by Bizzy Emerson
Throughout June, Pride Month is celebrated and embraces, acknowledges, and empowers all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. At Levy, we not only celebrate Pride month across our locations, we help foster this respect and care for the LGBTQIA+ community year-round. Alongside our parent company, Compass Group, we understand the significance of diversity and inclusion at our home office and our locations. While striving to create the most positive and productive workplace for all identities, we are also committed to driving change through education by providing resources and information on our diversity initiatives.
In our home office in Chicago, the Levy Diversity and Inclusion Action Council (DIAC) works to ensure diversity and inclusion practices are implemented in all facets of our operations.
DIAC Communications Chair Justine Boney is passionate about Levy’s potential to be as inclusive as possible. “Diversity and inclusion go beyond just celebrating one week or one month. It’s not just acknowledging Pride, it’s giving people a safe environment in which they can be their true self every single day,” Justine said.
Justine specifically cited Levy’s Network of Champions event as a way in which the company encourages Levy team members to enhance their education regarding matters of diversity and inclusion. Throughout the strategy work session, participants identify key goals, objectives, and achievements to work toward creating a more inclusive work environment.
“Everybody should feel respected and accepted…we’re constantly challenging ourselves to think beyond just doing the bare minimum. How are we engaging all year long? How are we building teams that truly are inclusive?” Justine said.
At our locations, Levy team members put these values into practice. On June 15, 2019, Levy team members from The Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC), Huntington Park, Mapfre Stadium, and The Ohio State University all participated in the annual Pride Parade in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Pride Parade is one of the largest in the United States, with an estimated 13,000 marchers and 500,000 attendees.
Iris Baker, Director of Catering for GCCC, was the driving force behind organizing the Levy Pride Committee. “While chatting with some of my peers, I told them how important Pride was to me and how it blew my mind that none of our properties had ever participated. I felt that it was something that if we were going to do it, it should be done together as all of Levy,” Iris said.
“To be able to showcase the acceptance of the company we work for, the love of this amazing city, and the camaraderie we have here in Columbus was truly special,” Iris said. “When you’re here at the Convention Center, Mapfre, Huntington Park, the Shoe at OSU, or any other Levy property, you are in a safe place, surrounded by people who not only accept you, but celebrate you.”
Iris also shared photos from the event:
The efforts that Iris, DIAC, and every Levy team member put into building a culture of diversity and inclusion does not go unnoticed, either. In 2018, Levy was named #3 on Forbes’ list for Best Employers for Diversity, as well as one of the Best Employers for Women. In the same year, Levy was honored with The Arc Catalyst Award for Best Employer of the Year due to our priority on hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In addition to our inclusive cultural practices, we love introducing menu items at Levy locations that show our support and solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community. Below, we’ve featured a few fan photographs from Melissa Montecuollo (IG: @melissamonte) taken at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ LGBT Pride Night at Dodger Stadium.
Pride events will be happening at Levy locations throughout June and into July, so join us in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and some of your favorite sports teams by attending!
June 21: Pride Night @ Chase Field
June 26: United Night Out @ Audi Field
June 27: Pride at the Park @ Marlins Park
June 29: Pride Night @ BBVA Compass Stadium
July 23: Pride Night @ Guaranteed Rate Field