits, while simultaneously facing a changed landscape of leadership development opportunities for LGBTQ+ adults in the Puget Sound. It became increasingly clear that the best chance for keeping Out in Front’s training materials alive and relevant would come from reaching beyond our nonprofit to an organization that had a solid foundation of resources for sustaining and expanding leadership development in our community. The GSBA is an ideal recipient of our program materials. A few members of the Out in Front leadership will engage with the GSBA to ensure a smooth transition of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to seeing an expansion of leadership development opportunities for the Puget Sound LGBTQ+ community.
The vibrant heart of Out In Front is – and will continue to be – its community of alumni, volunteers and donors. The connections built during the 12 years of OIF programs and the ways our alumni have taken next steps of leadership in their own communities is inspirational. As we transition away from an independent Out In Front program we hope that you will continue to support LGBTQIA+ Leadership Development as we embrace and benefit from the larger network of GSBA supporters and scholarship fund alumni. Thank you for being part of the Out In Front community and we hope to see you at a future GSBA event!
The Board of Directors of Out In Front