BluePearl Pet Hospital Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month
- June 20, 2022
- by BluePearl Media
Each year, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital stands alongside countless other organizations across the United States in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month. In addition to partnering annually with Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC), BluePearl and its Associates work to build a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EI&D) in its practices each day.
BluePearl understands that celebrating diversity and working to foster an environment of inclusion should not be limited to one month or day. That is why BluePearl continues to make EI&D a priority throughout the year. In 2021, BluePearl created an EI&D Council to serve as the Associate voice, raise awareness, and bring resources to practices nationally.
Some recent actions BluePearl’s EI&D Council has undertaken include:
While companies like BluePearl are taking wide-sweeping actions to bring about more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, individuals are also taking actions – both small and large – to cultivate a sense of belonging at work.
Take for instance, Alexis Canales, Veterinary Technician Lead at BluePearl in Fresno, CA.
Implementing inclusion and diversity in your daily activities is so important, whether at work or in day-to-day life. Helping people to feel they belong and have purpose can truly impact one’s happiness,” said Alexis. “Belonging is so important, having had moments in life where I felt very out of place or unsure of how to fit in. When there is a sense of belonging, it makes for happier, more driven, and productive people. With staff, I make sure to have those one-on-one conversations, especially when I see a member of my team down on themselves or not sure if they provide anything to the team. I make them aware of how much they are appreciated and how much they are needed. A sense of belonging is all some individuals want, they want to know they make a difference, or that they are appreciated.”
Cece de Forest, Client Service Supervisor at BluePearl in Durham, NC, shares a similar sentiment when it comes to belonging in the workplace and adds that being an ally means more than simply learning about issues facing their community: it takes action.
Belonging in the workplace is like belonging anywhere else: if you belong, you don’t need to mask who you are. Hiding parts of yourself is tiring – and that’s energy and focus that prevents folks from being their happiest and best selves at work,” said Cece. “It sounds obvious, but make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who aren’t expecting you to be someone else. Your circle should be full of people who encourage you and are happy to see you grow, but their support and care for you shouldn’t be conditional on that growth. Your circle – friends, family, work – should be full of people who already accept and love you the way you are, not who you may become in the future (or who you were in the past),” Cece added. “If you’re really an ally, you need to consciously be making decisions that support our community all the time. Vote for candidates and legislation that will help and protect our community, even though you’re not a part of it. Know that treating marginalized communities with common decency and respect is the minimum. The bar is low, but ask yourself- are you above it?”
Jonathon Egelin, Licensed Veterinary Technician in Reno, NV (currently: Sierra Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center), shares the ways he practices inclusion and diversity, what belonging in the workplace means to him, and what allyship is really about.
I practice inclusion and diversity everyday by having mindful communication with my coworkers or new trainees. When I am working with a coworker on a task, or simply having a conversation, I engage in active listening and avoid using any assumptions about the other person if I don’t know them to be true. I want to be respectful of how other people identify,” said Jonathon. “Belonging in the workplace is important because everyone wants to feel pertinent in making the hospital run as a whole. If someone is comfortable with working with their peers, their skills will out-shine any of the negative remarks that may be made by nasty coworkers,” he added. “To be a good ally, it starts with acting like an ally not in the presence of LGBTQIA peoples. Standing up for the LGBTQIA community starts with speaking up if you hear or see something that is hurtful to our community or harmful to our community. Also educating yourself on LGBTQIA issues will help people better understand why our community is a minority community as a whole.”
For Tristan Fernstrom, Kennel Assistant at BluePearl in Arden Hills, MN, Mr. Trans Minnesota 2022, and 4th place winner of Mr. and Miss Trans USA, he understands that one of his life’s many purposes is to be out, proud, and visible for those who feel they cannot be. He shares what practicing inclusion means to him, and how belonging in the workplace can improve one’s livelihood.
I practice inclusion by making myself open and available to folks in whatever capacity they may need. I try to be as open and visible as possible as a resource and am always advocating including as many folks as possible to diversify groups. This goes not only for my fellow LGBTQ+ community, but for people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, and anyone else pushed to the margins of society who deserve a seat at the table,” said Tristan. “Belonging in the workplace is important because whether you’re full-time or part-time, management or relief staff, your job is your livelihood. It is much easier to do your job well and ENJOY it when you feel welcome and that you can be yourself. Not every day has to be a pride parade either! Some days just being allowed to exist in peace as a regular member of the team is the most important thing in the world. Being treated as an equal while still being accepted and loved for our differences makes getting through life and work much easier.”
Cian See, Client Service Coordinator at BluePearl in Duluth, MN, always tries to be open-minded and never judges anyone without first getting to know them. He believes that being yourself in the workplace can improve overall mental health, as it allows you to learn and grow while maintaining your individuality. Here’s what else he had to say about belonging in the workplace.
I choose to be willing to learn new things and let people humble me when I am wrong. Being able to be yourself in a work environment can increase overall mental health while in the workplace. If I was unable to express myself to my staff, I don’t think I would be able to learn and grow with the team while also being an individual,” said Cian. “It is important to understand the significance of other people’s pronouns and identity. It might not seem important to you, but it can make someone a lot more comfortable and trusting around you. If you don’t understand something about another person, don’t ask them in front of others, but when they are comfortable. And understand that it is not intended to be insulting when someone does not want to share. Also, remember: It is okay if people choose not to like you. Don’t define your worth based on if someone accepts you; only based on if you enjoy who you are and who you will become.”
At BluePearl, inclusion, diversity, and belonging are top priorities – not only for leadership but for each and every Associate. Through our collective commitment to fostering an environment where everyone can be themselves, more Associates will be able to thrive and succeed personally and professionally. While BluePearl is proud of its progress, it continues to learn and grow, and will continue to take action to recognize and support the LGBTQ+ community.