T-Mobile Pride Spotlight: Looking Forward, but Honoring the Past
“Sometimes I think that the Pride Employee Resource Group at T-Mobile found me just as much as I found it,” says Haven Vilminot (They/Them), an HR data analyst and non-binary/transgender T-Mobile employee in Seattle.
When talking about T-Mobile’s Pride is Power 2022 initiative, it’s important to remember how the company’s Pride ERG began and how those simple beginnings continue to have visible effects on its members today, even for those like Haven from the newer Gen Z workforce. Pride participation at T-Mobile began as a grassroots movement before becoming an influential, company-wide commitment.
Back in 2013, some thirty employees from two call centers in Albuquerque took it upon themselves to represent T-Mobile in their local Pride parade. The news of these employees spearheading this participation traveled fast all the way to T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., inspiring another hundred employees to not only march in, but also sponsor the Seattle Pride parade the following year. Today, the ERG boasts more than 13,000 members across 50-plus chapters in the country.
“For me, queer community was something that I had outside of work, but that I wasn’t able to bring into work with me, and that’s a very unsustainable way to live,” says Haven, “but T-Mobile is actually the first place that I’ve ever worked where I felt safe to be all the way out of the closet.”
Haven says one reason for that is T-Mobile is the first place where they had an openly gay boss, who connected them to resources at the company specific to the LGBTQIA+ community.
“For me, Pride Month is a moment, I think, where a lot of us like to pause and think about our history, but it is also a time where I feel particularly moved by being able to imagine futures together as people,” says Haven. “For Pride Month 2022, something that I’m thinking about is the concept of taking a door off the hinges when you go through. Outside of my T-Mobile community, I find myself making sure that I am visible and out and taking that door off the hinges on my way through, so that anybody who comes after me maybe has to do a little bit less of that. We’re building on it for each other everywhere we go.”