Employee Voices

Having Pride as Their Authentic Selves

Meet two McKesson employees and Pride members who are vocal advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.

Read time: 6 minutes

For more than a decade, McKesson’s Pride employee resource group (ERG) has been a home to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. By fostering a supportive and safe environment, members of the ERG pave the way to drive change in society through cultural movements with the hope of gaining a better understanding and a bigger voice in legislation that impacts the LGBTQIA+ community. And while the community continues to fight through attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community across the nation, the Pride ERG empowers everyone to feel comfortable to be their authentic selves every day and vocalize how we can show up for our Pride community.

Get to know two LGBTQ+ colleagues at McKesson who’ve found that their life experiences inspire them to support their co-workers and loved ones.

Debra Randels: Advocating for others

Debra Randels Where she started:

Debra was bullied relentlessly throughout her formative years by other students who assumed she was a lesbian. She attempted to ignore them, but it was emotionally draining. And when she started to date women, she found it sad and stressful to have to hide those relationships from most of her family and friends. Years later, she married her husband, whom she says turned out to be “her person.” Unfortunately, she was still painfully aware of the societal challenges that many of her friends experienced in same-gendered relationships.

Debra wearing her McKesson Pride shirt at an event

Debra wearing her McKesson Pride shirt at an event.

Before same-sex marriages were legalized in the U.S., a close friend gave her a “Freedom to Marry” button that she still cherishes to this day. However, her friend’s struggle with being closeted was detrimental to his well-being and he tragically died by suicide before he was able to enjoy that freedom legally. Honoring his memory is just one of the reasons Debra became involved in LGBTQ+ community organizations. It gave her the opportunity to represent others who experience bias and help ensure they never have to endure what so many others have gone through.

What Debra does for McKesson:

Debra has been with McKesson for more than a decade in a variety of roles. Currently, she’s an Account Manager for CoverMyMeds as part of the customer experience team and implements IT solutions so patients can access their prescriptions through the company’s pharmacy partners.

When McKesson’s Pride ERG launched (originally called OPEN), Debra was one of its first members. She joined the Pride National Board as Treasurer in 2017, and since 2020, she has been its Chief of Staff. In addition to feeling welcome to bring her authentic self to work and support a mission that’s so meaningful to her, she appreciates connecting with McKesson colleagues, and growing her leadership skills through the ERG.

What Pride means to her:

Debra believes it’s important to advocate for others who’ve also experienced bias, and she looks at her Pride leadership role as an opportunity to educate and support colleagues within McKesson and beyond. She’s proud to wear her McKesson Pride shirt at work – and hopes that when others see it, they’ll feel safe to open-up to her about their own journeys.

Nicole Makinney: Creating safe spaces

Nicole Makinney Where she started:

Nicole knew she wasn’t straight since her early teens, but suppressed her true self for years. Growing up in a religious household, she was afraid that her family wouldn’t embrace her sexual identity. And for good reason. She witnessed several of her church friends who came out being rejected by their families.

Ultimately, with the support of friends and chosen family, Nicole now fully embraces her pansexual identity, which is attraction to people regardless of their biological sex, gender, or gender identity. She’s married to a cisgender man, which she understands comes with a level of privilege and ease, as she can be out with her partner and not experience orientation-based discrimination.

Nicole also recognizes the importance of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and helping create spaces where people feel safe to be themselves.

What Nicole does for McKesson:

As part of the McKesson Technology Information Security and Risk Management team, Nicole assesses the cybersecurity controls of third parties that provide goods and services to the company to prevent or minimize the impact of breaches and data loss.

Last year, she also stepped into a leadership role as the district lead for the Atlanta chapter of Pride. She helps coordinate events, educate McKesson employees on the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces, promote allyship, feature local organizations, and showcase McKesson as a safe place for all employees.

What Pride means to her:

Nicole only came out to her mom in the past year, and she credits her Pride leadership role with giving her the courage to complete this last piece in the puzzle to living as her authentic self. To her surprise, the conversation she had feared for more than 20 years went better than she had anticipated, and she’s looking forward to continuing to connect with and educate her mom.

Nicole encourages her colleagues to stand up as allies. She sees McKesson’s ERGs as an ideal place for that allyship to thrive, with educational and fun events ranging from learning about each letter in the LGBTQ+ acronym to playing drag queen bingo. She particularly enjoys reading the post-event survey responses to hear what people appreciate and take away from these events, which underscores the value of the ERG in creating a safe space for all employees at McKesson.