Location: San Francisco, California
Summary: Gap Inc. employees, working with Gap GEAR (Gay Employees & Allies Resource Group) created an inspirational video to support the cultural value of diversity.
Compassion can be contagious.
And sometimes that’s all it takes to get a grassroots effort going — that and an environment that nurtures real passion.
Just ask Jason Hanasik, Asset Coordinator for Gap Online, whose own drive to “do what’s right” pushed him to act.
Moved by the surge of support he saw for the “It Gets Better” project — in support of LGBT teenagers suffering from bullying or suicidal thoughts who could use words of encouragement — Jason wanted to get involved. And he wanted Gap Inc. to join him.
Jason and Robert Gagnon, Vice President of Gap Online, connected with Gap GEAR (Gay Employees, Allies and Resources) president John Aylward to brainstorm; within days, a video was under way.
“It caught fire rather quickly,” John said. “People freed up their schedules and weekends. I think there was a real sense of urgency to get this through and it was amazing how leadership supported us without holding up the process. We always knew we had a huge amount of senior support encouraging us along the way.”
Jason put out a call for volunteers willing to share their stories and offer support, and shot the majority of the video and edited it himself.
“I thought if Gap Inc. released an 'It Gets Better' video,” Jason said, “the project would move from the ethereal space of the web to the physical location of stores across the world, where LGBT teens would feel welcome. It would also put many beautiful faces to Gap Inc.’s on-going intolerance of discrimination.”
The company launched the “It Gets Better” video on November 3, 2010, just weeks after Jason’s pitch. It caught on quickly, grabbing attention in the blogosphere on sites like Perez Hilton and Towleroad and getting more than 45,000 hits on YouTube to date.
“If it helps one person, that’s all that matters,” Robert said. “The sole purpose was to save a life. And the project proved that you could get something beautifully done in such a short time, which is amazing in itself considering the size of our corporation.”
It also made an impact with employees.
“I think issues like this unite people, no matter what level you are with the company,” John said. “There was a common thread of ‘this is the right thing to do’ and it represents what the company believes as a whole. And people are very proud to be a part of a company like that.”