In Charlotte Pride’s column last month, we reviewed many of our organization’s awesome events in 2022. It was a year full of returns and firsts for the organization. As we close out 2022, we celebrate a year of transition. Early in 2022, longtime staffer Jerry Yelton departed and was succeeded by our current programs and development manager Meredith Thompson. This fall, staffer Matt Comer announced he, too, would transition away for new career opportunities. Charlotte Pride is so proud to welcome our new communications manager, Liz Schob, who writes below to say hello in her new role here. 

Hey, Y’all.

I’m sitting in the Charlotte Pride offices on a rainy December morning full of gratitude. I’m grateful for Charlotte Pride for hiring me as the new communications manager. I’m grateful for my found family here in Charlotte, who have loved me, celebrated my successes, and held me when I was struggling. I’m grateful for Matt Comer, who has welcomed me into the fold with open arms. He set the bar high with his work at Charlotte Pride and I don’t take that lightly. I am in awe of his legacy as a servant leader and I feel privileged to build upon his work.

Like Matt, I’ve always had a heart for service. Growing up in Fayetteville, my family instilled in me the importance of doing your part to make the world a better place. I took that with me as I started my professional career and I’m so glad that life brought me to Charlotte to continue that work. Since moving here, the community has embraced me as one of their own and I’m proud to call myself an LGBTQ+ Charlottean.

They say home is where the heart is and my heart now lives in the Queen City. I first moved here to attend graduate school and immediately fell in love with the Charlotte. After moving away post graduation, I knew I needed to find my way back and, when my job at the local affiliate of a national reproductive health nonprofit offered me a transfer to their Charlotte office, I jumped at the chance. After moving back, I worked on building a strong LGBTQ+ inclusive adolescent health education program and started living more authentically as a queer woman. The Charlotte LGBTQ+ community gave me a safe place to land when I needed it and helped me thrive.

One of the things I love most about this city is the fact that there are so many opportunities to get involved in the community. I found an LGBTQ+ affirming interfaith church that quickly became a second home. Wedgewood Community Church was one of the first places that made me feel welcome and embraced me as my authentic self. I became involved in the church’s food pantry, which grew leaps and bounds during the pandemic, Now, Wedgewood partners with Hearts United for Good, which also does vital work in the community to run the weekly zero-barrier food pantry. It’s been a privilege being involved with both organizations.

Since leaving my job at the reproductive health nonprofit over the summer, my business partner and I founded Affirming Connections, a community-based education consulting firm that provides inclusive education and resources to support LGBTQ+ youth and families related to sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, AC provides support to professionals seeking to create more affirming and inclusive environments for their clients and staff.

As this year comes to a close and a new one begins, I can’t help but anticipate what the future holds. My first Pride festival was fourteen years ago and the next Pride festival I’ll attend will be one I get to be actively involved in planning. I am so excited to join the staff at Charlotte Pride as communications manager and help bring cornerstone events like Reel Out Charlotte and the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade to the community. The world has changed so drastically since my first Pride, and with the current political climate and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community increasing, events like this are necessary now more than ever.

I look forward to being of service to the Charlotte LGBTQ+ community and beyond and pushing the needle ever forward.

Let’s get to work!

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