Pride Month Spotlight: Martha Holt Castle, Raytheon

Martha Holt Castle
Senior Counsel, IDS
Raytheon

At work, Martha is Senior Counsel for IDS. Outside of work, she is a mother of two who tries to balance family time and advocating for LGTBQ rights. Learn more about Martha in this inspiring Voices of IDS profile celebrating Pride month.

STARTED AT RAYTHEON:

Three and a half years ago, I joined Raytheon as Counsel for Corporate with a focus on environmental, health and safety law. Since that time, my responsibilities evolved to include litigation, real estate and insurance matters. I recently was promoted to Senior Counsel and joined the IDS Office of General Counsel staff. I will be supporting the Seapower program, as well as various functional areas within IDS.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT MY CURRENT JOB:

No two days are ever the same in my job. I have the pleasure of working across all functional areas and am constantly meeting new people. I am a passionate problem solver, and I get to harness that talent on a daily basis.

EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP & ROLE (if applicable):

I assumed the role of Vice President – Northeast RAYPRIDE Employee Resource Group earlier this year after the incumbent left the company. I was fortunate to join a team of well-established and dedicated ERG members, both in the Northeast Region as well as Global, which is making my job much easier.

WHAT DIVERSITY & INCLUSION MEAN TO YOU:

As a lesbian professional, I have experienced first-hand what it means to be labeled as the “other.” Early on in my career, prior to joining Raytheon, I was given unsolicited advice that included: which beverage I should drink at corporate events (anything but beer), what I should wear in court (anything but pants), and who I should bring to social events (anyone but my girlfriend). I was the punchline in co-workers’ jokes. I have had people approach me and tell me that I am going to hell and compare me to prostitutes, child abusers and other lewd persons.

So, for me, diversity and inclusion are not catch-phrases, but rather aspirational goals that directly impact my well-being. I have the benefit of 20 years of work experience to guide me to be true to myself, and the privilege to be able to leave places of employment if I am unable to do so. Despite that, I still hesitated to come out during routine conversations.

My hope is that, through active participation in ERGs and diversity programs, I can help create the world in which I want to live and work.

WHAT PRIDE MONTH MEANS TO YOU:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals tend to share a common childhood experience, one where we were made to feel guilty or abnormal. Despite the advances in equality that our community has seen in the 50 years since the Stonewall Riots (one of the first times in US history that LGBTQ individuals took a public stance in support of our rights), discrimination against us is still legal in the United States.

In more than half the states, we can be fired, barred from housing, denied adequate medical care and other accommodations simply for being who we are. During Pride month, we affirm as a community, with the help of our allies, that it is okay to simply be our authentic selves. It is an incredibly powerful thing to see a community come together in support of one another and in celebration of who we are.

HOW YOU CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH:

When I was younger (and childless), I would attend various Pride celebrations. My favorite is still the Providence Pride celebration. It starts with an all-day festival where large and small companies and organizations host booths, vendors sell goods, musicians perform and delicious food can be had. To cap off the day of celebration, Providence hosts a spectacular night parade. In my day, it was hosted by Miss Kitty Litter, the most entertaining drag queen that I have ever met. I would see people from all parts of my life during the celebration and it was incredibly empowering.

ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF WORK:

I believe in the power of servant leadership and the importance of devoting time and energy in public service. For me, this means engaging in non-profit organizations that aid the LGBTQ population. I have served as Chair of the Board of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, a grassroots organization that led the legislative initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. I plan an annual fundraiser for Youth Pride RI, Inc., a Providence based organization that serves LGBTQ youth throughout Rhode Island. As a current member of the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) Board of Directors, I am supporting the legal fight to ensure justice and equality for LGBTQ individuals across the United States.

I try to balance my passion for advocacy and public service against my dedication and love for my family. My wife and I have two incredible children who are still at the age where they want to spend time with us. We go to the kids’ soccer and baseball games, attend school functions, and head out on kid-centric adventures. They remind me of what is important in life.

BEST CAREER ADVICE GIVEN:

I spent two years working as a criminal prosecutor in Massachusetts. My boss, then District Attorney Martha Coakley, welcomed my incoming class of Assistant District Attorneys with the best advice that I have received in my professional career. She observed that everyone makes mistakes, especially when starting something new. The key is to admit those mistakes. Not only can you learn from them, but you can recruit others to help you right the wrong. Hiding a mistake only compounds the damage.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.” – Harvey Milk