Equality Night Spotlight: Nancy Mahoney

What is your role with the Sacramento Kings and how long have you been with the team?

“I am the Senior Director of Human Resources and I have been with the Sacramento Kings for 19 seasons.”

How would you describe the experience of coming out to your family, friends and teammates?

“After my high school graduation, I enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed several states away from my family. I would visit 2-3 times a year and periodically would bring my partner with me.

I was raised in a conservative family, so coming out to my family in the early 80’s was not a conversation I was eager to have. The conversation started with my mother and has continued with the rest of my family over the years.

While I was enlisted in the Air Force (20 years) coming out to teammates was not an option since being a homosexual in military service was banned. Many of my friends and co-workers ‘knew’ but there was no ‘coming out’ moment.”

How has your personal experience helped you in your profession?

“My profession is in Human Resources so naturally I work with our employees on personal matters. I feel that I am a good listener and my life experiences have made me a more compassionate and understanding person.”

What challenges as an LGBTQ member have you faced working in the sports industry?

“None, I am happy to say! After 20 years hiding my identity in the military it felt as if a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I joined the Kings organization.”

How do you believe the LGBTQ conversation has evolved in sports and in business?

“The LGBTQ conversation has been changing over the years, as public perception changes the conversation changes.

20 years ago, the conversation revolved around Gay, Lesbian and Bi-Sexual issues, public displays of affection, the AIDS epidemic, etc. Today, the conversation has moved toward gender transition, gender expression, gender identity, and state and federal laws protecting the LGBTQ community rights.

We have come a long way in the last 20 years, but still have a long way to go as well.”

How do you think companies can be more inclusive of their LGBTQ team members?

“If a company respects its employees, values diversity and fosters an open, inclusive culture all employees will thrive including LGBTQ team members.

We provide Everyday Inclusion and Respect in the Workplace training to our employees. The trainings encourage discussion regarding LGBTQ community issues and how we as an organization can be an ambassador of change in our community.”

How can fellow team members help advance awareness and equity for their LGBTQ teammates?

“Get involved! The Sacramento Kings organization provides opportunities for its team members to get involved with the LGBTQ community through Equality Night, Sacramento Pride Festival, Vision of Equality Luncheon, etc.”

What advice would you share with members of the LGBTQ community who are looking to get into the sports industry?

“Members of the LGBTQ community are just like anyone else looking to get into the sports industry. Obtain the education and experience required for the position you want as a career, pursue opportunities as they present themselves and then do everything possible to grow in your chosen profession.

This is an industry that is difficult to break into, especially at the pro level. I would recommend that you network a lot. Network to get the know the industry, not just to ask for a job.”

What resources would you recommend for fellow LGBTQ members in the sports business?

“Every community is different, but get involved with your local LGBT Community organization and surround yourself with positive, friendly co-workers or find a mentor in your organization to help you grow professionally.”

What does it mean to you that the Sacramento Kings organization hosts and participates in causes that strive to bring greater awareness and equity to the LGBTQ community?

“I am very proud to be a part of the Sacramento Kings organization. The Sacramento Kings dedication to the Sacramento community is one of the main reasons I have been with the organization for the past 19 years.”