Interview with the Supporter – Vanessa

 

Interview with the Supporter – Vanessa

By Clair Farley

March 7, 2013

 

LGBTQ people are our partners, friends, co-workers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, neighbors and small business owners, but *supporters (or allies) are equally as diverse, and they can show up in about every aspect of our lives. Every year, at the Center, our community is greeted by hundreds of supporters – including the allies who mentor job seekers, the board members who fundraise to support our programs, and volunteers who share resources with city newcomers.

*A supporter is defined as somebody who supports somebody else, or something – such as a cause, idea, or course of action. (Encarta Dictionary)

In this monthly blog series, we turn the lens around, through interviews, and showcase supporters and allies of our community.

As you follow this series, learn about how you too can be a supporter and a powerful advocate for equal rights! 

In March we highlight Vanessa Hope Schneider, Senior Public Relations Manager, who generates media coverage of Eventbrite and its customers. Vanessa believes that the best way to tell Eventbrite’s story is through the stories of all of the people who use it. Before working at Eventbrite, she lived in New York City and worked in the book publishing industry, where she managed the publicity campaigns for several New York Times Bestsellers – including Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern and The Drunkard’s Walk by CalTech professor Leonard Mlodinow. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied English and Creative Writing.

Read her full interview below…

CF: What do you do for work, life, and for fun?

VS: I have a lot of fun during the week, working at Eventbrite. I never would have thought I'd become such a tech nerd, but two years into living in San Francisco and here I am. I also spend a lot of time in the city checking out art shows, going to concerts, and attending author readings. My first career was in book publishing in New York City, so I definitely make sure to stay up on all the cultural events going on around town. 

CF: What does it mean to you to be a supporter or ally of the LGBTQ community?

VS: Being a dedicated, active ally means showing people how the LGBTQ community is deeply relevant to me and my life, even though folks wouldn’t expect it to be. I take every opportunity I can to explain to people how important LGBTQ issues are to me, as a person who self-identifies as straight, and who is focused on equality, free expression, and the health and vitality of our city. 

CF: How are your currently involved in the community and the Center?

VS: Currently, I serve on the Board of Directors at the Center, and I head up the Marketing Committee, which is loads of fun. We're doing everything from crafting social media campaigns to thinking about larger brand initiatives.

In New York, I didn't have such an active volunteer life, but in college I was actually in the unofficial queer fraternity at Columbia. We were a co-ed 'literary society,' and we had a gorgeous brownstone on 114th Street. I lived in the house for two years--we had lit nights where we did readings around the fire, and we had a very fabulous party once a semester where everyone dressed up and danced while a jazz band played. 

CF: You have a busy professional career at Eventbrite and are giving back in so many ways to the local community. How do you find the time and energy to do everything?

VS: Lately, I've come to this belief that time is elastic – that I can do as much with myself as I want. I realize that's decidedly not true, and that I'll probably burn out if I adopt this for too long...but for now it's working for me!  

CF: What advice would you give other Bay Area professionals interested in getting involved as LGBT supporters? What opportunities are available within the Center?

VS: I always say to people: think of it as a 'community center' first...and 'LGBT' second. What I mean by this distinction is that the Center is finding all these innovative ways to make San Francisco a healthier, more culturally-engaging city. So no matter what someone's background is – and no matter what he or she is interested in – chances are we're creating programming that will offer a great opportunity to get involved. 

CF: As an active ally, your work in the community must have an impact on your employer commitment to diversity and their local engagement; what suggestions would you give to employees, interested in changing their workplace culture, to be more LGBT-friendly or more active in giving back to the community?

VS: I'm very lucky at Eventbrite – we have a truly open and welcoming workplace. We have an incredible company culture, part of which is a shared focus on philanthropy. As a business, we offer discounted rates to 501(c)(3) organizations, and as a team we participate regularly in fundraising and volunteer projects. I've also been very lucky to have Eventbrite's support at the Center – the company came in as a sponsor for Studio 11!

CF: As a PR and marketing guru, why do you think it is important for companies to keep LGBTQ people in mind when marketing their goods and services?

VS: I think PR and Marketing are about two things: good stories and good manners, so the content has to be 100% solid and interesting. But, also, it has to be delivered in a way that is sensitive, aware, and open. I don't think any group wants to feel like they are being explicitly 'marketed to.' Instead, I think people just want to see companies communicating in an inclusive way. 

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Let the Center connect you to opportunities, so that you can either be an out-and-proud supporter or a behind-the-scenes ally.

Employers interested in supporting the Center’s programming can learn more here or contact us to get involved.

Do you have a supporter you want us to spotlight? Email Clair to nominate someone for an upcoming post; who knows, we may be interviewing you for our series soon!

Contact Person: 
Clair F