best of Best Leaders
CODY STONE, Customer Experience Coordinator
LeaderPROMOS Marketing Agency

LEADERStory: Living Pride 365

Cody Stone joined Leaderpromos Marketing Agency two years ago as our front-desk receptionist. Now he delights our customers, vendors, and co-workers daily as a customer experience coordinator.

And three to four nights a week, he delights drag audiences as award-winning performer Courtney Kelly.

Cody grew up in a small town in western Ohio before attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he majored in criminal justice and criminology. He moved to Columbus in 2017 and worked as a police dispatcher and several other roles before finding a home at Leaderpromos.

Ball State is also where Cody got his start as a drag performer after watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and deciding he could do that, even though his friends told him he was “too much of a dude” to pull it off.

“Any time somebody tells me I can’t pull something off, I’m like, well OK, I’m gonna do it,” Cody laughed.

He was soon crowned Miss Muncie at a drag pageant. He’s now a former Miss Gay Ohio America and Miss Gay Great Lakes America and reigning Miss Gay Eastern States America.

Get to know Cody and his thoughts on how companies can show authentic support for the LGBTQ+ community that extends beyond Pride Month.

What’s your life story in one word?

Adventure. I get bored very easily so I’m always looking for something new to add into my life that I can work to achieve. Then once I achieve it, I’m ready to move on to something else. Every day is an adventure.

What do you love most about Leaderpromos?

They’re welcoming and supportive of who I am as a person. They’ve come to all my big drag shows that I do … and they’re always a good time. It’s nice to be around people who genuinely appreciate who I am as a person.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I do drag three to four nights a week. I play softball three to four nights a week. I’m in a dart league. Outside of that, I don’t really have much time.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

If you’re gay, you know when you’re young. You know who you are. Just be unapologetically yourself. Either people are going to accept you or why do you have those people in your life?

You’re literally being who you were supposed to be. So just be yourself. I know that’s the normal answer, but it’s so true though.

What advice do you have for companies around how they approach Pride?

A lot of times people just think if they throw a rainbow around something, the LGBTQ community is going to flock to that item. We would much rather see what our company does 365 days a year to help or support in any way we can.

Even though you may not be a part of the community, show what you’re doing to give back to them or to help them achieve things that they may not have an opportunity to do simply because they are part of that community.

With marketing and products, if you want to put a rainbow on something, sure. But that shouldn’t be your only Pride outreach.

In today’s political climate where everyone is saying “they’re throwing rainbows down our throats” … at the end of the day, it’s just a rainbow.

The community is so much more than just a rainbow.

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