Meet the Board – Kelley Neal.

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

Kelley Neal

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 LGBT 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.