The Wingspan Board of Directors announced yesterday via e-mail that Jason Cianciotto is Wingspan's new executive director.
His selection was the result of an extensive search conducted by a board-appointed search committee, comprised of community, staff and board members. The search began in October 2007 after the LGBT advocacy organization's board announced an interim director would lead the organization until the search resulted in finding the right person.
Wingspan's first director, Kent Burbank, left Wingspan in June 2007 to take a job with the Pima County Attorney's office. Then Joseph Bodenmiller left after only a month on the job. In September 2007, a month later, Wingspan announced another leader of the agency, Cathy Busha, would be taking a newly created position as director of the UA's Office of LGBTQ Affairs.
According to the Wingspan press release, 21 candidates were considered from the national search.
Cianciotto begins April 16. You can meet him at a public reception on May 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Wingspan.
Prior to joining Wingspan, Jason was employed by the Washington, DC-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force), where he was research director of the Task Force's Policy Institute in New York City. Jason is a nationally recognized expert on public policy issues affecting LGBT populations. He has written and published a variety of reports and studies, including several on LGBT youth, Hispanic and Latino/a same-sex couple families, and marriage equality. Jason served as a primary spokesperson for the Task Force at press conferences, before legislative bodies, and in LGBT and mainstream media.
Jason brings a personal connection to Wingspan, as a former member of the youth group and one of Wingspan's first employees and grant writers. He is also an alum of the University of Arizona, where he earned a master's degree in public administration.
"Tucson is the community that mentored and inspired me to make the pursuit of equality for LGBT people my life's work," says Jason. "I understand the role Wingspan plays in changing the lives of LGBT people not only in Southern Arizona, but also throughout the country. The personal impact Wingspan had on my life, combined with my professional experience, is part of the foundation that forms my passion, vision and commitment to Wingspan. What an honor and privilege it is to come home to Wingspan and give back to a community that has given so much to me."