Over the past couple years as I’ve gotten to know Gwen Pearson, I’ve become increasingly charmed by her ever-present smile, her big warm hugs and her downright adorable, positive attitude to life, friendships, community and work. In short, Gwen, 41 (though you’d be hard pressed to guess any age over 30!), is the kind of person who can absolutely light up your day. During her days, she works as office manager for Time Out Youth, a position she landed in March. In her volunteer time, she’s secretary for Charlotte Pride and the publisher of Visit Gay Charlotte (visitgaycharlotte.com), taking over late last year for founder Mark Wisniewski, whom I helped get the site up and running. Gwen’s got lots of exciting things in store for the local LGBT tourism and events website, and she and her crew of writers recently celebrated the sites relaunch at an official relaunch party in Uptown. Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter even signed a proclamation naming June “Visit Gay Charlotte Month.” Get to know Gwen a little bit better in this issue’s Our People Q&A. Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
Are you originally from Charlotte?
No, I’m from Virginia Beach, Va. I came to Charlotte in February 2011. My job brought me here. I worked for Target for 17 years opening new stores across the country. I’d travel a lot with them, every year and a half or two years. We opened up the store in Weddington, and then I had some health issues and had to stop working. My doctors were here and I fell in love with the city, so I decided to stay!
You’re big on volunteering. Why is that important to you?
When I worked for Target, we volunteered once a month. It was something we were expected to do. I loved it. So when I wasn’t working, I still wanted to be involved and one of the things I discovered looking back was that I did not immerse myself in my own community. I did everything else, but when it came to LGBT things, it wasn’t in my scope. I wanted to dedicate myself to my own community.
Where’d you go to school?
Virginia Commonwealth University. I majored in biochemistry. I also studied for a master’s degree at Old Dominion University. I always loved the sciences. Anatomy and physiology were my favorite classes. Genetics fascinate me. My parents are both teachers. My mom was a math major. My dad is an engineer.
What’s your favorite color?
Everyone always thinks my favorite color is pink, because I have so much of it, but my favorite color is actually burnt sienna.
Your favorite food?
I’m a doughnut fan! Anything with doughnuts or cakes!
It varies. I want to say I’m more a neo-soul, classic R&B type. My favorite artist is Jill Scott. I really resonate with her. She’s inspirational and runs the range of emotions.
Any favorite hang out spots?
I love Amelie’s. It’s good for meetings and it seems to be a central place. I also hang out at Red@28th. My girlfriend B performs there. : :