I am honored to join the ACLU of Florida family and prepared to battle for civil liberties. I have a long and varied history of advocating for civil rights, and I come to the ACLU of Florida ready to continue that work to help bring about the equity and justice that we are all working towards.
I have always believed in working to spread truth and build power in the community while insisting on accountability from those who are supposed to serve the people. I came to Florida fully understanding that there are challenges. There are those in power who seek to undermine the will of the people. And while the challenges may seem never-ending, what brought me here is the opportunity I saw to be a part of this vast movement for justice that Floridians have been building together for decades. Together we can advance voting access, immigrants’ rights, racial justice, LGBTQ+ equity, and abortion rights.
Let me share a little bit about my journey and what brought me to the ACLU of Florida. I am coming to Florida from the mountains of Colorado, where I served as executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP), a statewide advocacy organization that advances anti-poverty efforts through research, as well as legal and legislative advocacy.
Prior to my time at CCLP, I served as chief executive officer of a health equity organization and chief strategy officer of a large direct-services organization for Coloradans living with disabilities. I also held leadership positions at the University of Denver from 2007-2014, including chair and faculty posts in the Law and Society and Community-Based Research programs. I developed and led internationalization efforts, serving as a visiting lecturer in Southeast Asia and Africa, teaching in the areas of law and economic development.
Before my academic career, I was a community-based lawyer and helped to frame strategic litigation to address rights violations systematically. I have also conducted research and policy analysis on a variety of different social justice issues, including a national study on women’s leadership. My book, Recognizing Women’s Leadership: Strategies and Best Practices for Employing Excellence, examines where women sit in leadership roles and how well they are performing compared to their male counterparts.
This voyage began when I earned a Juris doctor and master's degrees in the United States before receiving my LL.M. from the University of London, Birkbeck College of Law, with distinctions in international finance law and justice. My dissertation topic focused on feminist political economics in South Africa.
Along the way, I have worked with many people who have inspired me, and I know that will be the case in Florida, given the ACLU of Florida's storied history. Among those from whom I have taken great strength are those most impacted by unjust laws and policies: low-income communities, immigrants, those discriminated against because of who they love, and those fighting for their right to live free from discrimination and racism and to control their own bodies. I will continue to be in that struggle for justice alongside all of you and the staff of the ACLU of Florida. I want to thank the state board for having the confidence in me to give me this great opportunity.
I can't wait to meet as many of you as possible as the work of this great affiliate continues. Together I know we can advance the cause of justice. We can change the air we breathe in Florida. We can change the world.
Get to Know Tiffani Lennon
ACLU of Florida staff's burning questions for our new executive director.
- What do you like most about yourself?
There are three things that I like most about myself. I am fiercely loyal to my family, friends and colleagues. I will fight for and make sacrifices to advance justice consistently and unwaveringly. Finally, I can host a killer dinner party.
- Where have you lived throughout your life?
I have lived in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Colorado, South Africa, London, and now my favorite, Florida.
- Tell us about a fond childhood memory.
I grew up in an Italian immigrant community in New Jersey and all good memories revolve around food, food and more food. I already feel at home in Florida for so many reasons related to my childhood.
- Do you have any hobbies that you'd like to share?
I love boating, kayaking, hiking and cooking. I enjoy gardening too, and I welcome any Florida tips.
- Who is your favorite author?
Not to be cliche but I do enjoy classic Ernest Hemingway, and more modern favorites include Rosamunde Pilcher and Marisa de los Santos.
- What’s the best show on TV right now?
I am ashamed to admit it but since I am among friends I will confess… Married at First Sight.
- What is the best concert you have ever been to?
The Billy Joel and Elton John tour was a good deal of fun.
- What are you most thankful for?
My family. I have two amazing kids and an incredible spouse who has a heart of gold. She has never met a child that she did not call her own.
- What do you feel most passionate about?
Securing justice and civil rights, particularly for historically marginalized communities.
- Who’s your dream dinner party guest, living or dead?
I do not think I could choose just one. Sojourner Truth, Robin Williams, and Michelle Obama come to mind immediately.
- Who in your life most makes you feel a sense of home?
My spouse and kids.
- What’s the best piece of career advice you ever got?
Perception is reality, which is also the most annoying piece of advice I have ever received. I prefer facts but… what can you do?
- What are the most important qualities in a leader?
Walking the talk to the best of one’s ability, and taking the blame for everything and credit for nothing.
- Tell us something about you that surprises people.
I have more than 50 publications and enjoy reality TV, like Wife Swap.
- What is your favorite thing to bake or cook?
I enjoy experimenting with food and creating something new.
- Tell us one thing on your bucket list.
I have two things on my bucket list. I’d like to travel to space and be invited for a Seder dinner at The White House.
- What are you looking forward to doing at the ACLU of Florida?
Securing voting rights for all, and ensuring appropriate checks and balances of government so that civil rights and liberties can be realized.
- Why the ACLU of Florida?
When I shared with colleagues in Colorado that I will be relocating to Florida to work for the ACLU, they commented that I am going into the belly of the beast. What is happening to civil liberties in Florida must stop, not only for Florida, but for the good of the country. Our basic constitutional values are in grave danger. I have devoted my entire career to advancing rights… and we must get Florida right. I do not intend to back down and I hope Floridians will join us. We are in the fight of our lives.