As we celebrate Pride Month 2022, our teams around the globe are recognizing Pride Month through local initiatives and activities championing LGBTQIA+ equality. For this special edition of Inside Edelman, we profiled colleagues from around the network who are focused on allyship, recognizing intersectionality and taking action towards a more inclusive and equitable world for the LGBTQIA+ community.
How are you working to champion LGBTQIA+ equality in your market/region?
How I champion LGBTQIA+ equality shows up in three primary ways.
First, I lead with who I am, unapologetically proud—both personally and professionally. By bringing my leadership as a Black, Caribbean lesbian mother and wife to the table, I build deep, authentic connections, advise clients and influence markets without hesitation.
Secondly, I lead with a learning mindset. Helping others recognize and acknowledge the power of equality in their market/region is mission critical. These types of new, creative perspectives around equality will ideally harness the full force of business and transform the future of society. It’s about me helping others realize the full potential of championing for equality in a relatable, business-forward way.
Thirdly, I lead with impact. Societal changes can no longer be an afterthought so partnering for change with the brightest and best people and brands continues to be my North Star.
What do you think it means to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community?
Allyship means speaking up with confidence and care to our peers, clients, communities and families 365 days a year, 24/7. It means stepping beyond your own comfort zone to bring others into the fold. To me, a cornerstone of allyship is the ability to listen deeply and intently to others and with this knowledge, you then act with greater conviction. At the simplest level, allyship means having someone else's back without the thought that you may lose something.
What can leaders and managers be doing to help make tangible action to support the LGBTQIA+ community?
Three actions come to mind:
- Be active in the community beyond the month of June is a first step to creating long-lasting change. You can do this by finding creative ways to champion LGBTQIA+ communities year around.
- Your visible presence and awareness as leader of what is happening in the community helps to demonstrate to employees that they are seen and heard.
- Most importantly, commit to the community and tell others to show up who hold power.
How do you ensure LGBTQIA+ issues remain top of mind within a company throughout the rest of the year?
Edelman values “trust” and within that realm, equity, inclusion and access stay present in both my personal and professional life. LGBTQIA+ issues like many others (race, gender, ethnicity) important to me are always top of mind and play a significant role in how I show up as a leader.
What recommendations do you have for people to become more involved in LGBTQIA+ issues?
- Educate yourself on allyship and put those learnings into action
- Pick one issue that you feel a connection to and provide support e.g. financial, advocacy, volunteering, mentorship, vote etc.
- Show support 365/24/7—don’t wait for June to show your commitment to equality
What does love mean/look like to you?
No conditions, pure joy, calmness and light—at least that is the way I define love for myself, my framily (friends+family) and my community.
Kevval Hanna is SVP, Social Impact & Sustainability, at Edelman D.C.