Ken Louie (he/him) is the senior director of brand marketing and corporate communications at MetroPlusHealth. He is an award-winning marketer who creates and designs original content with fresh and creative perspectives. Ken’s background and data-driven experience have transformed MetroPlusHealth’s work and conceptualized KPIs to track outcomes and success. As New York City’s only health care plan, he completed the first significant rebrand of a 35-year-old organization. He has positioned MetroPlusHealth as an iconic New York City brand and low-to-no-cost health plan. Ken received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from New York University.
What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
Queens Pride. I love Queens Pride because it is multicultural and diverse, and it is community-focused with a great blend of celebration, protest, festivities, and activism.Of course, Pride is a celebration. But we must not forget that Pride started as a protest. We march against racism, sexism, ageism, phobia, and discriminatory health care. I am proud to work for an organization that believes health care is a RIGHT, not a privilege. My colleagues and I will be at Queens Pride to bring people into health care for no or low cost.
What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Kiyoshi Kuromiya. Folks often do not know about Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi was in a Japanese American internment camp during WWII. Later, he would become active in civil rights, gay liberation, and antiwar movements. Kuromiya marched with Martin Luther King Jr. on Selma. Kuromiya was an early AIDS activist and member of ACT UP. He found out that he was HIV-positive in the 1980s and created a newsletter called Critical Path, which disseminated critical information about HIV/AIDS treatment throughout the 1980s and 1990s. We often do not see a lot of Asian-American icons. And I am inspired by him.
What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Be in the community. Hire in the community. Listen to the community. I lead the brand marketing and corporate communications team at MetroPlusHealth. It is important to me to be in a community and live in the community. I have lived in East Harlem for the past eight years, where many of our members are. I make a conscious decision to hire in the community and listen to community members.
When we created our Pride ads, we did not need a focus group to message, and pressure test the ads – we already have a large employee base. Moreover, because we hire within the community, we listen to our staff to adjust our advertising.
How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Businesses should ask themselves, what does your senior leadership team look like? Does the team reflect the diversity of their target market? One of the things that attracted me to MetroPlusHealth is its senior leadership staff. The CEO is a woman. And the senior leadership team is primarily women or People of Color. This makes sense for a health care organization as women make most health care decisions. The leadership team also reflects the diversity of New York City.