Lorri L. Jean, a regional official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been named the new executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center.
Jean succeeds Torie Osborn, who is leaving at the end of next month after four years at the helm of the center, the largest gay and lesbian services agency in the nation.
An attorney and long-time gay activist, Jean, 35, has been the deputy director of FEMA's Region 9 office in San Francisco since 1989, helping manage federal emergency operations in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada and U.S. territories in the Pacific.
Jean "clearly demonstrated she had the skills and talent that the center needs in a challenging environment," said Rose Greene, chair of the search committee that picked Jean from a nationwide field of about 125 applicants.
Jean, who will start her new job in January, said she has "always wanted to work in the gay and lesbian community--not only to serve the community but to do something that is my personal passion. . . . The center is an organization I've watched for many years. I've marveled at the breadth and scope of its activities."
An Arizona native, Jean has been active in gay causes since she was a law student at Georgetown University, which she sued in 1980 for failing to recognize homosexual student groups. She has, among other things, helped develop gay sensitivity training programs for the Washington, D.C., Police Academy and headed a Washington-area committee on AIDS. She is on the board of directors of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national gay-rights organization.
In her San Francisco post, Jean has been involved in FEMA efforts that have drawn both praise and criticism. She helped coordinate the swift federal relief for Hawaii in the wake of this month's Hurricane Iniki--one of the oft-maligned agency's most successful efforts in recent years.
Jean also helped manage FEMA's less-successful response to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California. The agency was condemned for not adequately helping displaced homeowners and poor people in the quake's aftermath--complaints that Jean at the time said were partly based on "erroneous expectations" that FEMA had the authority to rebuild destroyed housing.