Chief Marketing Officer Jim Key, is Leaving LA LGBT Center After 17 Years

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LA LGBT Center Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Key - Facebook screen grab

Jim Key, Chief Marketing Officer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, announced today via his Facebook timeline that he is leaving The Center at the end of October. He has worked at the world’s largest provider of programs and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for 17 years.

A source close to Key tells WEHO TIMES that he’s taking a new position at USC. His last day at The Center is October 27.

In his Facebook post, he writes:

“When I leave the Los Angeles LGBT Center at the end of next month, after 17 years of having had what I think is the best job in the LGBT movement, I’ll only be leaving it physically; emotionally, spiritually, and financially I’ll always support the Center’s groundbreaking work.

For exactly half my adult life, I’ve had the privilege to promote the work of the world’s largest LGBT organization and to help wield its considerable influence to make the world a better place for LGBT people.

I’m leaving only because I’ve been offered an incredible and meaningful opportunity, working for a former boss who I greatly respect and admire. And as I get older, I don’t expect to have too many other opportunities like this to expand my horizons in a new and rewarding field of work unless I run for president. Evidently, you’re never you’re never too old or inexperienced to lead our country.

More on my new position, in a later post.

I’m enormously grateful to Center CEO Lorri L. Jean for having offered me the opportunity, twice now, to grow and lead the Center’s marketing communications team. I’m glad she’s a gambler, because she rolled the dice when she first hired me in 1994. I was just 29-years-old and though I had several years of PR experience, I had little LGBT experience and had never run a communications department.

Lorri L. Jean and Jim Key – Facebook screen grab

I’ve got so many wonderful memories from my many years at the Center and feel privileged to have been on the frontlines, with my incredible colleagues, of some of the biggest and most important battles of the LGBT movement. But more than fighting battles, we’ve continued to expand the Center’s many services to meet the growing demand.
In 1994 we had just one facility and about 100 employees. Today we’ve got seven facilities and more than 600 employees. No other organization in the world does more for LGBT people than the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

I’ll always remember the hundreds of community members who cried tears of joy, beaming with pride, when we celebrated the opening of the Center’s groundbreaking arts, cultural and education facility—The Village at Ed Gould Plaza—in 1998. When the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus opens in 2019, across the street from The Village, I’m certain to be one of many in the crowd who are shedding tears of joy and pride.

I’ve learned and grown so much working for Lorri and our chief of staff, Darrel Cummings, and am so grateful to them for their leadership and fearlessness to take bold action when it’s in the best interest of LGBT people, even when those actions would be controversial and could anger some donors, political leaders, and corp. sponsors. That has made my job even more rewarding.

I’m also grateful to have served with such a strong and dedicated senior management team, a generous and passionate board of directors, hundreds of hard-working and skilled colleagues and more than 1,000 inspiring volunteers (particularly the many who support my team)—including our fantastic YPC: Young Professionals Council, a group I’m proud to have co-founded.

Though I’m frequently the most visible member of the marketing communications team, our success is unquestionably the result of a very talented, dedicated, creative and fun group who I will miss greatly. I take comfort knowing that Kelly Freter, my #2, will continue to lead the team to new heights of excellence. Thank you to Kurt Thomas, Gil Diaz, Melantha Hodge, Joe Hui, Callie Rodgers, Megan Kastner, Josiah Pak, Ari Desano, Chloe Rome and my longtime friend Greg Hernandez, who just joined the team.

I’m enormously fortunate this job has offered me the opportunity to meet and befriend so many wonderful people in the media, bloggers, donors, civic and community leaders, community partners, consultants, colleagues at sister organizations, and AIDS/LifeCycle participants from around the world.

Finally, I’m bigly thankful to my family and many friends who heeded my constant pleas to buy tickets to Center events, to make donations, to sponsor me on AIDS/LifeCycle and/or ride in it, to do the Glitter Run, to bring your gently used clothes to our youth center, and to support and counsel me whenever I needed it.
Though I’m leaving, I’ll never be far.”

We at WEHO TIMES, wish Jim Key great success in his future endeavor.