Get to Know Senior Program Manager Grace Jungé

Grace has been with McKinstry for a little over a year as a Senior Program Manager for our Midwest Technical Services team. As a member of McKinstry’s Pride Alliance, Grace believes that this month is not just a time for celebration but also an opportunity to foster a supportive community where individuals can be their authentic selves. In the Q&A below, learn about Grace’s role at McKinstry, the meaning of pride month to her, how individuals in the workplace can better support the LGBTQ+ community and more.

Learn More About Grace’s Experience

What is your role at McKinstry/ how did you get there?

I lead operations for our Midwest Technical Services team. We are a small but growing team of engineers delivering energy efficiency, commissioning, sustainability and capital planning projects for clients all around the Midwest. I came to this role via a former colleague; McKinstry’s well-thought out and actively pursued DEI and sustainability goals were a key reason for my choosing to work here.

What is the meaning of Pride Month to you?

Pride is a time for us to come together and celebrate our culture. I love being surrounded by my (LGBTQ+) community and having good time, but it’s about more than just a party. To me, it’s about feeling welcomed as myself without caveats, about the sense of community from being surrounded by others who get where I’m coming from, and about the transformative power of that safe space to change feelings of fear and repression into feelings of pride and self-confidence. And last but not least, it’s about being able to create that safe space for others to give them room to explore their authentic selves.

How can individuals best support the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace?

In large part, the same way you would support any other co-worker – through kindness, consideration, respect – and by intervening if you see some else treating them differently. To me, a basic of “respect” is to leave room for difference without requiring justification – that is, whether or not you “get it” or “like it” is not relevant to how you treat someone – just as I would not question or treat a colleague differently based on their religious views, their choice of hairstyle, or their national origin, I would expect similar respect to be extended to myself and my LGBTQ+ colleagues when it comes to gender or sexual orientation. But going beyond the “live and let live” to show support and allyship can be a powerful way to create a safe feeling environment for LGBTQ+ coworkers, especially those who have experienced poor treatment due to their gender identity or sexual orientation in the past. This can look like including your pronouns in your email signature, adjusting language to speak inclusively about relationships and gender rather than defaulting to a hetero/cis assumption, or acknowledging significant joys, tragedies, and fears specifically affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

What are helpful resources for people who want to become allies to utilize?

The internet is full of educational resources, and should certainly be consulted for those wishing to learn – GLAAD, HRC, the Trevor Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality are a few big ones. However, I prefer to direct people to getting to know LGBTQ+ culture via media, which is frankly a lot more fun, easy to access, and uses storytelling to help you understand a different point of view or experience in the way that a website or article may not be able to. Shows/movies like “We’re Here”, “Queer Eye”, “Pose”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “The Birdcage” are a few that come to mind.

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