ARTS leader Terese Casu has been appointed as the CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG).

With over 25 years of experience working in the arts community, Casu has a long and connected history with the festival.

“I’m super excited [about the role],” she told the Star Observer.

“I’ve worked alongside Mardi Gras over the years, and I’ve also been a performer so in all sorts of ways I’ve been connected to the festival.”

Some of Casu’s past experience includes senior management and leadership roles at the Australia Council for the Arts, La Boite Theatre Company, Sydney Film Festival, and the Australian Film Festival.

When asked what attracted her to the new role, Casu said it was her belief in the power of the arts to make an impact in the community.

“That’s what arts do well, and that’s what attracted me to Mardi Gras – I could make a difference and work with that community,” she said.

“That’s what is most important in my life and in this part of my career. That I’m able to work for that positive change.”

Sydney Mardi Gras has become famous in the LGBTI community for its in-fighting, but Casu hopes that they will able to unite to become a flag holder.

“Where we’re our most strongest is when we actually stand up together and put those voices together,” she said.

“There’s always going to be differing opinions. But to get people to really understand and to make a difference, it is all about standing together and looking forward in the same direction.”

She said her first 12 months in the role will be focusing on learning from the Mardi Gras’ extraordinary history. But her vision for the festival moving forward is focusing on social justice and inclusion.

“It would be such a powerful message for the world,” Casu said.

In a statement, SGLMG board co-chair Fran Bowron said they are excited to welcome Terese to the organisation.

“Terese is an extremely well regarded industry figure who brings not only her substantial expertise, but a great passion and shared vision for the organisation,” Bowron said.

The new appointment follows a successful 2016 Mardi Gras season which saw 17 days jam-packed with over 120 events.

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