At ACA, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, creating an environment where people can be their best self in the workplace. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with employees of the ACA ALLiance affinity group. ACA ALLiance was created in 2019 to promote ACA’s core values of diversity and inclusion with a commitment to foster a welcoming workplace for all. Having recently joined ACA as their Chief Human Resources Officer, I am in awe of how welcoming everyone is and the common theme I keep hearing related to the open culture at ACA. Despite coming from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures, all employees can be heard, propose new ideas, and challenge their colleagues – all bringing a fresh perspective with the common goal of ensuring the success of the firm.
In June we celebrate Pride Month – a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the impact they have made in advancing diversity and inclusion. As we prepare to celebrate, I started thinking about what Pride means to me:
Pride is accepting others for who they are; Pride is teaching my children about different types of families; Pride is supporting my daughter’s friend who has two moms and feels different; Pride is crushing the stereotype that dancing is for girls; Pride is standing with my husband’s best friend who doesn’t always feel like he has a place in this world; and Pride is creating an inclusive workplace for all employees at ACA.
I am excited to lead and participate in the many activities ACA has planned to celebrate our employees and their families to help highlight Pride and ACA’s commitment to greater diversity. Our efforts to promote and enhance our diverse workforce does not stop in June – we will continue to create new employee resource groups, promote diversity in all we do, and ensure that all employees can be their authentic self in the workplace.
What does Pride mean to you?
“Pride is a gift from our predecessors, as we benefit from their pursuit of equality in every facet of life. Pride is also an opportunity to continue the journey of advocacy, so we may all live even more equal and inclusive lives.” – Allison Charley, Senior Principal Consultant
“Pride is reminding the world who you are, and that you are here to stay and continue loving whoever makes you happy. We are all entitled to love, no matter the form.” – Natalia Taylor, Consultant
“Pride is a reminder to not edit or second guess being your fully authentic self. For some it is a bright and loud celebration, for others it is more of a quiet contentment. Pride is a time to celebrate victories toward equality and to recognize there is much work still to be done. Current events poignantly remind me that even within our community, BIPOC members face additional injustice on top of LGBT+ battles that are shared. To me, Pride is about representation and advocacy for everyone because we recognize the value of all lives.” – Josh Zimmerman, Senior Data Analyst
"Our best client service often results from bringing our full selves to bear on their challenges – not just our analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills, but our personalities, our preferences, and our identities. My experience (and voluminous research) shows the more diverse these backgrounds, the more thoughtful our solutions for clients. ACA celebrates Pride Month through that lens – gender and sexual choices are part of who we are, and we channel those to enrich each other and the clients’ work. To my LGBTQ colleagues and allies: also know you inspire others who don’t feel comfortable being out in their own workplaces – amplifying your impact on our communities." – Shvetank Shah, Partner and Chief Executive Officer
“Pride means safety and acceptance. It reminds me that I don’t have to feel isolated or ashamed about who I am, and that there are plenty of people out there who understand the struggles that come with being different. It also means an opportunity to celebrate together as a community and witness the transformative power that community building has.” – Matthew Macar, Data Analyst
"To me, Pride means celebrating the beauty in everyone and honoring the struggle for equal civil rights by the LGBTQ community, as we work together to embrace our diversity and make the world better every day." – Carlo di Florio, Partner and Global Chief Services Officer
“Pride to me is about creating a new normal, for people who have had to live outside the hetero-normative parameters that we have come to accept as the only truth. But truth is individual, different for everyone, and though some of us can settle with our own truths in private, pride allows us to celebrate individualism and love, for both self and anyone you want to love.” – Linnea Donahugh, Operations Associate
“Pride means appreciating oneself and appreciating others for each individual’s unique characteristics that create the beautiful rainbow that is humanity.” – Breanna Pollard, Principal Consultant
“Pride means my brother can be proud of 'who' he is, rather than 'what' he is.” – Dee Stafford, Managing Director of Client Development
“It is a celebration of being free to be me and letting my light shine!” – Joyce Martineau, Senior Principal Consultant
“Pride means leaving ignorance behind and celebrating people for every bit of who they are.” – Gina Galang, Senior Adviser
“Pride is a time to remember and be thankful for the people who came before me, who had so much to lose, but still committed themselves to trying to make the world a place where all types of diversity are celebrated and everyone has the same protections.” – Jennette Banks, Senior Marketing Manager
“Pride has always held a special place in my heart, and from an early age it always meant one thing: togetherness. For me, this is always the time of year where family and friends from all walks of life come together to celebrate being different, regardless of what that difference is. Everyone is welcome, everyone is celebrated, and everyone feels loved!” – John de Freitas, Senior Principal Consultant
“Pride means openly declaring that I support the rights and equal treatment of all people, regardless of their sexual or gender identity. Pride means helping to create a workplace where no one is afraid or ashamed to express who they are.” – Kim Daly, Partner
“Pride is not centered simply around one’s gender, color, sexual orientation, or creed. It is the gratitude of one’s self reflection on achieving life’s accomplishments that had been afforded to all human beings.” – Nick Prokos, Partner
“Pride is a reminder of how powerful I am. There is nothing more powerful than being your true self.” – Valeska Andrade, Data Analyst
About the Author
Carrie Yonenson is the Chief Human Resource Officer at ACA Compliance Group. Carrie oversees all Human Resource, Training, and Diversity programs at the firm.
ACA is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against current or prospective employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, pregnancy, child birth, or a related medical condition, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, veteran status, citizenship, ancestry, genetic information, or any other characteristic prohibited by law.