Women at the Helm 2015

Meet 16 dynamos who are true models of success

Elder, Metropolitan Community Churches Co-Founder, National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays Creator and Leader, MCC Conference for People of African Descent

The Rev. Elder Darlene C. Garner has been a familiar face at MCC (Metropolitan Community Churches) for almost four decades. She has worked at the pro-gay, international church in a variety of pastor positions throughout the years, has been on the MCC Council of Elders since 1993, and from 1998 onward has been convening the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies. She has also worked outside the church, helping the African-American gay community and folks affected by AIDS—a particular highlight was when she attended the first meeting between the White House and queer people of color. Garner—a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother—lives in Wash-ington, D.C. with her wife, the Rev. Candy Holmes. The couple was one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in D.C., and credit church with bringing them together. (“Our paths crossed often until one day our hearts met,” they gushingly told GLAAD.) As for her work, Garner says “[t]he greatest lesson I ever learned about leadership is the importance of authenticity and integrity. One’s words, intentions and actions must be congruent with one another and a reflection of who one knows oneself to truly be. My experience is that this learning can be delayed by the desire to be liked or the need to please. A leader who cares more about such things than about being honest about themselves and truthful with others is leading people down a path that can only lead them to undesired outcomes.”

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