‘Out and Outspoken’: A Rigorous Role Model Elevates the LGBTQ+ Community | Alumni, friends and families
“Out and Outspoken”: Rigorous role modeling elevates the LGBTQ+ community
Advocate Jennifer Post ’86 champions authenticity, visibility, and professional success in the LGBTQ+ community by speaking her truth and working hard – really hard.
The first openly gay managing partner of Thompson Coburn LLC’s Los Angeles office, Jennifer Post ’86 sits on its national executive committee and is one of 18 female attorneys who run the firm. As a longtime mentor to the LGBTQ+ community, Post assists LGBTQ+ professionals in start-ups, tech, and real estate investing as an advisor to budding entrepreneurs, and hosts a monthly networking group for Los Angeles-based LGBTQ+ professionals and allies. She has received numerous accolades as a lawyer and pro bono, most recently the Women of Influence award and the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Los Angeles Top 100 Lawyers award in 2022.
The Alumni Association recently caught up with Post to talk about his time on campus, his commitment to leading his colleagues and community by example, and the breadth and depth of Pride.
What does Pride month mean to you?
Pride month has meant different things to me over time. When I was younger and fresh out, it was a time to reaffirm my commitment to creating equality and showing all the strength, joy and diversity visible at Pride events. Seeing each other’s unfiltered lives made me crave that freedom for my community every other month of the year.
Over time, Pride Month has remained a time to celebrate who we are as a community and to take stock of all the ways we have forged great progress in the face of deep and hostile resistance. I love seeing Pride in social and mainstream media because I know it touches people who are still not allowed to be part of Pride or to live authentically or imagine a community. Pride now means being visible to those who yearn for equality but are denied it. This visibility was not there or as accessible at the time and was controlled by the mainstream media. Today, Pride can be seen by almost anyone – and seeing is believing.
Can you tell us how your early days in Brandeis led to who you are now?
One of the reasons I chose Brandeis was his open approach to political discourse, activism, critical thinking, and different points of view. He has empowered students and student unions, whether LGBTQ+, feminist, social justice, or other types of political activism.
I was active in several groups, including the feminist group, and I co-lead Triskelion, which at the time was the only LGBTQ+ group on campus. We organize big events, insider rallies and political speeches. We weren’t always warmly welcomed, but we continued nonetheless and got a lot of people thinking about these issues.
Brandeis helped me grow in my thinking and gave me the permission I needed to grow into a leadership role or at least lead by example in these communities.
How have you carried these influences and experiences into your life?
By the time I graduated from law school, I was very open and outspoken and had developed a life with friends and community. I was quite determined and aware that in my career I couldn’t just close the door once I became a lawyer. So, I maintained a respectable level of activism, did pro bono business that helped support the gay community and people affected by AIDS, and through that process continued to be absent. and, somewhat unconsciously, a role model for young lawyers.
I moved on further in my career and always had those fundamentals that I learned at Brandeis about free thinking and asserting a point of view. People measure success differently, but having some level of meaning in my work, in addition to the usual props of success, continued to be important. Brandeis taught me that it’s not enough to get an “A” on the exam – it’s what you learn and how you enrich your life and the lives of those around you.
Fast forward 30+ years and I have a solid practice, great clients, and interesting work, which was driven in part by my personal decision to not compartmentalize and be genuine and candid. This doesn’t mean that I knock my clients or colleagues over the head with my personal view of the world, but it does mean that I have a lot of confidence in how I present myself professionally.
Have you had any mentors at Brandeis who have helped you get to know yourself better?
Yes, one of them was a science teacher who was lesbian and outraged. She came to our meetings and rallies, and it was incredibly helpful to have a grown adult in those settings. She participated in conversations, asked questions and pushed back. It was not leadership, but a form of gentle mentoring, showing young people that you can have that identity and be successful.
The other was a professor in the classics department, which was my specialty. We didn’t talk about LGBTQ+ issues, but she was doing fun things like reading Greek texts and talking about things that happened thousands of years ago and what that means for the world today. today. Just having an intellectual connection with someone who was living a life that I found interesting was really helpful. To be surrounded in different ways by people who were open about their political views, their lives and their families was amazing.
You work as a mentor by sharing your expertise with the LGBTQ+ business community. Can you talk about your mentorship experiences and motivations?
This has been one of my initiatives for a long time. The queer universe has been effective in creating great results for social issues, equality, benefits and health. We now need to improve wealth generation for the LGBTQ+ community, influence businesses from within, grow wealth, and use it in ways that achieve other community goals. We also need to engage more LGBTQ+ investors in projects through professionalized funds, angel funds, and seed funds.
To these ends, I am involved with several nonprofit organizations, whose philosophy aligns with mine, including StartOut, which provides LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with education, resources, and access to capital, and Rainbow Capital, where I am member of the advisory board. , which provides resources to underrepresented sponsors of commercial real estate products. I am especially proud to represent the Womens’ Venture Capital Fund, which provides capital to women-led teams and various teams of female start-up founders.
We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Many LGBTQ+ people simply don’t have the resources to participate in what could be very interesting and rewarding financial ventures. There are so many talents and abilities, but we must continue to educate and support each other.
How did Brandeis enlighten your sensitivity about helping others?
Brandeis’ gift was permission to think critically about what brings harmony, meaning and purpose, and to learn that I could find that in a profession. I live a useful life, I don’t hide, I help my community and these are strengths and abilities that I have at Brandeis.
About the Author
Annie is a Senior Development Writer in Progress Communications. Before joining Brandeis in January 2022, she was a writer at Dartmouth College. As a longtime freelance journalist and radio commentator, she has covered art, culture, travel and education for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, NPR and many other media. She is the lucky mother of two grown children.