In this series, Rosslyn Works, we talk with employees, human resources professionals and executives from Rosslyn businesses about their companies and the creative and effective workplace initiatives that have led to success and made their organizations better. Want us to feature your business and/or an important policy, program or achievement at your company? Email us!

Rosslyn employees are bursting with Pride


Being proud of who you are at the workplace

By Justin Bensan

This year’s Pride Month is especially poignant as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising on June 30, 1969, that kick-started the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Since then, June has become the month to commemorate that moment and give visibility to the ongoing fight for equality. In Arlington, the County Government flew the rainbow flag outside their offices throughout the month, and employee affinity groups across Rosslyn marked the occasion with Pride events and get-togethers.

I feel welcome to express myself as an openly gay man in the office at the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. At a small, close-knit office like ours, we have the luxury of getting to fully know each other on an personal level. That need for community is important in a place where you spend 40+ hours a week. But at larger companies, finding that sense of community can be a challenge. Employee affinity groups create platforms for people of similar backgrounds and interests to gather, socialize and work on issues important to them. With more than 25,000 employees, Rosslyn companies host a variety of employee affinity groups, all lead by enthusiastic volunteers who keep these communities going. This is how a few Rosslyn LGBTQ+ employee groups marked this year’s Pride Month.

Grant Thornton

The day before the Capital Pride Parade, Grant Thornton hosted a United Voices for Equality event. Panelists from Out and Equal Workplace, Witeck Communications, the National Black Justice Council and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce engaged in a dynamic dialogue on how to effectively make room for LGBTQ+ leadership and advancement in the workplace.

Grant Thornton’s participation at Capital Pride marked the first time that their Equality Business Resource Group (BRG) marched in the parade to live the company’s cultural value of “Bring your whole self to work.”

Nestlé USA

Nestlé USA is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s “Corporate Equality Index” as having a 100 percent rating thanks to the company’s equal benefits for same-sex couples, equal parent support policies for adoptive parents, and financial support for employees undergoing gender transition treatments. The company has gone so far as to advocate for protections for LGBTQ+ workers both on the federal level by joining the HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, and on the state level, by signing on to a coalition of advocacy-minded companies across the state called Virginia Competes.

The lead of the Nestlé Pride Alliance employee group, David Fox, published this Medium piece on how Nestlé USA has proactively built an inclusive workplace for its LGBTQ+ employees. The group had an enthusiastic turnout for the Capital Pride Parade.

POLITICO

POLITICO, a digital media company focused on politics and policy, had a unique take on engaging their employees during Pride Month. The company hosted a Pride-themed JEOPARDY lunch hour. POLITICOs competed to win prizes for their knowledge of LGBTQ+ facts and history. Special edition Pride cupcakes in rainbow hues were served up to the competitive crowd, with proceeds of the sale benefiting The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a non-profit that works to address crisis and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.

The following week, POLITICO invited Rick Parnell, current CEO for the Foundation for Climate Restoration, for their quarterly “Leaders Journey” series to discuss his experience in holding positions of leadership as an openly gay man. POLITICO’s video reporter, Eugene Daniels, moderated the conversation. Rick has vast experience in leadership, and wrote openly about LGBTQ+ rights as COO of the United Nations Foundation.

Always Proud

June is also the month when Loving Day is celebrated, the day that commemorates the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Case that paved the way for interracial marriage across the United States. While it is great to have a month to celebrate key moments in the fight for equality, it’s also important that people feel open to express who they are, and who they love, every single day. Employee groups are a grassroots way for workers to build community in the workplace throughout the year. We hope our spotlight on the variety of diversity and inclusion efforts across our neighborhood inspires and helps people feel welcome year round.

 Featured Rosslyn Events

FRESHFARM Rosslyn Farmers Market
Wednesday, May 22 - Wednesday, October 30
at Central Place Plaza

Barre in the Park
Tuesday, September 10 - Tuesday, October 1
at Gateway Park

Rosslyn Cider Fest
Thursday, October 17
at Gateway Park