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Archive for January 2012


This week, meet John – our VP based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

What is your funniest experience at work?

I work virtually most of the time and usually from my home. Our 15-year-old cat Maynard has a touch of arthritis which slows him down. He likes to sleep on top of the heater grates to feel better. His favorite spot is on top of the grate right inside the door of the downstairs bathroom. He goes in, gets up on his hind legs to push the door shut and then settles down on the grate. It’s a small space and with the door closed it becomes a sauna which he seems to really like. He is in there for hours. When he wants to leave, he puts his paw under the door and pulls it open. The funny part is that when he is in there I can’t use the bathroom. He pushes back on the door and cries. I have to go upstairs. I find that amusing.

How do you spend free time?

Acquiring skills as a videographer is my current top avocation. I enjoyed making movies as a kid but film was expensive, projectors were hard to set up, editing was messy – it was hard. Now with a iMac for editing and using my iPhone camera I am having lots of fun and it’s easy. I am also gaining experience using more advanced cameras and I look forward to getting myself one that will allow me to do really interesting work.

What job or task do you believe you have had your greatest impact at ALU?

I like to think that all my jobs have had impact. Being in communications it is difficult to get hard, objective feedback but I know how important it is for people both inside and outside the company to know and understand what is going on with ALU. Currently I am a member of the corporate communications writing team. I have had a variety of responsibilities over time but writing is my passion and I am delighted to not have to use a hyphenated string of words to describe what I do but instead just say I am a “writer.”

What triggered your involvement in EQUAL?

I recall that I joined EQUAL soon after I joined Lucent eleven years ago. In my career I have never tried to hide my sexuality but having always worked in relatively small companies I had never had an opportunity to belong to an LGBT organization. When I learned of EQUAL I knew it was something in which I wanted to participate and I am very glad I did. It gives me an opportunity to interact closely with colleagues I would not meet with otherwise and enables me to support our community which I think is very important. I am sorry I never had the opportunity to belong to a local chapter but being part of the ‘At Large’ chapter gives me the chance to get to know people in locations far from Raleigh, North Carolina and that’s fun.

Which movies made you laugh/cry the most?

I am a sucker for the big cry fests of the 80s, especially E.T and Terms of Endearment. I am looking forward to seeing War Horse. My grandfather was a surgeon in the trenches during World War I and the scenes depicting what he experienced are very vivid according to my aunt who has seen the movie. I saw the play on Broadway and was very impressed. Just seeing the War Horse trailer I started to tear up so I expect the full experience will be enjoyably cathartic.

The original La Cages aux Folles still stands as one of the funniest movies I have seen. I remember a friend saying that it was good the movie was subtitled because the audience was laughing so loudly it was very hard to hear the dialogue. I’ve seen three Broadway productions of the show but the original movie is still the funniest.

This week, meet Kelley – EQUAL!’s co-president and long-time board member.

What country is on the top of your list to visit?

Honestly – almost anywhere. What is most surprising to folks is that I’ve never been outside of the US except for a few side trips to Canada. I have never had to travel for work outside the US and my personal travels have only been to see the other great areas in the US. If I were to pick one place I’d want to see, I think it would be to go to Egypt to see the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archeologist and find the next great Pharaoh’s Tomb. It’s still a fascinating topic to me. Science is taking us further and I expect more major discoveries in the years to come in places like Egypt.

What sport do you practice?

I’ve gotten to the age where I’ve stopped playing more competitive and active sports such as volleyball and softball and moved on to golf. I play in a league once a week during the spring and summer as well as casually on weekends. When I get to retirement, I’ll have to find a place where the weather is good for year round golf :-).

What was you funniest experience at work?

It’s hard to say what the funniest experience has been because there are just too many years too think back through. I will say though, that my linkage with EQUAL! and working with the other EBP groups has probably been the most fun part of my job. I’ve had opportunities to go to conferences, meet people from across the globe, and participate in community events and volunteer work. All of these types of activities open up doors to so much more which includes a lot of fun.

What job or task do you believe you have had your greatest impact at ALU?

I feel I have two responsibilities within the company – my day to day job and representing EQUAL! Both of these give me opportunities to contribute to the company. First with EQUAL! – I know that I have helped people understand many aspects of topic of being GLBT and why it’s an important topic in the workplace. Aside from teaching multiple classes over the years, I think the most impactful aspect has been one on one conversations with people. It’s amazing what impact you can make by putting a face on the topic, saying a few words or answering a few questions. You can easily help people’s understanding of something they really don’t know much about. People fear what they don’t understand.

It’s easy to talk about actions that have direct financial contributions to the company. I think though that my most impactful roles probably have had no clear link to finance. I’ve been with the company over 20 years and my very first job here (for about 6 years) was to do development on a signaling test tool called the 2STPE/NCPE. This was a critical piece of testing equipment used to test multiple releases on multiple products across the company and is in fact still used today – helping improve the quality of some of our products daily. 🙂

What is the decisive factor that triggered your involvement in EQUAL!?

Being located on a campus that has always been very active with EQUAL! activities, I started out as an outsider looking in. At the time, I was not out at work and wasn’t ready to be. One of my good friends came to work for the company and started getting involved with EQUAL! As she was “brave” enough to come into a new company and be totally out, it made me think about my own comfort level. Being secure with my position in the company, I made the decision to talk to my closest peer and then my manager. I was supported much more than I gave anyone credit for. I was at an EQUAL! conference a few months later and president of our local chapter within two years. Needless to say, once I jumped in, I jumped in with both feet. I have never looked back.