October is LGBT History Month and as part of our “People First” value we celebrate all of our LGBT employees here at West Monroe Partners. LGBT History Month is rooted in the stories of those that came before and made great sacrifices to pave the way for progress toward equality and inclusion in the workplace and in society.
As a gay man and as a leader in my company I want to share what LGBT History Month means to me. Let me start by saying while I have been celebrating this month for seven years (since coming out after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell), this year is particularly momentous for me. Why? Because when I joined West Monroe this past year, I realized this was the first workplace and employer who has known all of me, my entire self, from the onset of our partnership.
From those first interviews, I remember taking a deep breath and answering questions authentically and wholly when West Monroe asked me about my story, and what shapes my perspective and passions in life. I talked about family and my partner, I talked about the personal and professional growth that came with navigating adversity when the world wasn't quite ready for open and visible service. I talked about how managing the change in my own personal journey while coming out made me a more empathetic and effective change leader. I talked about my desire to do important and impactful work to celebrate diversity and inclusion. I talked about the importance of breaking down barriers and building life-changing connections for the next generation of leaders.
Yes, West Monroe, when we met you got to know all of me, and that was new territory for me. That means in addition to my talents and tales, you got to know my trials and learned what I treasure most in life - my family. What I remember most from those first days of interviews is that you stopped to ask my partner's name, and you have used it ever since. My partner is a part of me and very much a part of my success personally and professionally, and as such, he is also part of the West Monroe family. You made that clear in your words and more importantly in your actions. Thank you.
When I stop to think about the opportunities that have been created just from being visible and vocal, I am excited about the changes ahead for our company, our industry, and for society. I recently reread an HBR article by Dan Pallotta titled "Never Lie About Who You Really Are." I am reminded that the ability to stand up and stand out for the truth is a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
I have the privilege of serving in a leadership capacity and exercising that muscle at my alma mater - Johns Hopkins University, where I founded our LGBT Alumni Affinity Group. I look forward to doing the same for West Monroe Partners as part of our company's broadening of Employee Affinity & Inclusion Groups this winter. These groups are in addition to our existing committees such as our Women's Committee and programs such as our Chiefs program that allow people to express their personal interests and passions in the workplace and bring their whole selves to the office.
We are "People First" at West Monroe and we take pride in creating and celebrating opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners to flourish. We create, innovate and inspire more easily when we can bring our entire self to work to solve tomorrow's business and technology challenges. We also know that innovation doesn't come with a blueprint, just aspirations. We at West Monroe aspire to always do better while breaking down barriers to inclusion and diversity. Happy LGBT History Month!