LGBT Presidential Appointments Initiative

As we get close to electing our next President, thoughts turn to the transition teams working to help the next President staff up their administration. While each of the major candidates has one, only one will continue to work, gear up and be in full operation beginning November 9th.

There are thousands of jobs in a new administration to be filled. Positions at every level of government. Some such as Cabinet Secretaries and Ambassadors will require Senate confirmation, others the new President can appoint and they can get to work immediately. These are jobs in the White House and all federal agencies and require a broad range of skills.

There are many routes to securing a job in the new administration and the best known is 'who do you know'. Some of the jobs will go to those who worked hard on the campaign. That can mean anything from working full-time at campaign headquarters, being a field organizer, bundling or donating money, making phone calls, knocking on doors or having filled any one of the crucial roles that exist in a Presidential campaign.

One route that has been successful for members of the LGBT community since its creation is The Presidential Appointments Initiative, (PAI) led by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute. PAI serves as a talent bank for openly LGBT professionals seeking opportunities to improve our federal government's policies and processes. This initiative falls under the able direction of Ruben J. Gonzales, Vice President, Leadership Initiatives at the Victory Fund. It was formed in 2007 and had tremendous success in having the members of the LGBT community whose resumes they submitted to the Obama transition team, and then the administration, hired. Reggie Greer, a former appointee in the Obama administration, has been named the new Director of the PAI. He will have at least three staff members providing support and PAI is in the process of recruiting current and former Obama appointees who will volunteer additional support.

PAI is leading a coalition of over twenty-five organizations that will identify and put forward exemplary LGBT candidates for all levels of the federal government, and advocate for their consideration. This year PAI also announced it aims to increase and diversify the pool of candidates and hopefully selection of LGBT appointed officials. The goal is having the new administration appointments be even more representative of LGBT demographics nationwide.

The LGBT community is diverse and the PAI wants to ensure when they are asked for recommendations at all levels they have a set of resumes representing the diversity of the LGBT community they can put forward. There are four specific new areas they are focused on; women, transgender individuals, people of color and people living outside the beltway. The last one isn't often thought of but has been added because it is important to have those in government represent the ideas of people who may not be living in the vortex of politics, DC and its suburbs. Not to say people living in DC aren't great but it is important to go across the nation when collecting resumes to submit to the new administration.

In addition, particularly if Hillary Clinton is elected, it will be important for the PAI to look for resumes of qualified people in the LGBT community who may have a disability. Hillary has made reaching out to the disability community a major focus of her campaign and it has been a focus of her life since she worked for the Children's Defense Fund.

Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, if you have ever considered public service, NOW is the time to share your expertise and give our community a voice at the table. Even if you know someone you think is connected, or worked on the campaign, you should still put your resume in the PAI resume bank. The transition team will be asking the PAI for recommendations and resumes of people to fill positions at every level of government. In addition to full-time appointed positions there are literally thousands of opportunities to serve on boards, advisory committees and grant reviewing groups across the country. These bodies make recommendations on how government can work better, smarter and more effectively.

So get the process started today. It's easy to upload your resume at the PAI website. If you have submitted one previously either submit a new one or make sure the one in the data bank is up to date.

This column also appeared in the Washington Blade.