Published October 21, 2022
In addition to training for a career as an emergency room physician, fourth-year medical student Grant Parrelli has been busy with a new business venture — Professionally Proud, a clothing line geared toward LGBTQ+ medical professionals and their allies.
Parrelli, originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, is a graduate of Warwick Valley High School in Warwick, New York, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati. You can find examples of his clothing line at www.professionallyproud.com.
Parrelli talked about the mission for his business and his goals in medicine during an interview at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building.
Why did you start the company?
It’s kind of multi-faceted. One of the main inspirations was actually myself as a patient. I never really saw a concrete representation of physicians or nurses who were LGBTQ+ or supportive. Looking back at my experiences, I think that would have helped a lot with comfortability in that setting. Also, as a future health care provider, I thought it would be a great way for me to make my patients comfortable before I even say a word when I walk in a room to have that visible cue that they’re in a safe space.
When did you start the company?
I had the idea last July. It was spur-of-the-moment. I’m not even sure when or what I thought of at the time, and then I just started to play around with some artwork and I settled on the Professionally Proud logo and built off of that. Then I created an LLC, and I’m working on a trademark.
Did you have professional help with your website?
I did it myself. I did have help with some of the legal aspects through the Entrepreneurship Law Center Clinic, which is part of UB’s School of Law. They’ve been very helpful.
What is your target audience?
I would say anyone in health care who feels comfortable showing their support or belonging to LGBTQ+. We have a number of different variations. We have the MD, which is what I wear. There’s also RN, NP, PA, a variety of different designations for different careers.
Do you see this as a side venture, or potentially taking off as a full-time career?
It’s hard to say. If it becomes something large enough to live off of, then maybe. But in the meantime, I’m focusing on it more as a passion project with the hopes that it can grow into something much larger where I could donate profits to other organizations.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Honestly, no. I would say this is the first venture I’ve ever taken on. My mom always used to have wonderful ideas that she would talk about with her friends, but she never took it to the next level. So that was probably an inspiration as well.
You want to go into emergency medicine. Why did you choose that discipline?
For what I’m looking for, emergency medicine is a great mix of procedural medicine and clinical medicine. I kind of think of it as the great equalizer. Everyone from every walk of life comes to the emergency room. So, I think it’s a great way to be exposed to and meet people from all different walks of life.