Jessica Halem joined Harvard Medical School in August 2014 to establish and lead diversity and inclusion efforts for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, staff, faculty, trainees, and fellows throughout the medical school and its affiliated hospitals.
Jessica deepened her expertise in organizational change, mentoring, and strategy through the MBA program at Simmons College School of Management. She has presented on and co-authored two book chapters and an article on diversity and mentoring.
Jessica has led successful programs for equity since the 1990s. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, she worked with former Congresswoman Bella Abzug organizing women leaders from around the world for the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
Jessica then trained at Second City where she learned the power of humor to facilitate collaboration and advance critical issues. Jessica's expertise been featured in Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal and on NPR.
Jessica was then recruited to be the Executive Director of the Lesbian Community Cancer Project (LCCP) in Chicago. She led the transformation from a small volunteer-led initiative to a nationally recognized organization advancing LGBT health through expertise in training and advocacy. The result was a historic merger with Howard Brown Health Center.
She served on the board of GLMA as well as Barack Obama's first LGBT Advisory Committee for the 2008 campaign. Jessica became a sought after leader on transgender inclusion, cultural competency, community outreach, and program design.
Drawing on her experience in community organizing, Jessica became engaged in broader questions about the intersection of urban planning and social justice. She worked for the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation managing community engagement activities for the city's first-ever Master Plan in the rebuilding efforts after Katrina.
From there, Jessica joined the Municipal Art Society of New York where she managed large-scale convenings of local and national leaders on the future of New York City as well as an award-winning tours program, including the launch of a daily docent-led tour of Grand Central Terminal.
Now, Jessica splits her time between Boston/Cambridge and Amherst, MA with her partner, Jen Manion, who is an Associate Professor of History at Amherst College. Life in Western Massachusetts is reminiscent of Jessica's upbringing in rural Ohio where she was raised and her parents still live and work.