Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational LGBTQ+ speaker, trainer, and founder of the nonprofit Pride and Joy Foundation - which is dedicated to building self-awareness and safety for LGBTQ families and their allies. A Mormon mom of four who lost her marriage, her church, and her community when she came out as a lesbian, Elena’s viral TEDx talk on surviving conversion therapy has been viewed 40,000+ times and landed her media and speaking opportunities with ABC, CBS, FOX, Boston’s First Event, Seacoast Wellness Series, and THRIVE. Elena inspires her audiences to learn how Emotional Intelligence can improve company morale and productivity, changing members' lives in a practical way.




Keynotes & Workshops

"Queer, Dyke and Other Words"

Participants will explore why conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity belong in the workplace – and, specifically, in diversity and inclusion training. 

  • We'll walk through why conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ issues are crucial for organizations, for safety, and profit
  • Explore real-world definitions and distinctions of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Learn simple and cost-effective changes any organization can make to start creating an inclusive organization

"A Tribe of One"

  • Elena Joy's game-changer talk discusses her history with living life as a straight, Mormon mom and realizing she was gay at age 37.
  • This talk discusses how the need to belong can be damaging and how we can turn that into belonging to ourselves. 
  • The universal themes of resilience, coming home to ourselves, and triumph make this a successful talk for any audience.

"Life 2.0: How to Love your New Normal"

  • This talk/workshop is all about navigating life transitions.  Whether you're a new college grad, a new business owner, or a new empty nester, we're all going through transitions.
  • Making difficult life choices during a time of transition can be scary.  Learn tricks to make sure those decisions are as supportive of your life as possible. 

"Inclusion at Work"

  • Your personal boardroom and what's lurking in the corner
  • Understanding the other side
  • Best & Worst ways to respond when a co-worker comes out to you  

"Emotional Intelligence for Normies"

  • This talk/workshop helps break down what Emotional Intelligence is, how it can benefit our lives, and how to integrate it on a day-to-day level.
Elena Joy Thurston at TedX Colorado Springs speaking on her post Mormonism life as an open, lesbian woman.
Elena Joy Thurston at TedX Colorado Springs speaking on her post Mormonism life as an open, lesbian woman.

Media Mentions & Features

Refinery29 - What "Happiest Season" gets wrong and right

MSN Lifestyle - The surprising link between memory and depression

Thrive Global - Why Everyone Should be Aware

Echo Magazine - Quaran-teen

PickFu - What straight people are afraid to ask

Well + Good - Coming out later in life

Echo Magazine - Pride and Joy Foundation

Curve Magazine - Foundation Launch

Effortless Insurance - Best Cities for Same-Sex Couples

OUT FRONT - Pride and Joy Foundation

Arizona Foothills Magazine - Trendsetter: Elena Joy Thurston

Meeting Professionals International - From Inclusion to Belonging

GoBankingRates  - 4 Employment Barriers that Still Exist for LGBTQ+ Workers 


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