I was pleased and honored to be invited to speak at the first meeting of The Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s ALLY group which will provide support to help maintain equitable work environments for all. Here is an article about it from The Dallas Voice – Amy.
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, the Department of Defense’s largest and longest-running retailer, has joined a growing number of government agencies and private companies supporting its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees with the creation of the employee resource group, ALLY.
The group, which aims to provide a supportive and equitable work environment for LGBT employees, held its first meeting June 25 at Exchange headquarters in Dallas, in celebration of LGBT Pride Month. The guest speaker was attorney Amy Davis of Christiansen Davis Bullock, an advocate for LGBT issues in the workplace and one of Texas Lawyer’s Top 25 Legal Leaders on the Rise.
“ALLY is the natural progression in the Exchange’s efforts to recognize the contributions and value that each associate brings with them every day of their employment,” said Daryl Hinshaw, executive champion for ALLY and vice president of the Exchange’s Forensic Audits Division. “Not only does the organization want to increase the level of comfort associates have with being themselves, but supporting all of our associates is the right thing to do.”
The organization seeks not only to unite members of the LGBT and straight communities in search of a more welcoming and inclusive workplace, but to provide insight and input into what products and services might attract more LGBT customers.
The Exchange offers products and services on military installations worldwide, encompassing more than 3,100 facilities including retail stores, Express convenience stores and fueling stations, and retail concession and vending services. Its Dallas headquarters employs approximately 3,400 associates.
“Involvement by straight associates is vitally important because we can’t build an open, honest and productive work environment without our co-workers, supervisors and executives supporting the effort,” Hinshaw said. “Their involvement helps provide the assurance that many of our LGBT associates need in order to be comfortable enough to not leave a part of themselves at home when they leave for work.”
The first proposal for a LGBT organization at the Exchange was in 1998, shortly after an executive order from President Bill Clinton prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by federal employers. Efforts to establish the organization go back 15 years, he said, adding that working at the Exchange was a way for many openly gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country before the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011.
“LGBT associates have always been an important part of this organization and, while ALLY has been long overdue, we’re proud that we’re finally able to formally step out of the closet as a recognized employee resource group,” he said.