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The Center selects its next CEO

The Center selects Caroline (Cara) Dessert as its next Chief Executive Officer.
Photo credit:
The San Diego LGBT Community Center

The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) has selected their next Chief Executive Officer.

That role will go to longtime San Diego LGBT community member Caroline (Cara) Dessert who has been the organization’s Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer since 2016.

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve my community as the CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center,” said Dessert. “The Center has an impressive 45-year legacy providing service to and advocacy for our San Diego LGBT community. I am thrilled to join our incredible staff, board and our community to further strengthen the vital work of The Center now and in the years ahead.”

Joyce Rowland, co-chair of The Center’s Board of Directors and chair of the executive search committee said they are thrilled with their choice in Dessert.

“After a rigorous, inclusive and thorough national search process, the board is confident that Cara is the right person to lead The Center through this next chapter of our organization’s incredible history.” 

A queer Latina, Dessert is an attorney and non-profit executive with 15 years in social justice leadership. She previously served as the Executive Director of Immigration Equality, a national organization focused on LGBT immigrant rights.

She also served in the California Department of Justice in the Office of the Attorney General, with the U.S. Central District Court of California and with California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission.

It was announced last April that The Center's current CEO, Dr. Delores Jacobs would not renew her contract in June 2018. Dr. Jacobs is a legendary activist and leader in the San Diego LGBT community. Her work at The Center began as the director of Behavioral Health Services. Then in 2001, she was honored to begin her leadership role to one of the oldest LGBT safe places in the country. 

Dr. Jacobs will end her historic 17-year tenure at The Center on June 30, 2018. Dessert will officially become Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2018.

Both Cara and Dr. Jacobs will work together to ensure a smooth transition. 

“We are so grateful for the committed leadership of Dr. Delores Jacobs, who, in keeping with her focus on long-term planning and visioning, provided the board with the time to engage in a truly deliberative process,” Rowland said in a statement. “We look forward to Cara having further opportunities to work with Delores to ensure a smooth and successful transition in leadership.”

The Center is planning a special event to honor Dr. Jacobs before her retirement and there will also be a welcome reception for Dessert in the next few months.