Summer 2017

Reflections From the SOGI Board of Governor Liaison

 I walked into my first SOGI meeting anticipating great things. As a new member of the Board of Governors, we each were asked which groups we chose to become a liaison. Luckily for me, SOGI was available and Judge Jodi Levine and I both lobbied for me to become SOGI’s liaison. With the powerhouse support of Judge Levine, I served as SOGI’s liaison to the BOG for 3 years.

Even though SOGI was the newest member of the Goal III entities, having been created in 2007, the last decade had been meaningful and important. I chaired the Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity (Pipeline Council) from 2006-2009. Robin Rone was our Pipeline Council’s Staff Director and when SOGI was created, Robin became their Director also. A small beginning with an entity that could not foresee the important decisions that would occur in the next decade that would change SOGI and its work forever.

SOGI was engaged and involved in all the decisions that were happening across the nation. In the Proposition 8 battle in California all the way to the Supreme Court, and all the other challenges to equality that called for SOGI’s expertise. SOGI committee members became a strong voice and organized subcommittees that enabled SOGI to have an impact in many different arenas.

In my 3 years as liaison, I watched this entity grow into a fully functioning and mature adult in its short life cycle. Upon hiring their first full-time Director, Skip Harsch, SOGI had the support and staffing to form a firm foundation. James Holmes was the Chair when I became their liaison. His enthusiasm and leadership started SOGI’s newsletter, SOGI’s Stonewall Award, and formed a strong committee structure. When Mark Johnson Roberts took over in 2015, the enthusiasm and commitment remained, and SOGI had another excellent Chair. I remember walking into an annual meeting and marveling at how many projects were ongoing. How could such a small committee do so much work. That’s what happens with a group of committed, passionate individuals no matter what the number.

With my time on the Board at an end, I will miss SOGI but will remain a strong supporter and voice for diversity, inclusion and equality. I will always have their back and applaud the part SOGI had in moving our nation forward. Although we have come a long way, there is still much to do. Thank you SOGI, especially Skip, Jim and Mark, for doing what you do and for your leadership for the LGBTQ community.

 

RUTHE CATOLICO ASHLEY

SOGI Board of Gov Liaison; 2014 - 2017