Lambda Legal Announces the Appointment of Rachel B. Tiven as CEO

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Rachel Tiven
May 2, 2016
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Today, the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal – the nation's oldest legal organization fighting for equality on behalf of LGBT people and those living with HIV – announced that it has voted unanimously to appoint Rachel B. Tiven as the organization's new Chief Executive Officer. 

“Rachel’s track record of strengthening and growing mission-driven organizations into national forces for legal, political, and social change made her the clear choice to lead Lambda Legal going forward,” said Tracey Wallace and Stephen Winters, co-chairs, Lambda Legal Board of Directors. “The list of victories yet to be won is long, and requires a leader who can ensure equality and dignity for our community, our families and all our loved ones. We’re confident Rachel is the leader to take us forward.”

Tiven will succeed Kevin Cathcart, who led Lambda Legal as its Executive Director for 24 years. Under his leadership, the organization grew exponentially and won numerous civil rights victories in courtrooms and communities around the country. Lambda Legal was the architect of overturning the sodomy laws that criminalized LGBT lives; led the fight for inclusion in institutions from the military to the Boy Scouts; and sought to protect people with HIV/AIDS from being fired, evicted and denied equal healthcare. Under Cathcart’s leadership, Lambda Legal also has won groundbreaking victories for the rights of transgender people, and the organization played a central role in last year’s victory in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples nationwide.

“I saw Rachel’s strategic, tireless leadership first-hand when she built Immigration Equality into a force for LGBT immigrants and asylum-seekers,” said Kevin Cathcart. “She is a fierce fighter for our community, and an experienced legal and political strategist who gets results. I look forward to working with her during this transition.”

Tiven, a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, joins Lambda Legal with a strong history of civil rights leadership.  She was the Executive Director of Immigration Equality for eight years, during which time it won many victories for LGBT and HIV+ immigrants. For the past two years, she has led Immigrant Justice Corps, the nation's first fellowship devoted to representing immigrants.

“The work ahead is thrilling and it is necessary,” said Tiven. “It is our job to end discrimination everywhere in America, wherever it happens; to protect our partners and our children throughout their lives; and to fight for every member of our community. I am so honored to join the talented team of lawyers, advocates, staff, and supporters who make up the Lambda Legal family.”