31 Aug 2011, Posted by erika in Of Interest, No Comments.

Press Release: New President for CAEO and Departure of Nick Frate

Nick Frate joined CAEO (formerly known as Gay Line) in 2005 as a volunteer, and has since taken this singular program, and transformed it into the organisation it is today.  After only a year, Nick assumed the role of president and immediately implemented his vision for services targeting the needs of the Montreal community.  

In 2007, Nick created the SILK program, sending volunteers into Montreal high schools to raise awareness of sexual orientation and diversity and to combat homophobia.  Two years later, he established Gay Online, a program similar to Gay Line but offering services in chat form, accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.  With three diverse programs established, Nick founded CAEO, the organisation that would operate and fund Gay Line, SILK and Gay Online and introduced a new governance structure including a Charter and Code of Ethics.   He also strengthened CAEO’s online presence with the creation of CAEO’s website, enabling CAEO’s increased visibility within both the Montreal and LGBTQ communities.  Nick recently initiated a new program, Camp CAEO,  an empowerment camp for LGBTQ youth. It is projected for Summer 2012.

During his term, Nick’s changes to the organisation’s structure resulted in a significant increase in new volunteers: the implementation of a more stringent interview and training process ensured the highest quality of volunteers for the respective programs; a new electronic resource manual made referrals a more efficient process;  and, a partnership with the Concordia Internship program, gave Concordia students an opportunity to gain valuable experience within the organisation.  To recognise these individuals, a volunteer recognition ceremony was also established to ensure their hard work would be celebrated.

Nick has been at the helm of CAEO’s fundraising initiatives, securing over $35, 000 in funds over seven years.  He furthermore established partnerships with TD and Telus, helping CAEO to continue providing its services and establishing new ones.

Nick has made an invaluable contribution to the organization, to the city, and to the LGBTQ community. It is with sincere gratitude and heavy hearts that his time with CAEO comes to a close. Nick will step down after the AGM in August.

However, with the exit of a leader, comes the entrance of a new one. CAEO is excited to announce Nick’s successor, Erika Jahn.  Erika joined CAEO in October 2011 as a volunteer for its three programs and has been most recently active on the executive board in implementing new strategies of outreach through social media.

Erika is the co-founder and executive editor of The Gaily, a fast growing and independently owned LGBTQ website based in Montreal and is a well-known writer and activist in local and national LGBTQ and feminist circles. Erika recently relocated to Montreal after graduating from Harvard University (MTS ’10) where she completed a Master’s degree in religion and social change. She holds an undergraduate degree (BA ’08) from the University of Lethbridge, also in religion and politics.

Throughout her academic career Erika has striven to impact change at the community level, as an advocate particularly for gender and environmental justice issues. She has illustrated her capacity as an innovator and a leader through numerous community and academic organizations and is excited to bring her experience to her new leadership role with CAEO and hopes to proffer a fresh, unique, and clear vision. As the milieu of outreach and community service rapidly changes and the challenges to our community continue to evolve so must the mandate and raison d’être of our organizations, and this is a chapter of CAEO that she is thrilled to be apart of.

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