Featuring Cody Eastman and Liya Hoshi
It’s wild to think that it’s only been two years since the inception of our first Employee Resource Group (ERG), and what’s been accomplished in such a short time. From heartfelt dialogues around becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable to creating a full fledged Pride experience across 7 agencies and 11 clients, the sky truly is the limit, as we’re limited only by our creativity. We’re excited for new allies to come to know our teams better and honored to start off our blog series that showcases all of our heart-work. So without further ado, here’s a glimpse into the LGBTQ+ side of things.
We are OPEN – Original Perspectives, Excluding None. We’re a coalition of LGBTQ+ and allies within the GPJ family celebrating our unique points of view and finding unity within our differences.
OPEN builds on the work of creating a safe space for self expression within the culture of our organization and aims to empower all employees to show up authentically as themselves and in support of one another. We celebrate individuality, diversity, and inclusivity.
We know the work of self discovery is never done. Often, this self-work is messy and unstructured – and, hey, we all screw up sometimes. We assume incorrectly or mis-pronoun accidentally. OPEN celebrates this process, even when it’s hard, because identity is complicated and layered. We’re passionate in our pursuit of authenticity and fearless when it comes to creating space.
No one has exemplified this hunger more than our OPEN Creative Lead, Liya Hoshi, and we were thrilled when she agreed to sit down with us for an OPEN dialogue.
What’s your connection with the ERG?
Liya: I sit on the board, and help drive the creative vision and execution of our brand/events/materials.
How has the ERG made your experience better at GPJ, and/or helped you grow personally and/or professionally?
Liya: Queer representation as a positive force has always been near and dear to me. OPEN provides a space in which we can celebrate, amplify, and express our queer and ally joy within our work space, which is so much of our waking worlds. Knowing I have a safe space within the ERGs I belong means that I can show up authentically.
Do you have a personal story or an experience to share that highlights why the ERG is important to you?
Liya: Being able to help share knowledge and run events like National Coming Out Day this year has been instrumental in cementing my belief in the power of the work we do. The vulnerability I witnessed, the care expressed by everyone in attendance, and the power of everyone’s stories was truly inspiring.
Has there been any content that really made a difference for you?
Liya: I loved the execution of the Project Pride Festival and the multi-office collaboration to create really full and well represented stories and content.
What is your vision for the group and how do you plan to help that vision materialize?
Liya: We can continue to foster discussions and create shareable moments. Fundraising or doing some virtual volunteer work might be interesting as we continue riding out this wave. Would also love to do more in-person/live volunteer work as well once that is safe – and if that means each of us connecting with our regional queer non-profits and sharing their stories I think that’s great since we’re all so scattered and a lot of these organizations are small and not national.
Trailblazers like Liya have helped define who we are at GPJ and what we believe when it comes to not only our ERGs but our culture. She’s been instrumental, as have so many others, in creating content and stories that touch all who experience them and we could never say THANK YOU enough! We hope this has given you a glimpse into OPEN and we’d love to work with you on something soon to impact our community and world!