BY DANA BRENKLIN
It’s a sunny Friday afternoon, July 25, in Hollywood, California. I am as nervous as can be. I arrive at the station hours before I have the honor of hosting the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lorri Jean. I have only dreamed of this moment for the last two years. I run up and down, in and out, peeking to see if she has arrived.
I finally settle in the booth and relax, only to be called to the front desk a few minutes later to meet the CEO of the largest LGBT center in the country. She greets me with a pleasant and genuine smile. She is dressed in a casual, black linen suit. She has a firm hand shake. We take a picture that we would later have to take again and head up stairs to the studio.
The modern day civil rights leader calmly waits as I prepare for one of my most anticipated shows to date. I feel as if I am fumbling around and apologize, only for the doctor of philosophy to tell me that she has complete faith in me.
We begin the show and per my request, this supportive and gentle spirit greets my listeners with her famous “Hello Riders!” We have a big laugh, as she gives the listening audience the greeting this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle participants were privileged to hear each night when she graced us to report the daily news on the ride. I explore the goings-on of the center and listen intensely while she gives facts and figures. This wonder woman knows exactly what she is talking about. I listen to her explain the fight to end an ugly stigma and the fight for equality. I immediately realize why the center has been so successful under her leadership. She thanks this year’s participants, riders and roadies alike.
Lorri Jean isn’t your typical CEO. She doesn’t strike me as arrogant, money hungry or power-driven, instead I see a compassionate, loving mentor.
We wrap up quickly, as her assistant said she didn’t have much time. Surprisingly she offers to stay around a little longer. I graciously thank her and we head outside to take our own much more successful “selfie” that you see here. This is her suggestion, by the way. This lady is so cool.
After interviewing Lorri Jean, I continue to be inspired to do more in the community and to fight alongside this ever-present pillar to end the AIDS pandemic. I could talk to her for hours about what she does and how she does it, but unfortunately, my show is only 30 minutes long.
As always, I was not completely satisfied with my work, but the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center was happy when she arrived and happy when we said our goodbyes. That is what matters. She may be small in stature, but her spirit soars. That is why I believe the center will continue to thrive with Lorri Jean at the helm.
Dana Brenklin is a Los Angeles based radio personality, award-winning poet and musician. Her radio show, “The Dana Brenklin Radio Show,” airs Thursdays at 9am pacific on kclaFM.com. Find out more at DanaBrenklin.com or listen To Dana’s shows on demand.