More than just an annual parade and festival, Pride is a way of life. It’s the celebration of individuality, diversity, inclusion, and so much more. At Extra Space Storage, we’re proud to support and elevate the voices of our LGBTQIA+ team members and allies. We asked a few of our teammates what Pride means to them; here’s what they had to say.
Gwyn McNeal (She/Her) – Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer
The most important part about Pride is that all our employees get to bring their whole selves to work each day. Specifically, during Pride Month, we get to show our solidarity and support for our LGBTQIA+ employees and make sure they know we appreciate them and are glad that they work with us.
Blake White (She/Her) – Help Desk Technician II
As a trans woman, Pride means messy painted fingernails, eyeliner, an awkward mix of men’s and women’s clothing, and a bow in my hair. It means that the only person who gets a say in how, or what, I should be is me. It means that I get to decide how I want people to see me and how I present myself. And most of all, it means that I get to decide who I want to be and who I am.
Rosario Bibiano (She/Her) – Diversity and Inclusion Specialist
Pride is being a supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community as an ally. Pride means love, inclusivity, and expression. It’s a way for everyone to be their authentic and true selves.
Ty Lyman (She/Her) – Team Lead
I have a son and other friends and family who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Being an ally means supporting and loving those around me that are part of the community. To help them understand that they’re welcomed and that they’re loved, and to support them in any way possible. If I can do anything, I can at least do that and be their advocate and ally.
Michael Duncan (He/Him) – Team Lead
Pride means the inclusivity that we get from Extra Space and the camaraderie and safe space they’ve helped create. It means that I can authentically be myself no matter what room I step into without worrying what somebody might think or say because it has already been predetermined that it’s okay, accepted, and embraced. Pride means always bringing “the fabulous” to work, the love, the positivity, and challenging the way people think and helping them see a better and bigger picture. Pride is every day of my life. Pride is who I am. It’s what I do, and it’s how I choose to go forth in the world.
Whitney Harper (She/Her) – Senior Vice President of People
Pride Month means celebrating all our LGBTQIA+ friends, family, and employees. It means celebrating them, making them feel comfortable, and getting to know all the great things about their community. I’ve had the pleasure of living in many different places around the world, and it’s been fun to experience Pride celebrations in other countries and states. It’s one of my favorite things to do. This year, I’m looking forward to experiencing it here in Utah since I haven’t experienced it here yet due to COVID-19.
Carmen Sostre (She/Her) – Team Lead
As an ally, I stand for unity, unconditional love, and the concept that we are just one race. Pride is about embracing one another, learning from one another, helping one another, and seeking ways to make each other better. I always send prayers and good vibes to my brothers and sisters in the world. One day, I hope we will all stand for unity and unconditional love.
Jessica Strong (She/Her) – Inbound Sales Representative
Pride means love. My daughter got engaged to her girlfriend last year, and it was one of the best moments in my life. We just need to accept everybody and have no more hate in this world. I volunteer for Pride Month every year so that people know how important it is to me. Love means love, and if you’re not accepted, I will hug you—mom hugs all around!
Kent Barns (He/Him) – Team Lead
Pride means a sense of belonging, making sure people are supported, able to feel comfortable in their skin, and able to live the life they want to live. And allyship is a big part of that—making sure our teammates know they are not alone and have a support system. It’s so important that everyone feels included, and Pride Month is a great time to celebrate everyone being able to live the life they want to live and not feel uncomfortable doing it.