Ally Profile: Wendy McSweeney

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Wendy McSweeney is the Enterprise Inclusion Leader for SunTrust Banks, Inc., responsible for developing and executing growth and engagement strategies, consulting with executive leaders and driving enterprise wide inclusion and diversity at SunTrust. With a focus on deliberate and inclusive connections with teammates, communities and clients, McSweeney is accountable for linking the internal and external activities of Suntrust’s Teammate Networks to business goals and objectives, providing transformative learning opportunities and effectively communicating the company’s commitment to inclusion. She is excited to have the opportunity to create an environment where her LGBT teammates feel safe and valued for their contribution to the company.

A 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, McSweeney has extensive inclusion and diversity, leadership, program management, relationship management, coaching and consulting experience. She chairs the SunTrust Enterprise Inclusion Council and serves as a member of the SunTrust Executive Inclusion Committee. In 2014, Black Enterprise Magazine named McSweeney one of the “Top Executives for Diversity & Inclusion” and the Georgia Diversity Council named her one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women” in Georgia.

Before joining SunTrust in 2013, McSweeney served as the diverse segments development leader at Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA). In that role, she designed programs to increase productivity and retention of diverse financial advisors and managers and led the new financial advisor sourcing program to recruit new advisors to the business. During her 11 years with WFA, she served in increasingly responsible positions to include business & administration manager of the national sales group and business manager of the business development group. Prior to joining WFA, McSweeney served as a conversion manager for SunTrust Bank’s Retirement Group where she partnered with organizations in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

McSweeney also serves on the Board of Directors of The Brian Jordan Foundation. She is a member of The Network Journal’s 2012 Class of “Forty under 40” leaders in business and a 2010 graduate of the St Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow’s Leadership Program. She earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Virginia Union University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Wendy is a registered general securities representative with a Series 7 license.

Ally Profile: Mayor Andrew Gillum

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With a passion for public service, and the ability to motivate and mobilize people to action, Mayor Andrew D. Gillum is recognized statewide, in Florida, and nationally as an emerging leader. At the age of 23, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003. At the time of the election, Gillum was a student at Florida A&M University (FAMU), majoring in political science. In August 2004, Mr. Gillum was re-elected to serve for a full four-year term, and was subsequently re-elected in 2008 and August 2012. He was elected Mayor of Tallahassee in August 2014.

During his 12 years of service Mayor Gillum has played a leadership role in countless community initiatives including the Landlord Tenant Mediation Program, the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program, Good Neighbor energy assistance program, and the creation of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Park. He also served as the City’s chief negotiator for the consolidation of our community’s Fire and EMS services, and has spearheaded several initiatives to boost economic growth through commercial utility deposit rebates, land exchanges with Florida State University, and the development of seven-day guarantee permitting. In 2010, Mayor Gillum was instrumental in converting a former neighborhood recreational center into the Palmer-Monroe Teen Center, which works daily to meet the emotional, physical, artistic and educational needs of area teens, and also runs a restorative justice program called Community Connections that serves to deter youth away from the Court system and toward productive and constructive activity.

As Mayor, Andrew has launched numerous transformative initiatives, such as: The Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy, a summer jobs program for over 100 Tallahassee youth; Operation Safe Neighborhoods, which is designed to empower neighbors and help deter acts of violence; he has spearheaded efforts to bring TEDx back to Tallahassee and hosted a Startup weekend in the Capital City; and he has started the Family First agenda, which is moving Tallahassee towards a more nurturing and dynamic place for children and families to grow strong.  After experiencing intense discrimination and unwelcomeness from his community as a child, Mayor Gillum’s brother moved from the State of Florida to a place where he could live safe and free as a gay man.  It is a primary reason why the Mayor chose to be a part of the We Are Straight Allies campaign.

“Being an ally is important to me because love is never wrong, and equality must continue to be a part of the progress we work to drive in our community, our state, and in our country.  Nothing would please me more than if my brother could come back home and live in his home State of Florida.”

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Mayor Gillum has received numerous awards and recognitions for his passion and service over the years, and has been named an emerging leader by the Congressional Black Caucus, Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine, the Association of Trial Lawyers for America (ATLA), The Drum Major Institute, IMPACT, and the Washington Post. He has also been regularly featured on several local and national news mediums including MSNBC, CNN, the Huffington Post, and the Tallahassee Democrat on various civic and social justice issues.

In addition to his work as Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew works for the People for the American Way Foundation as the National Director of Leadership Programs and the Founder and Executive Director of the Young Elected Officials Network.

Andrew and his wife R. Jai live in Tallahassee, Florida with their beautiful twins Caroline and Jackson.

Ally Profile: SunTrust Bank

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“Inclusion & Diversity are not only good for business, but the way good business is conducted. We don’t have the luxury to exclude anyone. By embracing and leveraging our different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, we become more innovative, productive and profitable.” –Arnold Evans

We Are Straight Allies welcomes our newest additions to our growing chorus for LGBT Equality across the State of Florida.  We are proud to have Arnold Evans, Division President, Central Florida; Tanya Powers, Senior Vice President and Division Sales Manager, Georgia-North Florida Division; Wendy McSweeney, Senior Vice President and Enterprise Inclusion Leader; and Todd Feintuch, Senior Managing Director for SunTrust Private Wealth, North Florida and Coastal GA Regions

Arnold Evans is the Central Florida Division President for SunTrust Bank, based in Orlando. In that capacity, he leads a team that provides the full range of traditional and capital markets products and advice for privately-owned companies, and not-for-profit, educational and governmental entities. Arnold was previously SunTrust’s Regional President for Jacksonville.  Prior to his move to commercial banking, Mr. Evans spent 17 years as an investment banker, including nine years in the Equity Originations Group at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta, GA, and eight in Equity Capital Markets at J.P. Morgan in New York City.

Arnold previously served as an Air Defense Artillery Officer in the U.S. Army.  During his 5+ years on active duty, he served in roles ranging from Platoon Leader to Battery, Battalion, Brigade and General’s Staff Advisor in geographic locations including the United States, Europe and South West Asia.  He completed his military service at the rank of Captain. In addition to his work responsibilities, he currently serves as a Trustee for the Darden School Foundation (Charlottesville, VA) and as head of that entity’s Investment Committee. He and his wife Joyce have two daughters, Asha and Aaren.

Tanya Powers is a Senior Vice President and Division Sales Manager for the Georgia-North Florida Division. In this role, she is responsible for driving sales strategy, training and sales management effectiveness for the division. Tanya is based in Jacksonville, Florida. She joined SunTrust in 1992, as a part time teller her last year of college. She spent 12 years as an Area Manager managing the 25 banking centers within the Jacksonville market. In this role, Tanya focused on integrating the company’s business and sales strategy as well as achievement of revenue goals. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Johns Country Day School.

Tanya is a Straight Ally because everyone has the right to be treated equally and fairly.

 Wendy McSweeney is a Senior Vice President and Enterprise Inclusion Leader for SunTrust Bank, responsible for developing and executing growth and engagement strategies, consulting with executive leaders and driving enterprise wide inclusion and diversity at SunTrust. With a focus on deliberate and inclusive connections with teammates, communities and clients, Wendy is accountable for linking the internal and external activities of SunTrust’s Teammate Networks to business goals and objectives, providing transformative learning opportunities and effectively communicating the company’s commitment to inclusion.

Wendy serves on the board of directors of The Brian Jordan Foundation. In 2014, Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the “Top Executives for Diversity & Inclusion” and the Georgia Diversity Council named her one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women” in Georgia. She is a member of The Network Journal’s 2012 Class of “Forty under 40” leaders in business and a 2010 graduate of the St Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow’s Leadership Program.

Wendy has the opportunity to support the LGBT community each and every day by enabling a more inclusive culture through opportunities and conversation with her LGBT teammates.  We all know someone that is a member of the LGBT community and Wendy wants each of them to feel valued and connected to the organization and to each other.

Todd Feintuch is the Senior Managing Director for SunTrust Private Wealth in the North Florida and Coastal GA Regions. His Team consists of Client Advisors and Specialists in North Florida and Coastal Georgia markets. Todd has been in Wealth Management for over 10 years, both as a Managing Director and as a Wealth Advisor. He is currently earning his Juris Doctor from Barry Law School.

As a registered representative of SunTrust Investment Services, Todd holds FINRA series 7, 66, and 24 registrations and Florida Life and Health and Variable Licenses and holds a CFP® Designation.

Todd believes that we should all have the freedom to be who they are and he believes strongly in equal rights for everyone.

We Are Straight Allies Announces Statewide Expansion of LGBT Human Rights Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2015

CONTACT:
Chevara Orrin
678.637.9041 or Chevara@EQ3Media.com

Jacksonville, FL – As part of its statewide expansion plan, We Are Straight Allies (WASA) will feature executives from SunTrust Bank and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the highly successful human rights marketing and public awareness campaign, launched in August 2013. A primary focus of the expansion will be to engage cities, and leaders, in Florida previously receiving a low Equality Index rating from the Human Rights Campaign, as well as create a comprehensive initiative to gain understanding and acceptance for the Transgender Community. Partnering with Equality Florida, WASA aims to broaden the reach of its educational efforts as the organization continues to raise awareness about the challenges still facing the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, despite recent national gains in policy, such as marriage equality.

“Equality Florida is thrilled to partner with We Are Straight Allies as they expand their campaign statewide. This innovative initiative has been effective in raising awareness, educating communities and building support across our state. We look forward to a continued partnership that amplifies allies’ voices in support of LGBTA equality,” says Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.

The WASA campaign features prominent allies the likes of feminist icon and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Gloria Steinem; Florida Blue CEO, Pat Geraghty; and Olympic gold medalist and attorney, Nancy Hogshead-Makar. Other allies include highly regarded members of the faith, business and nonprofit community. We Are Straight Allies is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as a valued partner in championing for LGBT equality. “WASA has been instrumental in the cultural shift that is occurring in Jacksonville, FL, as it relates to our community moving closer to passage of a fully comprehensive Human Right Ordinance (HRO) and creating a more safe community,” says founder and co-creator, Chevara Orrin. “We have offered ally trainings across our city to corporate, community and faith leaders who are helping change hearts and minds, one person at a time.”

We Are Straight Allies seeks to educate, engage and “call to action” the business, faith-based, military, government, nonprofit, educational, arts and private sectors as we move towards passage of comprehensive polices that protect our LGBT community against discrimination in the state of Florida. The strategic educational and awareness efforts are targeted toward city and faith based leaders, as well as citizens, to ensure greater equity for the LGBT community in employment, housing and public accommodation. The campaign is designed to reaffirm those supporting fundamental human rights for all citizens and further engage the ambivalent, those who voted against comprehensive protections, and the uninformed about real challenges facing members of our LGBT community.

For additional information, visit the WASA website: www.wearestraightallies.com

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Jacksonville Community Advocates

Recently, we had the pleasure of featuring Maria Mark, City Commissioner in Atlantic Beach, as a Straight Ally after she advocated for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in her city.  During the photo shoot, she was joined by several advocates who have joined the growing chorus, calling for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in our city.

JAX Allies_Ad-2_FP_PrintA little more about each of the people you see in the image above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Ramon Day, Community Leader
Ramon Day is a fifth generation Floridian and native of Madison, Florida.  He grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from Jacksonville University, then went on to earn his MBA in Finance from the University of Florida.  His unique career experience spans the private and public sectors.  Currently, he works an account manager at Allstate Insurance.  Ramon learned the details of government and the highest standards of public service when he served as Chief of Staff to the late Congressman Charles E. Bennett in Washington, D.C. Ramon and his wife, Mary, have four wonderful children. They are well established residents of the Southside and are active members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church. Ramon believes God created all of us equality and supports an HRO.

Maria Mark, City Commissioner of Atlantic Beach
Maria has been a community advocate for many years and was elected to the City of Atlantic Beach City Commission in 2011.  She helped draft and sponsor the Human Rights Ordinance that recently passed (4-0) on August 11, 2014. She was awarded the “2014 Voice for Equality Award” at Equality Florida’s Jacksonville Annual Gala for her dedication to equal rights for the LGBT community in Atlantic Beach.  Read more about Maria HERE.

Ju’Coby Pittman, President and CEO of the Clara White Mission
Ju’Coby is a native Jacksonville-resident who graduated from Englewood High School, and then went on to pursue the Edward Waters College C.L.I.M.B. Program.  Additionally, she was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters by Jones College.  As the CEO/President of the Clara White Mission, her primary focus of feeding and meeting the needs of Jacksonville’s homeless population has been advanced by the implementation of a “Drop-in Day Center”, providing customized services for veterans. Community engagement has kept her at the forefront of Jacksonville’s progression as Ju’Coby has served on the transition team(s) of Jacksonville’s three prior mayor’s: John Delaney, John Peyton, and current Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Ju’Coby believes that an HRO makes for more inclusion in our community.

Jesse Wilson, Advocate, Author and Motivational Speaker
Jesse is a Jacksonville native who has become a major advocate for issues surrounding children, LGBT equality, civic engagement, downtown development, and human rights. A survivor of the state’s foster care system, Jesse has spent an immeasurable amount of time in Tallahassee rallying the charge for laws related to children and has been influential in assuring many great pieces of legislation become law. He is also an avid writer and was first published at the age of 16 in his book of poetry titled The Storm Rolling In . He currently works for Family Support Services of North Florida and is a contributing writer for Void Magazine. Jesse was recently named the #1 writer in the 904 by Void Magazine, a top 30 Under 30 by Buzz Magazine, and the Best Local Author & Best Local Righteous Crusader by Folio Weekly readers.  Check out his video statement HERE!

We are straight allies coming out in support of our LGBT community and equal rights for all!

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