SOCIAL JUSTICE & INCLUSION PRACTITIONER AND TRAINER,
DEI CENTER OF EXCELLENCE AT EY (AMERICAS)
Class of 2022 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(She, Her) is 36
What do you believe is your responsibility to this moment in history?
In our movement for equity and justice, it is key to stay inspired, resilient and healthy. So many people I admire and respect haven’t been able to sustain themselves or their motivation, and for good reasons. It can be easy to lose vision for a future where we all have what’s needed to thrive and survive. I’m committed to building coalitions that support individual people and our collective vision for a different, safer and more just, world. Visions become plans, plans become action and action leads to the change we’re working so hard to make real for queer and trans people.
Jamie honors the legacy of her two mothers, both lesbian, and her grandmother who is also a lesbian. From an early age, Jamie understood and experienced what safety and community meant in practice having been raised in a closeted LGBTQ+ family from the 1980s through the early 2000s. Her parents were intentional about forming their family and worked fiercely to protect it within their rural and conservative community, at times to their own detriment.
Navigating in and out of places where their family felt seen and accepted made it even more difficult for Jamie to find the confidence to come out as a young person. She can vividly recall the exact moment she vowed never to be closeted again and her decision to rely on the lessons from her grandmother that freedom and connection can only be found in community. As a young person, her grandmother spoke of driving young men with HIV/AIDS to their appointments and the circles of lesbian women that rallied around men they had never met before to provide support, run errands and change bedding — creating community and family when it was needed most. Her grandmother’s stories provided a map for what works — compassion, understanding and getting to work. She says her grandmother, “led by example, with consideration for every individual experience and ready to listen.” Jamie works every day to try to eliminate the consequences of bigotry and discrimination for others and she carries her grandmother’s approach with her in my role as Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at EY. Whether at work, in her local community or in her personal relationships, she aims to inspire acceptance and accountability in everyone she meets. Jamie knows this is only possible in relationships built on trust and compassion.
Jamie’s hope for the LGBTQ+/SGL community is that the social justice movements and racial reckoning since 2020 are transformed into specific actions that change the lives and legal realities of LGBTQ+ BIPOC people. And that our white LGBTQ+ community members join the fight and demand racial equity in our communities and workplaces. With unprecedented anti-trans and anti-LGBT+ family legislation, as well as staggering losses due to anti-trans violence, Jamie hopes that LGBTQ+ people are able to move beyond basic survival. Instead, she hopes for a thriving and safe lived reality in the workplace, at home and in engaged communities. Jamie reminds us, “we have no choice but to work for this, and it will take all of us to get there.”
Recently, a colleague shared, the following glowing remarks below in her own words:
“What sets Jamie apart from other ‘leaders’ is her insistence of changing systems, policies and procedures and upskilling the people managing those processes which impact marginalized or historically oppressed communities. She has a keen eye for reimagining processes we typically have taken for granted and challenging the status quo. Always asking ‘why’, ‘why now’ and ‘for who,’ Jamie inspires the teams she manages to think differently about how priorities are set and measured. Beyond Jamie’s corporate efforts, she works within the non-profit and higher education spaces to deliver presentations and speak about DEI topics and systems change. Her passion for making a difference drives her to work directly with leaders, aspiring advocates and people with power and privilege to understand the ‘how’ of DEI. After working many years in non-profit and higher education, working with young people including young leaders or students is an area she is especially skilled in. She connects well with young people and understands the idealism that drives them to be change agents, but recognizes the skills gap that exists and thus focuses her efforts in providing tools specifically for building advocacy work into every facet of a person’s life. As a thought-leader and driven advocate, Jamie is particularly interested in mentorship and sponsorship of others. She is constantly building connections between people within her network to support their goals, providing direct career coaching and mentorship or even simply sitting down to help a person develop their first resume. This one-on-one attention that she regularly offers without prompting, is what makes a difference on the individual level, underscoring all her work to change systems and structures.”
Jamie now serves on the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Spirit of Justice Committee and has recently been appointed as a permanent Board Advisor for COLAGE: For Children with LGBTQIA+ Parents & Caregivers.