Women at the Helm 2014

Meet the next wave of out leaders!

CAROLINE DESSERT
Executive Director, Immigration Equality

“LGBT people have gained incredible movement towards full equality in the United States, but we can’t pull up the ladder on those who are the most vulnerable,” says Caroline Dessert. “There are more than 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants in our country, many of whom have faced severe human rights abuses abroad and now face deportation to the over 80 countries where being gay is a crime and the many more where it is fundamentally unsafe to be LGBT.” She advocates strongly for this population as executive director for Immigration Equality, a position that perfectly suits her social justice background and as a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. (Previously, she worked at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and for Planned Parenthood.) To those who are looking to embark on a similar career path, she offers the following sage advice: “Don’t be afraid to take a huge leap. Often, the greatest opportunities for growth are also the most intimidating. Take the big challenges on, and when you do, reach out to those who have paved the way and ask for help. You’ll be surprised by how many people will go out of their way to help young leaders succeed.”