Pride Month Young Professional Spotlight

Meet Ethan J. Melancon

Occupations: President/Executive Director of Governmental Affairs

Organizations: Forum 225/Louisiana Department of Education

Tell us a little about your Baton Rouge Story. What brought you to Baton Rouge? 

Believe it or not, I was living in Lafayette and working in New Orleans, so the drives were getting unbearable. So, I decided to make a move closer to the city. Baton Rouge was supposed to be a temporary place and I completely fell in love with the community!  

Tell us more about how you’re involved in Baton Rouge (job or organizations). 

I’m currently the President of Forum 225, Baton Rouge’s largest young professionals’ organization. I believe I’m also the first openly gay president of the group. I’m excited and proud of the work our board is doing, specifically in the areas of inclusivity and civic engagement. I cannot leave out that I am a proud former member of the BRAC team! Working at BRAC was one of the most inspiring and educational opportunities in my professional career so far! 

What is your favorite thing about Baton Rouge? 

This is a hard one! Aside from the amazing food and culture, I would say my favorite thing about Baton Rouge is our potential. We have all the ingredients to make an even more thriving, inclusive, and impactful city. We just need to connect our resources and work together! Baton Rouge’s size is perfect for individuals to grow and break into industries.  

What does “Pride” mean to you? 

To me, Pride is so much more than being LGBTQ+. It’s about embracing and loving your true, authentic self and sharing that person proudly with the world. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, then how you gonna love anybody else? Can I get an AMEN up in here?” 

How are young professionals in the LGBTQ+ community like yourself shaping Baton Rouge? 

LGBTQ+ young professionals are bringing so much energy and authenticity to our city. We are creative, empathetic, and strong advocates for diversity in all walks of life.  

What recommendations would you give to business owners to create a more inclusive workplace? 

Create an environment where employees can share who they are without judgment or fear of retaliation. Listening to employees and hearing about other people’s experiences and struggles can be very beneficial. It is imperative that managers understand that what we do in our off time or post on social media can influence how employees feel within the workplace. All people should feel as though they can bring their whole selves to work! 

What is your Baton Rouge favorite: 

  • Place to eat? This is a hard one. Right now, it’s Zorba’s!  
  • Place to hang out? French Truck Coffee 
  • Place to capture the perfect Instagram pic? We have so many, but I’m partial to our historic sites. 
  • Place to people watch? LSU tailgates 
  • Place to network? Any Forum 225 Socials, of course! 
  • Way to give back? I love working and volunteering in schools. We have some amazing nonprofits that work with our schools. 
  • Event? White Light Night or any Live After 5 
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