How to Make Pride Shine During a Dark Year for LGBTQ Employees

Here’s how four LA companies are using Pride as an opportunity to uplift employees and demonstrate meaningful allyship.

Written by Eva Roethler
Published on Jun. 03, 2022
How to Make Pride Shine During a Dark Year for LGBTQ Employees
Brand Studio Logo

This Pride Month, check on your LGBTQIA+ employees, because 2022 is breaking records in terms of legislation that targets them. More than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country so far this year, tracking an upward trend over the past several years. By comparison, there were 41 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in all of 2018.

But perhaps we can make this June a respite from what’s been a hard year for these employees. Pride Month is a time to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people, and it is also a time to reflect on the holiday’s origins as an act of resistance to oppression. Pride is an opportunity to show up and demonstrate meaningful support for employees’ total well-being, including social equality. 

GumGum CEO Phil Schraeder is part of the estimated 2.9 percent of LGBTQ+ men working as senior vice presidents or in a C-suite position in the U.S., according to a 2021 McKinsey report. Under Schraeder’s leadership, the LA-based marketing tech company aspires to be a place where everyone can be authentic at work. That’s why Schraeder discusses his personal experiences openly in all-staff calls. 

In addition to Schraeder’s year-round visibility, GumGum regularly holds events and creates an environment that supports LGBTQIA+ employees. And it appears to be working. Tim Calton, an accounts payable specialist at GumGum said, “It is my deepest wish that all of you can find the kind of support and love that I have found being a Gummer.”

To illustrate the many ways companies can leverage Pride Month celebrations to support inclusivity and uplift LGBTQIA+ employees during a dark year, Built In LA connected with employees across a variety of local tech companies.
 

GumGum group photo
GumGum

 

Tim Calton
Accounts Payable Specialist • GumGum

GumGum is a martech company. 

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout June? 

Pride is about self-love and acceptance, and we’re thrilled to not only to support our LGBTQIA+ GumGummers but the whole queer community. This year, we’re excited for GumGum to march in the historic LA Pride Parade to celebrate the year’s theme of #LoveYourPride. We’ve also curated a digital experience, the Pride Parade Museum, that lets you take a journey down memory lane to discover and learn about milestones, contributions and trailblazers in the LGBTQIA+ community. These celebrations allow us to come together as a community to further a more empathetic and understanding culture that is rooted in inclusion and belonging.

We’ll also be screening and hosting a panel discussion on the groundbreaking film, Moonlight, which follows the life of a young Black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world. Throughout June we’ll be fundraising across various organizations and nonprofits to uplift and empower the LGBTQIA+ community, and Team GumGum is matching all fundraised donations to double our impact across organizations such as the Ali Forney Center, the Trevor Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Black Equity.

These celebrations allow us to come together as a community to further a more empathetic and understanding culture rooted in inclusion and belonging.”

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

GumGum aspires to be a place where everyone can bring their true authentic selves to work and help us not only change the digital advertising industry but also improve the world in the process. And that starts with our leadership team, which is led by an empathetic and kind CEO who is also an openly gay man. From our CEO discussing his personal journey and experiences in global all-staff calls to organizing external panels with queer industry experts discussing their experiences within the tech industry to companywide drag bingo to screenings of documentary films like Kiki, we are honored to support and empower LGBTQIA+ members of our teams. 

 

 

Sarah Dear
Project Administrator • City National Bank

City National Bank is a financial institution. 

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout June? 

Our colleague resource group, LGBTQ+ Alliance, is planning a colleague Pride celebration in Downtown Los Angeles, which will include at least three executives. This will be an amazing way to bring colleagues together in person after having spent the last two Pride months apart due to Covid-19. We are also in the process of organizing our annual Toast to the Community event, which celebrates colleagues, clients, prospects and centers of influence within the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Beyond June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Our LGBTQ+ Alliance works hard to promote and fundraise for our local community. Last year, City National teamed up with our client, the AIDS Project Los Angeles, to host a virtual Drag Queen Bingo. This year, we will be running a fundraiser for Rainbow Labs, a City National client and nonprofit organization that focuses on LGBTQ+ youth mentoring programs. It is a goal of ours to grow our LGBTQ+ Alliance philanthropy subcommittee so that we can give back to our community even more.

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

We provide education on what it means to be an ally, why diversity is important for the bank and how colleagues can further inclusion. The bank also provided our LGBTQ+ Alliance colleague resource group with the freedom and resources to not only provide colleague development opportunities and programming but to also inform the bank’s strategy on LGBTQ+ workplace and marketing issues. An example of this is the addition of a pronoun field within our email signature generator to create a more inclusive environment.

We provide education on what it means to be an ally, why diversity is important for the bank and how colleagues can further inclusion.”

 

 

Evelyn Richards
Associate Director, DEI & Culture • Media.Monks

Media.Monks is a marketing tech company. 

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout June? 

Globally, we will be donating up to $10,000 for every minute Media.Monks employees march, volunteer or engage within their respective regions. We are also mobilizing our local communities in the United States, where our Pride ERG will host an allyship educational panel discussion around Changing the Game, a Hulu documentary that sheds light on transgender inclusion in sports. Beyond that, our ERG will hold another panel discussion where members of the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies will discuss what Pride Month means to them and share their experiences. We’ve made a commitment to leveraging LBGTQIA+-owned businesses for all celebrations that take place during the month.

 

Beyond June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

We support and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community by encouraging employees to talk about and use gender pronouns. Also, our Pride ERG is a safe space where employees can be their authentic selves. The ERG works to provide training, education and awareness, as well as advocate for more inclusive policies in the workplace. Support of and partnering with LGBTQIA+ businesses and organizations is also highly encouraged.

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

Media.Monks recognizes the lived experiences of our diverse communities and strives to support them through community empowerment in the form of employee resource groups and continued awareness through ongoing and customized learning and civic engagement.

We recognize the lived experiences of our diverse communities and strive to support them through community empowerment.”

 

 

See Tickets team member group photo outside
See Tickets

 

James Murphy
COO • See Tickets

See Tickets is a ticketing organization. 

 

How is your company celebrating or recognizing Pride throughout June? 

See Tickets has been actively involved within the LGBTQ community for more than 15 years. We initiated a Gift of Pride campaign with more than 20 LGBTQ promoters and event organizers in 2016, and we will continue that campaign during Pride Month 2022. That campaign allows ticket buyers to make contributions to local LGBTQ promoters so that those promoters may provide free tickets to their events to people who can not afford tickets. This initiative allows LGBTQ events to be truly inclusive and open to all. We will also be executing a day of service in June, where all See Tickets employees will be invited to volunteer at a local LGBTQ community-based organization.

 

Beyond June, what are some examples of ways your company supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

We provide ticketing and support-related services to more than 40 LGBTQ promoters and community-based organizations throughout the year, not just during Pride Month. We highlight these events on our home page as well as via our monthly event-related newsletters and marketing campaigns. We also execute ticket giveaway contests with several of our LGBTQ partner clients.

 

How does your company support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

See Tickets has an incredibly diverse workforce. We have LGBTQ representation within every department, including in our C-suite. We lead by example by operating from a position of leadership within the LGBTQ community and at various LGBTQ community-based organizations and charities. We encourage all of our team to volunteer and work at LGBTQ events around the country and have made monetary contributions to three partner organizations: LA Pride, Phoenix Pride and San Diego Pride. 

We operate from a position of leadership within the LGBTQ community and at various community-based organizations and charities.”

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

Hiring Now
Ampersand
AdTech • Big Data • Machine Learning • Sales • Analytics