Utah Pride Center CEO resigns after 4 months

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Stacey Jackson-Roberts has resigned from her position as CEO of the Utah Pride Center due to “health and family reasons,” board chair Chris Jensen announced in a statement Wednesday.

“Wishing the Board, the leadership team, and the staff at the Utah Pride Center well. I’m confident in the diverse skills of the people I am leaving behind to lead the center through its next chapter,” said Jackson-Roberts.

She started as CEO of the Center in September of last year. In her 4-month tenure, she hired Smith College colleague Kimberly Gillette from Baltimore, Md. as Interim Clinical Director.

An open house event that was scheduled for Feb. 5, titled “Utah Pride Center Reimagined: Celebrating 30 Years with a Bold New Vision for Our Future,” was canceled due to the recent surge in Covid-19, Center leaders announced Jan. 12.

Center leaders decided to change the structure of the Center.

“As the Board Chair at the Utah Pride Center, this change has caused me to reflect on how to proceed with effective leadership,” Jensen continued. “One thing Stacey did well in her short time as CEO, was hire a team of qualified people to lead the Center going forward. Rather than have one CEO, we will have three members of a leadership team known as Co-Collaborative Executive Officers. These three individuals will have separate roles and responsibilities and I am confident they will work well together to make 2022 a success.”

“Thankfully the staff here at the Utah Pride Center have become accustomed to change and are ready to do what’s necessary to not only bring pride to our community through pride events but also work to continue to provide mental health services and educational programs to LGBTQ+ Utahn’s across the state,” Jensen ended.

Announced as “co-collaborative executive officers” were Tanya Hawkins as co-CEO over community outreach and programs, Benjamin Carr as co-CEO over development and communications, and Jessica Dummar as co-CEO over operations and administration.

Center leaders gave the following bios for the three new positions:

Tanya Hawkins (she, her)

Tanya has served in multiple capacities at the Utah Pride Center for the past several years. Before accepting this position, Tanya served as vice-chair on the Board ensuring its commitment to maintaining a diverse board and staff that reflects the communities we serve.

In addition, Tanya is currently an active council member of the Racial Equity in Policing Commission, Citizens Advisory Board, and Utah Multicultural Civic Council. Previously, Tanya worked at ARUP Laboratories in marketing and PR for 17 years.

Outside of her community involvement Tanya enjoys trying new restaurants, spending time with her niece and nephew, and generally anything adventurous or outside the box. Tanya enjoys being active in the community and is a patron of the arts, sciences, and outdoors.

Tanya believes that the full value of life is gained by being and embracing yourself. She believes that there is always something positive to be learned from someone regardless of their color, culture, gender, sexuality, beliefs, age, disability, and/or economic background.

We look forward to witnessing her continued positive impact on our community in this new role.

Benjamin Carr (he, him)

Carr will lead all fundraising efforts and directs the Utah Pride Center’s marketing and communications strategy. Prior to joining the UPC in December 2021, Benjamin spent 20 years leading the development and communications strategy at some of San Francisco’s most prestigious visual and performing arts nonprofits, including director of marketing and communications at San Francisco Art Institute and The Contemporary Jewish Museum, associate director of marketing and Communications at San Francisco Ballet, and board member and then interim executive director at the GLBT Historical Society. Benjamin brings extensive experience in growing organizations, improving inter-departmental processes, and engaging and reaching new constituents.

Benjamin completed his BA and MA in English at Brigham Young University and was a Ph.D. candidate in American Indian Studies at Florida State University. Benjamin is particularly committed to making a social, political, and cultural impact in his work and champions the idea that what we do collaboratively is always more important than our individual endeavors.

After a nearly 25-year absence of living in Utah, Benjamin returned to live near his daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, working out at the gym, trying new restaurants, cooking, and reading a good book.

Jessica Dummar (she, her)

A bisexual lawyer, veteran, mom of four, and military spouse. She was raised in a small farming town in Idaho with her five sisters. Some of her favorite memories, are jumping off bridges and swimming in rivers with her family in the summer.

After high school she attended BYU-Idaho. She married and joined the military by the spring of her freshman year. By twenty, she had her first baby. Much of her life has been an effort to play by the “rules” while simultaneously finding her own power and authenticity.

Jessica attended law school at the University of South Carolina. While there, she learned the law, but also the mechanics of how the law often is used to perpetuate the oppression of marginalized communities. This view of power continues to shift the way Jessica perceives the world — even herself — on a core level. Jessica gained experience in regulation and compliance while working in the employment and environmental sectors of law.

For the last three years, she has spent researching sex and gender law independently around the world and promoting sex-positivity. Jessica has a passion for creating spaces to discuss issues regarding social, and individual healing.

This breaking story will be updated as more information comes in.

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