Trainer at Sonoma County’s TLC Child & Family Services wins Pride Business Leadership Awards
Anna Richmond, clinical training and competency specialist and LGBTQ+ navigatora at TLC Child & Family Services in Sebastopol, is a 2022 winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Business Leadership Awards.
Raised in Central California by conservative, religious parents, my path was not an easy one.
As a 17-year-old whose mom was the church pianist and father a church board member, I was definitely not allowed to like girls, so, I hid that fact from everyone and pretended to be something I was not.
Still, my upbringing was built on a foundation of love, support and community. High school and college sports taught me about teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. Then, at age 24 years, my brother’s sudden and unexplained death exposed me to deep grief and loss.
Divinely, my queer college roommates filled the gaps with humor and positive self-reflections, which led to an acute awareness that while some of us were gay, we were also outstanding humans; a few of us, were even the first in our families to graduate college.
Along the way, a coach implored that I not settle for ‘just’ being a coach and PE teacher; a college professor encouraged me to become a psychologist. All of these experiences translated into a career focused on building community and serving youth and families.
The specific LGBTQ+ opportunities have been particularly rewarding, but I’m no expert. Rather, I am deeply invested in creating a legacy of visibility for our LGBTQ+ youth so they can thrive.
Some questions for you
As a successful professional, what are the biggest obstacles you face what how are you working to overcome them?
Time and money are far and away the biggest obstacles. There never seems to be enough of either one. I have so many ideas and desires for how to help our LGBTQ+ youth and families, but not enough time or money to be able to make all of those dreams come true.
We are vigorously seeking out grant funds, new donors who believe in our Project Flare goals to undo aloneness and instead mentor a generation of LGBTQ+ leaders, and we are learning how to interlock arms with other agencies who have a shared mission in the LGBTQ+ community like Family Builders, Positive Images, Community Matters and others.
What steps would you like to see in the North Bay business community to prioritize diversity and inclusion?
We need business owners who will partner with us to mentor LGBTQ+ youth to increase their employment skills (job interview practice, workplace etiquette, how to dress for an interview, interview outfits or funding).
We would love to offer training to businesses who want to become more LGBTQ+ affirming.
We need families who are willing to host an LGBTQ+ youth for a holiday meal, when their own families aren’t able to include them.
Lastly, we need ongoing funding to make these goals a reality.