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Celebrating Pride at NGA: Two LGBTQ teammates share their stories


 June 22, 2022

 NGA Public Affairs

NGA is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community this month with a variety of internal events and discussions. Year-round, NGA strives to encourage a safe, diverse, and equal opportunity work environment for all employees, including LGBTQ+ employees. 
Recently, two LQBTQ+ teammates at NGA shared their stories. Check out their interview below!  

Nikki Fisher

Human Resources Officer / NGA Student Internship Program Manager

Nikki Fisher began her journey at NGA as an intern in 2016 and converted to a full-time employee in 2018. Nikki supported multiple roles as an HR officer, but when COVID-19 hit, Nikki volunteered to support NGA’s COVID-19 Response Team and ensured the safety and health of the agency. She currently works as a program manager for the Student Internship program.  

Lindsey Skelton

Team Lead Diversity and Inclusion Consultant / Program Manager in NGA’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and EEO

Lindsey Skelton started at NGA in the summer of 2008 as an intern in NGA’s human resource component. Both of her parents worked at NGA and its predecessor organizations and she always had the desire to follow in their footsteps while listening to their work stories at the dinner table. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in human resources management, she was offered a full-time position as a human resource officer and accepted without hesitation. Since then, she has worked multiple positions, from Geospatial Open Source Research to Foundation GEOINT contracts. 

Lindsey Skelton (left) and her partner (right)
Lindsey Skelton (left) and her partner (right)

What do you appreciate most about working at NGA as a part of the Pride community?

Nikki: I appreciate that I can feel comfortable enough to be open about my sexuality at work and feel supported by those around me.

Lindsey: There's an enormous amount of opportunity for growth and mobility both laterally and upward at NGA. The agency has supported me on my career journey by giving me the space to create my own positions and opportunities to complete two master’s degrees and multiple certifications. Through the support and learning opportunities, I transitioned into my most recent position as a team lead in DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility). Being a part of the Pride community at NGA has been a great experience. NGA has a special emphasis program council, NGA Pride, which is not only a great networking opportunity but an opportunity to contribute to the Agency through numerous initiatives. For example, we offer training to the workforce on how to become an ally and work with recruitment to hire more LGBTQ individuals. I even had the amazing opportunity to serve as the West Pride Council Lead in 2017.

What would you tell someone who is interested in a career at NGA?

Nikki: NGA is a part of the intelligence community that is a hidden gem: It is the best place to work in the IC and not many people have heard of us since we are a relatively new agency compared to the others. There are so many opportunities for growth, connection and recognition that I never feel the need to look elsewhere.

Lindsey: If you’re interested in working for NGA, even slightly, I highly recommend you apply. It’s a great place to work and it may very well be the best decision you ever make. I couldn’t imagine working somewhere else. Not only are you compensated well, have great benefits and job security, you will meet people and make relationships that may last a lifetime. I’ve made a lot of great friends and even met the best man in my wedding at this agency. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Nikki: People will surprise you in supporting who you are, regardless of their background. Be confident in every part of who you are, and people will respect that.

Lindsey Skelton (left) and her partner (right)
Lindsey Skelton (left) and her partner (right)

Lindsey: If I could give advice to my younger self it would be to “be myself”. I lived most of my childhood as straight and afraid to ‘come out.’ Even when I started at NGA even though I was ‘out’ in my personal life, I remained ‘closeted’ at work; it took a toll on me. Having to lie constantly about who I was, even simple things like what I did over the weekend, was exhausting. I remained closeted at NGA for a couple of years, and when enough was enough, I slowly came out to my colleagues. 

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

Nikki: Even though I am newer in embracing my sexuality at work, I am now a full advocate for speaking up about my experiences as a bisexual woman- and am absolutely open to mentoring anyone who wants to be a better ally, or have someone in their court. 

Lindsey: Professionally and personally, you must advocate for yourself. Whether championing for a new role or providing children with a safe home, I advocate for myself and others in all aspects of life. Self-advocacy at work and in your personal life is critical to being happy. No one else is going to advocate for you the way that you can advocate for yourself. I suggest three main actions to make advocacy a bit easier:

  1. Champion and value yourself. Celebrating and supporting diversity starts by valuing your full background — including race, gender, culture and values. Value your experiences and your perspective, even if it’s different from others. 
  2. Speak up for yourself. Communication is key and speaking up for yourself will give you more control over making your own choices in your life making it easier to stand up for your rights. This in turn helps those around you to better understand what you think, what you want, what you need and how they can support you.
  3. Believe in yourself. Everyone is unique, valuable and worth the effort to advocate for themselves and to protect their rights; no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love; believing in yourself will help you champion others to do the same too.