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!

Jacksonville Community Allies

More and more often we are contacted by allies of the LGBT Community who are eager to add their voice to the growing chorus for equality in Jacksonville.  Together, we continue to share a desire for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in our city.

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A little more about each of the people you see in the image above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Glorious Johnson, Educator
Glorious is a native of Jacksonville, FL and has always called it home. She taught many years in the Duval County School System. This was a fantastic opportunity for her to help the children of the Jacksonville community learn and grow. For over 35 years, she taught children and adults reading, writing, mathematics, and science in her home.  When she left teaching, she received a very treasured award: an Honorary Life Membership from the Florida Parent/Teacher Association.  Glorious believes that everyone should have the right to live and work and be who they are.

Jason Tetlak, Artist/Designer
Jason has spent most of my life studying art and design, and currently works at a non-profit that focuses on bringing a variety of quality cultural experiences to town.  He has also had the opportunity to teach elementary school students in the Duval Public School System.  Jason and his family live in Murray Hill and enjoy spending time in the area’s many parks and playgrounds, and love discovering new local restaurants. He believes that as allies we have the obligation to ascertain that our LGBT community has equal rights and equal opportunity to make Jacksonville a better place for all.  Find out WHY!

Niki  Brunson, Business Owner/Urban Core
As a small business owner in the urban core, Niki has been featured in the Folio Weekly for her standout restaurant.  She explains why she is thankful to call Jacksonville home and believes that all human beings are born with rights.  The city is responsible for protecting those rights for all its citizens. View her statement HERE!

James Eddy, Community Activist
Originally from West Virginia, James moved to Jacksonville after graduated from highs school.  He has worked for the Jacksonville Zoo for over 14-years.  He actively volunteers for many organizations, including being a member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality since 2012.  As a member of the LGBT Community, James is eager to see Jacksonville pass a fully comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance to protect all of its citizens’ rights for equal opportunity under the law.  He is also the first openly gay candidate to run for City Council in this year’s election.  Congratulations, James!

Mark Kerrin, Adjunct Professor
Mark is an Adjunct Professor at Edward Waters College teaching Emergency Management, Forensic, Terrorism & Homeland Security. He was also Rosa Parks National Security Director for nearly 12-years.  He has authored several books dedicated to the knowledge that he received from Parks. This gave him a view into the need for universal human rights through her eyes and Mark believes, in the 21st-Century, it is time for Jacksonville to pass a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance. View his statement NOW!

Perfil Aliado: Luis “Louie” López

Luis "Louie" Lopez, Jockey retirado y buen padre
Luis “Louie” Lopez, Jockey retirado y buen padre

Mi nombre es Louie López. Soy oriundo de Los Ángeles y en mi juventud era un Jockey. Dado a la constante hambre que pase para mantener mi bajo peso, decidí dejar mi profesión Hípica y me aliste en la Marina, lo cual me trajo a Jacksonville. En el 1990 me casé por primera vez y ese matrimonio nos produjo dos maravillosos hijos, John David y Curren. Quería una hembra pero fui bendecido con mis dos varones.

Cuando John tenia doce años, estábamos convencidos de que el podía ser gay y fuimos concientes de dejar a John saber que nosotros lo aceptábamos, si ese era el hecho. John nunca me dijo que era gay, cosa que siempre me intrigó ya que yo había visto fotos de el en ropas de mujer y con maquillaje. Dado mi poca comprensión, John finalmente me confesó y cuando lo hizo, se presento como una joven transexual que prefería que la llamáramos Nina. En los ojos de Nina (John), ella no era gay, si no ¡alguien que se sentía, y se veía a si misma como una hembra desde su infancia!

He visto personalmente el rechazo, prejuicio y pullas que mi hija ha sufrido. Como padre, puedo ser lastimado por otros, pero en el caso de mis hijos, me corta como una navaja cada vez que pasa. La ironía es que siempre quería una hija y un hijo y al fin de cuentas, es lo que he recibido.

Mi segunda esposa, Susana , y yo continuaremos amando y apoyando nuestros hijos adultos y ayudando a Nina en el curso que ella ha determinado.

Mi esperanza es que las personas tomen el tiempo para comprender y no juzgar porque todo no es siempre como parece ser.

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