Web Exclusives: Alumni SpotlightJulie Anderson '84

Julie Anderson ’84, Brooke Shields ’89, and Karen Magee ’83 pose at the 13th annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Anderson is GLAAD's director of development, Shields was a special honoree at the event, and Magee is cochair of the organization's board of directors.

February 26, 2003:

Change Agent
Julie Anderson ’84 promotes fair depiction of gays and lesbians

Although Julia Anderson '84, who is lesbian, has never been a target of discrimination, besides being called "dyke and other epithets," she's sensitive to homophobia. And she's made it her career to overcome discrimination based on sexual preferences in her role as director of development for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

You might say Julie Anderson '84 has the Midas touch. In her role as director of development for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Anderson has boosted the organization's annual operating budget by 300 percent.

GLAAD's mission, as described by Anderson, is to "promote and ensure fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in all media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation." It is a mission made all the more attainable by Anderson's work as a fundraiser.

Anderson first joined the GLAAD ranks as associate director of development in 1997, and was promoted to director of development the following year. Under her leadership, the annual budget has grown from $2 million to over $6 million.

According to Anderson, a minimum of 75 percent of the money raised supports GLAAD's programs. "We work with news, entertainment and regional media — from newspapers to television news to major studio films — to make sure they are representing our lives and issues, and that those representations are fair, accurate and inclusive," she says. The organization also provides media and on-camera training and to members of the gay and lesbian community.

Major initiatives in 2002 included a media campaign to encourage the New York Times and other newspapers to print same-sex marriage announcements. By the end of the year, a total of 181 newspapers — including The Times — had begun to run such announcements as a result of GLAAD's efforts.

As Director of Development, Anderson currently oversees a bicoastal development team of 11 full-time staff members in New York and Los Angeles. In addition, more than 300 volunteers assist in the organization's fundraising efforts annually, helping with everything from stuffing envelopes to six-figure direct solicitations.

"Development work is an art," she says. "It's about forging relationships, marketing the organization's mission and accomplishments with the end goal of getting potential supporters of the organization to financially support the cause in a meaningful way."

Prior to working at GLAAD, Anderson worked as a project developer and fundraiser at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center for six years.

"I joined GLAAD because I wanted to work for a national organization and I was passionate about GLAAD's mission," she says. "I feel strongly that the media is a powerful tool for promoting societal change."

"GLAAD is a cultural change organization whose work is rooted in the fundamental belief that words and images matter — that they have a profound effect on the way our lives and our community are viewed by our society," Anderson adds. "GLAAD's work is about changing attitudes — one image at a time."

One attitude Anderson didn't have to worry about changing was her own mother's. "When I told [her] about my new position at GLAAD and talked about what the acronym stood for, she stopped me at 'Alliance' and said, 'I know GLAAD, I'm a member.'"

Anderson is not the only Tiger to hold a high-profile role in the organization. Karen Magee '83 is the cochair of GLAAD's board of directors, and David Huebner '82, served as cochair less than six years ago.

Doctoral candidate

In addition to her full-time position at GLAAD, Anderson is pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling psychology in the University of Southern California's education department. She is currently writing her dissertation, entitled "Heterosexuals' Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men and the Attitude Functions They Serve: Correlates, Stability and Gender Differences."

Once she has her degree in hand, Anderson will set out to complete the 1,500 postdoctoral hours of clinical consultations necessary to secure her license as a clinical psychologist. She plans to continue her work at GLAAD full-time while she accomplishes this goal.

Though Anderson's work load may seem daunting, she says she's able to maintain balance in her life by "working smart."

"Working smart to me means analyzing what's the most important thing to focus on; identifying, organizing and utilizing available resources to help me create solutions; and, delegating," she says. " I feel like I am actually able to accomplish more now than ever."

Leading by example

As an undergraduate, Anderson majored in geological and civil engineering. For her thesis, she mapped and analyzed the subsurface geology of the Princeton University campus.

While at Princeton, Anderson also played on the university's varsity basketball and softball teams. She says her experience as an athlete has given her an appreciation for the importance of teamwork. "Whether it was sharing the ball, or helping out on defense, team sports at Princeton taught me about how much more can be accomplished if we all work together."

"Playing team sports also taught me to lead by example," she adds. "I strive to carry this lesson through my work at GLAAD."