February 5, 2021
(updated February 21, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with AJ Mizes a career coach, leadership coach, and HR consultant.
A.J. is a talent and human potential aficionado with over a decade of experience within Career Coaching and Human Resources–and has been featured in NBC, CBS, FOX, The International Business Times, and Yahoo! News. Most recently, though, AJ left Facebook as a Global HR Leader where he supported an international team and launched many innovative leadership programs under his guidance–that are still in full swing at Facebook today. He’s supported global teams of over 3,000 people and currently serves as the CEO of The Human Reach–a human potential institute guiding high-achieving professionals to land their dream careers in record time and coaching silicon valley leaders to be thoughtful, effective leaders. His career stems from a foundation in training and development at KSL Capital, where he coached leaders on how to select, coach, and retain top talent at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resort properties. A.J. also served as a leader @ Premier Staffing where he worked alongside well-known tech giants in organizing talent strategy and recruiting tactics. Before Facebook, AJ was the Vice President of Talent and Engagement at Sungevity—the world’s leading platform technology for residential solar—where he led an HR team that spanned across the United States.
Join me and AJ on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Matthew French (He/Him/His) is the Founder and ‘90s-nostalgic brain behind Awesomely Authentic, a career-coaching, and inclusion organization that focuses on the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ people as they navigate the milestones of choosing a college to attend, searching for that perfect job, or making your company more inclusive.
With ten years of experience working with the LGBTQ+ community, eight years of professional career coaching, and a love of the ‘90s, he has blended all of these aspects together to create an authentically high-energy tailored experience to each client in order to help them reach their professional and career goals.
Why the ‘90s, you ask? This was an era of aberrance, vibrant colors, and animated cartoons that have influenced the way Awesomely Authentic operates. The search for a college, internship, job, or even tackling your D&I Initiatives can be daunting, but we believe that ‘90s-era fun can be achieved along the way!
To connect with Matthew find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/matthew_french/
Join me and Matthew on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview. Currently full interview not present.
Unknown Speaker 0:11 Hi there this is Dennis belko without bureau that’s o UT a bu r o.com. Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode. We are trying the videos. Once again we did do a video with Celia Daniels and then just did audios. We’re going to be trying to do more videos as we move forward and extracting that audio for the podcast. on any of the episodes shows. If you’re wondering where to find this on any of the episode shows or the out bureau comm name pad podcast page, simply check out just just right under the main headings. You will see three bars that are in gray and one will say where to listen and follow this podcast. We are on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcast, and many others. Please follow us on your favorite application today. And at any time you can come to the out your episode page to view the full video interviews like we’re doing today with the fantastic fantastic and fun today. Matthew French. Matthew, welcome to the show.
Unknown Speaker 1:27 Thank you so much for having me, Dennis. I’m super stoked to be here. I really appreciate I’ve given to have some time to chat.
Unknown Speaker 1:34 Awesome, awesome and look at that funding background that we have for Matthew and that is because his a company that is called awesomely authentic and where he is a career coach to students as well as professionals throughout their entire career from entry level such as students entering into the career marketplace. mid career and even senior career professionals. He helps you focus on your career and communicating what you have achieved and the value proposition that you have for prospective employers. So very pertinent to not only our out bureau on LinkedIn group where we have over currently 46, nearly 46 and a half thousand global members, but our site is out bureau.com focusing on the LGBT professional and entrepreneurs. So as an entrepreneur who is also focusing on the career space, thank you so much for joining us, Matthew, again, and if you could please let’s start out by giving a little bit of kind of your career background and bringing you up to today which will pivot but give us a little bit of background as to your education, your background, and How that has begun to lead you into the direction that you are now taking as a as I believe you’re more of a startup, and but you have a long history, which has given you the foundation for this new startup. So give us some info.
Unknown Speaker 3:18 Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, I feel like with a lot of people and Career Services, so that’s where a lot of my background comes from. I went to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, from a small town in Virginia, called Pocahontas, Virginia, so you should totally check it out. It’s very small. If you want to ride four wheelers or something in the woods, that’s a great place to go. Then I went to Old Dominion, did an undergraduate in communications, got really involved in the queer community during that time working in student orgs being a part of Hampton Roads LGBT Center, and then I was a column undergrad, so I was not sure what to do with that degree. I had dabbled in the world of entertainment through being a casting director. And that just, it just didn’t fill up my cup, you know. And so I decided to go to grad school. And I went to grad school at Old Dominion University where I focused on lifespan and digital communication, and specifically LGBT identities around fan communities. So around superheroes, and then I also focused on LGBT identities, and how they focused around technologies like using technology to stay connected and specifically looking at apps like Grindr. But during grad school, I got connected to my career center. I was like, cool, I get to plan events. I get to help students, I get to reach out to employers, this will be fun. And so I did that and that really led me on my whole career path of helping others demonstrate communicate their value to employers and how to best kind of demonstrate that not only to employees, what’s been said I feel like a lot of the people I work with really undervalue their skill sets. It’s Yeah, it’s an interesting world when you’re talking to people about their skills and their experiences and how they can utilize those. So working with students at Marymount Manhattan college was my first job out of grad school up in New York City in the Upper East Side, small liberal arts school about 2000 students mostly Performing Arts, some business and then I switched over to UNC Charlotte about five years ago, where I did career advising mostly for again liberal arts and science arts Media Design, and focusing in on an industry of arts media and design. So helping communicate everything from engineering, to communications to business if you want to work with Disney, you fall under my under my roof. So I would talk with those students about how to best frame their experiences for that particular industry and continually through all of them staying engaged with the LGBTQ community through different ways. And once COVID hit, you know, I just had a lot of outreach from people a lot of help was needed. And through leadership that I have and mentors that I’ve had, they really encouraged me to, you know, start my own consulting to help queer people find the spaces where they could flourish. Because I’m a big believer, I’m weird. And I think everyone has that right to be as weird or not weird as they want to be in their job to be as authentic as they can. So I love to keep it fun and funky and fresh and just kind of pulling from the 90s vibe of like bright colors to really set that tone or getting that professional experience started. Gotcha.
Unknown Speaker 6:46 And so you know, sometimes it’s it’s really hard for people to break through the noise. You know, when you’re looking at resume after resume or you know, once you’ve passed that article Official intelligence span and you’re getting to that human. Yeah, um, you know, having having your resume look really polished. Uh, but having that that spin having that that color palette that layout, that main headline and so forth. That speaks to the professional side, but also just has that poppin wow factor. Yeah, that that grabs that attention. I think that’s really important. And from what I seen, it seems like that’s something that you focus on, on bringing out the personalities of the people as well.
Unknown Speaker 7:35 Totally. Yeah. So this is like a fun little tidbit that I always encourage people to do is one way when you’re figuring out your brand and how you’re going to look to employers. A lot of times people are just like, I don’t know where to start with that. So the best way to start is start with yourself and thinking about what are maybe three brands that you love, that you use a lot you like what they’re doing, and the World, anything like that. And then once you have those three brands, go through their Instagram, go through their website, look at their logos, see what colors they have and which ones speak to you. And you’ll usually see common themes around colors, texts, shapes, that you can then kind of take and metamorphosize into your own personal brand that you can then use on your resume that bleeds over into your LinkedIn. If you have your own website, it can bleed over to there, it can bleed over out Bureau, it’s really about creating a consistent narrative about who you are, and letting that be the authentic self so that way employers are like, you come to life for me, you’re more than just a resume I understand you are based off of just looking at the tones and textures across all these platforms.
Unknown Speaker 8:45 Now, you know, I completely agree and that, you know, you you know, as a professional, you really do need to set your your own brand out there. And interestingly forget his name off the top of my head. But there is a person in my LinkedIn connections and he’s also in the group and I wish I could pull his name up right now, but he’s a realtor in the US and Canada, I forget which it’s not one of the main cities are popping into my head. But what was really interesting is as a realtor, he has he he has these small video monologues. And he talks about connecting with his, you know, audience and one video that he did literally just a week ago, already has, like over 250 likes over 100 comments. And, and well, I even commented to him I’m, you know, I rarely reach out and go beyond the purely professional realm but because we’re connected and we’ve had a little bit of dialogue in the past He was questioning whether he should or someone else was questioned whether he should still be doing it and what purpose of it is it and so forth and he’s like, this is my brand. This is what I’m doing. And I actually messaged him I said, Oh, keep it up handsome.
Unknown Speaker 10:15 They’re also love your background, they just got a Danish modern
Unknown Speaker 10:22 bookcase behind and so forth. But, you know, even when looking for a job, what I recommend for for people to do is you know, whether that’s on LinkedIn and hopefully you’re also creating your brand on out bureau.com o ut buro.com. Is I constantly invite people to no matter what field they’re in, to begin writing and publishing articles even if that’s just one or two or three articles about their knowledge their take on the industry, their take on the technology whatever that happens to be, so that in addition to a professional profile, which is indexed and searched, and so forth, and people can find you, and when employers do then find you on that side, they know you identify and are an ally with the LGBT community, which you know, is diversity and inclusion recruiting. But then, as they see those articles that are also being posted, they see, oh, not only did they go to this school and have this degree and have this bit of, you know, professional education, look, there are so look at these articles that they’ve written in and around that topic. This is the kind of person that we want to hire someone who seems very comfortable in their knowledge and their ability to communicate that knowledge because you know, today, in today’s time, it’s very important to not only have the technical skills, but Have those soft skills as well. And being able to communicate, you know, your knowledge and taking complex ideas and theories and so forth and bringing them down into a, whether that’s a video conversation. And of course, you can also post videos on the site, but adore articles that demonstrates that you thoroughly understand your topic. And it’s going to make those employers go, Wow, that’s a really interesting person. I liked the content that they produced these few articles that really has helped set them apart in my mind.
Unknown Speaker 12:38 When value added its value added, right? It’s if you’re able to speak and demonstrate that you’re up on the industry standards. And you’re also able to, again, like you said, communicate those things. Employers are always looking for more tidbits again, to give them a more full picture of your narrative and who you are as a brand. So if you’re able to write those things, out, you know, I have to admit, I am not the best writer, but you put me on a video and I am there for it. So I already like on my website, I know writing isn’t my strong suit. It’s not something I really enjoy. But I really love doing vlogs. So I used transition line from a blog to a vlog because it’s working to my skills and my strengths, but it’s also a part of the brand, you know, right excitement, you know, and it’s trying to get that out there. And that’s what people have to think about. When you’re thinking about your brand. You’re thinking about how employers are going to perceive you. It’s always important to think about what is this demonstrating as a skill set, right? What is it demonstrating that you’re good at public speaking is demonstrating that you’re detail oriented, because the one thing especially disoriented, I cannot tell you how many people I’ve put, I’m detail oriented, and then they have a misspelling in the resume. So it’s like actually demonstrating those skill sets at work. It also gives you work samples, things you can add your portfolio. It’s it. Again, it’s all about giving the employer more information. On the upfront, because that will also help if employers are searching for you. Right? If you’re on LinkedIn and out Bureau and you have your own website, the likelihood of them digging in then and going for let’s say, your Instagram or your Facebook, maybe places you don’t want them to see as much of that’s less likely because they’ve already gotten enough to understand you as a professional from the things that you’ve already put out there that you are controlling.
Unknown Speaker 14:23 Well, speaking of those other apps, I will say on out bureau comm I’ve written twice, one article on security and privacy for the LGBT professional and it’s all about, you know, locking your locking your stuff down. And one of the things in a couple of articles that I’ve written is, you know, you know, just be very, very cautious and think really hard about the kinds of things that you post on any platform because once posted you may it’s never gone and you may think that Oh, I’ve deleted it from Facebook so therefore it doesn’t exist ball shit. It’s still out there it’s still on those servers because just because you delete something does not mean it’s truly deleted. And you know when you think about even those those apps like you mentioned Grindr, okay. One there’s also I’ve written about and people can Google This is that you know, the US government has warned about that and tick tock that they could be security issues because they share so much information with marketers and so forth. And and going to a point to is, you know, just, you know, when you think you’re in that one on one conversation with that hot stud, and you’re sending those picks up, know that that can be screen captured. Hello very easily. And used tomorrow against you or us at any point in the future against you. So just be very, very cautious of everyone be very, very cautious about, you know, what you send on any platform. And of course, yeah, and of course on out Bureau, it’s only professionally oriented content, no hot torsos shots, love them from my boys on Facebook. But you know, it’s it’s not appropriate for the workspace.
Unknown Speaker 16:32 So but it’s actually a good point. I would like to touch on that a little bit because it is a different aspect than what
Unknown Speaker 16:38 professional career counselors sometimes have to deal with. When you’re coming from the queer community. We’ve created our own spaces where we’re safe, right? So whether that be a drive bar or LGBTQ center, or you know, it used to be a lot of like Craigslist or you know those types of areas, being aware of your friends. And and how those things can come back to you. So having those conversations around, I do with clients, you know, quite a bit of saying like, what platforms do you use, like be aware that you’re you’re currently around people who are seeing you. So if you don’t want to be out of work, or you want to come out on your own terms that could hurt you. If someone works that institution or works at that company, and they’re on Grindr, or one of the apps, right, so it’s being aware that those things can come to you and being aware like, on your Instagram, I believe me, if I had a six pack, I would show it off as well. But what does that communicate to an employer if most of your shots tend to be of yourself? Barely close in some instances, and a lot of employers I’ve spoke with because, you know, I’ve worked with 2000 plus employers now from across industries. And the thing that they say consistently, especially around millennials, and Gen Z, below millennials is that what they worry about with us the most is that we are self serving and self obsessive. And so I’ve had employers tell me that if someone on their Instagram has too many selfies, that’s a red flag for them, because they really, they’re self centered, and they worry about their team. workability so it’s being aware of like, what does that communicate to you?
Unknown Speaker 18:17 Interesting, interesting. Okay. So it needs to be more group photos.
Unknown Speaker 18:24 From a dog in there, if you got a pop, like, you know, take a picture of some flowers, I don’t know, but it’s really thinking through like that brand. And I’m always very cautious. Actually, I don’t want to I’m cautious. I’m cognizant that you know, I everything I post is going to be seen by someone and you know, even sometimes adding in that little blurb if you’re currently working, like views are my own right because there are a lot of employers are cracking down on you’re not allowed a certain amount of social media. I know of employers in higher ranking government offices where they will actually sit down with you and want to go through all of your private messages on Facebook and Instagram. So yeah, it’s a lot so you just got to be aware that’s the whole that’s really is just like awareness building you know?
Unknown Speaker 19:08 Right right yeah especially in the government entities if you’re going for any level of security clearance you you depends on what you post yeah it can be done you can be over so so so so word of caution for everyone lock your stuff down and keep it clean if you need to go back and do your best yes it will still be out there on servers but not publicly visible. I for one my Facebook is is is locked down only people who are connected with me see what I post but what I post is very simple. Yes, I do go hiking and I occasionally post a hiking picture. But, but I don’t post a lot. Nothing like I do on LinkedIn. You know like once or twice A week on Facebook. And that’s it. So, anyhow, folks heed the warning from a career coaching professional. Be aware, read the articles on out bureau about privacy, and just, you know, take that into mind. So one of the other things that when we had our first conversation a minute ago or so, is, you know, the the concept of, you know, should you be out on your resume, since you’re focusing a lot of your attention, although not exclusively on the LGBT community? Could you talk a little bit about, you know, being out having indicators on your resume that you’re part of the LGBT community and what you have seen in and around that?
Unknown Speaker 20:45 Sure. So the first question I always ask is, where are you at and where do you want to? How open Do you want to be at your place of work? My boyfriend is a perfect example. He is an occupational therapist at a retirement community org working with a lot more elderly So, and he’s not really been involved in the queer community. But in his instance, like he feels more comfortable, like that’s his work life. And then this is his home life. A couple people were no but not he’s not something he’s out about. Whereas me, on the other hand, I am, like, everyone knows that I’m involved in queer things on campus. I’m involved in queer things in the community. So it’s really deciding for yourself, how out do you want to be? And then we work from there. So I let’s take example. And this is when we talked about was it let’s say you’re working at an LGBT Center or you volunteered in the LGBT Center, right? You’re learning a lot of awesome skills there. You can work learn things about communication, working with people during crises, doing programming, building networks, all of those awesome things that you can bring to a company. Now if you’re thinking about, you know, I want to be out on my resume. Those are great little signifiers to just demonstrate that you’re queer or an ally. So you can definitely then focus on those skills. But if you’re being thinking, well, I don’t know, if I want to come right out like that, you could say that you’re part of a community service organization. And then you focus on those skill sets, because those skill sets are the majority and the chunk that matters. But where it really changes up is you got to think past the resume too. You have to think past resume and think I’m going to have to go into an interview. Do I want to bring my significant other to the holiday party? Do I want to have a picture of them on my best? Those are all things you have to think through. And it’s hard to think through that on your own, especially if you’re going into particular industries or sections, or you’re at different hiring levels. These are all things you want to take into account. I mean, my personal perspective is the biggest thing that matters are the skill sets that you’re learning there. And that’s what we want to always communicate right. So I’ve definitely seen a wide array and this goes for everything likes, people who have things like around religion on their resume, party affiliations, anything like that, and there are some employers that I always say get a little iffy if something SJW like social justice warrior comes up in there. They get nervous because they’re like, oh, are they going to cause us think about something? Right? And then the thing, is that a place that I want to be, you know, right, right, it’s okay for you to interview the employer and decide if that’s a good place for you to be. And professionally and personally.
Unknown Speaker 23:29 Right. Well, I think that that’s a good point there. And it’s, uh, you know, especially in today’s time, you know, you have to make those personal decisions. And I have, you know, been in a LinkedIn group that I’ve had people say, you know, the well because also their career paths and there, they have none of their skill set has come from working with LGBT organizations and therefore, they you know, was was not pertinent to their Rear. And you know, so people have been like, well, it adds no value. So why would I put that? Well, of course, but there’s also people who have, you know, there’s very some very wonderful large LGBT focused organizations that, you know, have 50 100 600 employees, and you could be working in their IT department for several years, and maybe you’ve done some amazing things within that organization and you work there for three or four years and now transitioning to a different job and, you know, putting that skill set is very pertinent and, you know, having the, the having it on your resume, it’s, it’s, you know, everyone has their own personal journey and their own personal comfort level. You know, some people are again, like, well, it has no pertinence. I’m, you know, this is my career, and I just Treat it as a non issue and it’s nobody’s business what I do at home, and then other people are like, you know, no, I want to make sure that that they’re going to accept me and my full rainbow self and if they don’t screw them because I don’t want to go to work for someone who’s not going to accept me at all. I’m like fabulousness. Right, exactly, you know, everyone is on their own spectrum. And and so there’s no right or wrong answer to that question. It’s for you to answer for your individual self with you and your individual career path. And, you know, maybe for your career, you need to work for period at a homophobic organization, just because you want that skill set that they are going to offer for a year or two, but you know, it’s going to be like, Alright, I’m going to walk in there. I’m going to keep my head down. I’m going to get that on my resume, then I’m going to be like, you, bye bye. Next. I mean, I’ve had people talk about that too, like they knew that they were walking into an extremely homophobic environment, but they knew they were going to injure that just to because it was the only place that they could get the particular stuff on the resume that they needed for the next jump. And I think that’s also very important when you’re looking at your career. Because I get hit with questions all the time. And I’m always looking, let’s like, Look, I’m not I’m not the professional, you know, career coach. I’m not a professional diversity and inclusion consultant, but here are the people who are FYI. So do you. But as I, as I tell people in the past, it’s like, Yeah, sometimes, you know, when you’re looking at your career, you need to think about where you’re going to be where you want to be five years from now. And look for a job and a company that’s going to give you the skills that you’re going to need for your next Next move, you know, honestly be looking at because that’s why you have to interview essentially, and assess that organization. Does it have the job, the reputation that’s that you want? And does it have the the job opportunity that’s going to take you to that next level, either within that company or another company? Because let’s face it, companies are not loyal to you. They’re only loyal to they’re only loyal to their profits. Yeah, so most work most companies are you know, like, even here in Florida, it’s worth work at will estate or at will estate, meaning that they can let you go for no calls whatsoever at any time with no recourse. So many states are like that. And as soon as and, you know, unfortunately, with the COVID, you know, we’ve seen so many people have been laid off. I mean, with cause but you know, just realize that
Unknown Speaker 28:00 Companies are not going to look out for you.
Unknown Speaker 28:04 Period, you have to look out for you. So you are the numero uno, because as soon as their profits start dipping, they’re going to say goodbye. They’re going to say, so sorry, we’re laying you off. So you need to take that into your mind. And you need to realize that it’s no longer like my dad worked for two employers his entire life, you know, it’s no longer that way. And so you have to think of strategically What does this employer add value to me? Do they have all the benefits that I want do or do they have domestic partner benefits? Do they have all the LGBT benefits and inclusivity that I can actually go to work, be proud to work there. And for those people that I know throughout my career history, is this the type of employer that I would recommend to others. And if not, again, maybe it’s a strategic move. on your part, but you know you as an LGBTQ person need to seriously think is this the kind of employer that I want to work for because and just don’t take and hopefully all of you out there will start rating your encourage and recent past employers anonymously on out bureau calm, because, uh, frankly we’ll see I’m not trying to beat folks up. I’m not I just facts, just facts sweetie. But you know when you look at the list of employers who rank 100% on the HRC Human Rights Campaign on corporate Equality Index, don’t think at all that that hundred percent score is much more than yes effort. But But mostly a lot of marketing. are many of the organizations very proud and so forth. Yes. However, don’t think that just because a corporation has achieved that Very few limited 1000 level companies who have the privilege to be on that list and paid the money to be on that list $21 million a year
Unknown Speaker 30:13 total. So it’s not cheap.
Unknown Speaker 30:17 So realize, though, that even for example, Goldman Sachs again, not trying to beat folks up, just fat, just truth and facts and news is in the news, okay, they’ve been on the list of HR C’s corporate Equality Index ranked 100% for several years, and even just this past year yet again, was was touted as one of the best places in the financial sector to work for, okay, and they just had to settle a lawsuit where someone was after eight years of working there, got a new boss, and that new boss was a homophobic asshole, and started making comments like are you doing that? Because you’re gay. Why do you have to sound so gay? And making comments like that to the point where he brought it to HR, no action was taken until it got so bad that finally guess what they hired him saying that he was not interested in his work any longer. Well, excuse me, there’s a hostile work environment where I’m constantly being berated and discriminated against and harassed for being who I am as an LGBT person. HR hasn’t taken any actions against it except to so yeah, it might it might someone’s work performance declined a little bit because they don’t feel comfortable in their workspace and they don’t feel safe. Sure, but they used that as a reason to fire that person, which is been retaliation. So there was a lawsuit in and around that. So just I’m just saying, Be aware
Unknown Speaker 31:59 that Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 32:01 like bets. And I think that’s, you know, from the Career Coach perspective, I would say if a client came to me about those issues, I always, you know, definitely talk about what are your legal protections. But the thing that a lot of us, as LGBTQ people have to sometimes take on, that we don’t always want to take on right, is the spaces that we inhabit. by us, just being there is politicized and is, is made different, right? So a lot of times what we’re what we’re charged with is when we encounter those spaces is I always encourage clients to think through like, is this a space where you want to try to make change as a space where you want to back away and again, helping them kind of think through those things. I mean, I’m an educator, I’m from education. So I’ve been a part of a lot of like LGBTQ equality things over the years. So I’m usually in the space of like, I’m going to educate and I’m going to kind of changed from within and try to find ways that I can make that change like going to people and being like, we need to start go to the LGBT RG, we need to talk about this like making making a rustle about the things that like, are not connecting, right? If they’re on the HRC Equality Index, why is this happening to me and going into many organizations, organizations don’t do not that people based on their their perceptions on diversity and inclusion. And you have to like hit those people sometimes head on. And it’s really that decision. It’s not fair that we have to take up the mantle of being an educator or an activist and our role sometimes. But it’s kind of sometimes the name of the game of thinking through and I always like to think through it as you know, as a queer person who I’m okay with speaking up, like at least if I speak up now in an organization. Hopefully that makes at least some sort of change for the future. And that’s really what it’s about is Again, a lot of you know, career coaches, sometimes we use blanket type of advice. It doesn’t work that way, with queer people. We’re all coming from such diverse backgrounds, we’re all facing different intersectionalities of our identity around race, gender, socioeconomic status, that every single instance can be handled in a different way, depending on your personal preference. And so the person that’s there like, you know, I would have definitely have, like, encouraged them, like, what resources are available there, what resources are available, you know, around the surrounding community, and how do you connect those to make do or do what you know, if you’re not if you’re not longer able to do your job, because of those types of threats and those types of feelings that someone is targeting you. I mean, I think it’s very well to like go the go the legal route. It’s something that has to be done because change a lot of times can be messy and it’s important for people Not to go into looking at an employer like all they have these ratings, and there’s a lot of different rating systems. Just because they have those ratings does not mean that everyone in that company has that perception, I think we’re able to troublesome to is if your human resources departments are not stepping in, and that’s where I’ve never been one to be like, hierarchy, right? Like, oh, I report to this manager. And so I tell them that and then they’ll go and tell that person, I am the first one, like, if my direct supervisor does not do anything, or I feel like there’s nothing being done, I’m the first one to jump over everybody, and be like, okay, we’ll just go to the head honcho, because clearly, you know, so it’s really kind of like setting up those steps. And that’s where someone like, you know, talking to local community members reaching out on LinkedIn posting about hero, that’s where you can find what are some strategies of working around a lot of these things.
Unknown Speaker 35:53 Absolutely. And, you know, I’d like to clarify been very,
Unknown Speaker 35:58 very vocal. In my writings on it, you know, get I’m not trying to beat up. It’s just news facts right? And there and there’s other other organizations that I’ve, I’ve used in my examples in the past. But, you know, the thing is, is that the the policies of a company are the intent, and also the CIA, frankly,
Unknown Speaker 36:28 to help mitigate litigation in the future.
Unknown Speaker 36:33 For example, a lot of the companies who have LGBTQ inclusive policies also have what’s called forced arbitration. Which means when you come on board as an employee, you are signing away your right to publicly sue them, which so if you get discriminated against or harassed, you cannot put forth a public lawsuit you are forced into arbitration Which doesn’t see the light of public day, it keeps it out and no, so you can’t talk about it. So that way it keeps their image from being from it being known. So those are that’s why when you when you do post on out Bureau, it’s anonymous. We know who you are, but it’s anonymous publicly, so that you can still share it also, just in case you still feel like there’s a potential issue. I actually created a catch all employer box called out bureau so that because it’s really important for those those issues to be to become known as a collective. And over time, the goal is is that that will be able to as more and more people utilize the services and input the demographics and all those kinds of things as part of their review. That will actually be be able to partner with folks like yourself And the educational side provides to statistical data through it, but but realizing, as you pointed out that, you know, these larger organizations who have these, you know, wonderful and I do applaud everyone who has them, it’s a step in the right direction. But when they have 100, you know, just using the example of 100,000 employees, as you stated, The though all of those employees when someone when an organization enacts you know, LGBT friendly policies, non discrimination policies and so forth, that doesn’t just automatically, you know, overnight, turned all 100,000 employees into your day. Yeah, right, Rainbow waving, unicorn writing, loving, magical land, right. They still have their, they still have their biases, and so forth, those lifelong learning prejudices and biases that it’s a lot to overcome. We’ve seen that on race and we’ve seen In it on sexual harassment, you know, sexual harassment has been illegal here in the United States since 1978. Every year corporations put all kinds of effort into annual training, signing off and so forth. And yet it still happens. Right? So, you know, that’s something too. So it’s not that I’m necessarily I’m not trying to beat up organizations at all, but I’m just trying to, you know, reality check. Because when I don’t want companies to think that just because they are on those corporate Equality Index lists, that we think they’re perfect, because they’re not perfect.
Unknown Speaker 39:40 The work is never done, the work is never done. When you’re dealing with these identities, our I mean, our identities, guys that are politicized and it’s it is what it is, and that’s where we’re having to work within the spectrums of like, heterosexual life daily. So it is truly self worth. Just to kind of like work through.