Building community: A look at our LGBTQ+ employee resource group 

Amanda Green’s hands shook as she held the microphone. 

It was 2009. Her employer had just begun offering same-sex domestic partner benefits. But when Green went to sign up her wife and son, she found the forms remained outdated. 

She had a chance to speak up about it at a company event, but that would require revealing more about herself than she ever had. 

And that made her nervous. 

“Because I was not openly queer, I didn’t feel safe to do so,” she said.  

But she did speak up, and the leaders at the event listened. They also asked her for a favor: to help launch the LGBTQ+ employee resource group at Rockwell Collins – now Collins Aerospace, an RTX business. 

“I had gone through a roller coaster of every emotion you could feel,” said Green, a senior analyst at Collins Aerospace. “Instead of losing my job, I was gaining this opportunity to do something I was passionate about that would also help people like me.” 

Now, those experiences continue to drive her as co-chair of RTX PRIDE, RTX's newly reorganized employee resource group for the company’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies. 

RTX PRIDE, the LGBTQ+ employee resource group at RTX, focuses on advancing education, development and advocacy for the company’s LGBTQ+ community. The group’s key initiatives include:


Implementing a management training program designed to retain LGBTQ+ talent 

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Working with the company to ensure all employees have access to equal benefits, including healthcare, regardless of where they live

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Raising awareness for employee assistance programs, including a new adoption reimbursement benefit   

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Partnering with human resources to encourage employees to self-identify

‘A safe space to chat and lean on each other’

Green and RTX PRIDE Chair Brian Kilhoffer are working to maintain a healthy work environment for the company’s LGBTQ+ community and all employees. The group, for example, has created an internal online forum that has enabled members to share stories and concerns, connect with one another, ask for support and identify issues to raise to senior leaders. 

“Everyone has embraced each other, shared stories with each other and created a safe space to chat and lean on each other,” said Kilhoffer, a materials manager at Pratt & Whitney, an RTX business. “We’ve had real discussions, emotional discussions. We truly have created a safe space for everyone, including our allies.” 

“It’s our belief and our commitment to make an environment where people should not fear speaking up and to actually make this a better workforce,” he said. 

The group also engages its community through in-person and virtual member events, including keynote speakers, lunch-and-learns, family get-togethers and career development opportunities for resume building or connecting with mentors.  

“I want to encourage people to share their stories,” said Kilhoffer. “Don’t hold it in. Let’s have a safe place for people to come to.” 

RTX PRIDE is also focused on ensuring access to benefits, including legal services and healthcare for families. The group also worked with the company’s human resources and legal teams on a new adoption reimbursement benefit.

“It’s a really good example of the company’s ability to listen and understand and take decisive action quickly to address a concern,” Green said of the adoption benefit. 

“Ally is a verb. We want to create resources on what that looks like, what that means.”

Amanda Green | Co-Chair | RTX PRIDE

The importance of allies

Looking ahead, RTX PRIDE is planning new initiatives including a career development program that will provide management training designed to help retain diverse talent. That program will include guidance such as how to conduct “stay interviews,” or occasional conversations where managers learn how employees feel about their role, and what else they’d like to accomplish. 

Additionally, RTX PRIDE is encouraging LGBTQ+ employees to self-identify, and it is also working to gauge its level of support from colleagues who count themselves as allies.

“Ally is a verb,” said Green. “We want to create resources on what that looks like, what that means. In the workplace, it’s critical to provide information to people if you are asking them to take a more active role.” 

Allies “are our strongest demographic,” Green said, “because they come from a place of support from outside, which tends to give them credibility with folks who might not have much education or awareness around the queer community. It offers a totally different voice.” 

Brian Kilhoffer

“It’s our belief and our commitment to make an environment where people should not fear speaking up.”

Brian Kilhoffer | Chair | RTX PRIDE

A year after re-launching as a companywide employee resource group, RTX PRIDE is focused on making a difference for the company’s LGBTQ+ employees – at work and at home. 

“Build trust, engage with us – we are hard at work on everything here,” Kilhoffer said. “We are going to champion everything we can.” 

And 14 years after Green teamed up to launch that predecessor group to RTX PRIDE, she sees how far the community and company culture have come – but knows their work continues.  

“It’s been incredible to watch that change,” Green said of the progress she’s seen. “That’s what makes me proud to do this work. I’ve seen the difference it makes in people’s lives. It can change everything.”

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