Convene is passionate about supporting today’s best workdays, wherever they happen. We also know that to deliver these types of experiences for our clients, we must start by delivering them to our own team. A part of this commitment is to support employees as they strive for healthy, happy lives – providing access to the resources and support they need to build a successful career, while also building a fulfilling life outside of the workplace.
We are inspired by the range of personal interests, hobbies, passions, and philanthropies members of our teams have shared with us. To support them further, we created the Convene Wish Program, an initiative that provides resources to members looking to achieve goals and enriching experiences outside of the workplace. By offering employees a combination of funding and paid time off, they can pursue a personal project that betters themselves or their communities. We’ve had many remarkable employees be granted a Wish, with the latest being Mason Kaminsky.
Mason has been with Convene for two and a half years and is presently the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable Manager. He has been in the finance sector for over ten years, starting as a sales representative in financial services, who now oversees the day-to-day corporate financial needs for Convene, in his present role. Mason is also a very active member and leader of multiple ERGs, serving as an ongoing resource sharing his knowledge and experiences throughout our organization.
Mason used his Wish to publish his own book, They Were Family, an LGBTQIA+ history book covering 10,000 BCE through 1969 showcasing over 100+ photos from his personal queer collection.
We sat down with Mason to learn more about him, his time at Convene, and his Wish Project. Learn more about his incredible journey and achievement through our conversation below.
Tell us more about the personal and professional journey that has led to this project.
I am an activist, parent, partner, writer, and man who is trans, who has experienced homelessness, all of which have shaped me to be a no-nonsense, equity minded, transferable skills believing, human being. My personal experience has molded every aspect of my professional life and has only made me more valuable. Convene has been a company that shows me they agree with that sentiment.
Tell us more about your project.
For my Wish Project, I finished writing, and finally published by LGBTQIA+ history book, inclusive of over 100+ photos from my personal Queer collection entitled They Were Family: Pre-Stonewall Facts & Photographs of the LGBTQIA+ Community. I have spent years collecting queer photos, newspapers, toys, etc. and documenting amazing LGBTQIA+ history facts that I had learned, but was never taught in school. For years, I kept a sheet organized by date, topic, and specific LGBTQIA+ subculture. The book focuses on Pre-Stonewall history, since most of the queer history that is taught is after 1969. It’s written with each fact only being a paragraph or so, to truly make it digestible and accessible.
They Were Family is available wherever you can buy a book! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as a soft-cover or PDF version, whatever you prefer. You can also get the digital version on Genderbanditcreative.com.
How has Convene supported you with this project?
The Wish Project is just one of many wonderful opportunities available to us at Convene. I love the entire vibe. Convene, as a company and the people who make the company, listens when I have an idea. Convene sees me as a whole person with a life outside of labor, and values that whole person. I am an asset, not a liability here, and as a man who is trans in the corporate world, that is a magical thing to me.
What was your inspiration behind submitting your application for the Convene Wish Project?
I had been collecting LGBTQIA+ items, and researching Queer history for years, and the Wish was an opportunity to finally make my dream of publishing a book more tangible. I was inspired to submit my application for the Convene Wish Program because there was nothing to lose! If I did not get picked, nothing would have changed. I would have kept collecting and researching and published a bit later. The Wish program was just a beautiful opportunity to speed up the timeline.
Given all your research, how would you recommend companies and employees take part in celebrating Pride Month this June?
The best way to celebrate Pride Month, both as a company and an individual, is to start paying attention during the other 11 months of the year. I say this because when companies rainbow-wash their logo for just that one month, while doing nothing to advance, protect and support the Queer community for the rest of the year. What you are saying is, “I care about you when I can profit.” And for individuals, when you join in the fun of the Pride Parade, but ignore the plight of Trans people or Queer people, it’s a similar sentiment to rainbow-washing. Pride Month is not meant to be just a party, it’s meant to be a reminder of a riot that sparked a revolution, to acknowledge the massive part Queer people have played in shaping society, from art to politics, and that we have always existed.
What is one piece of advice you wish you could tell your younger self when you started your career?
I would tell myself simply, “You got this.” Imposter Syndrome can be a mighty thing, particularly when you already are trying to figure out who you are in your own skin. I would not change anything I have done, or any aspect of who I am, I would just let myself know that I was always right to believe in myself.
Mason is one of many Wish Program participants. Learn more about the program and hear from other participant stories below.