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Pride Toronto's new interim ED faces huge challenge

Pride Toronto's new interim ED faces huge challenge

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'My job is not to fuck it up': Glen Brown
Pride Toronto’s (PT) new interim executive director is letting staff take the lead in planning this year’s festival, likening himself to a “conductor of an extremely talented orchestra.”

Glen Brown, who has held senior posts in the not-for-profit sector for the past 20 years, says he is “excited and daunted” to have been tapped to be the person to wade through the minefield of PT and get the organization back on track.

On April 12, his first day on the job, he met with PT coordinators at their monthly meeting. “I got to reach a conclusion very quickly that a lot of the planning is well in hand,” he tells Xtra. “My job is not to fuck it up. Don’t let me get in the way if you have a plan and you know what you’re doing.”


PT is on very shaky ground right now. It finished 2010 with a $431,808 budget deficit, and city funding is currently in jeopardy. Festival organizers warn there will be consequences if PT stays in the red -- most notably, the loss of World Pride in 2014.

Brown calls himself an organizer, a facilitator and a communicator, vital skills for the rebuilding of PT. “There is an enormous group of people, both paid and volunteer, who help to put the festival on, so I get to hopefully bring my skills in to help them all move this beast forward.”

Prior to running a consulting firm, Brown served as senior manager at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), and before that he was interim executive director for the AIDS Committee of Toronto. He has been a board member in many community organizations, including AIDS Action Now, the Canadian AIDS Society, the 519 Church Street Community Centre and the Wellesley Institute.

With all eyes on city council next week, Brown says he is holding his breath with the rest of the community. “I’m not skilled at gazing into crystal balls. The challenge we face is huge. In fact, the decisions that get made by the city in the coming months could not only jeopardize this year’s festival, but the very viability of the organization. We are fully aware of that situation.” Brown says he is actively calling on the community right now to put the pressure on city council.

Brown stresses that he would never have accepted the role if he wasn’t certain PT is on the right track. “My integrity is a big deal to me. So I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t have confidence that the organization wants to move to a different place than where it was.”

Brown joined PT co-chair Francisco Alvarez, Community Advisory Panel member Michael Went and Proud of Toronto organizer Michael Bach at city council on April 13 to hear Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti pledge to lead the charge to defund the parade beginning next week.

The promise follows the release of the city manager’s report that states, "City staff have determined that the phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’ in and of itself does not violate the City’s Anti-discrimination policy.” Mammoliti’s motion is expected to pass. The motion would then head to council in May or June.

PT has been without an executive director since January after the abrupt departure of Tracey Sandilands, who held the position through one of the most tumultuous years in the organization’s history, including two attempts by the organization's board to censor Pride parade participants. In December, Xtra named Sandilands Toronto Newsmaker of the Year.

Comments

Hooray for Glen!
I have known Glen Brown for longer than either of us would care to admit, primarily due to our work on HIV/AIDS issues. Glen is a smart, energetic,very likeable and an effective leader. He is a gay man who understands our community well. We are so lucky that he was willing to help out. Some people want to make Pride all about Quaia, but Pride is not all about Quaia. In fact, it looks like Quaia will not be participating this year but will do their own thing free from interference by others. It is irrelevant to this job, and I for one could not care less about Glen's personal opinions on that subject. He has the talents to do the job. I do not see anti-Quaia crusaders like Sue-Anne Levy or Martin Gladstone rushing to help out. They seem to be too busy trying to kill Pride. As for the rest of us, I am sure that we will all get behind Glen and help him make sure Pride this year is a great success.
Glen Brown a good choice
Glenn was there when CATIE went through rather trouble waters and Catie is now still going. It augurs well for Pride. Sandilands i think was at Carribana and wrecked havock there she did same to Pride. Pride Toronto under Ford and Harper, I do pray for u Glenn but I am sure Pride will find it's new life. Many traditional events have evolved into new events, revamped and really friendly, popular, and successful. Good luck Mister Brown and GOD bless us.
... Moving Forward
You must be a fearless man Mr Brown, and not afraid or komodo dragons, sharks, alligators, piranhas or tsetse flies! We need a fella with your kind of courage and confidence. I hope our communities will rally behind you and provide you with support and encouragement at every turn. I know I will! Best wishes to you Glen! (And if you think a flashlight will help, I’m happy to give you mine) :+)
Good luck Glen!
Glen is one of the most respected and talented nonprofit managers in Toronto's LGBTQ communities. I have always been so impressed by his passion, his skills and dedication to the gay community. Well done Pride!
A ob well done!
I just wanted to congratulate Pride Toronto for implementing the reccomendation of the Community Adisory Panel and setting up the new DRP. It is vitally important that decision making processes are fair and impartial. It is and equally important that, publicly, they are seen to be fair and impartial. The DRP Chair and its Officers are highly credible and respected leaders in the field of Human Rights. I beleieve that Pride Toronto and the actions taken to create the DRP should serve as a model for all communities with respect to solving our differences in a respectful and objective manner.
Hats Off to Glen Brown
Canada's gay community enjoys the most progressive rights in the world thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Glen. It is great to see a community member with such a strong history of accomplishments, community building and integrity step up to the plate. I hope we can all not loose sight of the big picture and support him.
Rob - you missed my point
@Rob - My point is that leading human rights activists around the world, such as Bishop Tutu, have called Israel an apartheid state. As has been repeatedly pointed to the pro-Israel lobby, this is a legitimate (and debatable) point of view. It is not de facto hate speech! I get that you and they wish to ignore the content of the criticism implied by the term "apartheid" by simply labelling the entire discussion anti Semetic from the outset. Unfortuantely for you, many in the LGBT community are well practiced in critical thinking, and are not so easily cowed by your verbal and economic bullying.
Thanks o PT and QuAIA for their brilliant moves!!
Glen Brown is an excellent choice for Interim Director as he is a good communicator with many years of experience in the not for profit sector in the Toronto LGBT community. Wise move PT! And I want to strongly commend QuAIA's self-sacrificing move in voluntarily withdrawing from the Pride Toronto parade and thus taking away the impetus from The Mayor and some Councillors like Mammoliti to defund Pride. MArching in the parade was not funding and never was as any LGBT group political , religious or social is allowed to march and do so without any city or Pride funds as long as they do not break any laws. But merely marching had become such a lightning rod to so many that withdrawing from the march is a very, very wise move by QuAIA as indeed there are other ways to raise consciousness on this issue outside of a PT march as the QuAIA press release states. Thank you all in QuAIA for making this gutsy move for the good of the greater LGBT community and PT itself! Now Interim Director Glen Brown and PT can get on without the business of organizing a fantastic 2011 Pride festival.
Tutu has legitimized anti-Semitic attitudes
GaySoloman, in an article entitled “Why the Jews?“ legal scholar Alan Dershowitz criticized South African Bishop Desmond Tutu for legitimizing anti-Semitic attitudes. See http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/why_the_jews_teWE8CHBVvNn5zoEVD2pzL/0
Bishop Tutu also labelled Israel apartheid
@rob - Bishop Tutu of South Africa, who understands apartheid personally, called Israel an apartheid state in a 2002 BBC online article. While you may disagree with Tutu, it is clear that Israeli apartheid is a legitimate view point that is not hate speech or inherently anti Semetic.

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