It’s been a huge year for diversity and inclusion. The #MeToo movement and closer to home, the monumental marriage equality vote in Australia has been discussed and reported all over the world.

Acknowledging the need for acceptance is on the agenda.

Someone who is devoted to promoting acceptance is The Coca-Cola Company vice president of national retail sales Pamela Stewart.

“Coca-Cola always has been at the forefront of inclusion,” Pamela said.

Someone who is devoted to promoting acceptance is The Coca-Cola Company vice president of retail sales Pamela Stewart.

“It’s incredibly important for a company as enduring as ours to be relevant, be ahead of our times and put our influence and reputation against issues that matter most,” she said.

As the chair of GLAAD’s (the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organisation) board of directors, Pamela is dedicated to reshaping the narrative around the LGBTI community and provoking dialogue that leads to cultural change.

Artwork credit: Rudi de Wet. Coinciding with the same sex marriage vote in 2017 Coca-Cola transformed the Kings Cross billboard to read ‘We Say YES To Love”.

Pamela recently flew to Sydney from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to serve as a keynote speaker at the Australian LGBTI Awards. The awards, sponsored by Coca-Cola South Pacific is designed to highlight organisations and individuals that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the LGBTI community in the past 12 months.

Pamela recently flew to Sydney from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to serve as a keynote speaker at the Australian LGBTI Awards.

So as individuals what can we do to help? We asked Pamela the top 3 ways you can be a great ally to the LGBTI community.

Speak Up

“Wherever you are, whatever you are doing if you witness someone experiencing inequality speak up to support them,” Pamela said.

“Being silent is aligned to being complicit.

“Don’t be afraid to speak up in the moment to make a positive change, and ultimately help to re-educate,” she said.

“Coca-Cola has always been on the forefront of inclusion,” Pamela said.

Reach Out

“If you feel strongly about something reach out to your officials, politicians, vote, get involved,” Pamela said.

“All we have is hope until there is action. You have a chance to advance the bridge between inequality and equality by exercising your inherent right to vote,” she said.

Welcome In

“From my personal experience, most prejudice is born out of the fear of the unknown. Take time to learn someone’s personal journey. Connection humanises all of us. It is a step on the path to true awareness. Ultimately my dream is for everyone to be their true authentic selves and feel accepted as part of the wider community. It’s incredibly important," Pamela said.

“I’ve found my courage along the way and I hope to instill courage in others. A world without discrimination is possible."