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Pride Month: Getting to know Sarah Martinez.

To celebrate Pride Month, AWL is shining the spotlight on some of our LGBTQIA+ employees. Today we get to know Sarah Martinez.

Sarah Martinez grew up in a small town in southern Louisiana and has been living in the Austin area for 7 years. Sarah has been with AWL for over 6 years and is currently a Senior BI Analyst for the Business Intelligence team. At home Sarah lives with her wife, Christa, who she’s been married to for over 5 years, along with their two children and their senior dog.

What’s your job title and how long have you worked at AWL?
Sr. Business Intelligence Analyst – I have worked at AWL for almost 7 years.

What inspired you to work in your field?
Two jobs and several years after college, I decided that I really enjoyed the
computer related functions of my jobs and went back for a second bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. It was during my first year or so working at AWL when I determined that I wanted to work in Business Intelligence.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I love that there is always something challenging to work on! It is in these challenges that you can learn and grow the most. These unique challenges are what keeps my job exciting from day to day.

Do you have any words of advice for people looking to enter your field?
Technology, especially data, is such a huge part of business in today’s world. I know that my determination has helped me to be successful in my field. Additionally, take the time to identify and seek out opportunities to learn and grow within your field and go after what you want. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

How has your identity shaped the person you are today?
I know that my identity has helped me be more empathetic and thoughtful in my interactions with others.

What are some interesting hobbies or talents that most people may not know about you?
I love to cook and bake! Being from south Louisiana, I know how to add flavor to every meal. My wife is always asking me to make things for get togethers. My grandmother ran her own bakery out of her house, so I spent a lot of time helping her in the kitchen growing up.

What’s your favorite book or podcast?
I enjoy podcasts because I can multitask while listening. One of my favorites is “You’re Wrong About” which takes a deep dive on an often-misunderstood historical topic. I really enjoy history!

Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg– what’s not to love about her? She really was a trailblazer throughout her entire life. I’ve also been learning a lot about Anne Lister. She was a woman who was unapologetically herself in a time when women were not often given the space to be themselves. She was a powerful businesswoman and a lesbian in the 1800s England.

How do you celebrate PRIDE?
My birthday happens to fall in the month of June so I tend to celebrate Pride in conjunction with my birthday. I’m more reserved so I don’t often seek out parades or parties. Our family celebrates through reflection and monetary donations to LGBTQ+ charities.

How can companies create inclusive environments for LGBTIA+ employees?
I know that my wife and I have had two very different experiences regarding inclusiveness within the workspace. I have appreciated the welcoming atmosphere that AWL provides to all employees. I have never felt excluded or “less than” because of how I identify. I think any company can create inclusive environments by remembering we are all just people who want to be treated equally.

One of the most difficult challenges for LGBTQIA+ youth is the question of family acceptance. How was your coming out story?
It wasn’t easy to initially come out in 2005 in South Louisiana. It was very scary because you never really know how people will react. I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I had started dating another woman and knew I needed to be open with my family and friends before they found out through other means. I told my friends first and my close friends were supportive. Things didn’t go as well when I told my family. My sister was supportive as well as some of my extended family members. I think it was a shock to my parents initially, but they quickly came around as well. I have been very fortunate that I have had a great support system since coming out and I truly have a great relationship with my family and my wife and kids.

What do you want the readers to know about LGBTQIA+ people?
We really are no different from everyone else. We are just people who want to be loved and to be able to love whomever we choose!