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Text Banner: Authentic Expression, Spotlighting GM Financial's Pride ERG

Authentic Expression: Spotlighting GM Financial’s Pride ERG

This is the second part of a series highlighting GM Financial’s team member-led Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). The mission of these groups is to serve as a resource for employees, to ensure professional development among members and to positively impact the community by achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace. Each ERG is a grassroots initiative created and managed by employees, for employees.

Pride Month is observed each June and is a time to celebrate members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as their supporters and allies. Launched in June 2023, GM Financial’s Pride ERG is a safe space where team members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies come together to amplify their voices and share their perspectives in a welcoming and supportive environment.

Cameron Estrada, chair of Pride’s North American chapter; Daniel Vermillion, co-chair of the NA chapter; and Victor Comune, a member of the Pride International chapter, provided insight into the accomplishments of Pride and how the ERG is helping to foster an inclusive environment.

“To me, the heart of our mission is to create an environment where GMF employees of all sexual orientations and gender identities can inspire, motivate, connect and support one another,” Cameron said.

To fulfill that mission, the leadership committee has organized several events and engaging activities for its members:

  • Dallas Pride Parade: Members and volunteers represented GM Financial by walking in the Dallas Pride Parade, the fifth-largest pride event in the U.S.
  • Allyship — Better Together: An event where guest speaker Dr. Sam Sayed presented on the importance of allyship.
  • Queer Talk: A bimonthly group discussion about diverse queer media such as movies, books and podcasts.
  • Brace Yourself for Pride: An event held across six GM Financial locations in which participants made friendship bracelets in preparation for Pride Month.

During meetings, whether the International or North American chapter, members deepen their knowledge about themes present in society, exchange life experiences and share opinions about the predetermined topics of discussion.

“Each meeting has been exciting and fun,” said Victor. “As someone who doesn’t hold a leadership position in the ERG, it’s encouraging to know I still have an important voice and role to play.”

That same voice led Victor to volunteer to present during the May meeting. At this meeting, Victor led a presentation focused on workplace culture. Specifically, he spoke about the importance of creating and maintaining a work environment where team members feel like their most genuine selves.

Obtaining feedback and encouraging membership participation is a constant theme of the North American and International chapters of Pride.

“After our first meeting, it was clear that our members were excited to see two things from this ERG,” Daniel said. “First, they wanted to hear from leaders outside of our company. Second, they wanted to participate in a Pride parade.”

Now, over a year into the ERG’s existence, both goals have been achieved.

“Participating in Dallas Pride, the fifth-largest Pride event in the U.S., was such a monumental experience for everyone,” Daniel said. “Whether they’re members of the LGBTQIA+ community or our allies, I’m truly blown away by the passion and creativity of the people who make up our ERG. I’m so incredibly happy they received the opportunity to celebrate their pride with the world.”

Both Cameron and Daniel expressed excitement about future meetings and what’s to come for the ERG. Some goals the two highlighted as attainable:

  • Organizing a volunteer event for members
  • Inviting guest speakers from LGBTQIA+ organizations to present
  • Increasing participation in parades across North America

Victor affirmed that the Pride ERG has been instrumental in fostering a welcoming environment and sense of community, not only for team members a part of the LGBTQIA+ community but also their allies and supporters.

“The Pride ERG, and other ERGs, are important spaces for team members to come together,” he said. “Being a member of this ERG has brought me a lot of satisfaction. Knowing that I work for a company that supports and encourages me to be myself, without fear of rejection or belittlement, warms my soul.”

Cameron expressed similar sentiments. She finds comfort in knowing that the ERG has proven valuable to GM Financial team members.

“In our efforts to become more inclusive, we must put in the work to make sure our LGBTQIA+ employees feel safe and comfortable to be themselves,” she said. “Just within the Pride ERG, I’ve seen so many people blossom. Members have stepped out of their comfort zones and have made connections that they otherwise would not have without the ERG.”

Kris Scott
By Kris Scott, GM Financial

Kris Scott has a passion for writing and often uses his talent as a catalyst for social change, increasing knowledge and building communities. When he’s not spreading positive vibes, you’ll find him yelling “Hail Tide” — a moniker of support for both Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama.

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