Ken Louie MetroPlusHealth lgbtq

Ken Louie

Senior Director of Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications, MetroPlusHealth

Ken Louie MetroPlusHealth lgbtq

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.

Jarrett Lucas LGBTQ

Jarrett Lucas

Executive Director, Stonewall Community Foundation

Jarrett Lucas LGBTQ

Jarrett Lucas (they/them) has spent 22 years organizing in movements centering women, LGBTQ people, and communities of color. They have held board leadership roles at several nonprofits, recently serving as vice chair at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and the policy committee chair of Nonprofit New York. In addition to 30+ arrests for civil disobedience, Jarrett’s activism has garnered three Congressional tributes and been profiled in award-winning documentaries Equality U and PBS’s Generation Next 2.0.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
I say this with abundant and admitted bias: my favorite Pride event is Stonewall Community Foundation‘s signature gala, the Vision Awards. It breaks the mold in its diversity, spontaneity, and heart. People come for the first time and fall in love. Nothing brings me greater joy or pride.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
I’m inspired by storytellers, wordsmiths, and artists who have an incisive politic. James Baldwin. Audre Lorde. Staceyann Chin. ALOK. Barbara Smith. Octavia Butler.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Everything. Anything. Pride is a false container when it comes to elevating the importance of LGBTQ+ lives, experiences, and struggle. We are always important. Every day is an opportunity for meaningful action recognizing that.

How can businesses create more inclusives environments for their employees and patrons?
Look to the margins. If efforts for inclusion center and consciously deliver decision-making power to the people experiencing the greatest disenfranchisement, inclusion is inevitable.

David Ludwigson God's Love We Deliver lgbtq
Photograph by Rommel Demano

David Ludwigson

Vice President and Chief Development Officer, God’s Love We Deliver

David Ludwigson God's Love We Deliver lgbtq

David Ludwigson (he/him) joined God’s Love We Deliver in 2007 as chief development officer and in 2017 added the title of vice president. He’s responsible for the Development, Volunteer, and Communications Departments. During his tenure, fundraising has more than tripled to $20 million+ annually; the number of volunteers has tripled to 17,000+ (pre-Covid); and the number of meals annually has grown from 670,000 to 2.6+ million. David managed the $38 million capital campaign that funded the Michael Kors Building at God’s Love. He also chairs the LGBT Development Roundtable for NYC.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
While there’s so much I love about this month, the Pride March is my favorite celebration. The energy and sense of community is unmatched. As an organization that began during the HIV/AIDS crisis, so many New Yorkers who survived through those years remember God’s Love We Deliver as a lifeline and a support system. To see the looks of gratitude and love on the faces of the spectators is really special and a great reminder of how far we’ve come as an organization and a society.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Harvey Milk
Alan Gillmour, Ford Motor CFO — at the time, was the highest ranking openly gay person in the Fortune 500.
Storme DeLarverie — we were personal friends and spent evenings at East of 8th.
Larry Kramer.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
LGBTQ+ people are people. Just like anyone else, we seek out an inclusive and supportive environment that allows us to work to our full potential.

One of the most powerful tools we have as leaders is our ability to listen. It’s our job to create a space where every single employee feels the agency to raise their concerns and ask for what they need. As leaders, when they do so, we have to address these concerns with compassion and honesty. It’s important that every employee knows you have their back.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Adopt inclusive policies and ensure they’re followed with zero tolerance for those who don’t. At God’s Love we have trainings, DEIA Committees and support groups within the company that include the Executive Team. They always push us to be better. Uplift queer voices and provide opportunities for upward mobility throughout the company. The work never ends — and that’s okay. Employers must evolve to ensure we continue to be an LGBTQ+-friendly workplace for years to come.

Joni Madison HRC

Joni Madison

Interim President, Human Rights Campaign

Joni Madison HRC

Joni (she/her) is the interim president of HRC and the HRC Foundation. She has served as COO and chief of staff since 2016. Prior to that, she was a longtime HRC volunteer leader. She started her service on HRC’s North Carolina Steering Committee. She then joined HRC’s National Board of Directors, where she served as co-chair; she also chaired HRC’s Strategic Planning Committee. Joni came to HRC from McKinney, where she served as the COO.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
Every year in D.C., we take over the city with our joy and our resistance. Pride shows up everywhere — with people marching for justice, dancing on sidewalks, decorating their yards with flags, rainbows, even giant inflatable unicorns. Every day feels like a city-wide block party where everyone is welcome.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Bayard Rustin has always been an inspirational leader for me. He was an instrumental leader in the civil rights movement; he served as a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and he was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At a time when being gay was criminalized and widely condemned, he was open and unapologetic about his identity. This meant he had to do his work behind the scenes. But he nevertheless wielded tremendous power and ultimately helped make great strides for racial justice and equality for all.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Our community is in crisis. We’re seeing a record number of legislative attacks in the states against LGBTQ+ people, particularly against trans and nonbinary kids. We need folks to talk to their friends, family, neighbors, and employers about what’s happening and what’s at stake. We need companies to hold themselves accountable to their own stated values by making clear that these bills are unacceptable and refusing to support the politicians behind them. We need every person who cares about our community to get off the sidelines and get engaged.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Equitable policies and benefits, as outlined in our Corporate Equality Index, are critical to LGBTQ+ inclusion. But these are only a first step. Companies must support their employees by helping them and their families access benefits to supplement those being stripped away by state legislators across the country, and should allow staff in these states to relocate when possible. And companies must speak publicly about the challenges anti-LGBTQ+ laws are creating for their business.

Sean Patrick Maloney Congress

Sean Patrick Maloney

Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives

Sean Patrick Maloney Congress

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (he/him) has represented the Hudson Valley in Congress since 2012. Previously, he was a senior advisor in the Clinton White House and a small business owner. He was the first openly gay member of Congress elected from New York. As a member of House Leadership, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he is the highest ranking openly gay member of the House. He also serves on the following committees: Transportation and Infrastructure; Agriculture; Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Sean and his husband, Randy Florke, have three children and reside in Cold Spring, New York.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
This year, my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary together at the Pride parade, which has always been a welcoming, joyous place for us and our family. So this year’s parade will certainly be a special Pride Month celebration for us.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
While there are too many inspirational LGBTQ+ activists to mention here, I do want people to remember the role of allies in the effort. I have been particularly influenced and inspired by the work of allies like Judy Shephard who, after the tragedy of losing her son Matthew to homophobia and hatred, founded an organization that has done immeasurable good in the fight for LGBTQ rights, protections, and equality.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
People need to speak up and get involved in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We have seen a resurgence of efforts across the country to undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, especially targeting the trans community. It is unacceptable and people who want to be true allies need to raise their voices and fight those efforts year-round. Everyone has the power to stand up for what’s right, with their financial choices, their vote, and their political involvement. Now is the time to advocate in every way possible so we can stop efforts to discriminate in their tracks.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
As a former small business owner, I think the most important thing businesses can do is create a strong company culture of inclusivity, transparency, and accountability. While the goal is for all LGBTQ+ employees and patrons to be welcomed and treated equally, the reality is that no workplace or person is perfect, so it’s essential to create a company culture of transparency with clear mechanisms to address any shortfalls, so people feel comfortable coming forward.

Tamika Mapp New York lgbtq

Tamika Mapp

Founder, Progressives Educating New Yorkers

Tamika Mapp New York lgbtq

Tamika Mapp is the founder for Progressives Educating New Yorkers, a military veteran, a true entrepreneur, and a community activist who is now running for State Assembly. Tamika has fought hard for every success — overcoming adversity with perseverance. Tamika supports small business owners through the complexities of funding, financials, risk assessments, and business survival. She imparts directions to maximize business growth through ongoing strategies. Tamika tells business owners that during this uncertainty and hardship, there are opportunities to make changes. 

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
The parade because it’s like a big coming-out party.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Here are some items corporations can do to support LGBTQ+ year-round: have strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies; commit to inclusive hiring practices and goals; and embrace opportunities to create safe spaces.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Businesses have to tackle bias through employee and leadership training processes and then practice inclusive leadership in a safe team environment that you created together.

Andrea “Andy” Hong Marra

Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Andrea “Andy” Hong Marra is the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights organization that fosters connections to pro bono legal services for transgender people. Prior to joining TLDEF, Marra worked with a number of LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, including the Arcus Foundation, GLSEN, and GLAAD. She has been honored by the White House for her significant work fighting for the LGBTQ community. She currently sits on the boards of Freedom for All Americans and Just Detention International. 

Dwight McBride The New School lgbtq

Dwight McBride

President and University Professor, The New School

Dwight McBride The New School lgbtq

Dwight McBride (he/him) is president of The New School. An award-winning author and editor, he co-edits the James Baldwin Review and The New Black Studies at the University of Illinois Press. McBride is co-founding director of the Academic Leadership Institute and serves on the boards of the Institute for International Education and the Dan David Prize, and is a member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
I joined The New School in March 2020 just as New York City went into COVID lockdown, which created limitations to the opportunities to celebrate Pride Month. This year I am excited to participate in the numerous in-person activities around New York and am honored to have joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Councilmember Erik Bottcher at an event recognizing the beginning of Pride Month 2022.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Two intellectual giants come to mind. The first is James Baldwin. I have learned more from Baldwin about what it is to be “black,” “gay,” and “American” than perhaps from any other source. I have also learned from Baldwin how to use these categories — designed to imprison me (and others like me) — in the struggle for liberation. The second is Urvashi Vaid, a friend, activist, intellectual, leader, and organizer par excellence. Urvashi’s commitments to LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, antiracism, and to organizing and leading institutions in doing the work of social justice inspire me still.

What can people or corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
It is important for leaders to speak about sexual orientation as a category when we talk about diversity and inclusion. Literally naming it by saying “we want our organization to be welcoming and productive for ALL our colleagues regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion” is powerful and important. We must also be committed for the long term and continue to be vigilant to ensure our efforts are enduring. Equity and inclusion aren’t destinations, they represent the journey en route to becoming the “beloved community,” of which Dr. King spoke and to which we aspire.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
When I think about inclusion, I don’t begin by thinking about it as a problem . It is a process and an opportunity for us to create stronger societal institutions — institutions that can source talent from broad backgrounds, that are working to create a more equitable world, that model how people from diverse cultures and backgrounds can live and work together, and institutions that are antiracist, anti-homophobic, and anti-patriarchal.

Joseph McMillan lgbtq

Joseph McMillan

Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Azur | DDG

Joseph McMillan lgbtq

Originally from a small town in rural Pennsylvania, Joe McMillan (he/him) knew no one LGBTQIA+ and then joined the U.S. Army before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Later, upon graduating college and moving to New York, he slowly came to terms with his sexuality while working in investment banking and private equity. He has since founded several companies, including two in real estate that he runs today, Azur Holdings and DDG. Joe endeavors to, and each of us should, give back and provide a positive environment for young people to embrace their individuality.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
The NYC Pride March.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Two real-life and real-time inspirations for me are Sir Elton John and Darren Walker. Elton is Elton, one of the greatest artists of all time. Elton and the Elton John AIDS Foundation have done more for HIV and AIDS awareness, treatment, and prevention than practically any entertainer or organization on the planet. And Darren Walker is a force unto himself. He leads the Ford Foundation by example and has shown how compassion and focus can drive lasting fundamental change.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
Accept and embrace all individuality, whether it be LGBTQIA+ or otherwise. The more open and accepting we are of other’s differences, the better we are as individuals and society. So don’t just accept LGBTQIA+, but accept all people, no matter what their differences or particular situation. We all have a story to tell.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Organizations need to embrace and encourage individuality. We all bring a wealth of different experiences and perspectives. By listening and allowing these differences to thrive, it makes for better and more profitable business, and better outcomes for society generally.

Javier Medrano Letitia James

Javier Medrano

Regional Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of the New York State Attorney General

Javier Medrano Letitia James

Javier Medrano (he/him) is the regional director of intergovernmental affairs for the New York State Attorney General Letitia James. He represents the Attorney General in the community throughout the region, where he coordinates with local, state, and federal elected officials, agencies, and external organizations. He serves as an expert in the region, advising the Attorney General and staff on local issues, political dynamics and other matters. Javier holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of London and a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Entrepreneurship from Appalachian State University.

What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
My favorite Pride celebration is the NYC Pride March. It’s a day we all come together as a family to celebrate each other and show the world we are here! The energy you feel walking the parade is indescribable.

What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
Ricky Martin.

What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
To support our community, corporations should fund programs that help our LGBTQ+ homeless youth, programs that help them find long-term housing and educational programs.

How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
By creating mandatory cultural competency programs. And partnering with local LGBTQ+ organizations that can connect employees to resources and education.