Equality USDA traditionally gives out a Shining Star award as part of USDA’s Pride Observance. During the pandemic, this tradition was neglected as we focused on figuring out how to pivot from in-person to virtual Pride Observances and events.
This year, the tradition returns!
This year’s Shining Star is awarded to someone who tirelessly advocates for USDA’s LGBTQI+ employees and customers and whose efforts advance the rights of the community.
Equality USDA’s 2022 Shining Star is Jeremy Wood
Equality USDA President and Diversity & Inclusion Specialist for the APHIS Office of Civil Rights, Diversity, and Inclusion
Jeremy has served as a Special Emphasis Program Manager for the LGBTQ+ Programs in APHIS and NRCS at the programmatic and national levels. When Secretary Vilsack created the LGBTQI+ (then-GLBT) Special Emphasis Program in 2009 and put out a call for employees to volunteer as Special Emphasis Program Managers, Jeremy decided to come out at work and volunteer to be an SEPM. Since that day 13 years ago, Jeremy served on the Equality USDA Board as a Communications Director from 2017-2021 and now proudly serves as the current Equality USDA President. He has been instrumental in transforming and revitalizing Equality USDA from its days as USDA GLOBE into a modern LGBTQI+ employee resource group that centers inclusion, belonging, and connection.
Jeremy is also co-leading USDA’s efforts to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. In this role, he is overseeing the development of USDA guidance on gender inclusive language and supporting gender expansive and transgender employees and eliminating barriers to name changes. He also serves as one of USDA’s representatives on the White House’s Gender Policy Council and has delivered more pronouns trainings than we can count!
Jeremy and his partner reside in Wendell, NC, outside of Raleigh. He is grateful everyday for the opportunity to work full time on his passion towards civil rights, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Jeremy is committed to fostering a sense of belonging for all those who work for and are served by USDA programs. has been working tirelessly to make USDA a welcoming workplace.