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Gazelle Sports x Hoka Run With Pride

RAISED WITH PRIDE


Through our Run with Pride campaign, we're highlighting six courageous leaders across the state who are investing in, representing, and advocating for underrepresented communities.

Corey Stevens
Gazelle Sports Supply Chain Lead & DEI Task Force Member

Born and raised in Kentwood, Corey Stevens grew up in a tight knit family with his older brother and younger sister.

“I knew from a very, very young age that I was gay,” Corey said. “Growing up in a super religious family and community, coming to terms with my sexual orientation was something that I struggled with, not necessarily because of any outside force, but internally I grappled with it.”

Thanks to the support of his sister, he felt comfortable coming out to her in tenth grade, and his parents and brother shortly after.

“Having that initial support system gave me the courage to figure out what it meant to be gay, let me create my own identity,” Corey said. But it wasn’t until midway through college that he felt comfortable coming out to his extended family and friends.

“I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable,” Corey said. “I was more worried about making everyone else feel comfortable and safe. I didn’t realize what it was doing to me, hiding my authentic self. And it really was just my having to come to terms with it internally, and I was thinking it was going to be a big reveal, and it just wasn’t. My best friend from high school was like, ‘about time.’ And I realized that by not wanting to jeopardize those relationships and worrying about how people would react, I feel like I missed a lot of potential signs from friends and family. I know that I’m totally blessed, and I got very, very lucky.”

After college, Corey found a role at local furniture giant Steelcase doing event planning and moved to Chicago. From Chicago, the company moved him to Boston.

“It was great, but I decided I wanted to be closer to my family, so I moved back here.”

When Corey moved back, Gazelle Sports was looking for support with their supply chain. Corey’s mom is a long-time employee of Gazelle Sports, so he decided to make a career change.

“There was an opening here, and I ended up falling in love with the culture and the people working here,” Corey said.

Corey has since been able to put his passion for supporting the LGBTQ+ community to good use as a founding member of the Gazelle Sports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force.

“I feel like I was so lucky, having the support of my family and friends and colleagues, that it was easy to become a voice at Gazelle for the community,” Corey said. “It’s so important to have a space, a place where you know you belong. And I’m deeply humbled and proud to be able to help build that for others.”

Corey is passionate about helping to create a safe place and sense of belonging for kids and young adults, especially runners and soccer players, who are just finding their place in the LGBTQ+ community.

“I truly believe in creating a culture that is open and accepting of all people regardless of who you are,” Corey said. “There are a variety of different lenses that you can use to approach DEI, and I felt very strongly that the LGBT community needed to have a voice and needed to be heard. I look forward to what we as an organization can accomplish.”

All proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to local non-profit organizations that support LGBTQ+ communities.