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Eastern Bank honors LGBT advocates

by Hannah Clay Wareham

Bay Windows

Thursday March 8, 2012

Eastern Bank on March 6 announced new additions to its organization: Kara Suffredini, Executive Director of MassEquality, and Gunner Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) were named Corporators, and Rebecca Haag, President and CEO of AIDS Action Committee (AAC) was elected to the Board of Trustees.

"Eastern Bank is very fortunate to have such a talented group of individuals added to our governance structure, and looks forward to their input and guidance in helping us further achieve our mission," said Richard E. Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.

While Haag will join the Eastern Bank board as a trustee, Suffredini and Scott will represent the local community on the Board of Corporators, with terms lasting ten years. The role of corporator, for governance purposes, is similar to that of a stockholder.

"Eastern Bank has been a corporate leader on advocating for the transgender equal rights bill and has been actively working to be a welcoming institution to the transgender community, and I am excited to be given the opportunity to participate with Eastern Bank this way," Scott said.

"Having an openly identified transgender man elected to their board and representing our interests creates a great opportunity for both the transgender community and Eastern Bank," Nancy Nangeroni, chair of MTPC steering committee, added.

Eastern Bank purchased LGBT community staple Wainwright Bank & Trust Co. in June 2010 for $163 million, pledging to continue Wainwright's service and dedication to Boston's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

Suffredini lauded the company for doing so. "Eastern Bank has long been a corporate leader in supporting LGBT organizations and equality initiatives through both its financial assistance and its progressive corporate practices," said Suffredini. "Some examples of this include offering a stipend to married same-sex employees to offset the federal tax on healthcare benefits that married opposite-sex employees do not pay; adding gender identity to its employee non-discrimination policy; and sending a top executive to testify in person before the Joint Committee of the Judiciary last June in support of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill. While some corporations do some of these things, very few of them do all of them."

"We are so pleased with this appointment," said Peter T. Dziedzic, Jr., chair of the MassEquality Board of Directors. "Kara is an excellent representative for the LGBT community. We're proud that she was asked to serve and delighted that she chose to accept."

Eastern Bank was last month honored as an Icon of LGBT Equality at MassEquality's inaugural Icon Awards.

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