Inclusive Spaces

Meet Our Staff: Jessica May

In celebration of pride month, some of our LGBTQ+ Staff reflected on their own journey to pride and how they’ve created and encountered inclusive spaces of belonging while here at The Trustees.

It’s a careful balance between being a professional and sharing enough about who you are—vulnerable, joyful, sometimes funny, sometimes dorky—to really feel like a whole person.

– Jessica May

Meet Jessica May

What do you do at Trustees? What’s your role? Managing Director, Art, and Exhibitions, and Artistic Director, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. I am pretty sure I have the longest title at The Trustees.

What brought you to the Trustees? The opportunity to work with some of the world’s most incredible artists at our spectacular properties.

How do you celebrate your LGBTQ+ identity at The trustees, and what’s been your proudest moment here? I drop in references to my wife and kid everywhere I go, with colleagues, donors, visitors, artists, and the public. I’m a forty-something White lady with a strong “working mom” vibe, so I really lean into sharing this aspect of my identity verbally when I’m meeting new people. It used to feel like a political statement, but now it frankly feels more like an ice-breaker. Often people look at me with utter delight—they really do want to know about my family.

a tall colorful sculpture

Do you have a favorite property? deCordova and Fruitlands are “home base” for me, and I love being on both sites throughout the year. That said, my experiences at Weir River Farm and Appleton Farms have been so joyful.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work? My favorite time of day is dinner with my wife and our son, Noah, because I love hearing about their daily adventures.

Do you have any tips for fostering an inclusive environment where everyone is valued and can bring their whole selves to work?  I do! I think as a leader in this organization, it’s important to model my own humanity and fallibility. Without making my work life all about my son, I do share with colleagues how much my family means to me, and how they figure into my priorities. It’s a careful balance between being a professional and sharing enough about who you are—vulnerable, joyful, sometimes funny, sometimes dorky—to really feel like a whole person. If we can get that balance right, we can bring a little more of our whole selves into our relationships with one another. And it never hurts to just take a breath and be a little more generous and kind than you absolutely need to be.

What are you excited about that The Trustees is working on? Our marshland carbon capture initiatives are amazing to me, and such an inspiration.

Diversity flag horizontal crop

What’s something you think people can do, especially during Pride Month, to gain awareness about important issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community? I think one of the more important issues in our culture right now is the attention that we can draw to valuing the lives and safety of trans kids. There’s a lot of headwinds right now in this country against honoring the humanity of these young people, and my sincere hope is that by wearing these little pronoun pins, which seems like such a modest thing to do, we signal respect, acknowledgment, and maybe even a little humility.

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