"Pittsburgh is a place where diversity is welcome and my contributions are valued."
Josh Stewart grew up in White Oak Borough, a small community in southeastern Allegheny County near the elbow of the Youghiogheny River. After his first year of college, he came out to his parents and siblings. A period of emotional bumps followed, but acceptance and love prevailed, with strengthened relationships as a result. Fast-forward several years: Josh and his husband, Charles, now happily live in Baldwin Borough with their young son, Thatcher. And as for the larger community?
“I have always found Pittsburgh to be a welcoming city in general,” he says. “It might not be as well known for LGBTQ inclusion as some larger cities, but the strong sense of community does create a welcoming environment. We have the robust resources (Persad, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and others) of a larger city – including a first-rate annual Pride celebration -- as well as the family-oriented, tight-knit feeling of a small town. There are dynamic professional opportunities within LGBTQ-inclusive organizations that make Pittsburgh a great place to live and work for families like mine.”
Josh has been out in his workplace, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., since his first day there nearly 15 years ago in the call center of its consumer lending business. “Along the way I have been surrounded by welcoming, encouraging and engaging managers and colleagues, at an organization that is invested in my development and success and recognizes the value of diversity and inclusion,” he says. “In every role my colleagues supported bringing my entire self to work, as well as my advocacy for diversity and inclusion at PNC.”
After several years in Consumer Lending, Josh found the intersection where passion and profession collide. Taking on a role as Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Josh spent several years collaborating with business leaders across the company to help educate and coach employees on core concepts and best practices, and connect all employees with the diversity and inclusion strategy. He also provided oversight for the company’s 10 diversity and inclusion councils, and served as the inaugural president of PNC Proud-Pittsburgh, the bank’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender, Queer and Allies (LGBTQA) Employee Business Resource Group, which creates LGBTQA workforce, workplace and marketplace initiatives for the southwestern Pennsylvania market.
Since then, his earnest focus on diversity and inclusion has remained core to his responsibilities as he transitioned into the Leadership and Executive Development team and now as vice president, program manager on the Talent Acquisition & Management team.
“Diversity and inclusion is a journey and must be woven into everything we do. And there’s still work to be done,” he says. “It is important to acknowledge that not every interaction I’ve had throughout my life has been as welcoming and inclusive as it could be. But there is always an opportunity to learn and share. I remind myself to always ‘meet people where they are.’ Only when we do this respectfully can we begin to change hearts and minds.”
In his personal time, you’ll find Josh brunching his way through the region, and exploring his city through the eyes of a 5 year old. “It’s amazing to see the city again through kid-lenses. There’s so much more to see when the old becomes new all over again.”
His current favorite hidden gems: The Blue Side Park, the Christmas Light Up Celebration in Clinton and The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. As for brunch? “There’s far too many great spots to list but you’ll find us at Square Café nearly every weekend.”