Pride Month 2021 employee spotlight: Michelle Sterling Woody
To celebrate Pride Month 2021, we’re sharing a few employee stories on what Pride means to them. Michelle Sterling-Woody, Real Estate Program Manager at PK, gives her perspective on Pride and how she and her family celebrate!
What does Pride month mean to you?
Michelle: As a parent to both a non-binary teenager and a transgender young adult,Pride Month is a big celebration in our family. It represents freedom of self-expression, confidence, and love, as well as the opportunity to celebrate and fight for basic human rights being applied to everyone regardless of gender expression or sexuality. Pride month serves as a strong reminder to continue cultivating an inclusive and safe world for our LGBTQ+ children to grow and thrive in!
What are you doing to celebrate Pride this June?
Michelle: Portland’s Pride events are a BIG DEAL that happens over Father’s Day weekend every year. It includes a festival, parade, and many other activities. One of my favorite things to do is to walk across the Hawthorne bridge towards downtown Portland with our Ally flag and pride gear. So many honks and waves as people drive past us!
What does inclusion (at work) mean to you?
Michelle: From the perspective of a parent I ask myself…
Assuming they were qualified, “Could my trans and non-binary children be hired at this company?”
“What biases or discrimination would they experience, either conscious or subconscious?”
“Would they be comfortable being themselves in this culture?”
“Why don’t we see many trans or non-binary employees in the tech industry?
Until I can stop asking these types of questions, or my children have accomplished equal opportunities and feel safe in a corporate work environment, there is more work to be done.
Tell us about what you are doing as a member of (or ally to) the LGBTQ+ community to help create a more equitable world.
Michelle: For me, being an ally means continually educating myself and asking questions when I don’t know or understand the experiences and challenges faced. It means supporting or participating in activities or social movements that contribute to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as challenging people and environments that promote inequality or phobias of the community.
I’m most passionate about advocating for workplace equality in corporate environments and working with HR partners to take action on adjusting policy, programs, or hiring practices to improve inclusion and diversity.
About the Author
Kristin Kolasinski is a Senior Marketing Manager at PK. She has an extensive marketing and communications background working in both B2B and B2C industries. She spent the first portion of her career working in the sports industry for the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. Since then, she worked for Whole Foods Market, a regional financial services company, and a legal SaaS company before coming to PK.