February 7, 2018 at 12:21 pm PST | by Troy Masters
Christopher Street West announces Executive Director search

Throngs assembled at the end of 2017 LA Pride March and #ResistMarch. (Photo by #ResistMarch)

Christopher Street West (CSW), the non-profit organization that organizes LA Pride and LA Pride Festival, has announced it has hired recruitment firm Aspen Leadership Group to find an Executive Director.

According to CSW Board Member and Marketing and Communications Lead Shayne Thomas, the move will provide the organization and its newly empaneled board with much more depth and an ability to execute more deftly.

The organization has until now been fully controlled by its all volunteer, uncompensated board and, most notably, by its President Christopher Classen. This is the first time in the recent history of the organization CSW will be led by an Executive Director, though it has employed an administrative assistant.

Over the past two years, Classen and CSW found itself under considerable pressure from the community. In 2016 critics expressed concern LA Pride Festival  was being transformed into a Coachella-style mainstream music festival. In 2017, transgender community members felt the organization was not sufficiently attentive to their needs. Accomodations were made after a great deal of protests, including the departures of several high-profile board members.

“I am supportive of CSW going through the process of hiring an Executive Director that supports the needs of the communities it serves,” said former CSW President of more than a decade, Rodney Scott.

It is not yet clear what changes are being made to the board’s structure that will enable an Executive Director to succeed.

According to the organization’s press release, “The Executive Director, working closely with the CSW Board of Directors, will play a critical role in developing the vision and strategy guiding the organization’s future.”

“As we look toward the future and set our sights on making LA Pride a must-experience Pride destination for the global LGBTQ+ community and our allies, there is no better time than now to recruit a forward-thinking leader who will be at the very heart and soul of making this vision a reality,” said Estevan Montemayor, CSW Board Member and Search Committee Chair. “This announcement marks a significant milestone for CSW, one that’s been years in the making. We have worked hard over the last few years to build enthusiasm and momentum around the LA Pride brand. We’re now ready and in a better position than ever to take this important step forward, ensuring our organization’s long-term future and growth.”

Thomas says Christopher Classen will remain President of Christopher Street West and new board members have been chosen.

“We were really thrilled with the results of our recruitment effort for new CSW Board Members at the end of 2017. Not only did we get more applications to fill our open spots than ever before, but, among those applicants, we also were able to recruit incredible leaders within our community who represent all parts of the LGBTQ+ spectrum as well as the diversity of Los Angeles as a whole.”

The new Board Members are: Gregory Alexander, Founder, A Club Called Rhonda; Mistress Cyan, President and CEO, Sanctuary Studios; Gerald Garth, Program Operations Manager, AMAAD Institute; Kevin Kelly, Vice President of Creative Development, Propper Daley; Alexandra Magallon, Workforce Development, TransLatin@ Coalition; Estevan Montemayor, Communications Director, City of Los Angeles; Julie Neumark, Marketing Director and Content Strategist; and Brian Rosman, Founder, Dog and a Duck Marketing and PR.

LA Pride Parade, which was transformed in 2017 by then Board Member Brian Pendleton into #ResistMarch, will return to Santa Monica Boulevard this year and take place on Sunday, June 10.

LA Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, despite challenges posed by the ongoing construction in West Hollywood park where the event has traditionally been held.

Visit lapride.org to sign up for updates and be sure to follow LA Pride on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

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