Entertainment :: Culture

GLAAD Names Sarah Kate Ellis as New President

by Mike Halterman
Tuesday Dec 24, 2013
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GLAAD’s National Board of Directors is proud to announce that Sarah Kate Ellis has been elected as GLAAD’s new CEO and president. As a respected media executive and outspoken advocate for LGBT equality, Sarah Kate is uniquely qualified to lead GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBT media advocacy organization.

Steve Warren, National Co-Chair of GLAAD’s Board said: "GLAAD’s unparalleled history in shifting American beliefs on LGBT families paved the way for our recent legal victories and will be instrumental in inspiring more and more Americans to stand with LGBT people and our families. We are excited to welcome Sarah Kate at a time when our community needs more of GLAAD’s work in the media to share the stories that create real change."

Sarah Kate spoke to her vision for GLAAD’s advocacy work: "While our community has made great strides in recent years, our movement has an important and critical journey ahead. Together with our dedicated staff, I will push for a culture where everyone in the LGBT community not only has legal equality, but is fully welcomed and respected by our neighbors. I look forward to leading GLAAD and creating a world where LGBT people and our families have the freedom to joyously -- and openly -- live a life they love."

Sarah Kate Ellis is an award-winning media executive and salient communications strategist who has led national media brands to their biggest successes, most notably growing Real Simple into one of Time Inc.’s most respected and successful magazines. Her vision has transformed and energized leading media outlets including Vogue, InStyle, New York, and House & Garden. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Martini Media, a digital firm specializing in online branding, public relations and marketing. She has earned seven MIN Awards for marketing innovation, two President’s Awards, and MIN’s Sales Executive Team of the Year award in 2012.

As co-chair of OUT at Time Inc., she led programming to spotlight the diversity of the LGBT community and educated the organization’s straight allies on a wide range of LGBT issues. She is a member of Advertising Women of New York, Cosmetic Executive Women, and the Magazine Publishers of America. Ellis is also a Vestry member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Ellis earned her B.A. from Russell Sage College and also attended the Tuck Executive Education program at Dartmouth.

Sarah Kate will take on her new role in January 2014 and will be based in GLAAD’s New York City office. GLAAD’s staff and National Board welcome Sarah Kate and this exciting new chapter in GLAAD’s history as they continue to elevate the voices and tell the truth about the lives of LGBT people.

Hotspots got to speak with Sarah Kate Ellis in an exclusive interview as she prepares to take the reins of the influential LGBT advocacy organization.

You said that your vision of GLAAD’s advocacy work is for LGBT people to live in a country that not just gives them full equality, but where they have full acceptance and respect from their neighbors. How would you and how would GLAAD work to create a society that would be safe and accepting for all people?

The image of my wife and I on the cover of TIME was part of a shift for LGBT families to be included in the fabric of American values. Only a slight majority of Americans today support marriage equality. That’s not enough for me, my wife, our children, and it’s not enough for GLAAD.

The more people know about their LGBT friends and neighbors, the more likely they are to support equality. What people see in news, entertainment and social media is a powerful way to break through barriers of unfamiliarity and perceived differences. Well before policy change is possible and long after legal change happens, GLAAD’s work increases the public support for legal equality and helps make anti-LGBT rhetoric and discrimination a thing of the past.

How important do you believe social media is in promoting social progress like same-sex marriage and employment non-discrimination legislation? Also, do you believe print media still has a place at the table in shaping today’s changing world?

Social media is an incredible tool for sharing a multitude of ideas quickly to an audience that’s larger than almost anyone could imagine. GLAAD’s advocacy work has evolved with the changing media landscape. GLAAD is the only LGBT organization working directly with the likes of Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, among others, to keep the platforms safe for LGBT users.

Working for equality looks different today than it did even five years ago, because much of it takes place in the social media arena. That being said, news media absolutely still has a place at the table and continues to be very much so a part of GLAAD’s commitment to representing the LGBT community. GLAAD has a long history of working with media including CNN, The New York Times and the Associated Press to ensure that LGBT people are not only represented, but that they’re also portrayed accurately.

In Florida especially, Spanish-language media is very prominent, and it continues to gain readers and viewers nationally. How is GLAAD currently reaching out to Spanish-language media with reference guides, workshops, etc. and is expanding resources for Spanish-language media a priority of yours when you start work in January?

GLAAD is the only LGBT organization with a dedicated Spanish-Language and Latino Media team, working each day to get Spanish-Language media to cover LGBT issues and profile LGBT Latino individuals and families. The team connects LGBT people and their families with networks like CNN en EspaƱol, CNN Latino, Univision, and Telemundo. These stories are helping to build the public support for LGBT people and for LGBT legal equality among Latino audiences. The Spanish-speaking community is the fastest growing population in the country and pivotal to reaching full equality for LGBT people of all ethnicities. Expanding our work in the Latino community, especially in Miami and in South Florida, will continue to be a priority.

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