“Individuals must be willing to be perpetual learners, become attentive listeners, be willing to legitimize open discussion, seek to understand each other and embrace differences in perspective, approaches and styles. It will only be through dialogue and respect for our differences that we will be able to find common ground.”
As Vanguard’s chief diversity officer from 2007 to 2010, Sharon Barnes worked tirelessly to foster an atmosphere where every crew member felt welcomed, valued, and empowered to reach his or her full potential. Vanguard has strived to continue her work to create a comfortable place for all crew – but there is still much to be done.
Vanguard’s internal network, OPEN (Out Professional Engagement Network) seeks to promote an inclusive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender crew, and to empower straight allies so all crew feel good about bringing their whole selves to work. To accomplish this, OPEN provides resources, networking opportunities, educational materials, and information on community events. One such event was Philly PrideDay, which took place on June 18th, and included an LGBT parade, and a festival at Penn’s Landing. For the first time, members of OPEN marched in the parade, which saw approximately 20 crew members, family, and friends representing Vanguard. Zev Kramer, an Identify Access Management (IAM) Role Engineer, acted as captain for Vanguard’s first march and shares, “Vanguard has once again shown it truly values each and every crew member. Marching in the Philly Pride Parade was one of the proudest moments in my career as a Vanguard crew member.”
On Vanguard’s PA campus, OPEN offered materials with updates about their involvement in the community, how to become an OPEN Ally, and goals for 2018. These educational materials, combined with a raffle and photo opportunities, allowed crew to connect and learn together.
PA wasn’t the only Vanguard site to celebrate Pride Day – Arizona crew also attended the Phoenix Pride Festival, sponsored by local empowerment group, Phoenix Pride. This organization offers marches, rallies, education, and outreach events for the Phoenix LGBT community.
Pride month is celebrated every June to recognize and support the LGBT community in cities around the world. In addition to parades, Pride gatherings often include workshops, celebrations, and memorials to those lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Vanguard plans to continue their dedication to welcoming and including LGBT individuals with even more events and activities in the future.
Sharon Barnes regrettably passed away in 2010. Her dedication to diversity efforts inspires our crew every day.