Cathy Renna Honored
Posted: 05/03/2012 - 13:46
Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists to Honor Media Expert and LGBT Activist Cathy Renna with 2012 Barbara Gittings Award
The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists will present its 2012 Barbara Gittings Award to Cathy Renna, Managing Partner of Renna Communications, at their annual awards ceremony, to be held Monday, May 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. This prestigious honor recognizes a woman who demonstrates exceptional leadership and advocacy for lesbian issues.
Renna is nationally recognized as a media relations expert and as a leader within the LGBT community. As a major force behind the success and growth of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), where she worked for 14 years, Cathy served as a primary spokesperson for GLAAD, as well as its first National News Media Director.
Her work at GLAAD was particularly notable in terms of crisis and strategic communications. Cathy played a central role in shaping media coverage of both the beating death of Matthew Shepard in 1998, a tragedy that became a cultural marker for a shift in the level of media visibility of LGBT issues, and the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, during which her efforts contributed to thwarting Church officials’ attempts to link the dynamic of abuse to sexual orientation.
Since leaving GLAAD and founding her independent PR firm Renna Communications in 2006, based in New York, Cathy has worked to increase the visibility of clients such as the Williams Institute, OutServe, The Ali Forney Center, The Fenway Institute, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and more.
As Managing Partner of Renna Communications, Cathy's foremost accomplishments in recent years include:
playing a crucial role in the successful 2009 DC for Marriage campaign in the District of Columbia, implementing a communications strategy that put LGBT people of color front and center;with The Palm Center, taking a leading role in coordinating the media strategy around the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in late 2010;
elevating the profile of transgender issues, including transgender and gender-nonconforming children, as a vital component of the broader movement for LGBT equality;
raising the issue of LGBT youth homelessness to national prominence through media coverage of the work of clients the Ali Forney Center and the Ruth Ellis Center; starting a nationwide conversation about Prof. Amy Schalet's book Not Under My Roof, about parenting and teen sexuality, through attaining coverage on CNN, the New York Times, TIME, The Washington Post, and more; and publicizing the groundbreaking research of Dr. Caitlin Ryan's Family Acceptance Project, which proves that parents can save their LGBT children's lives by accepting them for who they are.
In addition to her work as a communications consultant, Cathy continues to be highly sought after by the media as a spokesperson on LGBT issues and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America and numerous local affiliate shows throughout the country. She has been interviewed by media including the New York Daily News, Politico, and more.
“Barbara Gittings was one of my heroes and I was very blessed to have known her,” said Renna. “To be honored in her name inspires me to work even harder to tell the many diverse stories of the LGBT community.” Continued Renna: “I thank the AGLP for this honor and want to recognize and thank my wife, Leah McElrath, who is my rock and source of unconditional support, and without whom there would never have been a Renna Communications. I share this honor with Leah and all the staff and interns who have been and continue to be part of the Renna Communications family.”
Said Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists Executive Director, Roy Harker: “We have received a tremendous response to this year’s event. Our sponsors and attendees are very excited about the prospect of honoring and speaking with someone of Ms. Renna’s acumen and rich leadership track record, Cathy was the overall favorite among this year’s candidates for the Gittings Award. The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychologists is pleased to honor her on an evening where we showcase our history and commitment to serving as thought leaders and educators for the industry.”
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