Jose Galarza leads Spectrum’s expansion to Chicago

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The LGBT Business Resource Group in the Windy City is keeping its eyes on Pride and beyond.

 

Earlier this year, U.S. Bank’s Jose Galarza, Vice President, Structured Finance Account Manager, became the first president of Spectrum in Chicago. Spectrum is U.S. Bank’s LGBT Business Resource Group (BRG) that focuses on company initiatives pertinent to LGBT employees and allies, and has chapters in multiple cities. Below, Jose tells us his plans for this year’s Pride celebration, as well as other plans for the newly-formed Spectrum Chicago.


What drew you to U.S. Bank?

I was very impressed when I saw that U.S. Bank earned a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for the 10th year in a row. That made a great impression on me. I was very excited to work for a company that participated in the HRC survey and had earned such a great score.

What is Spectrum and what is the group’s overall mission at U.S. Bank?

Spectrum brings together LGBT and ally employees for professional development, cultural and volunteer activities. We also support business initiatives and help recruit LGBT employees. Spectrum also helps the bank continue to grow by ensuring we address the unique financial needs of the LGBT community, and other diverse communities across our footprint.

Tell us what inspired you to start a Spectrum group in Chicago. 

When I started at U.S. Bank, I found out that they had Spectrum chapters in other cities, but not Chicago. I was determined to find out how to get a chapter started here and I am very excited that it is happening! The biggest motivator for me was to give back to the community. One of our main goals is to partner with other LGBT organizations in the city and I’m really proud to be starting relationships with those groups. We have so many people interested in volunteering and helping. 

Which Chicago organizations is Spectrum partnering with?

So far, we’ve partnered with Pride Chicago (link: http://chicagopride.gopride.com/), which organizes the Pridefest and the Pride Parade, and The Center on Halsted for several volunteer events. The Center is Chicago’s LGBT community center. It is in the heart of the LGBT community and everyone is welcome. They have their finger on the pulse of the community and we are very excited to expand our partnership with them this year. 

What plans and initiatives are in store for your Spectrum chapter in 2017?

We are looking forward to getting more involved in our local LGBT community by deepening our relationship with the Center on Halsted, and partnering with them on more activities. We are also hoping to partner up with U.S. Bank’s Chicago African American BRG and with another U.S. Bank employee group in Chicago, the Development Network this year. This being our first year, we are still developing our to-do list. Right now, we also need to raise awareness of the new Chicago Spectrum chapter among employees. We want to start a dialogue about top of mind issues and concerns, as well as opportunities for the LGBT community. 

Tell us about Spectrum’s plans for Chicago Pride this year.

We are looking to host a number of community leaders to speak on various LGBT topics throughout Pride month and participate in volunteer events. While we will focus on June as an important month of celebration. 

What sets U.S. Bank apart from other banks in terms of LGBT inclusion?

One of the bank’s core values is “we draw strength from diversity.” As part of our focus on supporting our diverse employees and customers, the LGBT community has been identified as a key segment. The bank also hired a LGBT strategy manager. Having been in the financial services industry for the past 20 years, there were no words to describe how proud this made me feel.

And I like that the bank has a new LGBT debit card design – it’s a great example of U.S. Bank’s commitment to ensuring LGBT customers and employees feel welcome and recognized. I can’t wait to get my card in time for Pride this June!