06/10/2020|Inside Verizon

How can you do more?

By: Andy Choi
Manager - Corporate Communications

A new 5G Home city, celebrating Pride and resources to continue the conversation.

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“How can I do more?”

As V teamers, we ask that question every day, but it has never been more important or more relevant than today.

Of course, “doing more” can mean many things. Our first example comes to us by way of some big 5G news dropped in the Good mailbox...

Latest 5G Home city

There’s big news for the Motor City. Detroit is now Verizon’s sixth 5G Home city. Residents can now sign up for the service, which is ideal for those working from home, learning remotely, bingeing content or looking to power a smart home.

Verizon engineer Abbas Kanso and his daughter showed us the ease of installation, crazy fast download speeds and positive impact on remote learning and gaming.

Our thanks to Abbas and the teams who worked tirelessly to launch 5G Home Internet in the Detroit metro area. Also this month, customers in parts of Indianapolis and Los Angeles will have access to enhanced 5G Home service.

Customers in all three cities now have the ability to do more, quite literally.

Conversation on race and equality.

Yesterday, Matt Ellis hosted a powerful discussion about race for the Finance team. Joined by Shane Sanders, Peter Urquhart, Jennifer Johnson, and Joe Rouse, the conversation was honest, emotionally-charged and well worth checking out.

In addition, the following resources are also available to help you do more:

  • A toolkit with tips to help you start a conversation on race.
  • A discussion with Diversity and Inclusion expert Willie Jackson on how to be an accomplice -- rather than just an ally -- for racial equality.
  • Dr. Eric Thomas, motivational speaker and best-selling author will be hosted a conversation today at 3 PM ET on how to be a better ally and being part of the overall solution.

It’s never too late. Jeremy Washburn shares their gender identity journey.

Jeremy Washburn didn’t see gender identity as a personal issue for much of their adult life. “I was well into my thirties. It wasn’t something that was on my radar.”

But as Jeremy, a Solutions Architect based in Hilliard, OH, started to work through their identity, they became terrified. “The struggle of your identity not matching up with what you’re seeing, it’s a bit of torture. It never leaves you. It’s what you see when you look in the mirror or when you’re asked to turn in your picture for your ID at work. It’s hard.”

By utilizing Verizon’s health resources, including the ability to meet with therapists and medical care professionals who specialize in this space, Jeremy was able to work through some of their anxiety and began to move to a place of acceptance. “You can’t change who you are,” said Jeremy. “Be the best person you can be and let that be what people judge you by.”

But coming out as transgender to their fellow V teamers was a tougher challenge. After a lot of internal debate, Jeremy finally approached their manager, Ray Bonini. “I think the only thing preventing me from having that conversation was me. Ray has been fantastic. He couldn’t have been more supportive. He was more comfortable having that conversation than I was.”

“I believe I was one of the first people Jeremy came out to at work, so for me, it was an honor.” said Ray. “My wife and I have friends who are of different cultures, races and sexual orientations. For me, just because people are different doesn’t mean that we’re not all part of one big group.”

The next step in the journey came the following year, in 2018, when Jeremy heard that Verizon would be participating in the Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade and Festival. “I thought this is something I’d like to be a part of, but then I was instantly thinking of all the reasons not to do it.”

A short time later, Ray approached, asking if Jeremy was going to walk in the parade. “I said ‘I don’t know. I’m not sure.’ And Ray said, ‘Ok, but if you don’t have someone to walk with you, I will.’ That encouragement meant the world to Jeremy. “I knew then I had an ally. Not just a manager, but an ally.”

From that point on, Jeremy found it easier to come out to other people in their life -- including fellow V teamers -- and the reaction has, by and large, been very supportive. “I would delay conversations because I presumed acceptance would not be there. So many things that I worried about were unjustified. We have a Credo. We follow it. It’s the real deal. Diversity makes us better.”

Jeremy’s positive experiences discussing gender identity aren’t unique here at Verizon. In fact, the company recently earned a 100% score on the Corporate Equality Index, making us a best place to work for LGBTQ+ Equality for a fifth time. “We have a gift working at Verizon in that we value diversity. We should all take advantage of that.”

Another valuable resource for Jeremy has been the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees of Verizon and their Allies (Prism) ERG (Employee Resource Group). “It’s great to find friends who are in the community and ask them questions about things like how they walk through different scenarios.”

Jeremy wants to encourage anyone who is considering talking with colleagues about gender-related issues to learn from their example. “It’s a long road, but sometimes we walk it alone and we don’t have to. Have those conversations. Let them know your heart. Think through things, but don’t let yourself stop you.” Thank you, Jeremy, for sharing your story. We encourage everyone to stand up, be heard and be your authentic selves.

Speaking of which, we’d love for any and all V Teamers to tell us how you’re “doing more” to show your PRIDE this month. Send us an email to good@verizon.com and we’ll share it with the V Team.

Want to show your Pride? Check out the 2020 Pride shirt which is for purchase here.

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

Reminder, tune in to Up To Speed Live tomorrow at 12 PM ET/9 AM PT.

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