Our 2021 programming theme is The Work Left to Do, and within that theme, we’ll explore a different focus each month. In the first Tea of the month, we will look at a topic from a broader perspective to understand the universal and legal challenges. For the second Tea of the month, we will speak with someone who is doing the work to educate and/or advance change so we can understand the continuing challenges and how we contribute to change in our own communities. For the month of May, our programming will address equity gaps facing LGBTQ+ individuals.
Our May 13 Tea features a panel of experts: Sharon M. McGowan, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director of Lambda Legal, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Deputy Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Chris Cormier Maggiano, President and Founder of Cormier & Company and Political Advisor with the Q Trust.
Sharon M. McGowan is the Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director of Lambda Legal, the country’s largest and oldest legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and individuals living with HIV. Relying on her litigation expertise and her experience in the Obama administration, Sharon leads the Legal Department’s talented team of over thirty attorneys and paraprofessionals who advocate for our community in courtrooms, statehouses, and other venues throughout the country. As Legal Director, Sharon oversees Lambda Legal’s efforts to resist any attempt by the Trump Administration – or any other opponent of LGBTQ equality – to thwart or roll back our community’s progress toward full formal and lived equality. Sharon joined Lambda Legal in February 2017 as its Director of Strategy and established Lambda Legal’s Washington, D.C. office.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen (he/him) is the Deputy Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and a transgender policy, advocacy, and messaging expert. As a transgender man, his wide-ranging experience in the LGBTQ movement has covered field organizing, leadership development, fundraising, and media advocacy. He previously worked with Freedom for All Americans, GLAAD, the Transgender Law Center, Gender Justice LA, and the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Chris Cormier Maggiano, President and Founder of Cormier & Company, advises funders, issue advocates, and movement leaders to achieve their policy, political, and philanthropic goals. As a donor advisor and political strategist, Chris specializes at the intersection of progressive public policy, national campaigns, and funder engagement. He is a strategic thinker who combines his passion for social justice and intellectual curiosity to sculpt the world around him. His training as an architect is apparent in his approach to projects and clients who find his working style is creative, collaborative, and precise.
Before founding Cormier & Company, Chris served as a Principal at the progressive public policy and strategy firm, The Raben Group, in Washington, DC. Chris co-lead the firm’s team that helped build out the private sector initiative aligned with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper campaign to improve life outcomes and expand opportunities for boys and young men of color. He provided strategic guidance to corporate, non-profit, and foundation clients including Prudential, the National Urban League, the Gill Foundation, and the Democratic Governors Association. Chris also helped launch the firm’s LGBT Strategies division which focuses on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and policy priorities.
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