Introductory Remarks for Lowell Selvin
May 5, 2001, Congregation Kol Ami dinner, Regent Beverly Wilshire
© David Bohnett, May, 2001. Not to be reproduced without permission
My name is David Bohnett, and it is my honor and privilege to introduce Lowell Selvin. Lowell was one of the original 36 founding members of Congregation Kol Ami, having served two years as Vice President, and having directed the Congregationâ€™s first strategic planning process in 1995. Out of that effort came the goal that one day Kol Ami would own its own building, which is now proudly under construction.
Lowell has also served for six years as a board member of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, where again Lowell directed the Centerâ€™s first strategic planning process and was a member of the building committee for the Centerâ€™s facility on Schrader Boulevard.
These are but two examples of Lowell Selvinâ€™s commitment to philanthropy and community service. Lowellâ€™s commitment to family begins at home, where in January of this year, Lowell and his life partner Gib Winebar celebrated twenty-two years in a strong and loving relationship. In honoring Lowell tonight, we are also paying thanks and tribute to Gib for his commitment and love and support.
What drives Lowell Selvin in his personal and professional relationships is a passion for fairness and equality and a vision for a better future that Lowell knows he can help create. Lowell is one of the best leaders in business that I know, and one of the most effective activists in our community because he â€˜does thingsâ€™, he rolls up his sleeves and puts his personal effort into a project or an event.
I think this â€˜doing thingsâ€™ point is an important one. In my experience as a gay activist, Iâ€™ve learned that the people who really make a positive impact in our movement are the ones who get involved.
The ones who organize events, who write articles and speeches, who participate in meetings and committees, who distribute pamphlets and condoms and clean needles and food and care, who raise money, who create budgets and strategic plans, and who give of themselves week in and week out, year after year.
These women and men, the ones who really do the work, are the leaders and the heroes of our community, and Lowell Selvin is one of these rare individuals.
In July of 1999, Lowell was named the CEO of Online Partners, the parent company of Gay.com. As an investor and board member of Gay.com, I could not think of anyone better suited to lead that company than Lowell Selvin. During his tenure as CEO, Lowell has built Gay.com into a professionally run online media company, culminating last month in a successful merger of Gay.com and PlanetOut. Lowell is the CEO of the combined entity. Our community is very fortunate to have a business leader with Lowellâ€™s skills and talents, combined with a passion for activism and civil rights, at the helm.
In preparing my remarks for this evening, I asked Lowell to send me some information on his background and the organizations he has been involved with. What I received was typical for Lowell Selvin â€“ three pages of well documented and neatly organized biographical material, most of which Iâ€™ve only had the time to barely mention this evening.
The last sentence in the material Lowell sent me said, â€œThis isnâ€™t everything, but enough I guessâ€. I have a feeling, if I know Lowell, that this isnâ€™t everything, and there is a lot more to come.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in congratulating Lowell Selvin on receiving this honor from Congregation Kol Ami.