With June being Pride month, we’re all about shining a light on those who foster an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work every day. Leading that charge is our Pride Alliance employee resource group (ERG) members. These employees raise awareness around lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and intersex (LGBTQAI+) issues and provide support and advocacy for creating inclusive work environments.
Adriana Bustamante is among those forging meaningful conversations with coworkers and leaders across GE. Like many, Adriana holds a dual role. She’s a site administrator for GE Aviation in Dayton, Ohio and a full-time mom to four: two stepchildren, Shannon (28) and Shawn (26), and two adopted children, Zayden (6) and Jordyn (5). Adriana and her wife, Karen, fostered the younger two from birth and finalized adopted in 2018.
We virtually connected with Adriana to talk about her involvement with GE’s Pride Alliance ERG, thoughts on inclusion and diversity, and how employees can best provide support to their LGBTQAI+ colleagues.
Why did you get involved in GE’s Pride Alliance? What keeps you involved?
“I got involved completely by accident. My manager at the time was an ally and as I was assisting with her calendar, I asked her about a meeting she had with the Pride Alliance. She offered to have me join her and the rest is history! I began looking for any opportunity to get involved, and with every opportunity I made myself available for, I found that it truly enhanced me both personally and professionally.
I stay involved because my story of staying closeted in the corporate world is not unique. If I’d had opportunities in my previous jobs to have a Pride Alliance, I think I would have been able to come out of my shell, reach others, and help them on their journey. But it’s never too late! I know what this has done for me, so I want to give back and help others at GE be and contribute their true selves to work. Pay it forward.”
What’s one thing about the LGBTQAI+ community that you would like readers to know?
“I would like people to understand that when you think of the LGBTQAI+ community, you should first and foremost consider that we are a community that just wants to be treated like any other. We want the same opportunities and freedoms that ANY human being would want to have. There are people who tend to think about ‘how’ we love rather than ‘why’ we love. There is a tendency to put people in a box; some people think ‘one color’ fits all. I read an article that described it like this: ‘We want the same chance as everyone else to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, be safe in our communities, serve our country, and take care of the ones we love.’”
Why is visibility/representation in the workplace important?
“Having visibility and representation in place for LGBTQAI+ staff makes common sense from a business standpoint as well as an ethical standpoint. Consider working in an environment where all employees feel less stressed and more productive as respected members of a cohesive team. LGBTQAI+ consists of brilliant innovators, collaborators, vast experiences and knowledge, and productive individuals who make a company like GE the company that it is today. I would think this kind of talent is crucial to GE as well as any other organization.”
How can someone be a good ally in (and out of) the workplace?
“Don’t be afraid to stand out as an ally. Remember that if you want to make the world a better place for all people, it takes just one person to show their support and respect to lift others up while you climb. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help a fellow co-worker or colleague. Show support for things that matter to the community you are in alliance with. Be intentional about it. It’s one thing to say you’re an ally; it’s an entirely different thing for people to recognize that in you. That is where you make the biggest impact of all.”