In the words of the NBA’s first openly gay player, Jason Collins, "Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start."1 Every great stride for better starts with a single step. In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride month, we’re taking a moment to recognize the paths of some of our members who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Meet Jordon Parker, who is the VP of Dispositions at Hilco Streambank. He found his way to TMA by way of the LGBTQ+ restructuring organization workOUT, which provides an environment for LGBTQ+ professionals in the restructuring and finance industries to network and develop meaningful professional relationships. In an interview, Parker expressed that the professionalism, kindness, support, and knowledge shown by TMA members in workOUT made it an obvious choice to join TMA as well.
Parker has been involved with TMA for 3 years and is currently a part of the programming committee of TMA’s New York City Chapter. He has been highly impressed by his committee’s and chapter’s preparedness and ability to execute. Parker expressed gratitude for the opportunities and positive impact TMA has had on his career, including virtual coffee hours during and after COVID lockdowns, other virtual and in-person networking events, and valuable continuing education programs. His involvement with TMA has afforded him the opportunity to meet new people across industries and locations and has landed him some new deals professionally.
Parker attributes a great deal of his professional success to having support in and out of the workplace. He strongly believes in the importance of having allies and resources for the LGBTQ+ community and provided some ways for companies to think about laying the foundations for or bolstering current resources of their employees identifying as LGBTQ+.
When asked what companies can do to welcome and support LGBTQ+ employees, he outlined a host of possibilities, running the gamut of size and impact, suggesting that, “Simply adopting a policy to encourage employees to include their preferred pronouns in their email signatures internally signals to employees that gender identity and DE&I issues are front of mind, while externally signaling to clients the very same message. This sort of thing costs nothing but carries an impact.” He went on to suggest that, “If your company donates to or sponsors local events or politicians, you should deeply scrutinize where those dollars are going to make sure they are for causes that support LGBTQ+ issues and DE&I initiatives rather than hindering them.”
Parker emphasizes that visibility and support, both within the LGBTQ+ community as well as from allies, are essential. He has been privileged to have both within Hilco, and, alongside fellow LGBTQ+ employees and allies, recently launched Hilco’s Pride business resource group. This group is supported by executive sponsors who are allies who understand the need to have buy-in not just from LGBTQ+ identifying employees, but also from those who are allies or do not identify at all.
When asked about any advice he would give to someone of the LGBTQ+ community who was hesitant about coming out in their workplace, Parker responded, “It’s challenging, for sure. In nearly every new interaction, you have to make the choice whether or not to come out. You certainly don’t have to open up in that way in every interaction, and indeed, at the end of the day, you should simply strive to be the best at your job as you can, but I believe that the more often you can come out and live your true and authentic self, both in your personal and professional life, the happier you’ll be.”
In his parting remarks, Jordon concluded that, “At the end of the day, there are hundreds of things an organization can do to support and recruit talented LGBTQ+ employees. Organizations should start small and just keep going, but they should understand that this isn’t just a commitment during the month of June, but every day of the year.”
1"The Gay Athlete," published in Sports Illustrated, 2013