Since the end of February 2022, Suzanne Ford has served as the Interim Executive Director of San Francisco Pride. Her leadership, along with that of President Carolyn Wysinger, has made the organization woman-strong during an important year when the 52-year-old organization is preparing for its first in-person Pride Parade and Celebration since 2019. Ford, who previously served on the boards of Trans Heartline and the Spahr Center, is more than up for the daunting tasks ahead.
An advocate for the transgender and gender nonconforming communities, Ford has plenty of nonprofit as well as small business savvy. The Owensboro, Kentucky, native owned a coffee house in Louisville before moving to the Bay Area about 14 years ago.
GGBA: Tell us about San Francisco Pride and its business structure.
Suzanne Ford: San Francisco Pride is an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization. The mission of SF Pride’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Committee is to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people. Before the pandemic, SF Pride annually welcomed over a million attendees to San Francisco for the parade and festival on the last weekend of June. While we’ve continued to celebrate Pride during the last two years, we cannot wait to take back Market Street and San Francisco’s Civic Center!
GGBA: In a nutshell, how did SF Pride start, and what drew you to it?
Suzanne Ford: Crazy queer people came together 52 years ago to protest for our rights while showing our fabulous community to the world here in San Francisco. I grew up knowing that if I came here, I would find my people. I want SF Pride to be here for generations to come in order to provide a beacon of hope.
GGBA: Who are some of your role models, and especially those who helped to influence your work here for the LGBTQ community?
Suzanne Ford: Theresa Sparks, current Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, is my role model. She used her experience in private business to work tirelessly for the trans community. I hope to do the same. Additionally, social activist Nikki Calma, also known as Tita Aida, has paved the way for trans people at SF Pride. I can always count on her support and she has been a tremendous help through my own work at SF Pride.
GGBA: Why did you decide to join the GGBA, and how long have you been a member?
Suzanne Ford: We are new members! I was excited to join so that SF Pride could become even more integrated into the LGBTQ+ business community of San Francisco. I look forward to connecting with the queer entrepreneurs of the city for important discussions.
GGBA: How has being a member of GGBA helped your work so far?
Suzanne Ford: Being a member of GGBA enabled us to connect with members regarding SF Pride’s return to an in-person celebration this year. We look forward to finding more allies in the group for our work, building and strengthening our partnership with GGBA members.
Learn more at: https://sfpride.org/
Published by San Francisco Bay Times