During Pride 2021, we all watched as companies and brands took part in LGBTQ+ celebrations across the globe. While it's meaningful to see allyship and support from their platforms, advocacy and the showcasing of authentic and diverse representation are important, as well. As Pride month has come to an end, many are questioning how to keep the festivities and the fight going throughout the rest of the year. After all, there's a fine line between meaningfully celebrating Pride as an organization and performative marketing that falls short.
Rather than wait for others to change the landscape, Comcast Advertising on July 14 is hosting Culture Conversations: Pride Beyond a Logo -- a virtual event open to the public in which panelists will discuss sustainable solutions for how organizations can genuinely show Pride and support the LGBTQ+ community all year long. The featured panelists are Comcast Advertising's Vice President, Brand Marketing Paul Martecchini (he/him); Xfinity's Vice President, Multicultural IMC Brand Marketing Jose Velez-Silva (he/him), and Ayiko Broyard (she/her), Executive Vice President, Group Account Director at Walton Isaacson.
I sat down with Martecchini to talk about how and why this event came to be. He identified himself as "a vocal voice of the company" and an out man within the Comcast family.
Martecchini considers himself more of a coach than anything and spoke of listening to those around him, "hearing from them, listening to their challenges about career progression." His deep love of helping others succeed has kept him engaged, using his clout to support, encourage and open doors for others.
It is this internal urge to lead and champion that caused his colleagues to bring the three powerhouses together for this upcoming event. "We had a lot of really great engagement in the communities and with the marketers we work with," Martecchini explained. "The big question, though, was, how do you celebrate pride 365 days a year and do something that makes it not just a one-month effort and focus? I challenged others to think about this and I've also been challenging myself."
Indeed, the upcoming panel came together when all three realized that they had thoughts to share and conversations they wished to participate in. As a result, this trio decided not just to have a discussion amongst themselves but to convene a panel and open the room to anyone interested in growing and learning. "We want to talk about how to get into more substantive kinds of efforts, rather than just logo color treatments or Pride month declarations," Martecchini said.
When asked why this event will be open to the public and not just to one company, Martecchini replied, "You need people in-house who can help the company understand and evolve their thinking, but marketing efforts should be more than that because, as the LGBT+ community evolves, our priorities and focus must evolve, too."
Though he hopes everyone will tune in, Martecchini realizes that some may miss this event but may want some advice on where to start their own workplace allyship. His advice? "Open doors that LGBT+ people may not have been able to open on their own. Make introductions for them. Also, think about the hiring process. Help people to consider candidates more broadly and consider ones with alternative viewpoints so that some allyship can occur in the interviewing process."
Martecchini's recognition of the importance of moving the company culture through systemic change is not something unique, but his enthusiasm for this process is clearly something authentic. This may be because of his own personal identity and his own experience in the workplace.
Asked how it feels to be able to be out at work, his response was enthusiastic and heartfelt. "It's incredibly empowering and it transforms how I come to work every day," he said. "It makes me go the extra mile because I know the company values me as a person and I can bring my whole authentic self to work every day. I don't hold back anything, and I am willing to give more of myself in the workplace, which makes all the difference."
Register here to attend Culture Conversations: Pride Beyond a Logo on July 14 at 3 p.m. ET.
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The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet.