Every June, LGBTQ+ Pride Month offers us an opportunity to both celebrate progress and advocate for future change. This year, in addition to hosting a series of team discussions (catered by LGBTQ+ owned/friendly establishments), a conversation with GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer Rich Ferraro and making donations to some LGBTQ+ organizations, we asked our team members to reflect on the importance of Pride, both personally and in their work.

What does Pride mean to you?

Claire Bauer, Production Artist (she/her)

Pride is a lot; it’s a celebration, it’s a protest, it’s a reminder of the AIDS pandemic and a reminder of love. The parties, parades and costumes are fun, but Pride for me is remembering my first art history professor showing us a series of quilts made for some of the victims of the AIDS pandemic, some including friends of hers.

Matt Kucharski, President (he/him)

It’s a reminder to embrace people for who they are at their core – fellow human beings who deserve to be accepted, included and heard.

Mariah Schippel, Account Executive (she/her)

To me, Pride means everyone can be themselves and not feel anxious about the unique things that make them wonderful.

Mariann Hohe, VP Insights + Strategy (she/her)

I’m excited about how much progress we have made – Pride is something I look forward to so much, to be able to feel free to be myself and connect openly with others.

Perry Lowder, Brand Manager (he/him)

To me, Pride is about visibility, celebration and advocacy. With so many rights still under attack in the U.S. and abroad, it’s important that the LGBTQ+ community (and those who support them) gather to honor past generations, celebrate the present, and stand up for equality in the future. Visibility matters – sharing our stories can help open minds and hearts. It’s also vital that queer youth see others like them living authentically and openly – it can save lives.

How does Pride inform your work?

Claire

I identify as bi, the group of friends I spend most of my time with all are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s just a part of how I view the world and experience it.

Matt

Our Beliefs include “think as many” and “walk in their world.”  Those translate into inclusion and empathy – which should permeate how we treat each other and how we approach our work for clients.

Mariah

Whenever I am working on something, I think about how it could be more inclusive. I speak up when I have ideas on how to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion and show the importance of its impact on everyone.

Mariann

It’s so vitally important to me NOT to be in the closet at work – I’ve been there, and it is awful. I think it impairs your ability to focus on the job you do vs. the persona you are presenting to your coworkers. Specifically at Padilla, it’s nice to be part of the DEI Collective committee so I can represent diverse points of view, for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.

Perry

I advise clients on how to build brands that will last, beyond the latest trend. And the strongest brands actively foster a sense of belonging year-round – not just in June. I believe I have a responsibility to help our clients not only project inclusivity but live it. Creating value for those who matter most – employees, customers, and others – requires understanding diverse needs, and although I can’t speak for an entire community, I know my voice is important in those conversations.

GLAAD’s resource list is a great place to learn more, show your support and get involved.

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