Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq. is the Chief Executive Officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Prior to being named CEO, she served as the organization’s Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer.
A queer Latina, Dessert is an attorney and non-profit executive with 15 years in social justice leadership.
Dessert was previously the executive director of Immigration Equality, a national organization focused on LGBT immigrant rights. She worked closely with the Obama Administration, as well as local, state and national organizations working at the intersection of LGBT and immigrant rights.
She served in the California Department of Justice in the Office of the Attorney General as a Deputy Attorney General in the Public Rights Division, where she also worked with then-California Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) Kamala Harris’ executive team.
Dessert has deep roots in the San Diego area. A native of El Centro, she previously served as The Center’s public policy and community organizing coordinator, and as San Diego’s field director for the No on 8/Equality for All campaign. She also worked for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.
She completed her JD at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review and earned degree specializations from the Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies programs. She earned her BA at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD).
Dessert is married to Lisa Valenzuela.
About San Diego Pride
San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.