headshot of Michael Johnson, a Black man with close cropped hair and a white oxford shirt, grey suit, and striped tieGLAD is thrilled to announce that Michael Johnson will be joining the organization’s leadership team as Chief Legal Strategist beginning January 18, 2022.

Michael comes to GLAD following nearly two decades in multiple leadership roles at Western New England University School of Law, including Assistant Dean of Admissions and, most recently, Associate Dean for Law Student Affairs and Enrollment Planning. He brings to GLAD’s newly created Chief Legal Strategist role a deep passion for the law, substantial experience in organizational management and stewardship, and proven leadership on initiatives advancing racial justice and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging

“Michael brings to GLAD a powerful combination of strategic legal thinking, deep leadership experience, and a proven ability to foster relationships grounded in a sense of belonging and a commitment to a shared mission,” said Janson Wu, GLAD Executive Director. “I am thrilled to welcome him as the right leader to hone and focus the next phase of GLAD’s pioneering legal work to advance LGBTQ+ equality, racial equity, and gender justice in pursuit of true liberation and the opportunity to live, work and thrive free from discrimination for our entire community.”

“Over the past year, the search committee set out to find an insightful, seasoned, creative, and compassionate leader to steward GLAD’s stellar legal team and play a vital role in the organization’s overall management and strategic development. We’ve found that leader in Michael Johnson,” said Darian Butcher, GLAD’s Board President. “Tackling the complex issues facing our communities at this moment will require evolving approaches to litigation, inventive and strategic advocacy, and deep systems change work. Michael’s vision, his knowledge, and love of the law, his substantial, people-centered management background including decades of experience guiding students of color and LGBTQ+ students in navigating the legal profession, as well as his own professional and personal experiences as a Black gay man with both roots in the rural south and deep ties in New England, will be vital assets in the dynamic next chapter of GLAD’s work for full LGBTQ+ lived equality.”

During his tenure at Western New England University, Michael served on the Diversity Design Committee, Diversity Task Force, multiple University search committees, and the Coronavirus Task Force. He has served on several Law School Admission Council committees including the Legal Affairs and Finance Committee and the LGBT Subcommittee, as well as a three-year term on the Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the MA Supreme Judicial Court Subcommittee on Lawyer Well-Being and the Board of Directors for Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity.

“I am excited to join the extraordinary team at GLAD,” said Michael Johnson, GLAD’s incoming Chief Legal Strategist. “For more than four decades, GLAD’s cutting-edge legal work has driven monumental advancements in LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections, transgender rights, family equality, the rights of people living with HIV, and more across New England and nationally. But even as we gain increased legal protections, our efforts are constantly being challenged. Our communities have had to fight for equal access to healthcare, eldercare, housing, and employment – just to name a few – and despite our advances, those fights are far from over. I look forward to supporting GLAD’s incredible legal team in their continued groundbreaking advocacy for our LGBTQ+ and HIV+ communities, and to expanding and building upon GLAD’s efforts to advance racial justice for our communities of color and protect the rights of all marginalized communities.”

Michael hails originally from North Carolina and is a graduate of West Virginia University College of Law. He has relocated to Boston for the Chief Legal Strategist position with GLAD following 18 years as a resident of western Massachusetts. Prior to beginning his legal career, Michael spent 13 years as a flight attendant for US Airways.

“I am humbled and honored to have been chosen for this position,” Michael added. “I want to thank the GLAD community for making me feel so welcome and to express that I take seriously the important responsibility with which I am being entrusted. I look forward to collaborating with partners in the community and to ensuring that GLAD’s and my commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion remain top priorities in our work. As I transition from higher education to this new role advocating for critical rights for our community, I welcome conversations about what you think is most important for our work together going forward.”