Associated Bank Branch Manager Marty Shimko was recently recognized as a Business of Pride honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal at an awards event at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis on June 14.

Shimko has been in his current position for only two years, but he’s already brought a lifetime of experience and advocacy to the role.

In addition to directing operations of the New Hope branch, Shimko serves as co-chair of the company’s colleague resource group, Associated Pride and Equality Exchange, Twin Cities chapter. The mission of APEX is to attract and retain LGBTQ employees, and serve as a resource to the communities in which they work and live. Shimko partners with other APEX members to promote an environment of respect and appreciation for diversity.

Shimko’s volunteer work and community leadership is extensive, and he serves on a variety of boards in the metro, including the Twin Cities United Way Arise Project, Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and Good Samaritan Society Ambassador advisory board. He’s particularly adept at blending his passion for affordable housing with his expertise in financial services to help underserved communities.

His belief in equality and acceptance for all shines through in all of his professional and volunteer efforts, making him an invaluable addition to the Twin Cities community.

View the full article here.

More from Shimko …

Is there a story or instance that inspired you to become more vocal on issues of equality and inclusion? I was instrumental in helping my previous employer become engaged in the LGBTQ community. However, it was not until I became involved in the United Way Arise Project, where I learned of the huge number of homeless LGBTQ youth, that I became an advocate to eliminate this problem. No child should be homeless because of who they love or want to love.

What advice can you offer young LGBTQ professionals looking to move up in the corporate world or become more involved in advocacy efforts? I believe that orientation is a small part of who you are. To advance professionally, your job performance is most important. If you want to advance, you need to earn the opportunity — not expect it to be handed to you. Additionally, use your passion to get involved and help make life better for those who are hurting. No matter who we are all of us have the ability to help.  

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career? I am most proud of getting others to be involved in the fight to eliminate LGBTQ youth homelessness. Through my work experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to share with diversity groups from other companies, and I share the message of the need and the importance of each person becoming engaged.

What project or goal are you currently working on that you are most excited about? Recently I was asked to serve as chair of Associated Bank’s Twin City LGBTQ Colleague Resource Group, Associated Pride and Equality Exchange. As a relatively new group, we are working to create programming that will assist colleagues to grow personally and professionally, as well as help the company be even more welcoming and affirming to customers.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind? The legacy I hope to leave is that I helped LGBTQ individuals use their skills to make this community better, to be successful professionally and to be proud of their orientation.