Embracing Individuality, Building a Community

By Jenny Rogers2020-06-19
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Be yourself.

This phrase — one of our five core values — is one of the first things employees hear upon joining CoverMyMeds.

We embrace our individuality wholeheartedly — and work each day to make our workplace more inclusive than the day before.

One way we support this culture of inclusion is through the leadership of our LGBTQcrew, an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to fostering allyship and educating our staff about the topics, organizations and efforts most important now to the LGBTQ+ community.

We spoke with AJ Burt, LGBTQcrew co-chair, about the group’s work, and how we’ll celebrate Pride this year. Here’s what they had to say.

CoverMyMeds (CMM): Why is it important that CoverMyMeds have this resource for employees?

AJ Burt (AB): The idea for LGBTQcrew began to take form in May 2018, after we brought in a speaker from Equality Ohio to give a four-part LGBTQ+ sensitivity training. The event was so well received at CoverMyMeds that the momentum continued into early 2019 for our inaugural event, Rainbow Talks, LGBTQ+-themed, non-technical lightening talks. One of our core values is Be Yourself – we wanted to create a space at CoverMyMeds that allows for queer folks to be themselves fully.

CMM: The team has been responsible for some noteworthy initiatives in the last year — encouraging staff to add their pronouns to Slack bios, lightening talks focused on allyship and other topics and, of course Pride. What has been your favorite event?

AB: Rainbow Talks. We have some amazing folks at CoverMyMeds, with wide ranges of interests, and it’s special to have that platform to elevate LGBTQ+ and ally voices. We always have nearly 100 attendees, and we cover diverse topics such as polyamory, drag, mental health and changing the prior authorization industry standards to support transgender folks.

CMM: Thinking of these events — like the “Importance of Language” workshop with the Equitas Health Institute — what feedback have you heard from our staff?

AB: The feedback is consistently positive — and the best feedback is an engaged audience asking questions to keep curiosity alive! We’ve answered questions including: “How can I raise my child to be as open-minded as possible?” and “What was it like to have gone through conversion therapy?”

CMM: What defines being a good ally?

AB: Allyship is about remaining curious, listening to folks who identify as LGBTQ+ and elevating their voices and perspectives. Right now, critical allyship should specifically lift the voices of black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) LGBTQ+ voices.

CMM: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the typical Pride Month events have been rescheduled or reimagined. How is CoverMyMeds celebrating Pride remotely?

AB: We have a month of programming lined up, centered around four separate weeks of celebration, conversation, education and imagination. Each week has an event or action. So far, we have made a donation to Black, Out & Proud, an organization advocating for Black LGBTQ+ folks, and we have hosted an open conversation to address racial injustices within CoverMyMeds and the greater Columbus community. Our big event in June is keynote speaker Joseph Osmundson, clinical assistant professor of biology at New York University and host of the renowned LGBTQ+ podcast, Food for Thot. He sits on the COVID-19 Task Force in New York City and will address the intersection of COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ community in his presentation, “What HIV teaches us about COVID-19.”

qcrew AJphoto

CMM: We pride ourselves on supporting and truly embracing diversity of background, ethnicity and thought. What do you see as our responsibilities, and what are the things we need to do to carry this message beyond the “walls” of CoverMyMeds?

AB: Right now, we’re all learning a lot about being part of movements and being allies and advocates in many capacities. Being curious, having new experiences, keeping positive intent and also speaking up when things don’t feel right are all good ways to diversify your mindset within and outside of the CoverMyMeds community.

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