/Pride Week

Pride Week

Pride Week 2017-06-06T08:57:50-05:00

Inclusion in the Workplace
A College of Business Pride Week Panel Discussion

Join business leaders as they discuss the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in today’s workplace. Panelists from KPMG, DuPont, Caterpillar, John Deere and Kabel Business Services will help us understand the corporate-level implications of supporting communities of diversity, and their approach to making members of the community feel included and valued.

Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding will serve as moderator. He will introduce each panelist and invite them to share how their company is involved in LGBT issues, why it’s important for companies to incorporate strategies to employ, support and engage people from diverse backgrounds, and what future trends are anticipated. Questions from the audience will follow.

Tuesday April 10, 2017
4:00-5:00 p.m. Gerdin 1148    

This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in Bergstrom Commons of Gerdin Business Building, with appetizers and beverages. Parking is available in the Memorial Union on the Iowa State University campus.


  • Caterpillar Inc.: Brant Watson, communications representative
  • John Deere: Kris Voyna, manager of global and region 4 learning administration
  • Principal: Heather J. Schott, human resource recruiting and diversity
  • Union Pacific: Cat King, 2017 president of BRIDGES (LGBT) employee resource group

Moderator: Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding

“Our goal is to provide an atmosphere of learning and growing so attendees have a better understanding of LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace,” said Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding.

The event is intended for Iowa State University students who identify as LGBTQ+ as well as to help students learn about resources that businesses provide to meet the needs of the community.

“Most importantly, we hope the panel will help students understand corporate-level implications of supporting communities of diversity, and help them grow as professionals in their fields of expertise,” Spalding said. “We believe our students will receive a positive learning experience by having corporate participation.”

 CoB Pride Week Panelists

Cat King is the program manager of training content at Union Pacific Railroad. She has been a workplace learning and performance professional for over 15 years with experience in retail, insurance, financial services, and transportation industries. Cat is one of the three co-founders of UP’s eighth employee resource group dedicated to the recruitment, advancement, and support of LGBTQ+ employees, called BRIDGES. She is the 2017 president and current priorities include engaging field employees in 23 states, helping people be better allies, and communicating the new transgender health insurance coverage that went into effect January 1. Cat lives in Omaha with her dog Arnold Pomer and her tabby cat Tiny.

Union Pacific Corporation is one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is North America’s premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United State, providing a critical link in the global supply chain.

Heather Schott is the assistant director of diversity and inclusion at Principal Financial Group, where she has worked for twenty years. Within this role, Heather is responsible for the diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives for the global population. In Heather’s initial 17 years of service, she held a variety of roles within the IT community. She has worked across business units, supported product development in accounting, actuarial, and operational functions, and led data solution architects driving data management practices. A Minnesota native, Heather received her B.S. in mathematics and business from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Heather is currently a member of the Conference Board Diversity and Inclusion Leaders II and the Greater Des Moines Partnership Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Principal helps businesses, institutional investors and individuals reach their goals through their best in class retirement services, insurance solutions, and asset management services.

Brant Watson is a corporate communications representative at Caterpillar Inc. where he manages internal employee communications and works closely with the diversity and inclusion team to lead Lambda, Caterpillar’s LGBT Employee Resource Group. Previously, Brant held various internships and leadership positions where he focused on marketing, social media and event planning for non-profit organizations. Brant is a 2013 graduate of Iowa State University and holds a B.A. in speech communication. He currently lives in his hometown of Peoria, IL where he enjoys running, watching movies and trying to keep up with his dog, Clark.

Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment

Kristina (Kris) Voynais the Manager of Global & Region 4 Learning Administration at John Deere. She has held a multitude of jobs over the past 16 years, mostly within the Human Resources function. However, John Deere has provided a wide variety of experiences, including a role on the factory floor and a position working with John Deere dealerships. Outside of work, most of her time is spent reading and studying for her doctorate or hanging out with her wife, Teri, and her son, Leo (3).

Deere & Company is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for customers whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure.