Meet Our Chief Communications Officer

Family Equality is thrilled to welcome Tonya Agnew to our Communications department!

Tonya Agnew, Chief Communications Officer

Tonya Agnew (she/her) joined the Family Equality team as Chief Communications Officer in August 2022. A long-time advocate of LGBTQ+ equality, she’s delighted to pair her two decades of experience in marketing and communication with her passion for social justice. Prior to joining Family Equality, she served in leadership roles on communication teams in higher education, public transportation, and healthcare.

LGBTQ+ advocacy has been woven into Tonya’s professional and personal life for many years. Whether marching in Washington D.C., co-founding Purdue Employee Pride (an employee resource group by and for LGBTQ+ employees at Purdue University) or getting forms for her children’s schools updated to “parent/guardian” instead of “mother and father,” this work is personal for her.

Tonya and her wife, together since 1998, have raised two sons in their little blue corner of the world in Indiana. The oldest son is married and lives nearby and the youngest is starting his college years.

Top 3 favorite podcasts, books, or TV shows?

I’m a constant listener of all things NPR!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? 

Now that our youngest is starting college this fall, I will actually have some spare time! My wife and I plan on going on dates that don’t involve cross country and track meets or show choir competitions — all part of our world as our youngest went through high school. 

I enjoy walks, traveling, home improvement projects, and — for some real downtime — watching pretty much anything on HGTV or Bravo.

What drives you to do this work?

My family and I first connected with Family Equality in 2008 while on an R Family cruise. I was completely moved and inspired by the Family Equality programming on board. I’m not overstating it when I say connecting with Family Equality has been life-changing for us all. It inspired me and my family to speak up, speak out, and be out and proud advocates of the life-saving and life-changing work that is so critical for LGBTQ+ families. Many of these families are unable to be out or don’t live in welcoming communities. I know what an impact it has made for my family and I’m driven to play a part in advocating for families like mine all across the country.  

What does family equality mean to you? 

Family equality means all families are equally seen, valued, and heard. Regardless of how a family is created, each and every family must be recognized and respected by their communities, schools, and legislators. It’s critical that children grow up knowing their families belong.

Life motto:

“Maybe you’ve heard, ‘It’s all downhill from here.’ Pay no heed. Life has its good moments. You have the ability and intelligence to make all of those moments even better and brighter. Don’t limit yourself or let others hold you back.” 

– Written in the last birthday card sent to me by my uncle, James Chambers, who passed from HIV/AIDS complications in 1992