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Pride Month Spotlight: “Now is a great time to keep learning how you can support others at PSA.”

January 10, 2023

Pride Month Spotlight: “Now is a great time to keep learning how you can support others at PSA.”

Our team members come from all walks of life and have diverse experiences and relationships. In an industry that values bringing people together, we are proud to celebrate the connections of our team members here at PSA.

Throughout the month of June, we are telling the stories of team members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. This week, we are honored to share the personal journey of Ashley Gardner, Sr. People Development Specialist.

Tell us a little bit about your background

I grew up across the country in San Diego, California. I made the move to Dayton, Ohio in 2017 and joined PSA that September.

I have a passion for learning and leadership development, which I have the chance to explore daily in my role as Sr. People Development Specialist.

Outside of PSA, I enjoy spending time with my two Golden Doodles, Charlie and Stanley. I also lead classes at my local Cycle Bar, where I strive to build a positive community and further explore my interests in teaching and development.

Tell us about your experiences with being part of the LGBTQ+ community

I grew up with several family members who were a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I didn’t come out myself until 2020 when I was 26 years old.

For me, it was hard to come out later in life because I had a personal and professional career where many people knew me one way. Having to end one chapter and start a new one is difficult, especially during a global pandemic with extended periods of isolation.

I was thankful to find many others in the LGBTQ+ community with similar stories, and I have found comfort in connecting with them.

After coming out in 2020, I never felt more confident and like myself.

Have you faced challenges or received support (or both)?

I think the biggest challenge I’ve experienced is getting others to see and fully understand the new journey I have started.

I have received nothing but support from my family, friends, and everyone at PSA. The encouragement I received has been amazing, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have leaders in my life who extended care and love through my entire coming out process.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride to me means so much. It’s a time to be reminded that love is love, and we should be showing kindness to everyone regardless of who they love or how they identify.

For those new to or unfamiliar with the LGBTQ+ community, Pride is an opportunity to keep learning, asking questions, and gaining understanding.

It’s also a time to CELEBRATE! There is no better feeling than knowing you belong and can celebrate exactly who you are.

What steps can team members take to support the LGBTQ+ community?

Knowledge is power. As a caring team member, now is a great time to keep learning about how you can support others at PSA. Percipio provides learning journeys, such as Creating An Inclusive Culture Of Trust and Belonging, where team members can explore at their own pace.

One of my personal favorite resources Percipio provides under that learning journey is Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar H. Schein, Peter A. Schein.

Everyone should have a place where they are supported for their authentic self and have a path to grow and thrive. We can work together to continuously build this environment of inclusivity, trust, and belonging at PSA.

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