Cole is a leadership development powerhouse. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and has worked as a community facilitator and strategist for more than 15 years. At 21 she landed a job in the White House, directing leadership development programming for the Harry S. Truman Foundation. Drawing on her experience as a consultant, Cole launched the Brown Boi Project in 2010. The Brown Boi Project is a groundbreaking program that bridges gender and racial dialogues—the first of its kind to bring queer and straight people of color across the masculine spectrum to do transformative leadership development work.
As an activist and author, Cole introduced the term masculine of center (MoC), which challenges historical understandings of queer female masculinity and its intersections with race. Her most recent piece can be found in the 2011 anthology Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. Cole also edited Freeing Ourselves, an LGBT health guide which is now being used to forward understanding of the incredible breadth of health needs for MoC LGBT people of color.
Cole’s background crosses multiple sectors but as a young queer consultant of color working in the fields of finance, policy advocacy, leadership development, and social enterprise, she is often uniquely positioned to bring together groups across divides. Through this work she brings an approach to strategic planning and curriculum development that centralizes operational systems, resourcing, and finance while aligning with an organization’s values and vision. A graduate of Mills College and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Cole has worked across the US and internationally on issues of leadership development. She lives in Oakland and New York with her wife Aisha and their niece Kyla.