Bruce Trachtenberg stepped down as executive director of the Communications Network on December 31. For the next few months, as the Network searches for his successor, he will serve as an advisor, assisting the board on ongoing programs and activities. In this interview, conducted by regular contributor Paul VanDeCarr, Bruce shares some thoughts about his seven and a half years at the Network.
What is one aspect of your personal life that has the greatest impact on your professional life, including your time at the Network?
My Dad, who died last April, was a master storyteller. He taught me to love great stories and to want to tell stories too—though I’ll never be able to tell stories, especially the funny ones—as well as he did. Instead, I just tell the stories he told me over and over again. Here’s one he loved to tell about himself:
Within a couple of hours of the release of the Supreme Court’s June 26 decisions on marriage equality, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund was out with a comprehensive e-mail newsletter weighing in on the historic events of that day. We spoke with the Haas, Jr. Fund’s communications staff, Denis Chicola, director of communications, and Maya Trabin, associate communications officer, about the challenges and opportunities of responding quickly to fast-moving events.
Why did you feel it was so important to have this content ready on the day of the rulings?
Chicola: This ruling was a big moment for us. The Haas, Jr. Fund was the first foundation, gay or straight, to make marriage equality a priority. We were a founding supporter of Freedom to Marry and have invested more than $60 million for marriage equality and gay and lesbian rights.