As board chair of YES Institute, Jahn Kirchoff went public in 2008 about his gender transition – illustrating his commitment to being an authentic role model to those in the community. He is also President and Co-owner of Deli Lane Cafe and Sunset Tavern in South Miami.
Jahn has worked with YES Institute for over 20 years to communicate the difference simple acceptance makes in the lives of young people challenged around gender and orientation. His involvement has helped shape the organization’s focus.
Jahn says, “I am grateful to be a part of this organization, as I have witnessed lives being saved, families put back together and lasting changes in schools, churches and organizations. My life was changed when I first experienced YES Institute’s work, setting me on a course to find my voice and navigating my own gender experience.”
Jahn’s leadership is paving the way for YES Institute to expand its reach to ensure that families, schools, and other community members have the knowledge and tools to keep all youth safe and thriving.
Founding director of YES Institute Martha Fugate once said, “I think part of Jahn’s confidence comes from the love he was surrounded with growing up. If you have a child who is transgender, you can still allow yourself to love that kid – then they can fly.”
When Jahn transitioned, he was very open with his staff at Deli Lane Cafe and Sunset Tavern. He started, “I want to tell you something. It’s very personal.’’
His transparency has inspired the staff there, and created a unique, truly welcoming environment. An employee once said, “There is so much honesty here. It’s a great place to work with very positive energy.’’
When Jahn takes off his entrepreneurship hat, he finds the time to volunteer at YES Institute.
Jahn’s leadership has inspired YES Institute to convene a summit on creating community in the workplace. The action-oriented Evolve Summit will take place this fall in South Florida, and is designed to equip business leaders with practical tools for creating authentic work environments where all team members thrive.
“YES is and will remain my source of inspiration and devotion. This organization is making huge strides in an area that affects so many lives,” Jahn has shared. “Now is a challenging time, and YES Institute is uniquely positioned to further our understanding and compassion around these topics. The future is bright!”