As a first time Baltimore Pride volunteer myself, I thought it would be interesting for our readers to get to know some of the other volunteers who’ve been working since November to put on a fantastic Pride this year. Let’s be honest, for most of us who’ve attended Pride recently or in the past, we don’t think about those giving their time and effort to make it happen. One of those volunteers is Carly Saunders. Carly moved to Baltimore last year and quickly became involved in the 2018 Pride planning. Besides her volunteering, she’s a foodie and loves travel, music, and exploring new local artists.
I recently asked Carly to tell us more about her role and experiences with Pride:
Richard Finger: How long have you been involved in Pride planning? What are some of the roles you’ve had over the years?
Carly Saunders: I lived in Louisiana for work in 2017 and joined Baton Rouge Pride to stay connected with the local community. I loved it so much that I looked to immediately get involved with the planning committee in Baltimore when I moved here in 2018. For last year’s Baltimore Pride 2018, I was co-chair for the Logistics Committee, and this year I’ve switch gears to co-chair the Vendors Committee for a different perspective on the event.
The Logistics Committee was responsible for coordinating volunteers to assist with setting up and tearing down the parade and coordinating with security. The Vendors Committee is quite different. This involves communicating with potential vendors and setting up the areas and locations for the vendors already registered, and communicating to the community to find new vendors
Why did you decide to co-chair the vendor committee this year?
I think there are a lot of opportunities for Pride to get better and bigger each year. Attracting more vendors to the event and making sure they enjoy their experience is a way to directly attract more people to Pride!
What are some of the responsibilities the vendor committee has? Take us behind the scenes ….
Leading up to the event we are collecting registrations and coordinating the logistics of sign-in, set-up, and security. This year we’ve also engaged more with our vendors leading up to the event with things like “Tips to Attract Patrons to Your Booth”.
What are some the big challenges you’re facing so far, and how are you handling them?
One of the biggest challenges we face are the restrictions for security reasons on how we can set up vendor spaces. We are working within these guidelines to make Pride a safe event for everyone while still incorporating as many booths as possible.
What does success look like for your committee?
A successful year would bring back previous vendors, attract new vendors, and build relationships that keep our vendors excited to come back year after year. We also look for diversity in content. Having a strong mix of retailers, non-profit organization, educational and community resources, and of course … food trucks, will hopefully attract more people to attend this year’s event!
Anything else you would like us to know about your committee or Baltimore Pride overall?
As a young queer woman, I think it is extremely important to reach other young people in the community to get involved! There is no such thing as being too young or too old to make a difference.
- Richard Finger has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and has worked with small, private organizations, global corporations, and most currently, a healthcare organization. Richard has worked abroad a number of years in England as well as The Netherlands, where he acquired a great appreciation for cultural awareness. He currently holds three Human Resource Certifications (SHRM-SCP, SPHR, SPHRi), and is also teaching the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP preparation course at Howard County Community College. Richard earned his Bachelor Degree in Psychology at University of Central Florida, and Master Degree in Human Resources Management & Labor Relations at New York Institute of Technology. Richard has been writing for Baltimore Outloud for a number of years, contributing articles about his Human Resources experiences, as well as moonlighting as the author of Finger's Food restaurant reviews. Richard has enjoyed writing for the paper, and looks forward to many more opportunities to do so.