Louis Armendariz loves “Mad Men.” The combination of creatively written scenes, expert costume design, and brooding characters creates the perfect storm of conflict and suspense.
He also loves that the workplace drama—set in the 1960s—is a stark reminder of how far society has progressed.
“I am so proud that we no longer live in a place where misogyny and racism control our workplaces. People should be empowered to speak out. Pride Month is a chance for LGBTQ+ individuals to look back on the history of our community and our accomplishments. It’s a time for commemoration, but it also reminds us we have a way to go.”
As a gay, Latino male, Louis is passionate about his role as communications chair of Booz Allen’s GLOBE forum, an internal outlet for the LGBTQ+ community as well as those with differing identities and perspectives. “Our mission is to come as you are and embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” explains Louis. “It’s the perfect chance to connect.”
Louis, who helps his clients at the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation ensure emergency communications systems like 911 run flawlessly, knows that building a strong sense of community is perhaps the most powerful force behind any cultural shift—workplace and otherwise.
“The biggest thing Booz Allen provides is community, especially given our work missions and goals. We’re a firm that relies on all aspects of community because it makes for a more productive workforce. We shouldn’t feel incumbered by our looks, identities, perspectives, and ideologies. We should cherish and celebrate them. I’ve been out of the closet for several years and I don’t feel restricted. I come to work unfettered,” says Louis, who is based in the DC metro area—a place he describes as a “mecca of public service ideologies.”
Originally from El Paso, Texas, Louis is fiercely proud of his Latin heritage and his close-knit hometown community. But he also recognizes moving away and pushing himself outside his comfort zone truly inspired him to grow; to open his eyes and stand up for equality. “I was the youngest and one of the first in my family to leave my hometown,” says Louis. And while he still embraces his roots, leaving home took courage.
“Even though federal law may trump state laws, in the state of Texas homosexual conduct is still outlawed. Transgender individuals can still be fired. You can still be fired based on your sexual and gender identity,” Louis explains. But he knows the key to ending these discriminatory policies—and in turn changing the world—rests on a unified voice and the willingness to call out bigotry and unfair practices. “Stand up against discrimination,” says Louis. “Whether it’s sexual identity or people with different abilities. Speak up and speak out.”