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Diversity & Inclusion
June 24, 2021

We are stronger together

Wells Fargo employees expound on what the theme of this year’s Pride Month means to each of them.

The unofficial theme of Pride Month 2021 is “We Are Stronger Together,” and many Wells Fargo & Company employees have been thinking about unity, commonalities, and their own personal experiences as they reflect on this theme. Hear from several of these employees, representing a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, as they share their interpretations of the theme as well as their thoughts on the importance of allyship.

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Juan Lopez, senior communications consultant, Brand Communications

Santa Barbara, California — Identifies as a gay, Latino cisgender man; a first-generation American; and a husband

I think about the diversity within diversity of a community. You can’t tell yourself, ‘I am just gay,’ ‘I am just Asian,’ or ‘I am just Latino.’ We are made up of several different kinds of ‘us.’ We are stronger together, and we are in it for each other.

 two men in pink and blue blazers hold small bouquets of flowers in front of a multicolored backdrop and gold armchair
Juan Lopez with husband Kevin at “An Evening Among the Roses,” Los Angeles Pride’s kickoff event.
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Ketty Avashia, engineering senior manager, Enterprise Functions, Technology, Platform Integration

Gujarat, India — Identifies as a straight transgender man

I first came out when I started working in the U.S. at the age of 23 or 24, but it wasn’t until I was 31 that I decided to tell my parents. It took them four or five years to be completely on board with it, and now they have a good relationship with my girlfriend. Being different in any way or form is a diversity dimension — every region, culture, or experience comes with a new mindset, expression, insight, or belief system. It’s the cumulative effect that makes us strong and enriched.

 Ketty Avashia is wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and sunglasses and is parasailing with a rainbow-colored chute.
Ketty Avashia, of Gujarat, India, parasailing.
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Monique Evans, EquipFin transaction coordinator, Commercial Banking Operations

Dallas — Identifies as transgender

Safety, emotional support, financial stability, and living with a purpose are commonalities we all share. For me, being transgender doesn’t change that — it adds to it. There’s a greater emphasis on the need (and command) for respect because for far too long we have lived (and still do) in constant fear of being our true, authentic selves. Visibility is more than just having a seat at the table. It is about those at the table truly recognizing the struggles we, as a community, have endured to this point and how much more progress we have to make.

 Monique Evans and two friends at a Pride event. The person on the right is holding Pride flags. Evans is holding a sign saying 'you are empowerful.'
Monique Evans, center, with friends at a Pride event.

Ian Gabrinao, business initiatives manager, Consumer Lending

Manila, Philippines — Identifies as a gay cisgender man from a conservative Catholic family and country

There are a lot of hate crimes happening in the transgender community, and I would love to get more allies involved in standing together and saying, ‘No — enough is enough.’ We all need to be standing up together and talking about how we all deserve human rights because we are human beings.

 Two men wearing glasses and smiling are standing with a crowded city behind them.
Ian Gabrinao of Manila, Philippines, with his partner Aloysius Domingo.
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Jason Vasquez, business initiatives consultant, Communications and Brand Management

New York City — Identifies as a gay man

I consider myself to be an extremely fortunate and blessed person. I have an incredible network of friends who help me think outside of the box all the time, and I am surrounded by coworkers who challenge me. We, as individuals, have the will, the tools, and the capabilities, and if we are fortunate enough to also have family — chosen or otherwise — and friends, I believe we can really achieve anything.

 A younger Jason Vasquez is wearing a white jacket with dark stripes, and is standing on the balcony of a building in downtown San Francisco. The skyline and street are seen behind him.
Jason Vasquez, when he was in his mid-20s, enjoying San Francisco.
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Ellen Palafox, business initiatives consultant, Enterprise Complaints

Manila, Philippines — Identifies as a lesbian

When I say we are stronger together, I think about the strength of the whole LGBTQ community, its allies, and any people who are respectful of others. Everyone has the potential to be stronger together. I have experienced that myself, as I navigated my own journey of self-acceptance. 

 Three people are outdoors and smiling at the camera, with a mountain view behind them.
Ellen Palafox, far right, with her mother and partner.
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Ben-James Brown, Regional Banking district manager, Consumer and Small Business Banking

Washington, D.C. — Identifies as gay, Black, and a father

I think we all need to look at what part we are playing, to get to know what is happening from other points of view. I’m hopeful that after all is said and done with Coronavirus and we have all had time to think about our interactions and our journeys, that we will find we are doing things a bit differently.

 Young man in a white t-shirt with his arm slung around shoulders of an older man, his father, in a beige shirt.
Ben-James Brown, of Washington, D.C., with his son.
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J.D. D’Amore, Regional Banking district manager

New York City — Identifies as gay, cisgender, and biracial

Growing up as a biracial man, I really tried to identify those intersections of Black and white and advocate for other groups. We have seen, as a nation, there are times when other minority groups need our support. It really takes all of us to identify when we need to stand together and support others, especially when they are facing challenges, in order to move forward.

 Two men stand before a skyline at night in dark tuxedo suits.
J.D. D'Amore, of New York City, with his husband.
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Suzie Asmar-O’Guin, Internal Net Promoter System leader, Human Resources

St. Louis — Identifies as a gay, Puerto Rican woman

I feel like over the last five years there has been a coming together to try to build a critical mass to advance rights for different and varying marginalized communities. Sometimes there are just things that are right and things that are wrong. By recognizing this and working together, we can do so much more, for so many.

 A woman with double hoop earrings and shell necklace leans in for a photo with a woman with short hair wearing a dark button-up shirt and sunglasses worn headband-style.
Suzie Asmar-O’Guin, right, with her spouse Carrie.
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Jon Weiss, CEO, Corporate and Investment Banking

New York City — Identifies as a straight man

I can’t talk about allyship without talking about my son, who came out as a gay man about 12 years ago, as a junior in high school. It made my support for the LGBTQ community very personal for me — seeing things through his eyes, being challenged on thinking, and also embracing new ways of looking at the world.

I think providing an open and supportive environment for who someone is and how someone thinks and what someone does is important to the strength of any family.  And you can extend this line of thinking to larger groups.

 John Weiss, right, and his son both wear black bow ties and dark tuxedoes and stand before a black printed gala backdrop.
Jon Weiss, right, with his son, who came out to his family 12 years ago.

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