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What Pride Means to Me and Why I Lead Inklusive

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Inklusive is Movable Ink’s employee resource group with the mission to inspire, inform, and engage individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies at Movable Ink. By leading by example to build a welcoming and progressive workspace, Inklusive seeks to; facilitate conversation, drive education across our organization, broadcast the power and importance of diversity within the tech industry, and engage with local LGBTQIA+ communities.

Meet the Inkers Leading Inklusive

Julio Lopez

He/His
Director of Retail Strategy, Global Practice Lead
Years at Movable Ink: 3.5

Why is Pride month important to you?

When I came out at 17 years old, I lost everything – friends and family – most devastating of which was becoming estranged from my parents. I came out in October, and when June rolled around 9 months later, I was at a breaking point, desperately needing something to hold on to. My first Pride was like a tall glass of water after wandering a desert, a much-needed gasp of air when I felt I was drowning. To me, Pride is important because it is a moment in which the visibility of your queer community reminds you that the fight to be yourself, which rests squarely on the shoulders of those who came before us, leads to a happy life. It also reminds me that we are not alone in our struggles, and it is important to me to increase our LGBTQIA+ visibility to help that young child, adolescent, or adult who is still in the wings waiting to come out.

What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?

“No one has all the answers.” We are raised to believe that each person above us in the corporate world has some magic knowledge that we don’t. They are trying to figure it out, just like the rest of us. The only difference is the perspective they bring to the table as a result of their experiences moving up the corporate ladder. So, if it comes down to experiences, then my queer experience can be used as a source of strength. If no one has all the answers, then I can make sure the answers we come up with are as inclusive as they need to be. 

What does Inklusive mean to you as a resource at Movable Ink?

Our Inklusive ERG allows me to use my voice in a professional setting. It is a platform I can use to foster community with individuals like me, but most importantly, it is a platform I can use to educate others who may be unfamiliar with the struggles of “being different” due to your identity. Having the backing of Movable Ink and the resources to host both fun and educational events allows me to reach others who need to learn more about our queer lives and history.

Robin Rico

She/Her
Sr. Client Experience Manager
Years at Movable Ink: 3.5 yrs

Why is Pride month important to you?

For me, Pride is important based on three reminders:

  1. It’s a reminder to me that it’s ok to live my full authentic self unapologetically.

  2. It’s a reminder to me that once upon a time, it was illegal to be LGBTQIA+ and that we are still far from true freedom and equality.

  3. It’s a reminder to me to celebrate and support the progress and victories that have been made and the path ahead to build a more inclusive world.

What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?

“Love what you do.” This advice will push you to learn more, work harder, and fill you with joy and happiness. In most of my career choices, I have followed this mantra, and the few times I didn’t, I was unhappy and dissatisfied.

What does Inklusive mean to you as a resource at Movable Ink?

It gives me a feeling of belonging. Having visibility, awareness, and resources for LGBTQIA+ identified employees and allies enables us to share a sense of community. A safe space without judgment.

Isa Sher

He/Him
Strategic Account Representative
Years at Movable Ink: 1.5 yrs

Why is Pride month important to you?

Growing up gay was really difficult for me. Throughout my teens, I struggled to accept who I was, and I carried a lot of shame for being queer. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin and hated that I wasn’t like everyone else.

At the time, it felt like it wasn’t ok to be LGBTQIA+. Gay people were often made fun of, the word gay was still used as a derogatory term, and the portrayal of gay characters in the media was limited to a few stereotypes that were there to be laughed at. Diverse queer representation was almost non-existent. It made me feel isolated, alone and confused as to why I was so different from everyone around me.

It wasn’t until I attended my first Pride that I realized I wasn’t alone. Pride gave me the confidence to accept who I was, celebrate my individuality, and connect with a community of other queer people. It reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and kick-started a personal journey of self-discovery and authenticity that has led me to where I am today.

Pride is so important as it increases queer visibility and provides a platform for equality and progression. It gives queer people an opportunity to be heard and forces society to look at the injustices faced by some. Pride is a source of pure joy and happiness and is an opportunity for us all to celebrate equality, fairness, and authenticity. And for those queer people who feel like they have nowhere else to turn– it means more than can be put into words.

What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?

“You are here for a reason, and you know more than you think you do.” It’s easy to feel out of place and like you’re not contributing enough or don’t have enough knowledge. But taking a step back, remembering that you were good enough to get here, and looking at things with a fresh perspective often provides the answers you were looking for.

What does Inklusive mean to you as a resource at Movable Ink?

Inklusive is an incredible platform that allows my voice to be heard. It has allowed me to connect with like-minded people and educate my colleagues unfamiliar with the prejudice, struggles, and difficulties that can arise when you are LGBTQIA+. It’s a safe space where you can have fun, celebrate individuality, and discuss more challenging topics. It makes me feel heard, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

Stephen Burden

They/Them
Client Experience Associate
Years at Movable Ink: 3 months

Why is Pride month important to you?

Pride to me is a time for celebration, remembrance, and rebellion against the norms that would hold us down. Pride is a rejection of the neat little boxes that polite society tried to shove LGBTQIA+ folk into, and it wasn’t until I went to my first Pride in San Francisco my freshman year of college that I witnessed other people in my community living their lives freely. I’ve been out of the closet since I was 13, but a lot of my teenage years I spent trying to fit into molds that clearly weren’t made for me. My voice was a little too feminine, my hips swung a little too wide, my wrists were a bit too limp. And it wasn’t until witnessing/experiencing Pride first-hand that I realized that a lot of the traits I tried to keep tucked away are, in fact, not shameful, and I should celebrate all aspects of myself. So, Pride month is important to me because it started a journey of self-acceptance, and I know I’m not alone in this journey.

What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?

“Don’t be afraid to take up space, and if the space isn’t there; make it” – This was the advice given to me pretty early on in my professional career (and truth be told, I’m still pretty green), but it took me a while to understand what they meant. Make your opinions known and your voice heard. You’re part of the team for a reason, and even if imposter syndrome is nipping at your heels, your next idea may be what takes you to the moon. This advice resonated with me at a time where I felt like I wasn’t contributing anything of value, and my position was strenuous at best. And hearing this snippet of wisdom gave me the chance to turn inward and decide that I would plant my feet and let my work and character show through in the workplace, and advocate for myself. Looking back at where I was during that turning point and where I am now, I think it’s safe to say that I’m in a much better place.

What does Inklusive mean to you as a resource at Movable Ink?

I think that a company taking the time and resources to hold space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to feel celebrated is incredibly valuable. Before Movable, I didn’t think that ERGs existed and that the workplace was just somewhere that you clocked in and out of, and the friendships you create in the workplace weren’t necessarily because of the environment the job created. But Movable creating space for us to come together publicly in a way that extends past a lunchtime group is impactful and shows that Movable cares about who we are as people and not just the work we produce.

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