Equality Michigan’s Board of Trustees has appointed Equality Michigan’s director of policy, Emily Dievendorf, to the position of managing director of the organization. Emily will be empowered to lead the staff and organization. Currently there are four people on staff, including Dievendorf.
Equality Michigan has been without an executive director since Denise Brogan-Kator left that position in May 2012. The job description for the managing director states that “the managing director will also fulfill the responsibilities of the executive director to serve as the face of the organization and assist in fundraising.” So in effect, Dievendorf is acting as the executive director until that position is filled sometime in the future, assuming it will be.
Dievendorf is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University, where she was a social justice leader on campus as a student. She then worked in the Michigan House of Representatives, elevating to chief of staff to Representative Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw), the chair of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services. While in this position she focused on developing banking legislation, notably Michigan’s Foreclosure Lifeline legislation. Dievendorf has engaged on issues related to LGBT equality, race relations and equality, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS. She serves on the board of the Lansing Area AIDS Network and as an appointed member of the Ingham County Women’s Commission.
“I’m eager to build better and stronger partnerships between Equality Michigan and its allied partners within the movement and to expand the base to include Michigan citizens and our straight allies that are invested in justice issues but have not been active in the equality fight,” said Dievendorf.
This should please other LGBT leaders, such as Dave Garcia, executive director of Affirmations Community Center, who said, “I would hope that Equality Michigan will reach out to other LGBT organizations throughout the state and work together with them to advance equality throughout the state of Michigan.”
Dievendorf is already well known to many LGBT activists because of her work in Lansing as Equality Michigan’s policy director and her role as the liaison to Unity Michigan for Equality Michigan. Unity Michigan is a coalition of five of the largest LGBT organizations in Michigan including Equality Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan, Affirmations Community Center, Kick!, The Ruth Ellis Center and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion..
“Equality Michigan is poised to really be the leadership voice for the LGBTQ community and I love Emily’s enthusiasm and passion for the work,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan.
“Emily and I have been working together on the Unity Michigan coalition for some time now,” said Garcia. “I do think that she is someone I can work with well, and that her heart and mind is in the right place. In fact we have already been in contact about having dinner soon to start working together in her new capacity as managing director.”
Dievendorf said she is excited to delve into her new position. “Progress on relationship recognition nationwide has awakened Michigan citizens to the impact of inequality on our communities in regard to marriage. This is our opportunity to inform Michiganders about the harm done to friends and neighbors when we lack basic parental rights, employment and housing protections, and safety in our communities. I intend to make sure all equality-loving Michigan citizens are given the opportunity to join the discussion around Equality Michigan’s goals and how we get there,” she said.