As we celebrate Pride Month 2021, many are reflecting on how far we’ve come in equality and inclusion for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Others are reflecting how far we still have yet to go. But just as we celebrate the unique and important differences between those in the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month often holds unique and different meanings in the hearts of each person depending on their own story.
Looking back and ahead, the leaders of our Pride at Encore Business Resource Group (BRG) took time to reflect on what this month means to them personally. Here’s what they had to share:
Donna Hubley, VP, Field Sales
In our world, we can be surrounded by people at any given time, whether it’s through work, with friends, at our homes with our family. Just because you are surrounded by humans, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel alone at times. Pride makes me feel that there is a community, a protective circle, defending your right to be…you. You may not know the community members by name but you know they are there. And there alongside you, protecting you as well as going into battle with you. In short, Pride is knowing that I have a massive extension of my friends and family network. I flat out love that.
Ken Scearce, National Account Manager
I look forward to June every year because we slow down and make time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and our extended family that we choose. I came out at the age of 23 and quickly found a connection within the LGBTQ+ sports community that I never dreamed existed. Today, I am still surrounded by those same friends I met almost three decades ago. Over the years at Encore, I have connected with many team members and customers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community or allies. I am so proud of the commitment to diversity Encore has made over the last few years and for the month of June, we have really been able to showcase some of our progress and outline what the future could be by working together and supporting each other.
Bob Caldrone, VP, Talent Acquisition
As the leader of talent acquisition at Encore, it is critically important we source, recruit and hire a diverse work force that represents the communities we work and live in. Although it’s important that we have this philosophy and approach year round, Pride month allows us to highlight the efforts of the organization. I am so proud to be part of the Pride Business Resource Group at Encore and leverage all the current and future initiatives identified by the team. The future is very bright.
Marissa Mireles, Area Director, Venues
Although it took a long time for me to be comfortably “out”, I often joke that I don’t have a “coming out story”. I don’t mean to say that lightly, but because of the great community of friends I had as a young adult and because I am blessed with an amazingly accepting family, I never encountered a “coming out moment”. Instead, I was just me. I remember starting with this company having no fear to be myself, and it was delightful and reassuring that everyone around me felt the same way. The support and welcome of the various team members I’ve met throughout my years with the company give me a sense of pride of which I am truly grateful. Pride month is always a time for me to appreciate what I have while knowing not everyone has the same experience, so I love to think about what we can do with our BRG to make that a possibility for everyone within our community.
Emily Landrum, Digital Services Specialist
As a bi woman married to a man, it can be hard to see myself as a full-fledged member of the LGBTQ+ community. I never feel nervous to hold hands with my partner, and I’m spared a lot of stares and comments from children and the elderly. It can also be harder to find my people in a new place – I haven’t had a lot of luck with my “I’M BISEXUAL” forehead tattoo. However, this straight-passing privilege has allowed me to have conversations about Pride, equality and the queer community with people who don’t normally have a lot of contact with us, and I’m always excited when I get to answer a “dumb question” or clear up a misconception. To me, Pride is a reminder of just that – how proud I am to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, to be a bi woman and to be working for a company that’s showing its commitment to equity and diversity.
Shane Slaughter, Senior Director, Program Production
Pride is unapologetically living my life with the person that I love. Pride is raising my children without prejudice or bigotry. Pride is sharing my love for my community and helping others to achieve their dreams.
Encore strives to create workplaces that reflect the communities in which we work and live, and where every individual has a full sense of belonging. By doing so, we fuel our innovation, collaboration, expertise and excellence, and connect more closely to our customers and the communities we serve.
We will also be featuring members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community on social media next week, so feel free to follow along with the hashtag #PrideatEncore!
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