Zoe Dunning was commissioned as a Supply Corps Officer in 1985, and spent 6 years serving on active duty before transitioning to the Navy Reserves to attend the GSB. In January of 1993, while still a GSB student, she came out as a lesbian in protest of the ban on gay service in the U.S. military. This action was the first of many on Ms. Dunning’s journey to transform national policy and forever alter the lives of thousands of LGBTQ military service members.
After her admission, Ms. Dunning was one of the first military members to be prosecuted under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. She successfully won her discharge hearing, and served as the only openly gay member of the U.S. military for the next 13 years as a Naval Reservist. During her time in service she led the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national non-profit dedicated to providing legal services to those impacted by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as its Governing Board Co-Chair.
After an 18-year battle fighting for equality in the armed forces, President Barack Obama honored Ms. Dunning by asking her to stand next to him when he signed the historic Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
Ms. Dunning retired as a U.S. Navy Commander after 22 years of service, and is currently a Consulting Portfolio Director at Future State, a Bay Area consulting firm that is purpose-driven and women-led.
In October 2013, she was elected into the Stanford Associates membership by the Board of Governors. Stanford Associates are alumni with a demonstrated, long-term history of volunteerism on behalf of Stanford. Since graduating in 1993, she has remained active in the GSB community, holding numerous volunteer positions with the GSB, and participating in events such as the GSB Women’s Leadership Forum, and GSB WIM and Pride events.
Additionally, Ms. Dunning was appointed by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as a commissioner on the World War I Centennial Commission, an organization that works to commemorate and educate the nation at the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. Ms. Dunning also serves as one of seven commissioners for the San Francisco Public Library, and on the advisory board of Vets in Tech, a non-profit that brings together a tech-specific network, resources, and programs to enable employment for veterans interested in Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employment.
Ms. Dunning holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS in Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy.