Women at the Helm 2015

Meet 16 dynamos who are true models of success

EMILY HECHT-McGOWAN
Interim Co-Executive Director and Director of Public Policy, Family Equality Council

Emily Hecht-McGowan works for Family Equality Council as its director of public policy and interim co-executive director; previously, she was legal director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization helping those who were affected by the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. “I honestly never expected that I would work on issues relating to the military because I come from a long line of anti-war activists, several of whom identified as pacifists,” she says. “But working with these lesbian and gay service members who were willing to risk their lives for all of us, and yet couldn’t even say the words ‘I am gay’ without fear of losing their military careers, had a profound impact on me.” Her grandmother also influenced her. “She and my grandfather were soulmates, deeply in love and deeply committed to social justice issues of their day. My wife and I are both civil rights lawyers who met while working with different LGBT organizations ‘in the movement,’ and there are times when I like to think of our relationship as a modern-day take on the great love affair of my grandparents. I hope that someday our daughter, Sadie, and her children will let us regale them with stories of our part in this dynamic movement. Hopefully, she will be just as inspired by us as I’ve been by my grandmother.”