Since her earliest days, Zoe Dunning has been a champion for equality. Zoe graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis in one of the earliest classes that included women. After completing six years of active duty service, she transitioned into the Navy Reserves so she could attend Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In January of 1993, while still a student at Stanford, she courageously and publicly came out as a lesbian in protest of the ban on gay service in the U.S. military. One of the first military members to be prosecuted under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, Zoe successfully won her discharge hearing and continued to serve as the only openly gay member of the U.S. military for the next 13 years,
Not satisfied with protecting just her military career, she continued her advocacy by leading Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national non-profit dedicated to providing legal services to those impacted by the law, as its Governing Board Co-Chair. She retired as a U.S. Navy Commander after 22 years of service to our country. President Barack Obama honored Zoe for her successful 18-year battle fighting for equality in the armed forces by asking her to stand next to him when he signed the historic Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
Zoe Dunning is a courageous advocate and Democratic Party leader honored as the 2011 Woman of the Year by the California State Senate, District 8. She was appointed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as a delegate to the California Democratic Party Central Committee and serves on the Executive Board of its LGBT Caucus. Commander Dunning is also a Senior Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, bringing progressive Democratic Party values to our national security debate. In her private sector career she is an accomplished change management strategist, helping organizations prepare for and successfully adopt major changes to their markets, strategy and operations.