Store manager’s passion for change rallies Dan Murphy’s to sponsor Albany Pride

When Damien Watts moved from Brisbane to Albany in 2019 with his partner and son, he was surprised by how some residents of the West Australian regional town still had very conservatie views about those who identify as LGTBQ+.

“Whilst I love Albany and living here, it has certainly had its challenges. When I first went to a GP here, the doctor insisted I had an HIV test. Conversion therapy is also still quite common here. I certainly took for granted how acceptable it was being gay after living in a capital city like Brisbane,” he said.

“Although the ‘easy’ thing would have been to move back to a bigger city, I decided to stay and try to spread acceptance. I joined Albany Pride as an event manager to help support the LGBTQIA+ community and change the view and stereotypes of the LGBTQIA+ people in the wider community,” he added.

Damien has been a store manager at Dan Murphy’s Albany since 2019, and has been passionate about putting together a diverse team. 

“I think it is really important to have a diverse team as it brings a balance of personality, energy, education, awareness and visibility to the whole team, our customers and our community. We are a very diverse team at Dan Murphy’s Albany when it comes to cultural, sexual and gender identities. Out of our team of 25 people, 7 identify as LGTBQ+,” Mr Watts explained. 

“I also love how it makes everyone feel accepted for who they are and that they can bring their whole self to work and feel safe, valued and importantly, feel normal!,” he added. 

Damien’s drive for diversity hasn’t gone unnoticed by Dan Murphy’s Managing Director Alex Freudmann, and the company,  thanks to Damien’s  passion, is the major sponsor of the Albany Pride Festival 2022.

“Dan Murphy’s is part of many communities across the country, and we encourage our team members to tell us what they and the communities they serve are passionate about so we can help them leave a positive imprint,” Mr Freudmann said.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our culture to be a great place to work and a safe place for our customers to shop. We have been investing significantly in creating an inclusive culture for everybody, and we are excited to be part of The Albany Pride Festival, and it’s so great to see the entire store team get excited and involved,” Mr Freudmann said. 

The drinks retailer is the major overall sponsor of the festival, which takes place between 18-27 February, and is also sponsoring specific events on the schedule including the Mardi Gras Party. 

Dan Murphy’s Albany will also be joining the festivities in store.

“We encourage customers to come in and join the in-store fun. We will have  theatre activations, DJs and tastings of local producers including Wilson’s Brewing, who has created a specific beer for Albany Pride, sold exclusively at Dan Murphy’s in Western Australia with proceeds going to West Australian LGTBQ+ support groups and much more,” Mr Watts said. 

“I am so proud to have the company I work for support Albany Pride, and working for a business that not only allows but encourages team members to bring their whole selves to work is amazing,” he added. 

The Albany Pride Festival 2022 is Australia’s biggest regional pride festival and runs from Friday 18th – Sunday 27th February, featuring an impressive lineup of events that provides ‘something fun for everyone’. To find out more about Albany Pride Festival, please visit:

Dan Murphy’s is also a major sponsor of Midsumma Festival, Victoria's premier LGBTQ+ cultural festival.  

Dan Murphy’s is part of Endeavour Group, and the company has launched Proud at Endeavour which is made up of a network of LGBTQ+ and Ally team members. The group works on initiatives to create a supportive environment for team members and customers, their friends and family members who identify directly as LGBTQ+ or are a supporting Ally of the LGBTQ+ community. 

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