I came out as gay to my family and friends when I was 17 years old. I was wholeheartedly embraced and loved. When I entered the professional workforce after college just a few years later, I never thought twice about going back into the closet.
Recently, I sat down with seven area LGBTQ executives to hear their own personal journeys of coming out at work. I want to thank Ashley MacPherson, Odessa Jenkins, Ellen Farrell, Monica Greene, Ryan Layman, and Cooper and Todd Koch for their candid, honest, and brave conversations with me. We’ve grouped their inspiring stories online here.
In each interview, I concluded with the same forward-looking question: “What excites you most about the future?” Their response: Gen Z entering the workforce. It’s a game-changer, they said, because along with caring about their own careers, these young workers put a premium on equality and acceptance. If companies want to attract top talent and thrive, embracing diversity and inclusion isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity.
Like the executives I interviewed, I’m able to bring my whole self to work each and every day. Authenticity is the cornerstone of this. When we have the courage and freedom to be ourselves, it empowers us and gives other people permission to do the same.
And when companies provide a culture that’s truly inclusive, it lets everyone focus on what we’re all here to do: our jobs.
Read September’s D CEO cover story on the Business of Pride, online today.