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Santa Rosa health educator at Kaiser Permanente wins Pride Business Leadership Awards

Remi Newman (she/her)

Bilingual clinical health educator II

Kaiser Permanente, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa, CA; 707-393-4645; kaiserpermanente.org

Education: Master of Arts in sex education, New York University; first-year student in doctoral human sexuality program, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

Remi Newman, a bilingual clinical health educator II at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, is a 2022 winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Business Leadership Awards.

About me

I came out to myself as bisexual in college in the early ’90s.

I had known lesbians, but I figured I was the only bisexual. I had no context for bisexuality. I remember planning to go to the National Coming Out Day rally at school by myself and I was so nervous. I was in the dining hall before and I heard some people joking about it, how their friend had a class in that building and when he came out of class, people would think he was there for the rally and he was a fag and wasn’t that funny.

I was shaking, I was so upset. I went up to them and said,’I overheard you and I just want you to know that words can be hurtful.’

I kept shaking all the way to the rally. I stood on the steps by myself and listened to the speeches of students sharing their truth. I was still shaking when I went to my next class and I started writing…. How could someone deny someone else the right to love? It felt so wrong. I felt sick but empowered. That year so much happened. I found my queer community and the next Coming Out Day rally I was up there on the podium giving a speech. It was the same words I had scribbled in my notebook a year earlier.

Some questions

What have you learned about your leadership in the last year and how will it change the way you lead going forward?

To be honest, I don’t think of myself as a leader, so much as a collaborator. I’ve been blessed with incredible co-workers who share my vision and passion for LGBTQI+ care in our medical facility.

We all have different gifts and skills and together we have made a great team over the years. I think moving forward, giving space to new folks to join us and watch them grow in their capacity. We have started an LGBTQI+ patient advisory board made up of Kaiser Permanente members and they have already taught me so much, so I will continue to learn from them on how we can improve our care to the LGBTQI+ community.

What steps would you like to see in the North Bay business community to prioritize diversity and inclusion?

Clearly, I am passionate about LGBTQI+ diversity and inclusion, but I also think the North Bay needs to look closely at racial disparities and issues around race that our community is facing daily. The prosperity of this community has been built on the backs of people of color.

We have some great programs and activists in this community who are working hard to help the lives of people who are often undocumented and struggling just to make ends meet, although they are some of the hardest working people in this county- picking grapes, washing cars, cooking and cleaning in homes and restaurants and hotels, doing landscaping and construction.

I would love to see the business community that benefits from this underpaid hard labor, offer their support in ways that could truly better the lives of our hard-working immigrant families.

Remi Newman (she/her)

Bilingual clinical health educator II

Kaiser Permanente, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa, CA; 707-393-4645; kaiserpermanente.org

Education: Master of Arts in sex education, New York University; first-year student in doctoral human sexuality program, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

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