Beth Hester

Hester assists in crafting Comcast’s policies and communications tied to LGBTQ+ issues, but she also dedicates time to ensuring the community is supported internally. She’s a National Co-Champion for Comcast’s OUT ERG and pushed Comcast’s HR division to adopt a Transitioning Handbook offering managers tools needed to support team members as they move through that process. Actions like that illustrate that companies are willing to adapt their benefits to ensure their employees have access to needed resources during milestone life events. “The benefits needed are not static, but rather evolve as our jobs, families and communities evolve,” she says. “So, I don’t think of it as a laundry list of benefits that I wish for, but rather employers who are curious, open minded, empathetic and action prone.”

What is the state of LGBTQ+ representation in media? The last 15 years have been a revolution in queer representation in the media. Many speak of it as before and after Ellen – as night and day. LGBTQ roles became less characterized and more relatable. Whether fiction or non-fiction, comedy or drama, not only did we see LGBTQ faces in the media, but their stories were also being told. And you know what happened over time – both straight and queer audience showed up to hear those stories.

How do benefits need to improve to become inclusive of all families and individuals? It’s funny, I don’t have kids but have learned over the years about the joys and challenges of parenthood. The benefits needed if you will are not static, but rather evolve as our communities, jobs, families and communities evolve. So, I don’t think of it as a laundry list of benefits that I wish for, but rather employers who are curious, open minded, empathetic and action prone. This is about employers being open to learning, really listening to our community’s needs and taking action to support them.

How does your company encourage employees to bring their true selves to work? Comcast has a very robust and active ERG community. One of my favorite things about our Employee Resource Groups is the saying “you don’t have to be, to belong.” Through our company’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, there is a plethora of programming, classes, talks, etc. available to our employees. Learning about each other, our uniqueness, and similarities, creates a safe and informed place to show up every day. It’s not perfect. I doubt it ever will be. But at Comcast there is an understanding that we each bring value to the equation and resolve to honor.

Favorite media milestone moment in LGBTQ+ history? Finding Nemo. SERIOUSLY! After Ellen came out as a lesbian on her sitcom, she couldn’t land work for years. She was blackballed because she was a lesbian. After a prolonged dry spell, she landed the “voice” of Dory in Finding Nemo. She was 100% the best thing about that movie. She brought authenticity and humor to the role and absolutely nailed it. Ellen was bankable again and the rest is history.

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