Free to be me.

By: Andy Choi

Two stories of V Teamers finding acceptance. Plus, the day job of host Jess Bonardi.

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On today’s Up To Speed Live, host Andy Choi dedicated the episode to all of the V Teamers who have shared their heartfelt, personal stories on the show over the past few years. While Up To Speed is where you’ll find company news and information, one of our favorite things to do is tell stories that feature the amazing people of Verizon. We shared two such stories today.

V Teamer profile: Ricardo Gattas-Moras

Ricardo, a Consumer Sales District Manager in Austin, TX, shared his powerful life story that includes coming to the United States as a boy, coming out as a gay man, and adopting a baby boy with his life partner and the assistance and support of Verizon. He also shared his story of writing a children’s book that celebrates diversity and inclusion.

V Teamer profile: Kamil Gani

Our second story highlights the power of faith. Tonight, marks the beginning of Ramadan, one of the holiest and sacred months in Islam. For 30 days, Muslims around the world do not eat from dawn to dusk, pray intensely and gather for nightly feasts to break the fast. As we wish our Muslim V Teamers a blessed and generous Ramadan, we turn now to the story of Kamil Gani, an Engineer from Chicago, IL, and a devout Muslim who found acceptance and support for his daily religious practices at Verizon.

Producer Jess Bonardi

Most of us recognize Jessas a host and contributor to Up To Speed, but what many of you may not know is that she is also a gifted Verizon producer who shoots, interviews and edits a wide range of videos for Verizon’s Studio.

She shared some of the amazing experiences she has had in her years with Verizon and the V Teamers she met along the way. Often, as she listens to their stories, she makes relationships that last for years.

Jess also explained how the V Teamer profile stories are gathered, produced and shared with our entire team and beyond. If you have a personal story to share, or know of someone who’s story deserves to be told, please let us know by sending us a note at good@verizon.com.

Small steps to change

We've been sharing ways for you to get outside now that the weather is getting nice. Currently, Small Steps to Big Change, a racial justice steps challenge is going on now until May 11 for U.S. employees. We've asked employees to create teams of two to six V Teamers who will track their steps as a team.

Giving back

Next week is National Volunteer Week. How will you participate?

Although it’s officially only one week, we believe everyone can get involved and give back to our communities.

In partnership with the National Forest Foundation, we have committed to plant 150,000 trees to offset carbon emissions and contribute to Verizon's goal of planting 20 million trees by 2030. You can help by contributing a letter of hope and inspiration to a frontline firefighter. For every 10 letters written, we will plant 100 trees.

If you are volunteering, we want to hear from you. Send your stories and pictures to good@Verizon.com. We’d love to see how you are making a difference and inspire others as well.

If you have any questions, email them to live@verizon.com.

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

Get the latest information on our Coronavirus Resource Page (Inside Verizon, The Street).

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