OLYMPIA – Sept. 22, 2023 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) believes the outdoors is for everyone and continues to make strides to remove barriers for visitors and staff alike. In recognition of these efforts, Parks has earned the Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network’s (RAIN) 2023 Outstanding Agency Award for creating and improving a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ state employees.
Each year, RAIN, a statewide business resource group (BRG), asks state employees to nominate state agencies that are leading the way in this work. Parks was one of three recipients this year, out of eight nominees.
This award recognizes Parks’ efforts to build a LGBTQ+ welcoming and inclusive culture. Parks staff includes 2S at the front of the acronym to recognize the many intersectional Indigenous identities that are part of the LGBTQ community.
“As an employee of Washington State Parks, it fills me with pride to see our agency receive this award,” Seamus Mulcahy, senior park aide and one of the Parks representatives for RAIN BRG, said. “Knowing that you get to work for an organization that welcomes you to bring your full authentic self to work every day, and that is willing to be intentional in putting in the hard work to continually improve is incredibly fulfilling. Getting to participate in Pride this year, as well as our 2SLGBTQ+ Parks employee affinity group, and RAIN has been a truly incredible experience for which I am so very grateful!”
Parks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Director Janette Chien and Fiscal Analyst and Parks representative for the RAIN BRG Gabby Amaral accepted the award on behalf of the many Parks staff who collectively work to cultivate a supportive workplace in line with RAIN’s mission.
“Building an inclusive culture at work is a team effort – and it takes time,” Chien said. “As an agency, we strive to cultivate a welcoming, supportive, and affirming space that fosters a sense of belonging. The hope is to embody these values of inclusion in all levels of our work: From how we serve park visitors to how we facilitate community partnerships to how we grow our employees.
This is the first year that Parks has participated in PRIDE events in an official capacity. Its participation was the result of a group of 2SLGBTQ+ staff and allies who came together to demonstrate that Parks is a welcoming space for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
In 2016, Governor Inslee established Directive 16-11 to create a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and customers, establishing the Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN). RAIN is the state employee business resource group created to lead the way in Washington state’s efforts to create a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and customers. RAIN has over 100 active members and a 14-person Advisory Committee.
This award specifically recognizes the positive impact of the agency’s work for its employees and is not a reflection of the services it provides to the public. The award is about effort, not perfection, and other state agencies can look to recipients of the RAIN Outstanding Agency Award as role models and resources to begin transforming their own workplaces to make them safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ employees.
RAIN believes that when state agencies have a positive impact on employees, those impacts will also ultimately improve customer service.
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Sarah Fronk, Communications Manager, email@example.com
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.