At PMI, we want to create an environment where each employee feels like they belong and can bring their true, unique self to work. Supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion within our workforce is one of the many ways in which we can create a more inclusive, diverse PMI workplace.

As well as being a Global Diversity Champion member of Stonewall, PMI has a global network of employee-led resource groups which goes by the name, STRIPES, spanning 27 countries. The STRIPES group lead initiatives to support and celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusion within PMI’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, this year’s celebrations to mark P R I D E month (held annually in June) have moved online. Far from being dispirited by this new reality, our LGBTQ+ community and allies are taking the opportunity to host a series of virtual events and social gatherings to help stay connected, support one another, and celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

This Pride month, although celebrations are muted in many parts of the world due to COVID-19 and recent events in the U.S. which have brought racial discrimination to the fore, we believe it is still important to show our solidarity with colleagues, family and friends within the LGBTQ+ community and allies. Here are some of their perspectives on what Pride month means to them at PMI:


Pride month to me means celebrating the beauty of being yourself and reinforcing discussions about respect. It is also about continuously reflecting on our own privileges and biases to help create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable to be themselves.

Guilherme Klein,
Communications Lead,
People & Culture, Poland

My coming out experience at work was a big milestone in my personal life, fortunately since day one, I have had the support of everyone at PMI. That has made me feel grateful, free and more committed. And that is why celebrating Pride month as a PMI employee is very special to me.

Mariana Balbuena,
Leader Distribution Project, Mexico


At PMI, we are committed to addressing and nurturing the broadest definition of diversity as a way to deliver winning business and employee engagement. Pride month is an occasion for all of us to celebrate the joy and the freedom of being ourselves without any bias.

Stefano Volpetti,
Chief Consumer Officer at PMI



Pride isn’t an event that happens one day or even one month in the year; it’s a mindset and conscious acknowledgement of how we live every moment. I am grateful to work in an environment where our corporate culture embraces diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Kathryn Parsons,
Director SEO, PMI Digital



Pride month is an opportunity for us to remember that diversity makes us stronger only when we are inclusive and treat each other with equal respect, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Naresh Chandra,
Manager Learning, Leadership and Culture, People & Culture, Canada


Pride month is an opportunity to acknowledge that we are all human beings and need to accept each other for who we are.

Milagros Vega,
Benefits Operations Lead,
People & Culture, U.S.


Thinking back 27 years ago when I joined PMI, I never imagined what PMI could stand for from an Inclusion & Diversity standpoint today. I am proud – especially at this important time of the year when we demonstrate for equality for the LGBTQ+ community – to be an employee of PMI. A company which supports us, a company where discrimination is not tolerated, and a company which stands alongside us.

Frank Bode,
Director Illicit Trade Prevention Supply Chain Integrity

Pride month is a celebration of my authentic self, taking pride in who I am and remembering that I am not alone. Even though the world may disappoint, belonging to a company that builds a culture of allyship and a safe space for our LGBTQIA+ community gives me hope that the world does not disappoint after all.

Lynx Manalo,
Total Rewards Sr. Specialist Operations, People & Culture, The Philippines


Pride month has always been about remembering the struggles of the past, continuing the fight for equality today, and to help build a better future where we can be our true selves without discrimination. It is a reminder that we can live vastly different lives and co-exist on the basis of mutual respect.

Friedrich Alidair Sarigumba,
Global Mobility Analyst, Switzerland



For me, Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate authenticity, freedom and the right to be yourself - without discrimination. It’s a chance for everyone, from all walks of life, to reflect on what it means to be truly accepting of others and the positive effect that this can have both inside organizations and in the world.

Donnica Hawes-Saunders,
Manager Transformation Projects, U.S.


Pride month is a reminder for us to always do the right thing in all that we do: In life, at work and toward one another regardless of our individual beliefs. It also reminds us to continuously love, accept and understand our differences so we can freely embrace who we are and others around us.

Tina Macalalad
Project Lead Operations,
People & Culture, The Philippines


To me, Pride month means not just accepting diversity but celebrating it! Genuinely celebrating differences is a beautiful way to create a world in which we not only challenge our understanding of others, but flourish in what we learn about one another and ourselves. #Loveislove.

Talisa Schwaeble,
Manager Indirect Retail Engagement, Middle East, Africa & PMI Duty Free



Bryson article highlight

The Hill’s Steve Clemons talks with PMI Global Communications Director Bryson W Thornton about being an openly gay man in a workplace that actively promotes and embraces inclusion and diversity.

This event was hosted by The Hill and sponsored by PMI. Video used with permission by The Hill. © The Hill 2020

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