Sue – our Westford, Massachusetts-based VP – is our guest this week, in one of the last ‘Meet the Board’ interviews.

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

I would have to say Portugal. My Dad’s is Portuguese and in 2001 my parents, my partner at the time and I were suppose to go to Portugal for 2 weeks. We had planned the trip for a year then 9/11 happened. We decided to cancel the trip and I have never had the chance to reschedule it.

What sport do you practice?

From a very young age I was involved in sports, I played Field hockey, basketball and softball from Junior High school through High School. In college I played Field Hockey and Softball and learned to play Racquetball. I continued to play Softball and Racquetball until I was 40 then my knees and my body could no longer take the wear and tear so I learned to play Golf. In the Northeast part of the US you are limited by weather as to how long the golf season is, but I take full advantage when the weather is good and play as much as I can. I enjoy being outside playing on different courses and meeting new people on the course. I really haven’t had a bad experience playing with anyone that I have met and I have played in a few different parts of the United States. Last summer I started Kayaking and love it. So I get the best of both worlds on land and sea.

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

From 1998 through 2008 I worked at a manufacturing facility in Massachusetts. I had many different job functions there including Managing the Customer Service team and the Material Planning team. The one that I feel had the greatest impact at ALU was when I was the Manager of the Warehouse. We were responsible for getting product in the door so that the manufacturing shops could build the part to ship to customer. We were responsible for inventory, getting orders shipped to the customer on time, processing customer’s repairs through the system and providing support for different organizations throughout the building that needed help from our group. At the end of each day and especially at the end of each quarter we were responsible for making sure that the customer orders were delivered on time. At the end of each quarter we made sure that we did not leave until the last possible part that could ship left the building and we were able to capture revenue for the company. I guess knowing that my team help contribute to the bottom line of the company made that my greatest impact to ALU.

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

It was probably the summer of 1993, I was at a Diversity Training in Connecticut with my work group. It was the end of the first day of training. We were taking a break but the instructor explained that the next section everyone was going to line up in a line based on where you fit in the world as of that day. Example White men tended to be at the front of the line, Women possible in the middle, people of ethnicity after the women and GLBT people in my eyes and my heart fell toward end of the line. I went up to instructor and told him that I probably would not participate in that section because I was not ready to come out to everyone and did not want to lie about where I fit on the continuum. I left the class and went to call a close friend to ask for his opinion. I decided it was time to come out. So I went back into the class and my boss at the time somehow was role playing that she was a GLBT employee and starting explaining what it was like in the workplace. I decided I needed to step up and speak out. So I interrupted her and came out to everyone. It was an experience I never will forget. A lot of positive comments and hugs from my co-workers and a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. When I got back some months later I saw something about the EQUAL! Conference in Boston and decided that I wanted to get involved with the group. I was located in Boston at the time and the Massachusetts group was in North Andover so I became a member. It was not until my job changed and I was working in North Andover that I got really involved in EQUAL! And eventually was elected as one of the Massachusetts Leaders and then eventually became the Treasurer for EQUAL!. When I was close to losing my job as they were closing the manufacturing plant I decided to resign as treasurer. I then found a job within the company and decided to get back involved in EQUAL! and now I am one of the EQUAL! Female Vice Presidents.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

I am a sap when it comes to movies making me cry. I cry at Hallmark commercials but if I had to pick one movie I would say it would be Beaches. The friendship those two women shared and the ups and downs of their relationship was something I admired. It reminds me of the relationship with my best friend for over 30 years and the ups and downs we have had and the support we have given each other during our lives. As for movies that make me laugh, I have a couple of favorites. I loved League of their Own which was about the beginning of the Women’s professional baseball League during the war and the ups and downs of their first season. One of the best sayings in that movie that that I love the most is – Crying are you crying there is no crying in baseball. My other favorite is The Replacements about a group of guys who come in and play professional football while the real teams are on strike. I guess you can say I am a sports nut through and through.

It took some time to iron out some technical issues, but we are now able to have our former members (whether retirees or not) ‘re-join’ our Chapters mailing lists!

To do so, do get in touch via the Contact form and we’ll get you started.


Photo credit: eMail by Esparta Palma, on Flickr (under Creative Commons license).

We stay in New Jersey this week with Brian, based in Murray Hill!

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

China. I have been studying Mandarin Chinese for three years, and I am to the point where I can hold simple conversations and even read and write a few hundred characters. I would love to visit China and improve my Mandarin even more. In fact, I would love to spend a few months or even a year there.

What sport do you practice?

My favorite sport is Skiing, and since I learned to ski at a young age and spent nearly every weekend doing it when I was young, I’m pretty good. One of my favorite things is to visit a new mountain and just go where my skis take me. I also love the peace and tranquility of cross-country skiiing.

What is your link to GLBT?

I am a gay man who came out to my family and friends when I was a sophomore at the University of New Mexico. I met my partner Jorge in 1991, and we have been together ever since, going on 21 years.

If you were CEO for a day – what would you try to accomplish?

If it were possible in one day, I would bring to our company a true spirit of service to others that breaks down the cultural and group identity barriers that sometimes separate us. Often we find ourselves faced with a problem or an issue that we think originated somewhere else, and we want to push it back where it came from. If we resist that urge and dig in to help, then we all benefit and the company benefits.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

I love the movie “The King of Masks” (变脸 or Biàn Lian), a Mandarin language film about an elderly street performer who is an expert in the art of Chinese Opera bian lian (quick mask change). He has no heir to pass along his art, and the story is about his journey to find an heir, and the life lessons of acceptance that he learns along the way. It is a beautiful movie, and it brings out my emotions in a wonderful, uplifting way.

This week, meet Dotti – EQUAL!’s Secretary, based in Murray Hill, NJ.

What animal scares you the most?

Man scares me the most! We are the only animal that kills for no reason, that shows prejudice, and is greedy. We are the only animal which feels free to waste our natural resources and refuses to face the reality that the resources of this world are, in fact, limited – not limitless.

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

I’d love to visit England, Wales, and Ireland – but that may be because I feel like I wouldn’t get lost since we (almost) speak the same language!

And then there is France. When I was in high school – several decades ago – I went with my French class to France. We traveled to Paris, Normandy, Mont St. Michel, Versailles, and several other locations. We visited castles and saw the stained glass windows of Notre Dame de Chartres. I’ve never forgotten these places. My friend and I walked all over Paris and we had such a great time!

I’d love to return to France with my spouse, Teri. Teri’s interest in France began when she and I watched a TV show about Brittany – the Travel Channel show, “Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations”. Teri was so impressed by the landscape, the people, and the food, she has now joined me in my hope to return to France one day.

What job or task do you believe has had the greatest impact on ALU?

I would like to think that all my work for ALU has had a good impact on the corporation overall. However, I have to say that I think that my work as a Project Manager in LEOM (Lab Environment and Operations Management) supporting the Murray Hill Wireless labs has had the greatest impact.

My job is to learn about upcoming changes and/or additions to the MH labs, to work with my team to identify and schedule all the necessary tasks to complete the changes, and to monitor the tasks as they’re completed to ensure the work is correct and completed on schedule.

It is my job to help the various test teams meet their schedules and get the latest CDMA/EVDO and LTE releases out to our customers on time and with quality. It’s also my job to make my fellow LEOMers’ work as easy as possible by identifying upcoming lab changes as far in advance as possible, to set priorities, and to make sure all the proper tasks are identified and assigned to the correct LEOM team member. I also do what I can to reduce costs, by finding ways for teams to share equipment and/or reduce the amount of equipment within the labs.

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

Back in 1996/1997, I was working as an independent SAP software consultant. I was also quite involved in the GLBT community here in NJ, so I knew about League, AT&T’s GLBT group. At that time I was offered a position with Lucent in their SAP Center of Excellence. I was very torn about giving up my independence and taking a job with such a large company.

Also back then, Teri and I were planning our commitment ceremony. It was to take place in May, 1997, and we were immersed in looking for gay-friendly places for the ceremony, food suppliers, etc. I started thinking about how gay-friendly the company must be and how great it would be to work for a company with these values.

At that time, Lucent was actually advertising on TV; and while I was pondering whether or not to take the job with Lucent, I saw one of the Lucent commercials. I took it as a sign that I should “go for it!” I accepted the position. Once I joined Lucent, I immediately looked for, and joined EQUAL!. I’ve been involved with EQUAL! ever since.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

This is a hard question! I’ve seen so many movies over the years. One that recently brought me to tears (and to laughter) is “50/50” a movie about a young man who finds out he has cancer. It doesn’t sound like a movie that would make you laugh – but it did! I’d find myself with tears streaming down my face, and then laughing out loud. I highly recommend it!

And then there are the TV shows. “Modern Family” and “Up All Night” are two great shows. I love them! I am the proud Grand mama of Adrian Michele, the daughter of my step-daughter, Denise (Teri’s daughter), and Denise’s spouse (the birth-mother) Nicole. It’s wonderful to see my family reflected in the characters of “Modern Family”; and “Up All Night” shows me that everyone has the same hopes, dreams, and concerns about the children in their lives!

We’re back this week with Ryk, our long-time board member and current Northern Illinois chapter representative – based in Naperville.

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

When I first heard about a LEAGUE at AT&T chapter forming at the Naperville/Lisle campus in 1990, I really wanted to join, but I was terrified about being identified as being gay and that it would lead to be harassed at work and losing friends. When my officemate, who was a straight ally of LEAGUE, started to explain to me in 1992 the significance of the Safe Space magnet that he had just received at a LEAGUE meeting, I knew it was time for me to be involved. I started attending meetings and helping without being visible. I then decided to march in the 1993 Gay Pride Parade in Chicago with LEAGUE and was seen by some high school friends who spread the word. I’ve been involved with LEAGUE and EQUAL! over the years in different leadership roles and I only have one regret and that is that I didn’t join sooner and that I can’t give more to the organization. One LEAGUE/EQUAL! leader once said that the work we were doing in the workplace was changing the world around us. I totally believe that since LEAGUE/EQUAL! was a pioneer GLBT corporate group which led the way for so many others and for positive changes in our workplace and in other companies.

What countries are on the top of your list to visit?

I’ve visited lots of countries, but the ones on the top of my list next are Australia, New Zealand and Greece. I’ve loved something about all the places that I’ve visited: Canada, Bahamas, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rico, Honduras, Belize, England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and China. I would visit some of them again after I finish going through my list of ones I haven’t seen and would like to see.

What is the craziest thing you’d do for the one you love?

I’ve always felt of myself as adventurist and as willing to try anything once, but two of the things that had always terrified me was being in water over my head and putting my face under water in a lake or ocean to see what was there. When my partner first suggested that we go snorkeling and scuba diving while on vacation in the Caribbean, I was at first terrified and then willing to do it for him. I first started snorkeling and found that I liked it. A couple years later I took scuba diving classes and we started scuba diving together. He still has to put up with my fear of sharks and with me running out of air in my tank first, since I breathe harder because of heightened anxiety, which forces him to come up with me sooner than he’d like.

What sport do you practice?

I used to compete as a runner and bicyclist, and I loved to play softball, racquetball, and volleyball. I now do recreational sports: snow skiing, scuba diving, bicycling, and yoga.

Which movies made you cry/laugh the most?

The movies that make me laugh the most are Mr.. Mom, 50 First Dates, Blast from the Past, and George of the Jungle. I watch each at least 3-4 times a year and they still make me laugh. The movies that have made me cry are Terms of Endearment and Brokeback Mountain.