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We sat down with Sue Shartzer, Marketing Coordinator and Co-Lead of SWCA’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group. Sue shares a bit about herself, discusses how the group has influenced change, and explains why affirming and supporting individuals’ rights to live authentically is important to her.


Q: Please tell us about yourself and your career.

Sue Shartzer, Marketing Coordinator and Co-Lead of SWCA’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group

A: After over a decade as an environmental scientist, I spent five years teaching English before returning to environmental consulting. Currently, I work in marketing at SWCA, a role I genuinely enjoy. Outside of work, I dedicate my free time to outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, and gardening. I also have a passion for reading.

Q: What does leading the LGBTQ+ ERG mean to you?

A: For me, the goal is to foster a unified and safe environment where people can come together. Even within the LGBTQIA+ community, there can be division; my vision is to establish a group under the SWCA umbrella where everyone is free from judgment and supportive of one another. Together with Maggie Evancho, we work to facilitate this community and ensure every voice is heard.


Q: How has the group influenced change at SWCA?

A: I have been with SWCA for nearly a year and a half and have witnessed significant progress in transgender rights during this time. Initiatives such as introducing pronouns in Teams and hosting a Pride panel have aimed to raise companywide awareness and deepen understanding of the transgender experience. Our group aims to provide a supportive resource for all employees. 

Q: What goals are you focused on now?

A: We aim to increase engagement by providing members with a welcoming space to communicate and navigate their personal and professional journeys. Additionally, we are incorporating external resources to enhance engagement, expand our networks, and build relationships within and beyond SWCA. In October, we are planning a panel with a California-based nonprofit to connect LGBTQIA+ youth with our ERG members. Our goal is to mentor and give back to these young individuals.


Q: As #OneSWCA, how can we be supportive allies to LGBTQIA+ colleagues?

A: I believe SWCA excels at creating an inclusive environment for all. A significant recent initiative was adding pronouns to Microsoft Teams, complementing their availability on Zoom. To further support this, please ensure you use your colleagues’ correct pronouns as listed on their profiles. This is a meaningful way to show respect and value for who they are and what matters to them.


Q: Please share your personal connections to the transgender community and explain why affirming and supporting individuals’ rights to live authentically is crucial to you.

A: My personal connection to the community is through my daughter, who is transgender. She came out as a junior in high school and faced many challenges during her transition. I honor her journey by recognizing that everyone is on their unique path in life. The experiences of transgender individuals can vary widely based on their family and geographic location. It is crucial to offer love and support to members of the transgender community.