Adobe is the global leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions. Their creative, marketing and document solutions empower everyone – from emerging artists to global brands – to bring digital creations to life and deliver immersive, compelling experiences to the right person at the right moment for the best results. J. Scott Evans, their director of IP & advertising speaks with us about inspiration and impact on the LGBT+ community, and why pride is “better together” at Adobe.
J. Scott Evans, Director, IP & Advertising, Adobe
1. Can you name an LGBT+ person who has inspired you in your career?
The most important person in my coming out story was a gentleman named Fred Felman. Fred is a seasoned marketing executive that I met in Mexico City in 2009 at an ICANN meeting. It was the first time that I was cognizant of a serious, professional gay man. He inspired me to come out and be my true self. It was nothing he ever said to me, but more the way he handled himself and had such pride in who he was both as a person and a professional.
2. How does your organisation encourage LGBT+ equality, inclusion and diversity?
Adobe has an Employee Network Group (“ENG”) known as AdobeProud. I am the executive sponsor for the AdobeProud. We have local groups in all of our global locations. We coordinate through a Site Lead counsel that meets every other month to discuss efforts at each location and to brainstorm. For the most part, each location plans events that are relevant to their own location. We feel that this locally-owned approach allows each location to cater to their particular LGBTQ+ population. The only centrally coordinated effort is our yearly PRIDE celebration. All the locations leaders work together to come up with a corporate-wide theme that we use in each location.
AdobeProud uses the ENG’s to offer programming such as transgender awareness, diversity sensitivity and legislative initiatives. Adobe is also a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights by signing onto amicus briefs on important legal cases affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
3. What do you do, in your organization to inspire the next generation of LGBT+ talent?
I try to work with as many interns as possible that come through our workplace, both straight and gay. I want to send the message that my sexuality is a unique part of who I am, but that it is only one small part of the overall me. I want straight interns to realize that LGBTQ+ people are as multi-dimensional as their straight counterparts and that we all bring unique talents to the table. I want LGBTQ+ interns to see a confident gay man that is not ashamed of his sexuality, but also does not allow it to define him. I am an out and proud gay man, but I am also a father, a husband, an attorney and an executive.
4. Pride is a balance between celebration and remembrance for the fight to get to where we are today. Is Adobe taking part?
Yes! This year’s AdobeProud PRIDE theme is Better Together. It's about taking pride in all the beautiful aspects of our LGBTQ+ identity including sexuality, gender, race, culture, background, and/or religion. Our best decisions happen when they are driven by all the identities and perspectives of our employees and our customers.
5. What is Adobe doing during Pride month?
For Pride this year, we partnered with 24 local LGTBQ+ charities to demonstrate our commitment to the local communities we’re a part of. The charities were hand-picked by our local chapters of AdobeProud. Adobe matches every dollar contributed by employees 1:1. In addition to these important organizations, Adobe has chosen to provide the Human Rights Campaign with a $25,000 grant to further support their mission of driving towards a world where LGBTQ+ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
In addition, many chapters also held community service events. In San Francisco a group of our AdobeProud members worked at the National Aids Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. We spent 3-hours weeding, mulching a planting. In addition, we hosted an LGBTQ+ professionals’ mixer for SF Bay Area professionals that raised over $3,000.00 for Hospitality House, a local non-profit that offers programs to assist homeless people in San Francisco.