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Founding Members of the Michelin LGBT & Allies Business Resource Group - Employee Spotlight |

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Feature


Rodney Tow

Rodney Tow remembers when Michelin North America’s headquarter was being built in Greenville, S.C. in the 1980s. He knew back then, even as a high school student,  that he was destined to work there! After spending over a decade in France as an adult, Rodney moved back to South Carolina, where he eventually joined Michelin as a bilingual Customer Service Representative. Growing up gay in South Carolina was difficult for Rodney. “One of the reasons I moved to Europe was the appeal and freedom to live authentically for the first time in my life. When I moved back to South Carolina, I promised myself I would no longer live in fear of the judgment of others, but instead be honest and true to who I was,” Rodney said. On his first day of new-hire orientation, Rodney learned that Michelin offered same-sex health benefits. “When asked to go around the room to introduce ourselves, I decided that my Michelin career was going to be built on honesty and integrity so I told my story openly and was emboldened by my decision to speak up,” said Rodney. Three years after joining Michelin, Rodney moved from Customer Service to Personnel, where he was responsible for hosting events at Michelin’s North American headquarters, including those organized by the Business Resource Groups. Rodney inquired about a LGBTQ Business Resource Group and learned one did not exist. “That was all I needed to hear,” said Rodney. “I started right away to gather a list of employees that I knew would be interested in participating.”



Anderson Abernathy

At that time, Anderson Abernathy was considering a move to Greenville from Atlanta. As he started the interview  process at Michelin, he tried to get a sense for how inclusive it was.  “While  there  were  hints  that  Michelin  was  an  inclusive Company, information was limited,” said Anderson. “I was worried about the prospects of moving to a smaller town. Would Greenville be a safe and welcoming city for a gay man? Would I have to worry about placing a picture of my boyfriend on my desk at work? Would being gay limit my opportunities?” Thankfully,  Anderson  took  the  leap  and  quickly  realized  most  of  his  fears  were  non-issues.  Both  Greenville  and  Michelin  were incredibly welcoming and became places Anderson could thrive, build a life and call home. “I had to learn first-hand that Michelin’s culture was welcoming and  inclusive,”  said  Anderson. 


Anderson  joined  Rodney  and  co-founded  the  LGBT  &  Allies  Business Resource Group (BRG) in 2014. “In  eight  years,  we  have  been  able  to  make  tremendous  strides through the support of our current and past members and  Company  leadership,”  said  Anderson.  The  LBGT  &  Allies  BRG  aims  to  increase  understanding  of  key  topics,  build  an  inclusive and welcoming workplace, and harness the potential of a fully engaged workforce that will drive business value for the Company. “I think the moment it came full circle for me was at the end of 2017 when meeting with the then-Chairman and President  of  Michelin  North  America,”  said  Rodney.  “I  shared  the  work  done  on  the  Ally  campaign  launched  earlier  that  year and he congratulated me on making a difference at  Michelin.  I  knew  part  of  my  purpose  was  to  ensure  every  LGBTQ employee can live as openly and honestly as I have.” “Of  all  the  achievements,  I’m  most  proud  of  the  momentum  we’ve  created,”  Anderson  said.  “I  am  not  saying  we  have  arrived, but I can acknowledge how far we have come. There is  still  plenty  of  opportunity  for  growth  and  improvement,  as  I  suspect  there  always  will  be.  What  is  clear  to  me  is  that  where there is heart, empathy, self-reflection and commitment to a better way forward, it’s simply about doing the work. At Michelin, there’s no shortage of people willing to do the work.”

Since its founding in 2014, the LGBT & Allies BRG has led many initiatives at Michelin and within local communities.  It collaborates with the recruiting team to help candidates feel welcomed and included,  and  with  the  Benefits  group  to  discuss  inclusive  policies  that  represent  a  variety  of  lifestyles  and households. The LGBT & Allies BRG has members that serve on boards outside Michelin to help advance inclusiveness in the community. It actively participates in many Pride events and activities in various locations like Montreal, Canada,  Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Tuscaloosa, AL, Lexington, SC and the Upstate of SC .


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