Stephen Macias certainly got everyone’s attention last week when it was announced that the entertainment PR powerhouse Rogers & Cowan PMK had hired a new multicultural communications division to be headed by the veteran executive.
It’s likely your life has already been touched by Stephen. He’s a ubiquitous force and powerhouse where marketing, corporate communications and public relations intersect with LGBTQ visibility (not just in Los Angeles) for more than 20 years.
Stephen’s diversity and inclusion teams have been recognized for work bridging inclusive corporate values with an ever-diverse consumer base: connecting with consumers and communities in an evolving landscape of diversity in the national and international marketplace is one of Macias’s great areas of pride.
Macias was most recently senior vice president, diversity and inclusion practice lead at MWWPR, overseeing a team working with companies like Comcast, FX, Netflix, Amazon Studios, Kellogg’s, and Hilton Worldwide. Before that, he was the founder of Macias Media Group LLP, which became one of the leading “boutique” PR firms focused on LGBTQ+ markets. He has worked as executive vice president and GM for Here Media Inc., and as entertainment media director for GLAAD, as well as for nonprofits like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Outfest, Equality California, the U.N. and the Global Equality Fund.
His areas of focus have included communities of color, gender equality and the LGBTQ community and has worked with Fortune 500 companies, travel and tourism, entertainment and media and national and grassroots advocacy organizations.
Brian Pendelton, the entrepreneur, philanthropist and creator of 2017’s ResistMarch, a reformatting of LA Pride, who worked closely with Stephen says Macias’s passion and skill know no bounds.
“Stephen Macias is someone I’ve had the honor of working with on several occasions. He served on the boards of Outfest, Gay Men’s Chorus and the Victory Fund always bringing enthusiasm and solutions to every conversation.”
“The work he did with me during ResistMarch was invaluable. He set us up to have the important conversations with the media outlets that mattered, that could propel our message through diverse communities,” he said.
That an enterprise as key to the entertainment industry around the world, Rogers & Cowan PMK would empower him to execute his vision of elevating “LGBTQ+ communities, communities of color and female-driven initiatives” is a profound validation of much more than Stephen.
It is a validation of our community and a signal of inclusivity that means more high-level partnerships, more inclusive coverage, better marketing messaging and greater brand awareness and LGBT marketing.
His elevation comes as good news and just in time for the 50th anniversary of LA Pride.
But, it would be a mistake to see Macias only through the lens of his career.
He is a relentlessly optimistic person who always perseveres in the face of adversity, something that has defined him to his family and friends. And that is an inspirational lesson we all need right now.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out of the closet since Reagan’s second term and the hardest person I had to tell was myself.
Who’s your LGBTQ hero?
My LGBTQ hero is Ellen.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
Best current nightspot is Precinct in DTLA and past was the Parlour Club when Mario Diaz was throwing parties there.
Describe your dream wedding.
My dream wedding would be in my hometown of Fresno.
What non-LGBTQ issue are you most passionate about?
The environment and climate change. This is a 911 and should be everyone’s issue.
What historical outcome would you change?
Trump being sworn into office.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Discovering the drag culture during my first trip to Fire Island years ago.
On what do you insist?
I insist on a warm welcome to anyone coming to my home.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last Facebook post was about how much I liked Dr. Jill Biden.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
A Blessed Life
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Celebrate that I was born this way to begin with.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Run your organizations like a business, empower the next generation and welcome communities of color to leadership positions.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To ensure the safety of my family, friends and strangers who needed help.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we are a monolithic group. We are not one size fits all and are as diverse as the general population.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Brokeback Mountain” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My Outie from Outfest recognizing my eight years of Board service.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I knew not to spend so much precious time worrying about things out of my control.
Why Los Angeles?
Because of its diversity in culture and business, because LA is in California and because of the proximity to my parents, brother, nieces and extended family in Fresno.