January 7, 2021 (updated January 7, 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 Scott Ballina, Senior Director, Diversity, Belonging & Giving for a global technology company.
Scott learned the value of diversity while serving in the US Navy as an officer leading a diverse group of sailors from all walks of life. It was also in this role where he experienced living double life hiding his sexual orientation through avoidance, double-speak, and living if needed to keep his identity a secret. While working as a technology consultant at Deloitte, Scott started working on diversity and inclusion in a part-time capacity. His passion for the work and its impact grew and he moved into the role full-time as soon as he was able.
The role of diversity and inclusion can be challenging since it is dealing with all employees who have their conscience and unconscious biases. Scott shares how in his current company they wanted to provide all employees the ability to self-identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. He explains that he had to partner closely with the legal team to assess each country’s laws where they operate. That process took just over a year to complete. Having this data will allow him an analyze promotions, attrition, how engaged the employees are and how their sexual orientation and gender identity may be impacting their experience and allow the company to have metrics around their efforts to improve the culture.
Towards improving the culture, Scott and the company worked on having out gay employees who are in leadership positions. When employees see persons in leadership who they identify with it provides strength to all employees. Studies have demonstrated that when there is more diversity in leadership, it fosters a culture of support for all.
Scott offers advice for organizations starting on their path to creating an inclusive work culture including reaching out to him. To connect with Scott find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/sballina/
Join me and Bruce 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
December 29, 2020 (updated December 29, 2020) 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 Max Appenroth: Transgender Experience Focused Healthcare Consultant based in Berlin, Germany.
Max is a male of transgender experience and has had to navigate the public medical system of Germany where doctors are assigned. The assigned doctors were generalists with little to no experience with transgender patients. This led him to have in most cases to educate his doctors on what he needed and how to best treat him. Max is striving to educate the health care and pharmacology community on how to best be inclusive and respond to the sensitivities and needs of the transgender community as patients. His education is inclusive helping companies and organizations be wider and fuller in their diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Gender Identity is the feeling of self whereas sexual orientation is the desire towards. https://outburo.com/understanding-gender-identity-expression-101/
Building your gender-neutral language may seem odd at first, but like all things, the more it is used the more natural it will be.
Max and I discuss how languages that are gendered such as German in where a table is masculine e and a door is feminine creates boundaries for the transgender community. In many cases, the neural term “their” is used. However in German “their” is “Sie” and she is “sie”. It is spelled and sounds exactly the same. The only difference is the capitalization. Language shapes reality and can I fluence how one perceives themselves. In languages that use verbs gender, they must take extra care to form inclusive language.
LGBTQ persons are less likely to receive the care they need due to fear of discrimination. The LGBTQ community experiences life struggles at a greater level and may need more self-care time than other employees. This was in part the reason Max formed his own company to set his own schedule to have the flexibility to be his healthiest self. Employers could implement flexible schedules that would benefit all employees and the employer-supported by numerous studies.
To connect with Max find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/max/
Join me and Bruce 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/
December 27, 2020 (updated December 27, 2020) 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 Ashley Brundage, author, transgender activist, and VP of Diversity and Inclusion for a national financial institution.
Ashely’s journey is remarkable and inspiring. When faced with homelessness and a family of four counting on her she was pretransition trying to find a job. Frustrated with seeking employment while presenting as male not being true to herself, one day she said enough. From that point forward with her family’s support she started the job search for a new career being authentically Ashley. During that period she realized the additional struggles of seeking a job as a transgender person but leaned into it educating the potential employers on how she could be a bridge to the LGTBQ market.
After landing a part-time bank teller position she leveraged transgender conferences to prospect customers. She quickly became one of the top producing banking agents in the entire company. We chat about the burden of being an out transgender person working in the public sphere and how to leverage the 10 steps to empowering difference to grow professionally. Additionally how she created relationships with peers and mentors within the company to coach her. Ashley understands mentorship well, she says, “mentorship is a two-way street. Both should be getting something out of it”. I couldn’t agree more.
In Ashely’s new book, Empowering Differences, she has outlined her 10 steps to empowering differences starting with empowering yourself with confidence and knowledge. Further, she states that the book is well suited for persons in a sales role. After all, sales are about relationships.
Connect with Ashley find her on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/ashleytbrundage/
Join me and Ashley 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/
December 18, 2020 (updated December 19, 2020) 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 Gina Battye, out lesbian entrepreneur in corporate diversity and inclusion with a keen focus on psychological safety.
This short description nearly does this robust and in-depth conversation justice. This is a must-watch or listen to casual interview chock full of insights, examples, and personal stories you might relate to.
Gina Battye created the blueprint for psychological safety. From Gina’s observations working with ex-offenders, through consulting and training multinational corporations on psychological safety and LGBT+ inclusion, she could see very clearly that there are 5 key areas that organizations need to address, to ensure everyone can bring their whole self into the workplace.
These are referred to as The 5 Pillars of Psychological Safety.
The Authentic Self Process is the first of the 5 Pillars of Psychological Safety. By raising your awareness about your SELF, you will feel confident and empowered to bring all of who you are into the workplace.
These 5 Pillars of Psychological Safety are the foundations and building blocks being used around the world to create fully inclusive workplaces.
PILLAR 1 – SELF SELF refers to you. Who you are. What influences your thoughts and behavior. How you cope with life. How you show up in the workplace. The first pillar centers around Gina’s signature Authentic Self Process. The Authentic Self Process is a powerful 3 step system to release the masks you wear and the stories you have created – so you can bring ALL of who you are to work and life.
PILLAR 2. SOCIAL SOCIAL explores how you interact with colleagues, managers and leadership teams. Imagine everything you have just uncovered about your SELF. The person at the next desk to you has all that going on within them too! Now you know all this, SOCIAL takes you through what is going on behind the scenes of your interactions with others, what influences how you respond and react in conversations and how to use this knowledge to strengthen your interactions and connection with other people.
PILLAR 3. COLLABORATION COLLABORATION delves into the nuts and bolts of team working and how to cultivate trust and work in collaboration with others. In COLLABORATION you explore the environment, the culture of the organization, and how to empower and enable effective collaboration in teams. Gina takes you through safe spaces, ground rules, conflict resolution plans, the 4 steps to effective communication, and the foundations for exceptional team working – all of which are integral to powerful COLLABORATION.
PILLAR 4. CURIOSITY CURIOSITY. Didn’t kill the cat. It made the cat wiser. Gina delves into how to create a culture of experimentation, contribution, and reflective questioning. Here mistakes are made and lessons are learned. Constructive and active feedback is sought and received and there is a willingness to learn, both professionally and personally. This is not only actively encouraged but positively practiced – creating a culture of innovation.
PILLAR 5. CREATIVITY CREATIVITY. “I can’t draw”. No worries, you don’t need to be able to. Everyone is born with innate creativity. But over the years you have been told to “keep your ideas to yourself” and to “not make a fuss.” Hearing these messages you suppress your creativity and don’t speak up. In CREATIVITY you explore how to create a culture where new ideas and alternative perspectives are welcomed. One where everyone has a voice and all ideas are valued, considered, and discussed openly.
Join me and Gina 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
November 19, 2020 (updated November 19, 2020) 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 Out gay professional and entrepreneur Stan Kimer. Stan shares how he not only held several professional roles within IBM over his 31-year career there but how he moved between several departments such as operations, sales, product development, marketing, and Human Resources (Diversity & Inclusion).
He has always thrived while constantly learning and challenging himself. When assigned to a cross-departmental project he would take it upon himself to learn as much as possible about the functions and strategies of the other departments in a truly collaborative manner. He not only learned by doing this he also built great relationships which often lead those other departments offering him an opportunity to join their department. What a great way to learn new skills create a new career path all while remaining in the same company. This approach could be used in large organizations to keep your career fresh and do what you enjoy.
Stan came out as a gay man at work in 1991 when IBM began to offer domestic partner benefits. At that time Stan was the most senior IBM employee to be openly out as a gay person at IBM. Due to that, he was invited to participate in executive-level meetings regarding diversity and inclusion. In the Stan-way, this involvement led him to join the IBM global Diversity and Inclusion department. IBM was also an early adopter of providing employees who identify as transgender health coverage to meet their unique health needs which started in 2002. The IBM D&I role ignited Stans’s passion. Ever since it has been his focus. After retiring from IBM, Stan was far from sitting back sipping margaritas. He took a year of reflection and planning then launched his own diversity and inclusion consulting business to help other companies and organizations be their best. Additionally, Stan is the VP of Training for the US National Diversity Council. In that role, he is responsible for training delivery as well as training material development.
As if all that post “retired” work was enough at age 59 Stan started to learn to figure skate. In Stan-style he competes in the adult figure skating competition circuit and knows many Olympic figure skaters. Stan believes life just keeps getting better.
To connect with Stan find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/stankimer/
Check Stan’s figure asking video out here. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUDxiFUWhZl9G2Vr-vvoF_Q
Join me and Stan 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/
September 8, 2020 (updated December 8, 2020) 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 Martin Kmiecik, out gay entrepreneur, discusses Diversity Pride.
The startup is focused on diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy consulting and training. Based in London, United Kingdom, Diversity Pride has a network of diversity consultants ready to work with clients around the world who are ready to embrace diversity at its core and reap all the organizational benefits of being a welcoming work culture for all. Diversity Pride not only has a keen focus on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) employee narrative, yet encompasses the full spectrum of diversity. Employers who focus on workplace equality win in so many ways including better financial performance. As needed and desired, through their network they can offer direct trained exposure experiences with professionals who represent all diversity identities providing a personal and authentic voice.
07:00 What has been the impact and changes due to the global health crisis (COVID 2020)?
09:30 How do you leverage competitive intelligence to differentiate, adapt, improve, and deliver?
13:00 “Competitors” can be great mentors. What have you learned?
16:45 Martin provides an example of how to format hashtags to be diversity inclusive – note that many platforms limit hashtag formatting, and once a hashtag is created and followed, a marketer must still leverage it, and choose to create a new inclusive one.
22:00 More thoughts from Matin on limitations in technology regarding diversity and inclusion. He discusses recruiting and specifically the growth of artificial intelligence in reviewing resumes/CVs
Join Martin on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, a.lies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
July 13, 2020 (updated July 13, 2020) Published by Dennis Velco
When it’s time to update your resume/CV preparing for a job search, it can be tough to know if you should be out as LGBTQ on it. We don’t believe you will find anyone who would suggest putting “I’m queer – get used to it” in bold pink letter sprinkled with glitter on the top of your resume/CV.
So, should you come out on your resume?
No one can answer that question for you. It is your life, your career, your sexuality, your gender identity, and therefore your choice rests squarely on your shoulders. However, read on for insights to help you make an informed decision.
Many in the LGBTQ community disagree about what you should reveal on your resume/CV. Some say to be out being your full and authentic self, while others argue that you should remain in the closet, grit your teeth to land the job and then slowly come out to co-workers as you get to know them individually.
Many people have acquired significant volunteer and work experience from obviously LGTBQ-oriented organizations. Other people struggle with how transparent they should be on their resume or job application when asked about other interests. Knowing what to say, and how much to disclose to a complete stranger with the power to provide or decline a job offer can be cause for worry. It can often feel like living in the closet and being judged for who you are as a person.
How much experience is related?
Not much but it’s close to my heart
You are such a wonderful person for volunteering. If your past experience related to LGBTQ non-profits/NGOs is not really central to the job you are applying for, we’d recommend completely leaving it off your resume/CV. It’s not hiding your sexuality or gender identity, it is just not pertinent. This even includes leaving it out of your resume/CV hobbies/extra activities. If you get a sense during the interview process that the employer and interviewers are LGBTQ friendly you can always bring it up in the course of dialog as appropriate.
Just a bit but it’s important
If some of your experience was acquired from paid or volunteering for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer non-profits/NGOs no matter if you are LGBTQ a straight ally you might start to wonder if you should put that experience on your resume. This effectively would out you as LGBTQ whether you are LGBTQ or a community ally. Additionally, as you’ll learn below even just the perception of being LGBTQ real or perceived can potentially impact your ability to be hired, promoted and even the salary offered.
Major part of my career
If all your experience is from paid or volunteering at LGBTQ organizations, then it’s pretty clear you have no choice. You have to list the experiences. But you still need to be aware of the issues you may face and be prepared to research employers to find the right match and put your best foot forward with the best employers no matter the size or location of the employer.
If you have worked primarily for LGBTQ or other non-profits/NGOs it can also be difficult to break into the for-profit sector. I have heard of people attempting to do make this transition and being told, “Your qualifications are outstanding, however, you aren’t a right fit for this company we are about making money not helping people/the environment/animals.” – true story. So if your work experience has been 50%+ with a non-profit organization no matter the focus LGBTQ or not, be prepared to address this disqualifying mindset proactively in your cover letter and in the every interview conversation if you get that far.
LGBTQ workplace policies are good yet not a 100% guarantee
Reality is even if an employer boasts being a welcoming LGBTQ workplace with LGBT friendly policies and benefits, there are many people involved in the resume/cv review and interview process. Depending on the size of the employer, that may be a few people or in best case scenario it will be a review committee to reduce the chances of one person’s learned prejudices and ignorance to discriminate and disqualify you based on you being LGBT. In any case, it still can be risky. You want to list all your great experience and qualifications to land that new job yet you are also putting trust in the employer company/organization and the individuals in the hiring process.
At what point should I come “out” in the workplace?
It is important to know that you do NOT have to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity at any point in the resume/cv submission, job application or interview process. This decision is entirely up to you and how comfortable you feel disclosing your sexual orientation, sex, or gender expression. If you do choose to disclose, there are generally three opportunities to “come out” to an employer?
On your resume
In an interview
After you start working for the organization
Many believe that no job is so great that it’s worth hiding who you are and selling yourself short by leaving out all the organizations you volunteered time with, just-just to hide your sexual identity. That volunteer work could have provided many skills and demonstrate your community involvement beyond the workplace showing a well-rounded individual with character.
Some feel that it is more important to get the job first, and then come out after people get to know you. “I’m here. I’m queer. I’m in the next cubicle” approach.
Others strive for a middle ground in where they list their LGBT activities on their resumes but don’t draw attention to it. They might list PFLG, HRC or NGLCC without going into additional details or spelling out the acronym. They might list the abbreviation of a student campus LGBT group and that they were the vice president such as Berkely LGSA Vice President instead of Berkely Lesbian & Gay Student Alliance Vice President. If asked about the entry it’s an opportunity for discussion to expand upon it in person versus potentially being tossed way by someone along the candidate review path who might hold prejudices. such as “vice president of gay campus group.” The rest, says Woog, is left to the interviewer. If she says, “The Rainbow Alliance –- tell me more about that,” it’s an opportunity to expand on it and judge her reaction.
Still, others hold firm that it is inappropriate to come out on one’s resume as it is to mark down one’s religious or political affiliations. We suggest talking with your both LGBT and straight close friends and family who also have a history of volunteer and community work.
As LGBTQ professionals we cannot live in a vacuum and our straight college have no problem listing their volunteer and community activities that might hint at their heterosexuality. It’s accepted.
At OutBüro we believe a resume should be honest and comprehensive. If a person has done work with GLAAD or Lambda Legal for example – and the reader even knows what these things are – certain presumptions can be made or not. We know many straight people who work at LGBTQ organizations too. Putting your volunteer work in the LGBTQ community on your resume is no different than others who may indicate they are a deacon in the church or a Hebrew school teacher on the weekends.
Why should you hide what you value and has contributed to your life, character, your local community and the community at large? It’s unfortunate that all companies do not have sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination policies. Luckily many companies and organizations do
Questions to ask
Is the company you are interested in an LGBTQ workplace friendly employer?
Do you feel comfortable disclosing that you are currently or have in your past held a paid positions or volunteered for an LGBT community organization?
Do you include previous work experiences (internships, etc.) that occurred at an LGBT advocacy organization(s)?
Is that current or past experience relevant to the job you are applying for?
How do you list your achievements from an LGBT organization on your resume?
Do you list it as for example an LGBT youth organization or simply a youth organization and if asked which one in the interview process disclose it if you feel comfortable doing so at that time?
Questions you can ask an employer in an interview if their employer website does not specifically state it:
Would you say that your company has a diverse employee base?
Do you offer domestic partner benefits and or other LGBT related benefits and policies? (if not clearly stated on their website)
Does your company/organization have an LGBTQ employee resource support or social group?
Additional considerations for transgender job seekers
Is it OK to use my chosen name on a resume and cover letters are not legal documents? You are not required to list your legal name on either document.
Let’s say your legal name is Stephanie Smith and your chosen name is Darrel Smith. You might consider listing your name as S. Darrel Smith on the resume and cover letter.
Will I have to use my legal name during the Job Search
Unless you have made legal arrangements to change your name, unfortunately, you will need to provide your legal name for the actual job application, background checks, social security documents, and insurance forms. However, most organizations will allow you to use your preferred name for company contact information, email, and phone directory. Human resource professionals are bound by confidentiality and can be a good source of information.
When it comes to dressing for an interview, it is important that you present yourself in a manner that is consistent with the position for which you are applying. Dress professionally for the gender for which you wish to be seen as. This can also help your employer understand which pronouns you wish to use.
The world has changed but not enough
A recent study conducted by the University of Surry demonstrates that discrimination in the hiring process still exists. In that study the presented the participants with headshot images with the backgrounds removed along with voice samples. The found that just based on those two bits of information that the participants indicated they were less likely to hire the person and if they did hire them the candidate would be offered less money for the same job with the same skills as someone they perceived as heterosexual. Additionally, the participants indicated if the candidate already worked for the employer, they would likely be passed over for promotion preferring to promote a heterosexual.
According to a 2013 Queer in STEM study (science, technology, engineering, and math) found that more than 40% of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are not out as LGBTQ in the workplace.
No matter how you decide to proceed regarding your sexual orientation on your resume, you should do your homework on the employer’s LGBTQ workplace equality you before submitting your application.
Do research on the company’s website as well as other websites listing the company is important to know as much about them and their LGBTQ stance as possible. Know what legal protections are in place in your city, county, state, and country.
Network with other LGBT professionals of all levels
One of the best ways to get the inside scoop on an employer’s workplace LGBT friendliness is to connect with and communicate with an LGBT employee who currently or recently worked there. Don’t know anyone? No problem. Join the OutBüro on the LinkedIn LGBT professional networking group. It was the first and remains the largest LGBT+ professional networking group on LinkedIn with currently over 46,000 global members.
Like the OutBüro Facebook page and message others who like it. We’ll be considering starting an OutBüro on Facebook group shortly and then you’ll be right there ready to jump in.
It needs people just like you to participate. It’s fairly new and we would appreciate you taking a few moments to add reviews/rating of your current and recent past employers. It’s at no cost to you as an employee and it’s anonymous. Your review/rating will help other LGBTQ job seekers in the future during their job hunt company/organization research.
Search to see if your current or recent past employer(s) are present already in the system. If not, you may add it with limited features and then review/rate them.
Check out the below article and user guides to get started:
If interested in a job at a US Fortune 1000 level company one source is the HRC Corporate Equality Index. This organization and report have been instrumental in moving large companies forward in creating LGBTQ workplace equality. It is however as mentioned limited only to US Fortune 1000. It is also self-reported by those company HR departments with no employee input to our knowledge and definitely, no direct employee feedback on the actual workplace equality and general work culture.
Although not all, OutBüro has heard personally from many LGBT employees over the past few years that once their employer achieved the coveted 100% HRC Corporate Equality Index score that management backs off and the internal efforts dwindle to barely an acceptable level at best. It is awesome and we applaud HRC and all organizations who have achieved and maintain a 100% score. This report is but one view of the employer’s benefits, policies, business practices, and the potential of an LGBT friendly workplace environment. Don’t rely on it as your only.
If outside the United States
As of the updating of this LGBT employee resource article, OutBüro is only aware of one other corporate equality scoring report.
If you are aware of other studies and reports please contact us with a URL to the site so that we may include it within this article and other resource guides on the OutBüro site.
The Rainbow Tick is a New Zealand national accreditation program for organizations that are committed to safe and inclusive practice, and service delivery for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people. Organizations wishing to receive a Rainbow Tick are required to undergo accreditation against the Rainbow Tick Standards, owned and developed by Rainbow Health Victoria (formerly GLHV).
Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index
Participating employers demonstrate their work in 10 areas of employment policy and practice. Staff from across the organization also complete an anonymous survey about their experiences of diversity and inclusion at work.
Organizations then receive their scores, enabling them to understand what’s going well and where they need to focus their efforts, as well as see how they’ve performed in comparison with their sector and region. The 100 best-performing organizations are celebrated publicly.
Stonewall Diversity Champions benefit from in-depth, tailored feedback on their submission.
Free & Equal – United Nations
Violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people cannot be ended by governments alone. Businesses can foster diversity and promote a culture of respect and equality both in the workplace and in the communities where they and their business partners operate.
The United Nations is calling on companies all over the world – big and small, local and multinational – to help move the dial in the direction of greater equality for LGBTI people.
We know from experience that every time discrimination is diminished, everyone benefits.
It’s your life, your sexuality, your gender identity, and your career. Only you can make the choice on how out to be on your resume/CV in your new career job search and in the workplace. It’s your choice.
June 23, 2020 (updated December 6, 2020) 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 Steve Yacovelli: Developing LGBT Leaders with The Gay Leadership Dude.
As an out, LGBT entrepreneur business owner Steve Yacovelli has dealt with many facets of growing and sustaining a business. Focusing on what he is passionate about he drives education and growth for individuals and organizations in an authoritative yet approachable way. Leveraging his 25+ years of experience as a leadership, change management, and diversity and inclusion consultant to cultivating our collective leadership awesomeness. His book, “Pride Leadership,” is one of the first to focus on developing leadership talent specifically for the LGBTQ+ Community and its Allies. It’s time to channel those qualities into being a more effective and consciously inclusive leader within the workplace and beyond.
He realized that there was no focus on specifically developing LGBTQ+ Leaders within the corporate world beyond some a patchwork of effort and not necessarily a cohesive focus or movement.
So, “The Gay Leadership Dude” was born. It’s his way to give back to the LGBTQ+ Community: to start a movement to grow LGBTQ+ Leaders to be even more effective, in a consistent, thoughtful, and mindful manner. He is especially focused on those up-and-coming Leaders within the broader movement for equality and fairness for all LGBTQ+ people and well beyond.
Pride Leadership: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Leader to be the King or Queen of their Jungle
Critically-acclaimed and award-winning book for LGBTQ+ Leaders and Allies to help expand their leadership skills to better explore what’s working and reflect on what could be improved upon. “Pride Leadership” provides the strategies and tools to build a network of leadership support. It’s the start of an “LGBTQ+ Leadership Movement” to cultivate and grow leadership competencies.
The L.I.O.N.S. Program – A Leaders Immersive Opportunity to Nurture Strength
A 6-month learning experience that leverages online learning tools along with face-to-face virtual classroom sessions and self-paced learning. The program takes Leaders on a deep- dive into 6 related areas of competency ✦ Having Authenticity ✦ Leadership Courage ✦ Leveraging Empathy ✦ Effective Communication ✦ Building Relationships ✦ Shaping Culture
Over the course of the 6-month program, participants have the opportunity to explore each topic in a way that deepens their understanding and application of the leadership skills, apply the skill, and hone its effectiveness in their workplace. www.PrideLeadership.com
We Help Humans Succeed
TopDog Learning Group provides guidance and solutions in leadership & organizational development, change management, diversity and inclusion consulting, and workplace learning strategies.
To connect with Steve find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/syacovelli/
Join me and Steve 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.
Unknown Speaker 0:01 Hello, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro that is your LGBT community online where you belong and your voice matters. Welcome to the OutBüro Voices series where we are interviewing and I guess when I say we that’s a royal sense, right? Because I’m an entrepreneur of one. So, huh, it’s me whenever I’m interviewing LGBT entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders, and thank you so much for tuning in. We are you might be viewing this on the OutBüro website or on YouTube. If you are on YouTube, please take a moment right now and hit that subscribe button, as well as hit the bell that bell is going to ensure that when we are producing there I go again, when I we, geez, I can’t you know, it’s all about perception is reality when you’re in business, it’s grow, grow, grow. So I’ll continue Whenever we produce additional and new content, it’s going to ensure that it gets you alerted of it so that you come back because I’m trying to produce as much of these as possible to get the visibility out for our LGBT community, so that our young folks and everyone out there can have great mentors to look to when they’re considering their business. And one of those is Steven. Steven is the leadership dude. And welcome to the show. Thank you, Dennis. It’s great to be here. Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. And I get deep. I knew for a fact because we’ve chatted before that I didn’t have to do one of these for you because I knew Stephens already gonna have his little corner of his office all set up and branded, so wonderful. Thank you. So, Steven, tell us a little bit about yourself. And maybe just a little brief overview of your background.
Unknown Speaker 2:08 Sure. I’m accent doctor see doc LA, owner and principal top dog learning group, also known as the gay leadership dude. at top dog, we focus on learning and development, leadership, change management and diversity consulting. And that kind of leads to what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole career has been in something in the shape of leadership and diversity and inclusion. So whether that has been internal to the Walt Disney Company, I was an IBM er for a while. I was a professor for like a hot minute, as in the full time academia realm, but really started my own business about 12 years ago full time and that’s really the the space that I’ve been playing in ever since.
Unknown Speaker 2:46 Okay, well, awesome. I’ve been a little all over the board and you’re in Orlando, Florida. So there is the Disney reasoning. Correct. Huge employer. Central Florida. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 3:02 The largest private employer in Central Florida. And it might even be the state Actually, I would think so.
Unknown Speaker 3:11 Yeah. So did your leadership kind of
Unknown Speaker 3:18 did you do HR and leadership in Disney? Was that one of your functions there?
Unknown Speaker 3:24 Yeah, I actually it’s kind of funny story. I worked at Disney twice. So after undergrad I grew up in the Philadelphia area. I went to a small state school in Pennsylvania, and studied public relations and speech communications. And so my dream was to be a PR person at Disney. So after undergrad I packed up my little Ford Escort I think I had at the time and just drove right down. I 95 to Orlando without a job. And I got one I worked in the central reservations office, which were the kids at home. That’s pre internet. It’s actually pre windows. We were a DOS based kind of thing and I actually had a job Yeah, I remember I had a job on the 407 w Disney line, which was the main place to get any sort of information about your family fun time at Walt Disney World and everything. And these are true calls, we would get me and 499 other folks sitting in a call center. And people would call from the park because it was payphones pre pre cell phone. And they’d be like, Where’s the nearest bathroom? And you actually had a load database, you could say, oh, you’re at this, this phone, turn to your left and you’ll see a door and like we had to direct them that way because people are you kind of lose their mind without holiday. Or and I swear, this is a real story to a question we get the people will call up and say What time’s the three o’clock parade. And you know, and we no lie, and we had our we type in data and we get the official official script. And the official script was always 245. So one you did make the person feel kind of silly, and then second actually got them in line or in their spot earlier so that they could kind of do the park so I did that for like three months was a horrible experience for me. Just wasn’t a very good fit, but I ended up coming back to Disney several years later at a more professional capacity I was a leadership and organizational consultant for Disney Cruise Line so I worked short side in the in the Orlando office the celebration office but I would travel on the at the time the two ships quite often so it was a kind of a sweet gig. It’s a sweet gig I gotta
Unknown Speaker 5:21 say. Good and you know getting as you mentioned right out of college you know, one getting that job at Disney, I mean nowadays that’s it well, with COVID it’s really hard. But will for a long time one of my aunts worked in HR at nice, the Disney and you know, not an easy place to get on board. Yeah. And you know, so many people from the area you know, looking for, you know, the jobs they’re one little tidbit one little thing we have in common I too. worked at a call center for a while. It was 1991. And my ex of my 20s and I, we met in the military in Germany. He was still in, we knew each other from you know, going out in Frankfurt, and in Germany, and we were both in the military when we first met. And then I got out of the military and helped form the very first technology calling center for fifth quarter military, so it was where all the US military from from Frankfurt and South Germany would call in when their printers were broken. Whatever, but that was just three of us. That actually man that that call center, it was when we returned back to where he lived in Columbus, Ohio. And for those that don’t know, Columbus, Ohio is quite the fashion capital. So with Lane Bryant, Abercrombie, Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, all of that headquartered there, and he and I actually work to the call center at Victoria’s Secret. know at that time I was 22 or 23 years old, taking phone calls from ladies and men helping them place their Victoria’s Secret catalog orders and helping, you know, taking the talking them into the new bra that was
Unknown Speaker 7:37 Yeah, that was pretty interesting. So,
Unknown Speaker 7:40 you know, I lived in Columbus as well.
Unknown Speaker 7:42 Oh, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 7:44 Yeah, I went to Ohio State from my master’s degree.
Unknown Speaker 7:47 Oh, wonderful. I went to I state as well.
Unknown Speaker 7:54 I wasn’t in this. I got to tell people. I wasn’t into the football.
Unknown Speaker 8:00 But but but you know it’s it is a boy columbus ohio and their their football I mean it is it is truly a see that yeah if you’ve never experienced that kind of just almost power that that the the football culture in columbus ohio has it is some
Unknown Speaker 8:24 even the gay guy even the gay guys have tailgating party
Unknown Speaker 8:29 parties we go to if we didn’t have tickets we go to the local gay bar and Union Station and you know watch the game there
Unknown Speaker 8:37 absolutely absolutely. So cool beans So tell us a little bit more about the the leadership dude I know you and I have talked about your your book a little bit but help our viewers and listeners get a good sense.
Unknown Speaker 8:57 Yeah, so I’m about Two years ago, I was at my first mg LCC conference, the National Gay Lesbian Chamber conference, fantastic group. And I was kind of sorting my business cards before a session and there was a woman next to me doing something very similar. And we just struck up a conversation and she’s like, what do you do? I’m like, oh, in consulting, blah, blah, blah. And I said, How about you? She’s like, well, I’m a publisher. I say, you know what, there’s a book in my head that needs to come out, you know, I’ve written you know, I published my dissertation and which I think my my mom is the one who bought that, but that’s fine. And then I did an ebook called overcoming poopy elearning, which was self published in my doctorates in instructional technology and distance education. And I had mixed mixed positive and negative vibes for doing this self publishing thing. It was it wasn’t a great experience for me. But I’m talking to Jen grace, publisher preppers price. And I’m like, you know what, let’s chat. And so flash forward. My book price leadership came out, which I happen to always keep on the desk. Um, and so it was it was a really great explain And I was going to write kind of a generic leadership book. And the more when I first started down the path in organizing some of my thoughts and, and I was doing a lot of advocacy work in the LGBTQ community, with our peeps, and I’m kind of starting to observe some of the leaders around doing, you know, different volunteer organizations and things. And then my inner Carrie Bradshaw kicked in, like, I couldn’t help but wonder, and I couldn’t help but wonder, you know, I’m watching these awesome queer leaders do their thing. And I’m wondering, is there something about our shared collective experience that does make us a little bit more reticent for the leadership competencies that I’ve seen really work out in in the general field as a leadership consultant, and that’s kind of what I write about in private leadership. And so I found what I thought were the top six you always have my swag, a little mousepad but these are the the top six competencies I talked about pride leadership, Authenticity, courage, empathy, communication, relationships, and then shaping culture. And that’s the the framework of the book. But it’s through the lens of being a member of our community.
Unknown Speaker 11:04 Okay. And so,
Unknown Speaker 11:10 you know, again, as we’ve talked in the past, but you know, for our listeners this, this is a, you also have an accompany workbook.
Unknown Speaker 11:20 I do Where’s it? It’s right here. You’re right. So so the idea behind the books and the fancy book workbook, which is also out there, but the whole goal of the book wasn’t the book. I mean, if there’s anyone here watching or listening, you know, authors aren’t typically unless you’re like Oprah caliber out there to make a gob of money. You’re there to kind of get your story out. And my story is really to help start an LGBTQ pollution movement and focus our collective energy in that arena. And so my endgame has always been a training experience. You know, as an educator, that’s kind of what I do as a company, but I really wanted to create that. So a couple steps back was the book. Then the workbook came And now we have an eight week online leadership program that’s really starting to take off. You know, oddly enough, it was in the midst pre global pandemic, but it’s always online. It was always modular approach. And so now we’re getting folks are like, hey, I want to use this time to develop myself. And so that’s where where the end game was, which I’m so excited for.
Unknown Speaker 12:19 Awesome. Yes. So I’m kind of just thinking, you know, out loud here is so, so looking at leadership that’s really from a very open perspective, correct? No, it’s so so this is could be for anyone. Someone in college looking to a to learn leadership skills, someone in their career, who’s looking to get to that next level in their career, or maybe even someone who’s, who’s a volunteer. Yeah. And looking to hone your leadership skills as it relates to perhaps serving in their local community.
Unknown Speaker 13:06 Exactly. One of the things I do in the very beginning of leadership is I define what is a leader. And to me a leader is anyone who has influenced within the workplace, that could be that entry level person who’s kind of influencing the people around you, that could be all the way up to the C suite. and everyone in between I, I’ve worked with clients who define leader as leader of people. And I think that’s kind of shenanigans, because you have that indirect influence over folks if you don’t have that direct. And that’s actually even a more tricky leadership position to be in, because you don’t have the formal authority. So you have to leverage different skills and tools in order to help folks move in the direction with which you’re trying to get them to move. And so I think it’s, I think it’s silly when I have I tried to dissuade some clients to say no, let’s let’s think about this a little bit more broadly. And just like you said, Dennis, it could be a whole bunch of folks really want to focus on being better within their leadership skills.
Unknown Speaker 13:57 Yeah, it’s, I find You know, when it you know, when you’re looking at leadership, when you’re looking at business, when you’re looking at your relationships, when you’re looking at almost every facet of your life, you’re always, always and you’re typically in a position of attempting to influence that might even just be Friday night and outside of the COVID era, trying to influence your significant other on where you’re going to go to eat that night. Yep, yep. Okay. So, and within, you know, and so there’s lots of different examples even within a friend, Friendship Circle. So, you know, a leadership skills are definitely not only for the work environment number one, and definitely not only for once you have achieve a quote unquote leadership title that now you have people report to you, it’s like, well, you definitely need the assistance then. But, but really, it’s to your point in self development and just saying, you know, as striving to be a better person, and that, again, could be in real in your own personal relationships. It could be in your work, and when and again, I’ll get back to, you know, community service, working with, you know, local nonprofits of any sort. So it’s, it’s very pertinent to, you know, all kind of a good portion of your life if you recognize it, and I think that’s the key point is being open to recognizing it because so many people kind of go through the motions of their days in there. weeks and not even realize that they are marketing themselves and they are positioning themselves effectively or poorly as a leader.
Unknown Speaker 16:12 Yeah, one of the things I talked about quite early on in the book is no, and this is part of the the lions program is the name of the eight week program, which stands for leaders immersive opportunity to nurture strengths, because, you know, former Disney, I had to have some cute, cute little acronym, you know, that goes with the branding lion. Right? But, but in the AV program, as well as in the workbook in the book, one of the very first things that we talked about is, is what’s called what I call drone perspective, which is having that self awareness, you kind of like you imagine, you get your drone, this drone zooms up. And it’s kind of looking at the situation that you’re in, in the moment. You know, in LA Times, this is referred to as like mindfulness, mindful meditation, that kind of stuff. But being able to get out of your own head is the concept. And that takes a lot of skill and have that self awareness to say, ooh, you know what, I maybe am Not super good at this XYZ competency or the situation and having that that thoughtfulness to do something about it. And that’s, that’s, to me one of the biggest leadership opportunities is to be humble enough to know where I’m really awesome but we’re not so awesome and do something about it to get more awesome in that respect.
Unknown Speaker 17:23 Absolutely. And when a and you know, in the entrepreneur space where that comes in is no no your strengths, know your weaknesses and as soon as possible as soon as income allows, hire other people to do the jobs that that you frickin suck at. Doing. Absolutely. But, but yeah, so in the
Unknown Speaker 17:55 so in the space, definitely
Unknown Speaker 17:59 taking Taking that moment and kind of realizing that, you know, sometimes we have, we’re forced into situations and or being a bootstrap startup where we have to do everything. And, you know, it’s something that I always strive to do personally is, you know, I, I have a vision for where I want to go. And you know, I’ve had technical issues I’ve had so many different things go on, just within out, you’re alone. But one of my, one of my traits and what I’m trying to bring to the table to the community is my own personal development. And that is every single day, I learned something. Excellent. And whether that’s listening to podcasts on entrepreneurial ism, I absolutely adore Jay Abraham. is an absolutely eloquent, masterful individual. If you don’t know that that person, folks out there, look him up just an amazing person, not LGBT.
Unknown Speaker 19:16 We still like some straight friends. I’m sorry. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 19:18 And you’re probably occasionally going to have to Google some words to use. I mean, I like to use some, you know, fun vocabulary, you know, here and there. But, Holy moly, occasionally, he just dropped some words. It’s like, even if you’re like, what?
Unknown Speaker 19:36 Just mean?
Unknown Speaker 19:38 Very, very neat. So, but it’s also like right now doing these, doing these, you know, that’s been on my radar. I’m a product manager. I used to be a software product manager. And so I I’m what’s called a scrum master.
Unknown Speaker 19:56 I just learned what that meant, like one of my participants in the lions program is a programmer and she was sharing a story about her Scrum Master. I’m like, why is that and so I just learned that last week.
Unknown Speaker 20:08 Okay, it’s a it could sound highs I’m a scrum and the scrum master. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 20:16 Well I for those that that aren’t aware of google it but
Unknown Speaker 20:23 you know to me it’s you manage to a lot of post it notes and journal I have a huge amount of documents and on my wall for set for quite a while had been you know, content, user content, community content and so forth. And you know, whether that has been doing interviews like this, but a technical issues and being overwhelmed and finally got over that so that employee ORS can sign up. So employees out there you may go to our bureau at o ut duro.com. Be an anonymous leader and reach your current or recent past employer but part of the the getting back to you know kind of doing this was all right you know I had some some things I had to get over it just like you know your hope everyone’s career right you whatever those hurdles are in your career and in your job and so forth but but it’s part of being a good leader is about being persistent and consistent and and striving for becoming better. And so you know, like right now doing these, you know, YouTube videos, it’s every day. I there are certain people now that I pay attention to and I’m seeing the results and now Now granted how does that relate is like When you it’s about self education, and about, you know, taking responsibility for yourself in educating yourself and then what you do with that. So kind of walk us through in that self education for your book and your workbook. Maybe some of the highlights of that. You brought up the cue card, which I love. Oh, there’s no
Unknown Speaker 22:25 it’s actually my it’s a mousepad. Like I’ve a sweatshop. Look. I’ve got mugs. Hey, so if
Unknown Speaker 22:32 you leave that with your customers or your clients,
Unknown Speaker 22:37 graduates, graduates of
Unknown Speaker 22:38 the program, graduates god, yes. So. So what kind of what kind of folks now? Have you seen or, you know, what have you seen people use? Use your tools, use your information, and kind of get out of it and take away from it and you know, has there been Any kind of success stories that you’re able to share? And sorry, because I asked up on the slides.
Unknown Speaker 23:06 Oh, that’s great. That’s great. So one of my participants, and she’s, she’s still in the program, but she actually was an early adopter of the concept. So she’s with a large pharmaceutical company, and she’s actually an ally, but she’s within, in the LGBT employee resource group, an ally in that, but really wanted to develop her own skills. She’s, I think, a project manager for the company. And so, you know, I’ll use my thing, you know, she’s, she’s thinking about what, what, out of these six competencies, she really wants to focus her energy first. So one of the one of the tools, of course, is is self analysis, like, you know, where, where am I at when it comes to these particular competencies or skills. And so for her, she said, You know what, I’m going to focus on the communication part. So that’s kind of the fourth module down there, little green green strip. And so when she said communication, and she’s like, specifically, it’s providing feedback. And so one of the things I talked about in the book, you know, there’s a simple model, there’s a lot of models out there for feedback. There’s one I’ve used in the leadership programs that I’ve taught, and it has pretty easy success. It’s called ECC. You know, you share with people the example the effect, and then either what you want to change or continue, which is where the C come in. So, you know, Dennis, when you lead our interdepartmental meeting the other day, there’s the example. You You missed one of the agenda items, and therefore, we now have to loop back with the other department and kind of get some stuff. So that’s the effect. So it next time, can you make sure that you get all the items on that or that agenda so that we kind of don’t have to do double work? That’s the change. Or hey, Dennis, when you lead the meeting the other day with with the whole interdepartmental. Folks, you did such a great job you got through the agenda real fast. We attendance left people ask some great questions. So that’s the effect so can keep up the good work. That was really great. So there’s the continue to be good behavior. simple model when I’ve taught for a while there’s other ones out there, and she’s like that one alone. really helped me relate to my team just to kind of organize the feedback and thoughts. And then I talked about the example of providing feedback, it should be balanced. You know, you don’t want to work with some organizations where someone comes up to you and says, Hey, I have feedback. And I was like, What is it, you know, because feedback is a bad word. And so feedback, feedback should be a neutral or a good word, if it’s being utilized in a balanced sort of way in your organizational culture, whether that be you or your clients or big group. So that’s a kind of one example. Another one that one of the participants. So in the in the program, you get three, one on one executive coaching sessions, kind of at the beginning, middle, and then two months after that you kind of leave the program, and during one of the conversations the other week, or for fairly early on, you know, we go through the authenticity chapter fairly early. And and the one of the activities in that is to look at your own personal value system. And some folks have done that in their careers, some have not. So there’s a quick activity in the workbook to actually Find out what are your personal top five values? And one of my participants said, You know, I never did that before, I never really thought about what are the things that are so important to me that I value. And then you put that lens through, what are you doing at work. So if you’re in a job that never touches your personal values, you’re gonna have a problem at some point. Or if all the work that you’re doing doesn’t feed those values in some way, shape, or form, that’s going to feel icky. And it’s you stop and have a conversation with yourself and kind of get in that drone and take a look around. And he said, you know, thank you for that, because it just made me put things a little bit more perspective on where I want to go both in my current job, but also outside of of my job and make sure that those values are being, you know, using Steve’s term fed. And that was another good example of some of the tips that that people are actually applying stuff that I’ve had, like, yeah, it’s working. So that’s kind of exciting to see.
Unknown Speaker 26:54 Oh, Barry Barry. And so um, so you say that Meeting originally about the book was, if I’m not mistaken about two years ago,
Unknown Speaker 27:08 correct? Yeah. Um, so this this, this August will have been two years. So, after that meeting I got about a month later, I started kind of formulating the book. And I knew I wanted it to come out pun intended. As a gay leadership book. I wanted it to come out June in pride month of 2019. But to make that deadline, I had to have a final man or a first draft manuscript to my publisher by like, New Year’s Day of 2019. And so I said, from basically Labor Day, until Christmas, just doing nothing but writing obviously trying to make a living with clients and things like that, but you’re really trying to kind of get through organizing my thoughts, you know, figuring it out, you know, initially I whittled it down to six, I had 29, or something like that competencies that I was trying to figure out where the white ones and then My thinking partner slash sister, Wes, come in who does similar work to me. And so that was kind of that that process and then you go through all the iterations, the editing. And that took us until, until the very end of April, to kind of get through all those drafts. And my book is 356 pages. So it’s a bit of a lot, much bigger than I expected, I kind of was targeting 200. So yay, for both Steve. But you get through that process. And of course, it’s the things like, you know, picking the the cover and writing the back and getting the testimonials inside and all that other stuff that you never really think about. You just say, I got to write, but no, there’s all the other stuff that goes along with it. And then, of course, the marketing piece of it. And so it was, it was a really fascinating experience. It was I will say, Dennis, that writing the book was easier than marketing the book. That’s the biggest challenge of and you know, just because you think I’m going to write it and then you put on Amazon and Yay, everyone’s gonna love it and you got to tell people it’s there and so I That’s always a continuous opportunity. And then I knew the audio book had to happen. So actually, I just lost the audiobook like two weeks ago. Yeah, so so that’s, that’s out there as well. And I put put the link under my name, you can actually get a free book. We’re doing a free plus shipping during this COVID time. So there’s a top dog click for slash free ship. And you’ll you’ll get to a website and you just have to pay for shipping and handling. So there’s that but the audio book was really, really weird into that experience. I don’t know if you’ve ever, ever thought about like, how does someone make an audiobook and I’d never thought about it, you know, just kind of grabbed him on on Audible, whatever. Right? But so I, I was working with another producer. So my publisher doesn’t do audiobooks, but she has a referral. So I went to this woman, and she’s like, Okay, the first question who’s reading it? I’m like, I don’t know who is reading my book. Well, that’s up to you. We talked through that and she’s like, you can do it. All you can do it all professional, you do hybrid. And then the more I thought about it, I’m like, Okay, I have a whole chapter on authenticity. So if I’m not going to be the one reading it that’s kind of not very authentic of me. It’s, I figured, okay, it’s gonna be me. Well, in the age of COVID-19, internet traffic is crazy high, of course, because everyone’s at home. Right? Well, I got on the very first call. So it was myself and this, this audio producer, and and basically, we log into this super secret software that he has, and we just do the recording there. Well, the internet traffic was so high that and audio files are very sensitive, I guess, to traffic and things they can drop. So so we kept dropping words. And we tried it a couple times. I’m sitting literally under my router. And he’s like, I don’t know what to tell you, Steve. You know, you might have to just do this on your own and I have some experience doing like radio voiceovers and stuff back in college, you know, W ix q news at my millersville University. And so I set up by computer and then we’re like, okay, where’s the quietest place in my house? Of course it’s it’s in our our walking closet in the bedroom. So I’m literally reading my gay leadership book in the closet during COVID-19 for 65 plus hours and that’s kind of the story of coming out of the closet again, just to kind of make my audiobook happen.
Unknown Speaker 31:18 Yeah, yeah, yes. Yeah, it’s it’s not it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve actually gone through professional voiceover training myself. Nice. And yeah, if you if you search me on SoundCloud, I’ve done a few commercials and some different things. And yes, I can go into kind of that voice.
Unknown Speaker 31:48 Sound.
Unknown Speaker 31:50 And,
Unknown Speaker 31:52 as I as I told family members, because I’ve had people that since I was very young, I’ve had people go Oh, my gosh, your voices, you know And I feel I use that now and I definitely use it when I’m on the phone. Yeah, because yes, when you are voice overing when you are reading a book like that, it’s very important to pay attention to the Annunciation. The pauses, your plural motives, which and your
Unknown Speaker 32:27 T’s, your keys and your
Unknown Speaker 32:30 office.
Unknown Speaker 32:31 It’s, it’s very technical. And, you know, yeah, people don’t always think about that. And then yes, your, the quality of your sound is and crazily, you know, the closet and the end are folks out there and you know, the reason is is because the your blank walls, and so for sound bounces off of that, and so you need a lot of software. Or you need a treated space say that your, your, your, your,
Unknown Speaker 33:06 your good mic which I’m not using I’m using
Unknown Speaker 33:10 a good mic will pick up that and you’ll get reverb
Unknown Speaker 33:15 is very,
Unknown Speaker 33:16 very funny though. It was funny though, because when we’re
Unknown Speaker 33:21 in there and we’re doing the test for the with the audio guy, so you can say okay, yeah, you’re good to go. He’s like, there’s just something you know, because obviously there’s no clothes on the ceiling. So I took my dog’s dog bed and kind of looped it over my head and he’s like, that’s perfect. It’s just I have a picture of it. I just look ridiculous with the food or the all the clothes everywhere a dog bed over my head, my microphone and I’m like, yeah, and of course there’s no air conditioning in the closet. So and it’s Florida. It’s just like, oh my god.
Unknown Speaker 33:53 But it worked. It worked.
Unknown Speaker 33:54 You’re a hot mess in the CLI was a hot mess in the closet.
Unknown Speaker 34:00 You know, you really should put a photo of that up on your website
Unknown Speaker 34:04 or write a blog about it. I did.
Unknown Speaker 34:07 Yeah, I did do a social media post, but I probably need to revive that again. It’s
Unknown Speaker 34:12 Yeah. to, to funny. Funny. So, very neat, very neat. So just, you know, how are you so let’s get kind of on the business side of things. You know, you’re, well, thanks for coming on, did you This is partly marketing, your, your, your book and your, your coaching sessions. So how, as a business owner, you know, you did touch on that that’s, you know, as an author, as a coach, you’re, you are a business. And so talk about maybe for just a few moments, some of the opportunities, the challenges, opportunities and ways in which you have kind of overcome that getting the word out because you Every business, you know, is always is has that on their mind? How do they get the word out about their, their business? And so give us a little bit of insight about some of the opportunities and things that you’ve been doing?
Unknown Speaker 35:15 Yes. So COVID-19 has really hit a blow to so many of us entrepreneurs and small business owners. For me, one of the main revenue streams was stand up training at clients, well, that’s not happening anymore. And so in in, in March, we launched so we I’ve three big fortune 500 that we do all of their leadership training, and I say we because it’s actually not the Royal we actually have consultants who
Unknown Speaker 35:41 work for me as
Unknown Speaker 35:43 I do some of it, but I had them do most of that kind of stuff. So I can do more the business development and product development. And so all three clients came back and said, Nope, we’re not doing anything anymore. So I lost a massive six figures of revenue coming in. So it’s like rats. What We do now. And I have a fairly upbeat glass kind of full glass full half full kind of guy. And so it’s like, Okay, so what do we do next? And, you know, I knew the lions program was was just starting. So I’m like, okay, there’s that we can focus some energy there. And then, you know, a new deal. And the audiobook was another product. So I’m like, Okay, well, I’ll focus my energy there. But I’m lucky enough to have a an infrastructure to pivot and do virtual things. You know, we’re doing zoom. Right now, I’ve been using zoom for three years for online trainings from a distance learning thing from executive coaching session. So that wasn’t hard for me. A couple years ago, I created a webinar on how to do webinars for a client, and I dusted that off. And I’ve been doing that kind of for, for folks. And just really trying to to leverage the technology that I’m comfortable with and see how I can take that. So I’m actually seeing working with some folks because they’re not comfortable in this space, and this isn’t going to go away. So They’re like, Steve, can you help me like think about what’s behind me and the lighting and and how I use this medium? Like I would have done it in a face to face? Of course, that’s one things we do. So I’ve been seeing that and how am I getting the word out there. It’s social media. It’s growing my email list, which I’m not very good at, I’ll be the first to acknowledge in skills skill, the book came out, I never had to market I mean, top dog was always word of mouth, I get a couple clients, and they tell two friends and they tell two friends and you know, etc, etc. And that was great. But once I knew the book was coming out, now, I’m not going up to B, I’m going B to C. And so now I’m going right to the consumer and to do that I need to market and so that’s, you know, been the social media thing, growing my email list. And then really just just trying to partner with folks to get the word out for different things I have for the lines program. I have an affiliate marketing program that’s slowly kind of getting out there where you know, I give some money back to somebody who refers a new new participant. And then and then also doing things like this A lot of podcasts, I’ve been doing a lot of free webinars in the age of code, because you know, Intel, people get totally saturated. I have 25 years plus of content on my hard drive that I can dust off and kind of share. And some of that is things that are like I used to teach, or I do teach a class on being resilient in times of change. Well, this is a very appropriate time for that. So I dusted that off. And I’ve been doing that as a webinar and, and I actually have been selling them as virtual keynotes. for clients wanting to do those. I have one tomorrow for a group in London. And so they’re there, end of day, my beginning of and they are going through a lot of changes, like so many folks, I’m like, hey, let me talk walk you through the three strategies to help you be more resilient times of change, like perfect. So those types of things are pretty cool. I did a virtual keynote yesterday for another pharmaceutical company for their pride group, because they wanted the gay leadership dude to talk pride things because all their pride stuff went away from what it was. And they’re like, well, let’s do virtual stuff. And so that’s been kind of nice to still engage, especially with our community. is in during pride month but but while we’re all social distancing as well.
Unknown Speaker 39:06 Okay, well awesome. That sounds like you have turned it into pivoted and continuing to be active and busy so that’s awesome. Yeah, well cool well jeez it’s been great catching up with you and so much appreciate you taking time out of your sounds like very busy week, which is a good thing. And we’ll make sure that we have all the show notes and links to the leadership dude. Here on the show on the on the episode page, which again you all of you will find act out bureau.com that is O ut buro.com. You will click up on the top it says podcast might be changing that the episodes we’ll see but at some point because of the The videos now, but also, all of these shows get turned into podcasts. And you’re able to find out Bureau and outro Voices Podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and a total currently have 13 podcast apps and growing. So make sure that you subscribe to our bureau on whichever platform that you desire most. And coming up here on the screen in just a moment. Be sure to click the subscribe to be notified again of when new shows come up and hit that bell to ensure that you are notified. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Dennis belko without euro and Steve the leadership, dude, hot dog consulting. Thank you so much. Thanks, Dennis. And thanks for all that you
A personal overview of the podcast focus and direction while seeking your topic suggestions, feedback, and guest recommendations. I provide my personal WHY this is so important to me and hope you will find inspiration and insights to grow as an LGBTQ professional, entrepreneur, and organization. Subscribe to the podcasts and join us on www.OutBuro.com
We’ll chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration, strategy, startup journey, successes balanced with insights from lessons learned.
We will be exploring way to launch, grow and expand your business from many perspectives.
OutBüro – Be inspired. Let’s chat, share, learn, and grow together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals spanning a wide range of fields.
Non-profits are a huge part of our community so we will chat with non-profit leaders about their organizations, their focus, and goals, successes, operational effectiveness, needs, and challenges.
We’ll also talk with leaders in Diversity and Inclusion consultants on creating safe and welcoming workplaces from an outside best practices view as well as corporate HR and D&I directors highlighting Successes and opportunities in their workplace for LGBTQ employees along with customers and clients.
Wil also have chats community allies across many sectors who strive to work with and promote the values of diversity.
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If you have topic ideas, would like to recommend future guests or to become a guest on the show please visit OutBuro.com, under the More menu Select Contact Us and submit your topic request or potential guest information.
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Join or start a group – industry, topic, or geographically focused.
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I look forward to your feedback as we take this journey together.
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.
OutBüro, let’s chat, share, learn, grow, and be inspired together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals will chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration strategies, startup journey, successes and balanced with insights from lessons learned. We’ll also talk with leaders in diversity and inclusion and community allies across many sectors. Please subscribe to the podcast and join the online community at out bureau calm that’s o ut buro.com
Hi there, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com.
I wanted to take a little bit of time just to carve out here in the first episode of out barrows new podcast, which I am super, super excited about and give you a little bit of information as to why and how and so forth because, you know the how and really the why of it rather, as you’ll tell all of the episodes coming forward will be completely unrehearsed and unscripted. And you know, that’s part of what makes each of us unique and interesting is, it’s not that we’re all perfect, but that, you know, we have our little stumbles and our struggles and so forth and in your professional career. You might have started off in one direction. And through happenstance, it’s taken you into a whole new field. And so we’re wanting to explore that, as well as all of the aspects of entrepreneurialism.
And we’ll be getting that to that here in just a moment, but some of the background on inspiration. So now nearly 12 years ago at this point, as you’ll see, the date on this podcast is May 27, 2020, literally 12 months ago, sorry, 10 to 12 years ago, I launched the very first group on LinkedIn that would there was no Create button. And for it, I actually had to contact LinkedIn in order to start the group and through the course of the dialogue, through an email exchange with their Support ticketing system and so forth.
They agreed to start the group after I had put forth you know, like a whole page Use Case as to why it was important and so forth. And they agreed, did not know who to go to in the LGBT community. And I was the one bringing this and I’ve, you know, said, Hey, you know, well, if you’ll assign me as the administrator and moderator to it, I’ll take it on. And you know, just like growing a business and or growing your career, it, there was no blueprint back then for growing a LinkedIn group. And that group has been and still remains the largest LGBTQ professional and entrepreneurial group on LinkedIn.
As of right now, there are over 46,300 Global members. And I’m so proud of that. It’s It’s hard. It’s flows, and so forth. And I’m still constantly learning from the group members, what’s effective, and so forth. And so this podcast is going to also be a great opportunity for me to learn and through the course of those 12 years. So far of doing that on LinkedIn, I have had so many incredible conversations with group members, people who have reached out to me or something in their profile intrigued me, and maybe I had initiated the introduction calls and so forth. And so you know, finally you know, I’ve been building the OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com site for now, we’ll just say longer, longer than I would like to admit right now. But, you know, again, as entrepreneurs, especially like me, it’s A bootstrap startup company of one at this particular moment, doing everything and so forth myself. You know, sometimes we, we have struggles in the sense of, you know, what’s important and what do we need to focus on? And how are we going to connect with our audience, our customers, our students, our employees, and so forth? There are just so many potential facets. And, you know, these conversations that I have had with individuals throughout the years and especially over the last 12 months have just been inspirational to me what people are doing with their careers and with their businesses, and so finally, came upon some tools that make it somewhat easy. If you’re seeing what this is initially hosted on is a FM makes it very easy to do podcasts and broadcast to many platforms. And eventually, as this grows, perhaps it might graduate to a different platform, but that’s part of the journey, right, is utilizing what you have in front of you, and understanding your why and managing that group on LinkedIn. Because it just had to be there Damn it right it just had to be there. That was part of my case to LinkedIn. You know, you’re the largest platform for professionals and you know, dang it, you threw me in a university group because that was on my profile and I really need to be in the LGBT group because it needs to exist and you know, some, whatever your passion is, is kind of at the heart of what I’d like to discover and in bringing on guests on to the show is have them share They’re wise, why do they do what they do? Why are they passionate about it? What are their successes? What are some lessons learned maybe some tidbits and golden nuggets that we all can grow from. And, you know, I forget who who said it. So, you know, please put in the comments or something where this quote comes from, but there’s a quote out there in the universe that, you know, a wise person learns from the mistakes and or the lessons of another. And so, hopefully, this podcast will will do that. It’ll also hopefully bring some visibility and light to the community. For example, one of our early guests was born and raised in India. And so I know that in the LinkedIn group, I have members from India And members from other countries where they’re not as free to be themselves as we are in some of our, you know, Rainbow and gay unicorn cities that we might live in throughout the Western world. So I see this as an opportunity. For myself, I’m already having those conversations, right? I’m already doing it. So might as well put it into a podcast form, so that more people than just myself are hearing those conversations, and we all can benefit from it. So let me get into just a little bit now that of course, you could do is probably completely unscripted, which hopefully and by design, most of the conversations you know, we’ll have bullet points of what you know, we want to cover but you know, 99% of it will be completely unscripted. And so then there is even one person I’m booking her early that in addition to being a mental health therapist, she is also a stand up comic. So I’m very much looking forward to all of these conversations and bringing them to you. So just as a bit of information, so hopefully you will stay tuned and you will subscribe which I’ll give you all the places where you can subscribe to this podcast here in just a few moments. Wanting to give you a brief overview, and that is the outro podcast is about being inspired. Reaching and communicating, chatting, sharing, learning and growing together, in each episode, will be striving to have very casual and informal, yet informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals spanning a wide range of fields. As I like to say I unison People will say, Oh, well you’re focused on the professionals. You know, and well, what does that mean? To me? If you’re working, you’re a professional, right? Even if you’re a professional dog walker, or you know you have a cleaning business and so forth, I strive to and or maybe you are a professional rocket science scientist at NASA, wouldn’t that be an interesting conversation about them and their life as a potentially out or not out, scientist and so forth. So Anywho, that’s a bit about what we’re going to be striving to get to when it comes to professional is people who have had careers and are on their way to career and, but hopefully those who have made it to some level of success in their professional life, so that they can talk about, you know, how they made it and their journey as an LGBTQ community member within that profession. Okay, so for example, there are many professions where being LGBTQ, even, you know, in very, you know, LGBT friendly, some have supposedly countries and so forth, it’s still within those industries can be very difficult. So those are definitely the kinds of people that I would love to get onto this program to talk about, maybe you know, what they’re doing in their own profession, but you know, even maybe, perhaps, what are they doing, if it pertinent, within a professional association, an LGBT professional association to further and advance the profession. And while you happen to be LGBTQ, right, we’ll also be chatting with LGBTQ entrepreneurs, about their Why Why are they hitting this? You know, what sparked their interest? You know, what was their inspiration? Whatever that might have been? What are the kinds of strategies that they are applying to their business to, you know, do that, that startup to grow the business to get the funding that they need to capture the clients and the customers and so forth, their marketing strategies and all of that good stuff, you know, how are they dealing? How do they get angel investing and venture capitalists and so forth to invest in their business or, you know, that small business loan and so forth? You know, so what was their total? What was their startup journey, as well as you know, talking about their successes, and balancing that with the insights of lessons learned, every single entrepreneur out there has made, you know, countless mistakes and so forth that, you know, hindsight is 2020 and, you know, that they personally have learned from so this is going to be an opportunity Ready to delve into some of those lessons learned from their own personal mistakes and so forth and help bestow that information on to all of us. So that we hopefully can learn from that, and not make those same mistakes and grow our business is, you know, a bit wiser from them being so generous and sharing that and being vulnerable as well, you know, it’s not always great to share those vulnerabilities will be also exploring ways to again, launch and grow and expand your business, again, from the many perspectives of entrepreneurs and community, nonprofit leaders and so forth who have, you know, done that been there and so forth and have that wisdom to share. And, of course, you know, in all regards to that, so mentioning nonprofits, you know, it’s a huge part of the LGBT community. So You know, we’ll be chatting with nonprofit leaders about their organizations. How were they started? Why were they started? What do they focus on? What kinds of, you know, goals? Do they have, again, similar to the entrepreneurs on the for-profit side? What have been their successes, their operational effectiveness? You know, what are some of the systems and practices and so forth that they have implemented in order to achieve what they have achieved? How do they go about, you know, funding? Is that grants is that corporate sponsorships? How do they do that we’d all love to know? And also, you know, what are some of the needs that they have, giving it also the platform and talking about that has given them the opportunity to also, you know, ask all of the listeners and folks on the website and then the little LinkedIn group, you know, if need be for, you know, a funding raise, and so forth. So, we’re also going to be expanding, you’re going to see it is going to be very diverse, very diverse, because that’s what I love. And I hope you’ll love it too. And, you know, if it’s only focus focused on one sector, you know, like LGBT nonprofits, well, you know, with that might have, you know, listenership and viewership, you know, sure, if it’s only focused on LGBT entrepreneurs, Well, sure, you know, there’s going to be listeners and so forth. But, you know, I, I’m taking the approach because there’s, you know, 46, you know, almost 46 and a half thousand global members in the group and they’re just not all nonprofit professionals. They’re just not all government employee professionals. You know, they’re just not all fortune 1000 level employees or just not all small business owners. You know, it’s Everything and their students as well. So, you know, it just makes sense that the out bureau podcasts, try to respect the diversity of its group members and followers and, you know, hopefully from all of this, you know, effort the that diversity in all of its totality will just continue to grow. So, with that, we’re going to be also talking with leaders in diversity and inclusion, looking at it from both sides. So bringing on inclusion and diversity consultants who their business and or their for-profit business or their nonprofit organizations, work with corporations and employers, giving them best practices and guidance and so forth to become better based on Best Practices lead Also, I’m hoping to have diversity and inclusion directors and HR directors who their job within the employer is to be the spearhead for those programs within their organizations. You know, so what kinds of things have they seen that work and you know, I’m hoping to attract you know, early very well, just a courageous probably corporations who value diversity and inclusion and would like to come on to the out bureau podcast to talk about, you know what they’re doing. But you know, I’m also going to ask them to as best as they can without getting, you know, their hand slapped internally, you know, to talk about the challenges, you know, let’s be real. It’s not easy. Because as leaders in those corporations trying to instill workplace cultures and values when you have, you know, thousands and thousands of employees who all bring their own unconscious biases and so forth, you know, to the workplace, it’s a damn difficult job. So, you know, I want to give, you know, the props and, you know, the accolades to those people who are taking on those challenges, because we’ll, we’ll save a lot of those kinds of conversations for when I have those particular people on board. I could get on a small soapbox here and get derailed. So we’re, again, we’re looking to have the the, you know, the casual and informative conversations, also with community allies. You know, we want diversity and inclusion as LGBT. You know, so staff working for employers. We want to champion out LGBT diversity inclusion as a community and individuals and organizations. But that also means that we have to respect and value diversity and inclusion. And that also means, you know, our heterosexual allies, you know, hey, you know, if you’re heterosexual, and you know, you are a community ally, and you’re doing something amazing within your employer, within your business, within your community, for the LGBT community, I would love to have you on the show. And, you know, talk about that, and, you know, talk about again, why being part of that community means you know, so much to you. So does that sound interesting? Chirp Chirp oh geez, I can’t hear you. So that’s where you’re going to need to, you know, put comments on whatever platform you’re listening to. And let me know. So I hope that sounds interesting to you because it certainly is interesting to me or I would not be dedicating so much time to this. So if you have a topic or an idea, a question even perhaps, put comments within all of the different applications that you might be listening to, and or go to the OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com. And under the more menu, up at the top, you’re going to see the contact us. And so there you will be able to provide, you know, an idea for a topic or a question that you might have that you would like me to strive to work into a future episode to answer for you. I’d very much appreciate that. So if you have recommendations for future guests, right now I am currently working on just booking the GS about eight or so people that I already have lined up. So that will keep me busy for at least a week or two. But we’ll be striving to expand that out as I grow. So if you have recommendations, please let us know even if that’s recommended in yourself, no problem with that whatsoever.
May 27, 2020 (updated May 27, 2020) Published by Dennis Velco
OutBüro – Let’s chat, share, learn, grow, and be inspired together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals. We’ll chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration, strategy, startup journey, successes balanced with insights from lessons learned. We’ll also talk with leaders in Diversity and Inclusion and community allies across many sectors. Please subscribe to the podcast and join the online community at www.OutBuro.com.