At Markon, the purpose of our Employee Resource Group program is to enhance and promote the diverse makeup of our employees.
We are establishing an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group and are seeking support from employees throughout the organization to help build and create this unique Markon community. Marc Gravallese (DIA Program Manager) along with Mark Lewis (Security) and Merritt Ogle (Strategic Growth) will lead the inaugural group as the core steering committee. Organizational leadership will evolve as members identify interest!
A 2011 study by the Center for Talent Innovation found that 48 percent of LGBT respondents remained "closeted" at work. That can instill feelings of disconnectedness and affect engagement within companies. We are establishing this group in the hope to develop deeper connections with employees across Markon and serve as a resource for the LGBTQ and ally communities while also respecting those preferring discretion.
In addition to the social benefits of acceptance in the workplace, studies show that productivity rises, and employee retention increases when employees feel free to be more open at work.
To provide an inclusive social space for Markon’s LGBTQ employees and allies to connect while establishing a platform to discuss and develop Markon’s workplace culture to build better environments for people of all gender expressions, gender identities and sexual orientations.
How will the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group operate?
We plan on shaping this group around the opinions of those who want to be involved – in other words, we want your feedback! We look forward to hosting and attending a variety of events or discussions that are applicable to group members. While we have some initial ideas (mentoring, educational/awareness training, and identifying causes that the group might wish to support in some capacity) we look forward to hearing from Team Markon.
LGBTQ employees often remain an invisible minority in organizations, which can lead to inappropriate and hurtful situations by unknowing colleagues. By being present, it helps raise awareness to the unconscious actions we do or the words we say that can derail engagement by an LGBTQ bystander.
Markon’s LGBTQ group will lead advocacy for LGBTQ equality in the workplace and encourage each employee to reach our full potential and do amazing work together. As with any segment of the population, we have unique perspectives on life that will add richness to the work we do and the environment we create.
Who can join and how do you get involved?
Group membership is open to all employees. If you identify as something other than straight or cisgender, this is your resource at Markon. We want to connect. If you identify as straight or cisgender and have an affinity for this group, your involvement is vital to true engagement.
To honor those LGBTQ members that wish to remain discreet, we will have designated events and gatherings specifically to engage our allied members! Please join.
If you are not comfortable identifying yourself generally and are interested in connecting with the group, please reach out to Mark, Marc, or Merritt personally. We will respect your privacy with the utmost confidentiality.
Are you interested in creating an Employee Resource Group of your own at Markon Solutions?
Markon is always seeking to engage employees and build community. Please reach out to HR for guidance and support!
About the Authors: This blog post was co-authored by Mark Lewis, Merritt Ogle, and Marc Gravallese.
I joined Markon in June 2018 as the first out gay man to join the leadership team. At Markon, I’m a Senior Director and Program Manager for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) market. To Markon, I bring a rich life of being a dad of 4, an architect, a son of amazing parents, a certified construction manager, and a product of a generation that marginalized (and often criminalized) being gay. At 40, I found myself, my strength and came out. For me, life expanded into countless opportunities. I became a life coach. Today, my work focuses on creating high performing teams by facilitating the discovery of both individual and organizational self-actualization aligning diverse values and life experiences.
I started with Markon in August 2018 and in just a short amount of time, I have seen the company’s culture grow significantly. I serve as the Facility Security Officer for Markon and sit at our HQ in Falls Church. I have supported the corporate security posture for many large and small firms but have never felt as comfortable or as accepted to share a big part of who I am in the professional environment as I have at Markon. Throughout my professional journey, I’m continuing to learn more about myself and what it means to be a gay man in the world we live today. I look forward to contributing to Markon’s growth by providing a safe outlet for LGBTQ people to connect as well as bringing more awareness to equality in the workplace.
I have been supporting Markon’s Strategic Growth team since June 2017. As a queer employee, policies which create an open workplace and protect employees from discrimination are tenants essential to business growth for Markon. When I joined the workforce in 2017, I left an inclusive University community that bolstered and empowered my identity. The support that I experienced in that environment is something I am passionate about emulating at Markon. Through my participation in Markon’s Women’s group and my work as a diversity facilitator with the American Association of University Women, I am a staunch advocate for breaking down the glass ceiling AND the glass closet. I look forward to providing resources for both LGBTQ employees and allies for opportunities to grow and create a more inclusive community together.