Women at the Helm 2015

Meet 16 dynamos who are true models of success

Executive Director, Equality Federation

If you thought the fight for equality ended after same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, think again. “Many people are surprised to learn just how much work remains to ensure all of us are able to live without the fear of discrimination,” says Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation. “There are 31 states that do not have complete statewide nondiscrimination protections and right-wing politicians are rousing their bases with a flurry of new discriminatory bills.” She says her parents encouraged a commitment to justice when she was young. “We had a household where speaking up was a virtue and interrupting injustice was celebrated.” Following college, Isaacs headed south of the border, supporting Mexico’s queer activist movement. She’s led the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, The LA Gay & Lesbian Center, Inner City Law Center—and she became a lawyer. She lives with her wife, Vanessa, and her daughter, Rachel, is in college at Princeton, and she appreciates that her job lets her travel all over the country, “meeting people where they are, in communities big and small. At Equality Federation, we support people being able to live freely in their own communities, if they choose to, in a safe, fulfilled way.”