UTAH PRIDE CENTER BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Letter of Thanks to Dr. Rob Moolman and Announcement of the Search for the New CEO.
The unique role of CEO at the Utah Pride Center has a lasting and meaningful impact on the staff, the board of directors, and community partners, as well as the broader LGBTQIA+ community in Utah and its allies. After more than three years as CEO of the Utah Pride Center and two years before that on the Board of the UPC, Dr. Rob Moolman (he/him/his) has accomplished so much. On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is with some sadness and much gratitude that we accept Dr. Moolman’s decision that he will soon move onto his next challenge, and so begin the search for a new CEO at the Utah Pride Center.
Since February of 2018, Dr. Rob Moolman has guided us through some of the toughest challenges our Center has ever experienced, and he has used these challenges to take us to new heights of accomplishment and stability, always with a sense of fairness, kindness, and always with a sense of humor. He has created the changes we needed with a determination to follow our mission and vision, to serve and connect with our communities, to ensure the longevity of the work of the UPC, and to create a Center that has structure, process, and a strategic focus on the future. The engaged collaboration between Dr. Moolman and the Board of Directors, has led to the success and growth of the Utah Pride Center over the last three years, amid new community expectations, a new building, new program demands, the changing socio-political imperatives of 2020, as well as a financial crisis resulting from the pandemic. All of this has solidified a strong example of what our Utah Pride Center needs in the years ahead, and what the Board is beginning the search for.
As the Board of Directors, we understand and respect our duty to find the next person to lead the Utah Pride Center in the years ahead, and to support them in their work with the wonderful UPC team. In considering this role, we cannot help but look back on some of what we have experienced under Rob’s leadership.
Diversifying our programs, services, and staff
One of Dr. Moolman’s primary goals when he started, was to make our Center a safer and more inclusive space for ALL members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Rob recognized that we had not been serving our Queer People of Color, our Queer Elders and our Transgender community as well as we could have or should have. Enabling the growth and development of SAGE, the People of Color Program, the Utah Queer History Society and TransAction in the Center were vital parts of Rob’s work. He also recognized the need to strengthen and diversify our staff by creating an environment that cultivates new ideas and insights. As a result, our programs and services are led by team members with diverse backgrounds, sexual and gender identities, ethnicities, abilities, and education. Our Board is proud of these initiatives and look forward to working with the next CEO in developing and identifying the important spaces we need to be in and move toward as we grow into 2022.
A Voice for the LGBTQIA+ Community
Perhaps the biggest challenge as the CEO at the Utah Pride Center is being a strong public voice in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. Over the past 3 and a half years, Dr. Rob Moolman has been the voice we needed as we took on unforeseen challenges, fought for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in schools and spoke up for trans youth in a partisan political climate. He has also been a passionate advocate for improved visibility in the intersectional spaces our Center needs to operate in. His vocal and at times, invisible work to build relationships, listen to difficult conversations, and to bring racial equity issues to the fore and into the Center, through initiatives like the Latinx Round Table, the Black Lives Matter statements, and our most recent more inclusive logo change, are indicators of where Rob saw our Center needing to move. There is much more work to be done, and as the Board of Directors, we are proud of the intentional steps the Center is taking in becoming a more purposeful voice for all in our communities. Rob’s engaging and calm demeanor has brought understanding and education in times of debate and conflict. This will be an important characteristic we are searching for in our new CEO and one which the Board looks forward to finding and supporting.
Pivoting and adapting in times of Crisis
One of the key roles for any CEO and Board of Directors is to be able to adapt to change and to know when to adjust strategy and planning and when to stay the course. No one knew how the COVID-19 Pandemic would impact our community, but through the leadership of Dr. Rob Moolman, team at the Utah Pride Center were able to pivot quickly and expertly. The hours of deliberation, scenario planning and strategizing undertaken between Rob and the Board of Directors are important reasons why our Center is still here, and why our services and resources are growing after the very difficult year that was 2020. Any time a Center has to adjust course so quickly, the first questions will always be, what is our mission, how do we continue to serve that mission and our at-risk communities, and how do we ensure the long-term success of the Utah Pride Center. We are proud to say, that our Board and our CEO rose to this challenge, made the difficult decisions that needed to be made, and strove to ensure our Center survived another tough part of its long history. Not only did we have to adapt very quickly in 2020, but Rob and our UPC team also created the highly successful Pride Road Rally in October of 2020, as well as an entirely new PRIDE WEEK experience known as the Story Garden happening this coming June. Both events have received attention from PRIDE Centers across the country looking to Utah to set the standard for safe, in-person events during the pandemic.
We want to express our sincere gratitude to Rob for his vision, his unfailing service, his significant accomplishments, and his unwavering support for our mission to be a beacon in all areas of Utah life, and to provide a safe and welcoming space for the LGBTQIA+ community here in Utah. Our Board has enjoyed our connection to Rob’s work and passion, and we are thankful to him for his dedication to our Pride Center.
As a Board of Directors, we look forward to finding the next person to take on the mantle of Utah Pride Center CEO. We know that they will have benefited from the legacy that Dr. Rob Moolman has left behind, with a wonderful team of Utah Pride Center employees, a Center which has strong operational processes in place, that is financially stable, and which has a supportive and committed Board of Directors to fall back on. As part of a successful and stable transition process, Rob has committed to staying with us until the new person has been onboarded, and we are grateful for his ongoing support and leadership.
The next CEO will have a unique and rewarding opportunity – not only will that person get the chance to lead the diverse and incredible staff, but they will also have the exciting opportunity to lead a remarkable and important Utah non-profit, and to create and drive change-not only in the Center itself, but also for the entire Utah LGBTQIA+ community. We take the search for this person very seriously, and we are confident that we will find the right person for this role.
Yours in Pride,
Board Chair: Utah Pride Center