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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
▸ Not Insured by the FDIC or any Federal Government Agency
▸ Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, the Bank or any Bank Affiliate
▸ Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested
Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.