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Luke Jude, MA

Executive Director

Portrait of Luke Jude

Luke serves as Executive Director and is driven by a passionate commitment to create communities where everyone can feel seen, safe, supported, included, celebrated, and loved. Back in 2001, Luke served as the Director’s Assistant and in 2007, he was Communications Director. Though his time at YES Institute has been punctuated by time away to pursue education, get married, and launch a fitness business, his life course has been guided by YES Institute’s mission.

What skills and expertise do you bring to the team?

I’m hard-wired to approach every challenge as an opportunity—and to do so with zest! I think my enthusiasm and joy for tackling big challenges emboldens my awesome team to play big. I’ve quickly learned how critical it is to be strategic in orchestrating the incredible opportunities that constantly emerge here. Most importantly, I think, I have a keen ability to listen for meaning embedded in language, and to suss out the contributions that others want to make.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Every person at YES Institute is fueled by a drive to accomplish our mission to keep kids safe. Purpose fills every conversation, every interaction, every moment of my workday. This shared focus allows us to fulfill our promise to deliver win-win results everywhere we go. Experiencing those results—setting people free to be who they are, repairing broken relationships and communities, disappearing labels—is a gift.

What has YES Institute done that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m particularly proud that we’ve created new ways to think about gender and orientation that invite people away from labels and into their authentic experience.

Do you have a favorite question?

Who’s there behind the “identity” we’ve claimed? and Can binary constructs co-exist on equal footing—with neither perceived as “better than” the other?

What learning experience had the biggest impact on who you are now?

I lived in Portland, Oregon, for 6 years, and during that time I built a successful fitness business from the ground up as a solo entrepreneur. My business, Sweet Momentum Fitness, is still going strong today under the management of a team that I trained. The lessons that I learned throughout the long road of building that business guide me and definitely shape how I think and operate.

What is something you hope people know about you?

My gender transition is only one piece of my personal history, but it’s important to me to be open about that experience. I’m happily married, have a job that I love, and I am surrounded by awesome people who are up to big things. Going through a transition set me free. Young people who might be tormented right now about their experience of gender need to know this is available to them.

I learned that people are bullied and targeted based on their gender expression. Not their orientation. I've never thought of that before.

A.D. Henderson High School Student