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June 24, 2021

From Theater to HVAC to PRIDE: April Mae Serpa is the Ultimate Ally for LGBTQ People

AprilMaeSerpa

April Mae and her stepson, Dante. She once aspired for a career in theater, but after getting married and gaining a stepson, she chose a career in HVAC for more family time. She found her niche at Trane Technologies, where she says her role as resource coordinator is a lot like that of a stage manager.

April Mae Serpa is resource coordinator for Trane Service in New York City. She dispatches a team of 15 Trane service technicians from our commercial sales office in Queens to customer sites in north Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County. 

Before she joined Trane Technologies in 2014, April Mae moved from her hometown in Minnesota to New York City with her best friend Tommy to pursue her passion – a career in theater as stage manager. She loved working with props and sets, finding and making costumes and creative problem-solving. 

But theater’s odd hours and late showtimes interfered with family life, so April Mae made the switch to a career in HVAC and found her niche at Trane Technologies, where she says her role as resource coordinator is a lot like being a stage manager.

“Instead of props, I’m finding parts,” April Mae said. “Instead of actors, I’m finding technicians. The stage is the customer’s site, and the director is our manager. So, I’m basically a stage manager for HVAC.”

And she is really good at it. 

Passion for PRIDE

The theater isn’t April Mae’s only passion. Soon after moving to New York City, her roommate Tommy came out to her as gay. They’d both come from a small town where homosexuality wasn’t accepted, and April Mae’s eyes were opened to the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ community. She was determined to make a difference.

So April Mae joined Trane Technologies’ PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) as a straight ally. She serves in a leadership role on its steering committee.

“Tommy is the reason I started celebrating PRIDE and advocating for equal rights and fair treatment for the LGBTQ community,” April Mae said. “We need allies like me in order to make a difference. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a village to create social change, too.”

As part of her work with the PRIDE ERG, April Mae created a guide on how to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. It contains definitions, statistics, tips and helpful links for Trane Technologies employees who want to support LGBTQ colleagues but aren’t sure how. She also created a how-to guide for setting up a local PRIDE ERG chapter and inclusion network, and runs the chapters in the New Jersey, New York and Vermont area. In 2021, Trane Technologies’ company-wide PRIDE ERG doubled its number of local chapters.

“I’m passionate about making sure the LGBTQ community is supported wherever I am, whether it’s at work, at home or out in the community,” April Mae said. “So I’m stoked to be able to make a difference through our PRIDE ERG.”

Employee Resource Groups are important

PRIDE is one of eight employee resource groups that reflect the diversity of Trane Technologies’ workforce around the globe. April Mae is also a member of our Black Employee Network and Women’s Employee Network, and plans to join VisAbility, a Disability ERG.

“ERGs are important because we need a group of representatives from these communities to educate us so we can understand how to help them feel more comfortable at work,” April Mae said. “We need ERGs in order to have these important conversations; they create an environment where people can come to work without fear of discrimination or hiding who they really are.”

April Mae’s advice for people from a diverse background interested in working at Trane Technologies? 

“Apply! During the interview process, talk about your interests, your passions, and if you have a particular alignment as an ally or part of a group,” she said. “Diversity & Inclusion actually means something at Trane Technologies – they’re not just words, and we’re not just ticking a box.

“I’m really proud to work for Trane Technologies. Our leaders and our people are making the change I want to see in the world. The more people we have excited about diversity, inclusion and allyship, the better it’s going to get. And I already think it’s pretty great here.”

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