My First LGBTQ+ Unity Summit

With decorations lining the walls and little pride flags displayed on each person’s desk, Pride Month at the National Diversity Council (NDC) is fun. During the month of June, we made an extra effort to connect with the LGBTQ+ community by filming videos, producing content and finding articles that were specifically geared towards Pride. However, all of us at the NDC know that there is much more work to be done before the LGBTQ+ community truly has equal treatment and rights, especially in the workplace. Enter: the LGBTQ+ Unity Summits.

Before attending the Gulf Coast LGBTQ+ Unity Summit, I didn’t really know what to expect. Leading up to the summit, the other interns and I were gifted with fun pride shirts and other goodies, but until my arrival on the day of the event, I was excitedly anxious for what was to come. When I walked into the building, all of that energy quickly faded as I was met by the communications team in our matching t-shirts. They let us know that the interns were responsible for taking photos of the speakers to post on our national social media channels, grabbing quotes as they spoke and getting a feel for what events with the NDC are like.

As we walked in to sit, we were greeted by the first speaker, a brilliant corporate VP from New York Life, Kimberly Fisher. In front of the audience, she talked us through some of the prevalent issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces in the workplace and how she has worked to overcome it. She even sprinkled in a bit of financial advice throughout her talk. As the morning progressed, we were entertained by a panel discussion with prominent LGBTQ+ corporate leaders in Houston. Hearing from people who have attained so much success, despite the oppression they faced, was inspiring. What I liked most about the event was that it was very interactive. From the keynote speaker to the panelists, everyone in the audience could feel like they had a voice throughout the course of the event. It goes to show what companies could look like if they allowed all of their team members to share their voice.

Nadia Burns