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Equus Celebrates Pride Month – Meet Karen O’Connell

June is Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and an intentional time to recognize the challenges this community has overcome. Equus is proud to stand in pride with our LGBTQIA+ employees and partners, celebrating their courage and accomplishments during Pride Month and year-round.

We’re recognizing PRIDE throughout the entire month of June by celebrating Equus team members who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community and sharing their insights.

Meet Karen O’Connell

Vice President of Business Development Proposals

What does PRIDE mean to you?
PRIDE is an acknowledgment of the historical and ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ people to exert the freedom to be who we are publicly, socially, and professionally and to feel safe, accepted, and respected in doing so.

What does acceptance look and feel like for you at work?
Not everyone feels able to engage transparently in casual small talk about their personal lives in a professional setting. In my work, I can say aloud “my wife” without fear of negative judgment or recrimination. I’ve walked with co-workers in our local PRIDE parade carrying our work banner, feeling seen and welcome. As a woman who did not come out until far into adulthood, I can personally attest the power of such comfort should not be underestimated.

How does Equus help you feel like you belong?
I am grateful to be part of a leadership team that values diversity and is actively working to understand and address issues in equity and inclusion. The Equus partnership with Workforce180 to create a Business for Women Certification, for example, has been an incredibly inspiring initiative. Such efforts take action to recognize and seize the opportunity for enrichment by valuing gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and cultural differences.

What do you hope to see for the future of the LGBTQ community?
Representation continues to be a powerful catalyst for individuals and communities. Seeing LGBTQ+ people and demonstrative allies in leadership positions can propel us all forward in meaningful ways. I look to the future with great ambition and determination.