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Pride 2021: Speaking our truth about the LGBTQ+ journey

By: Siemens Corporate Communications

As we come to the end of Pride month, Siemens USA will continue to celebrate and support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies every month. Together, we create a welcoming and inclusive community where everyone can be their true and complete selves at work.  


Our Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) promotes the inclusion, fellowship, and empowerment of LGBTQ+ employees and their allies throughout the Siemens’ global corporate network. Indeed, the Pride ERG actively engages all employees in Siemens corporate life to encourage them to invest their full selves in everything they do.  


We seek to create allyship anywhere we can and encourage everyone in our LGBTQ+ community to be vocal and visible, and feel free to tell their truth. Here are some of their stories:  

Jessica Everest (She/Her/Hers)                                    

National Suppression Operations Manager
1 year with Siemens 


“My first day at Siemens, March 16, 2020, was also the first day most of the world went into lock-down due to COVID-19. I had left my previous job after nearly 16 years. To say I was nervous entering a quite deserted corporate office my first few days is an understatement. However, seeing a Pride ERG banner gave me a sense of belonging. I felt comfortable to be myself. At the end of my first day, I took this photo and sent it to my friend with a message: ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ That banner was a sign that I was exactly where I needed to be, no matter how wrong the timing felt. I was recently given the opportunity to serve as the National Co-Chair for the Pride ERG in the U.S. alongside Jason Montgomery and I look forward to a future full of possibilities.” 

Jason Montgomery (He/Him/His)                                  

Senior Consultant, Global HR Strategy
6.5 years with Siemens


“As a bi-racial gay man, I have been fortunate to have the full support of my leadership and peers during my time at Siemens. Having the opportunity to engage with DEI topics at Siemens USA and now serve as a National Chair for the Pride ERG in the U.S. has been so rewarding. There are always continuous improvements to be made because I hear the experiences of others in the community who are not out at work. My LGBTQ+ colleagues and I know what it feels like to continuously come out in the workplace. I strive to help us create a workplace where everyone can be their authentic self. The Pride ERG community is here as a resource for everyone no matter where they are on their journey.” 

Gina Hawkins (She/Her/Hers)

Candidate Experience Specialist 
5 years with Siemens 


“When I was a little girl, my mother was an ally. At that time, I would have not understood what that means, but my mother made it easy and always referred to her best friends that were members of the LGBTQ+ community as family. Throughout my life my mother was the example of what it means to love and accept everyone for who they are. And just like my mom, I decided I would be an ally.” 

Ray McCleary (He/Him/His)

Head of EHS, Smart Infrastructure 
Siemens Pride Executive Sponsor  
11.5 years with Siemens


“This is my son, Alex, and I couldn’t be more proud of him! Just as I want him to live his life being who he is—an openly gay man—I want you to know who I am: an ally who doesn’t ever want to see anyone discriminated against, judged, or be treated as less than equal for being their true selves.” 

Stacey Gordon (She/Her/Hers)

Customer Service Coordinator 
2.5 years with Siemens


“Even though I’ve only been with Siemens a short time, it is absolutely wonderful to work for a company that encourages you to be you, 100 percent of the time. I was only at my office for two months when we had our Christmas party. I brought my girlfriend with me, and we were both very nervous because coming out to a whole group of people is still not an easy thing to do. But we were very much welcomed, and I am truly proud to work with such an amazing group of people and an amazing company.”

Serena Jamison (She/Her/Hers)

Import Free Trade Agreements & Regulatory Compliance Specialist, 
Siemens Industry Inc. 
8 years with Siemens 


“My journey with Siemens USA has been very fulfilling and helpful. The company provided me the support to look within myself. Siemens also offered such an atmosphere of inclusion and diversity that I felt inspired to finally be open about who I am, a vibrant transgender colleague who has found an amazing reservoir of love for herself and her work community. I am so very grateful to be able to bring my vulnerability to the workplace, to be able to tell my management and teammates who I truly am.  My management and coworkers here at Siemens have been respectful and supportive as I have found my authenticity. I am so thankful for the positive impacts that my coworkers have helped me reach in my life!”

Tom Altavilla (He/Him/His)

HR Lead, Smart Infrastructure  
10 years with Siemens 


“When I started at Siemens as an intern, I was trying to navigate acceptance and openness in my personal life. Coming out to my friends and family as a young adult while starting my career was personally challenging. However, I knew that at Siemens I would be free to be my true self at work. I am proud to work at a company where inclusion and belonging are key priorities.”

Phillip Pagels (He/Him/His)

Director of Corporate Accounting 
8 years with Siemens


“Well before becoming a Siemens employee over eight years ago, I was a brother, a nephew, and a friend of loved ones who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I was raised to not only accept all differences in beliefs, opinions, and preferences among people, but to embrace such diversity, with no judgement. I was taught how beautiful inclusion and acceptance can be. However, I am also well aware of the existence of miseducation, misinformation, and discriminatory views related to the LGBTQ+ community. My hope is that great companies like Siemens, open minds of current and future generations, and even my own children will help drive true action to support openness, acceptance, and inclusion—for all. I am an ally. Siemens is an ally. One love!”

Taylor Vick (He/Him/His)

Senior Remote Support Specialist 
10 years with Siemens


“Going on ten years with Siemens, I am honored to work for a company that truly values all of its employees and empowers them to be their authentic self at work. As a gay man, I struggled with coming out in my personal life. Three years into my career, Siemens helped me relocate from Minneapolis to Seattle, and this was a huge first step in the coming-out process for me. Since I finally came out in 2018, the support of my coworkers and the company has been truly amazing. Not having to worry about hiding who I am at work has provided me with opportunities that would have otherwise been nearly impossible to reach. Siemens understands that diversity and inclusion are two of the most important tenets of employee success.”

Nicole Windsor (She/Her/Hers)

Service Operations Supervisor, Siemens Industry U.S. 
7 years with Siemens


“Growing up in Atlanta, I was lucky enough to have gay friends who got me involved in Pride parades and events from a young age, so being a supporter has been part of who I am. Imagine my surprise when a coworker came out to me and I realized I had absolutely no idea how to support them at work. It was an eye-opening moment for me—I felt like an absolute hypocrite and knew I had to be better for myself and my team. I am so thankful for the Pride ERG because it offered a springboard into education and networking. I am an ally because each and every person deserves to be their authentic self at work.”

Tony Schaefer (He/Him/His)

Senior Training Principal, Building Technologies 
18 years with Siemens


“As an ally, I have had heart-to-heart talks with cis-coworkers who don’t understand the issues our LGBTQ+ coworkers face daily. I have found that many times the disconnect is as simple as people not being aware of societal injustices and interpersonal judgements. Even when someone admits they are aware of unequal policies or legal discrimination, they often cannot see how it affects them, too. I use my role as an ally not to speak on behalf of LGBTQ+, but to speak as a cis-male with compassion and empathy; to help my cis-coworkers understand that there is no valid reason for injustice or discrimination of any kind; to remind them that it is not acceptable to fight for their rights but stand idly by while others are denied.”

Peter Torrellas (He/Him/His)

Partner/Vice President, Siemens Advanta 
18 years with Siemens


“I became an ally to the LGBTQ+ community two years ago when my daughter asked if I would give her a car ride to the local Pride parade. She took that moment to come out, identifying herself as cis-gender queer. I was surprised—the words she was using to describe herself were new to me, even as my understanding of the community had been evolving over time. Since that moment, three things remain unchanged: my complete and unconditional love for my daughter; my total support for her in life’s journey; and the pride I felt knowing that she had the courage to go to the parade and take a public stand—to advocate for herself and others. I have since learned of other family members in the LGBTQ+ community, and my alliance has only grown stronger.”  

Paul Pochin (He/Him/His)

Financial Audit Director 
3.5 years with Siemens


“My overall experience of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community at Siemens has been positive. Moving from a Big-4 firm in New York City to Siemens, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. However, in CFA, even if I don’t shout about it, I’ve felt nothing but acceptance. I’ve been comfortable to be open with colleagues, which has been great. I’m really happy to see the existence and promotion of various Employee Resource Groups (ERG), especially the Pride group! While I think there’s still more to be done to increase awareness and visibility, I’m proud to work for a company that values diversity and inclusion.”

Bill Locke (He/Him/His)

SOP IT Project Manager II 
4 years with Siemens


“My Siemens pride story started before I joined the company. A friend, an employee of Siemens, asked for my help volunteering with the Siemens booth at the Atlanta Pride festival back in 2015. I was very impressed with how inclusive the company is. Fast-forward to April 2018, when I started working at Siemens. I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of the Siemens Pride ERG. I am one of the co-chairs for the Atlanta Pride Committee here at Siemens. I have worked for other large corporations that have pro-LGBTQ+ policies, but Siemens actually sees the inherent value of employees of differing races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. It makes sure that their voices are heard and that their experiences make the company a better workplace and a leader in innovation.” 

Deborah Forssman (She/Her/Hers)

Head of IT Americas, Integration Management, Americas ERP Value Center, & US IT 
19 years with Siemens


“As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and an executive within the organization, I am committed to creating an environment where all team members feel comfortable to be their unapologetic true selves. A Pride flag is displayed at the entrance of our office as a reminder of that commitment. I stand to uphold these values both at home and in the workplace. Whether it be through policies, awareness, or events, I am so proud to be part of an organization like Siemens that takes a stand for equality and inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ team members.” 

RuthAnn Tobin (She/Her/Hers)

Service Operations Supervisor 
15 years with Siemens


“When I started at Siemens, I was coming from the U.S. Navy and the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ era. I was very unsure if I wanted to come out at work and how I would be accepted. Once I was more comfortable in my skin as an out person, I made the decision to be out at Siemens. Initially, I was very slow to come out and only to trusted colleagues. Eventually, I was just out, and have been greeted with support and acceptance here at Siemens. I have been fortunate to work for a manager, branch, and company that accepts me for who and what I am.” 

Gaurav Vaishnav (He/Him/His)

Senior Manager, Human Resources/ Lead, Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity, Mumbai 
9 years with Siemens


“As a gay person, Siemens enables me to be my true self at work. The nine-year journey would not have been possible without the support and courage I get from my colleagues and superiors. I have been open to all my managers since I joined and it was heartening to see all of them being receptive and keen to get educated more on the LGBTQ+ community. That smoothed our work relationship and helped me to balance my personal and professional life. We always had strong Diversity Officers who drove inclusion of LGBTG+ at Siemens with passion. Janina Kugel and Siemens India Country Management’s support has been instrumental and guiding force for me to start driving diversity and Pride at Siemens India.”

Andrea Boese (She/Her/Hers)

Global Employer Branding, Siemens AG 
23 years with Siemens


“I learned about the Pride ERG six years ago when management decided that Siemens would participate in the Berlin Pride for the first time. That was a great step forward for a mainly conservative company. I got involved in the LGBTQ+ network in a heartbeat! Since then, engaging in the Pride work has been extremely rewarding. In Germany, the best project that I engaged in was the training for Pride networking colleagues to be mentors who would listen to challenges that occurred in the coming-out process, and reports of discrimination or disrespectful attitudes within the company. I witnessed, step for step, how the awareness of the last six years and the support for the Pride Community grew and homophobia was addressed openly at a very high management level.”