LGBTQ Pride Month is commemorated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City. In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn staged an uprising to resist the police harassment and persecution to which LGBTQ Americans were commonly subjected. This uprising marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.
Not only is June a great opportunity to educate your workforce on the inequities that the LGBTQ+ community face in the United States, it also opens the door for meaningful and progressive conversation between coworkers, managers, leadership teams and the community at large.
We are teaming up with AllVoices to host a panel with four amazing LGBTQ+ ERG Leaders to discuss how you can authentically celebrate Pride this June and year-round!
Luis Sotolongo (he,him,his) - Director of Client Services at Visa, Inc., and Community Chair for the Visa Pride ERG. Named by Yahoo! Finance as one of the EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader Role Models 2020. Born and raised in Cuba, his family migrated to the US in 2011 escaping from Castro’s communist dictatorship. His professional career stated at Visa 8 years ago where he became a champion of inclusion & diversity through his work and beyond. Luis was the founder and Lead for Washington DC’s Pride ERG and has supported company-wide efforts in Salt Lake City, Austin, Miami, Northern Virginia, San Francisco and New York City to help ERGs achieve the best possible equality for employees in the workplace and all LGBTQ+ Americans. In 2019, Luis received the Visa North America Leadership Award for his accomplishments on the I&D space. Through his work, he is constantly promoting financial inclusion and financial literacy for everyone, everywhere.
KT Ellis (they/them) has over 20 years of CX experience and a passion for building authentic relationships that drive progress. In fact, they often tells folks that relationships are their super power! Their 9 year tenure at Mindbody, a global wellness business management software, allowed them to start exploring the workplace DEIB space. KT sat on the board for MBPride, the LGBTQIA+ employee resource group, since it’s inception in 2018. They are especially passionate about supporting trans and non-binary team members and their unique needs in a professional setting. They recently left Mindbody to start a new adventure as a Senior IT Product Manager at Dutchie, a leading technology platform in the cannabis industry. KT lives in the PNW with their wife and 11 year old Boston Terrier.
Alisha Basham (she/her) is a Regional Partnerships Manager in our sales organization at Zillow Group. My team helps our Zillow Premier Agents to be successful with their campaign advertising investments. I am also the Director of Career Development for our Pride Network ERG. I, alongside the Pride Leadership Council, work to help our LGBTQ+ members and allies to grow in their careers. I live in Colorado with my wife, and my two year old daughter.
Matthew French (they/he) currently works and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina where he works remotely as an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Specialist for a tech company. His past roles have included Assistant Director for Employer Relations at UNC Charlotte to connect Employers with UNCC students and alumni. Prior to UNCC, he was a Career Counselor and Employer Liason at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. He also served as a graduate assistant at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia all while he was the Internship Coordinator and Liaison for OUT for Work. Matthew has a Master of Arts degree in Lifespan and Digital Communication, and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Old Dominion University.
Jerry Ford (he/him/his) has been openly and actively involved in promoting LGBTQ+ awareness for 60 years. Both of my parents were Civil Rights pioneers and began their work in the 1940s, so I learned social responsibility at an early age. My father was a minister and frequently worked alongside Rev. Martin Luther King for 20+ years and I twice had the honor and privilege of meeting with him privately. His mentorship launched a path that I am still traveling. I grew up in Los Angeles, CA, and my first LGBTQ+ activity was to establish a lunchtime support group at my Junior High school at age 12 in 1962. Those were very different times!
MJ Mowrer (she/her) believes that businesses do better when they prioritize their people. She is a Partnerships Manager at HR & DEI tech company, AllVoices and Co-Founder and Co-Lead of their first employee resource group (ERG), AllPride. AllPride is dedicated to providing a safe space and community for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. She currently resides in sunny Austin, TX with her fiancée, Zoi. MJ also has an MBA, is an obsessed dog-mom, and has a special passion for replacing “hustle culture” with “values-driven culture.”