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Getting to Know New Board President Darian Butcher

Congratulations to our new Board President, Darian Butcher! Darian (she/her) joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and was voted in as President in December 2020.

 

GLAD: Tell us a little about your day job? What motivated you to pursue a legal career?

Darian Butcher
Darian Butcher

Darian: I am a Senior Associate at Day Pitney LLP in our probate, finance, and commercial litigation practice group. I represent clients in various matters before state and federal courts and in arbitration concerning breach of fiduciary duty claims, guardianships, conservatorships, the reformation and termination of trusts, and complex commercial disputes. However, like many lawyers, the work that I do now is not what motivated me to pursue a legal career. Initially, I actually wanted to be an intellectual property lawyer who represented artists.

GLAD: What’s a fun or surprising fact people might not know about you?

Darian: Before the pandemic, I was moonlighting as an amateur stand-up comic. Don’t ask me where; I’ll never tell.

GLAD: Who is a leader that inspires you and why?

Darian: Recently, I have been very inspired by Stacey Abrams. Specifically, she turned a defeat into fuel for the fire for the next fight and made that fight one about the enfranchisement of the many. Her mostly unnoticed, persistent work in the background netted tremendous results. She is the type of leader that I aspire to be.

GLAD: How did you first get connected to GLAD?

Darian: Former GLAD Board President Dianne Phillips connected me to GLAD. We met while volunteering on a planning committee for a YWCA Stand Against Racism event. Then she began inviting me to GLAD events and introducing me to GLAD Board members, staff, and donors. It was impossible not to catch the GLAD “bug.” GLAD is both an organization and a community. I was taken with the passion for the work and wanted to be a part of that effort.

GLAD: What inspires you about GLAD’s mission?

Darian: GLAD’s approach to its mission really inspires me. It should go without saying that we should have a society that is free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. Still, I appreciate that GLAD overlays its values of full equality, inclusion, anti-racism, and collaboration on that mission. This practice shows GLAD’s tacit understanding that how you do the work matters just as much as the work itself.

GLAD: What are you most looking forward to as you step into the role of board president?

Darian: I am looking forward to developing future leaders on the Board. I have benefited from years of mentorship from Dianne Phillips, Rich Yurko, and Joyce Kauffman, all former Board presidents. I want to provide that same attention and encouragement to others so that we continue to have excellent Board leaders.

GLAD: What do you see as the most significant challenges and opportunities for LGBTQ legal advocacy in the coming years?

Darian: The recent appointments to the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court certainly could present some challenges to LGBTQ legal advocacy. These appointments shift the courts toward conservatism, including on LGBTQ rights. However, GLAD is well-positioned to meet these challenges because of our multi-pronged approach to advocacy that includes legislative advocacy and public education as well as litigation.

GLAD: People have many options when it comes to their philanthropic support. What would you say to someone who is considering making a gift or providing a sponsorship to GLAD?

Darian: GLAD is the little engine that could. Despite our relatively small size, we have accomplished a lot over our 40+ years. We are so effective because we have the best lawyers and staff, and we know how to use our resources efficiently. Each dollar you give to GLAD fuels our important work. You can give to GLAD knowing, without any doubt, that your gift contributes directly to GLAD’s mission and improves the lives of many, including your own.

GLAD: 2020 was a challenging year for most of us. Do you have any advice to share for 2021?

Darian: This year, more than any other, we need to stay connected to each other. This is how we will remain strong. There is much to do this year and the ones that will follow to ensure that we secure the “just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation” that GLAD works for every day.