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Vanita Gupta begins tenure as president and CEO of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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Gupta announced Seema Nanda as the executive vice president and COO

Indian American civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta joined as the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and its sister organization The Leadership Conference Education Fund on June 1.

Gupta, who was unanimously elected by a joint board meeting consisting of 16 members on March 23, also announced the names of the three new senior staff members. Kristine Lucius will serve as the executive vice president of policy; Seema Nanda will be the executive vice president and COO, and Ashley Allison will be the senior advisor.

“I’m excited to begin this promising new chapter at the Leadership conference, and I am proud to welcome such strong, accomplished advocates to the organization at this critical time for our nation,” Gupta said in an official press release.

“This great and diverse coalition represents the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans striving for better lives and serves as an example to the world of the important role that civil society plays in developing democracy,” Gupta said. “While we have many challenges in the days and years ahead of us, I’m confident that The Leadership Conference will continue the critical work of building an America as good as its ideals.”

Gupta succeeded Wade Henderson, who served as president and CEO of both the organizations since 1996. He stepped down on May 31.

Lucius, Nanda, and Allison will join Ellen Buchman, executive vice president for field and communications, as members of the senior leadership team.

Obama appointed Gupta as principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in October 2014. She held the position until January.

She earlier served as Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States.