Out, Loud and Proud at FleishmanHillard
I’m writing this on a sunny Friday morning in London – coincidentally today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a movement that reshaped the world and the push for LGBT+ rights. So, it feels right to be penning my love for the LGBT+ community but also my experience of working at FleishmanHillard as an openly gay woman.
A quick backstory for you, I moved from a small town in the northwest of England to London, to study and eventually land a job in PR. Having come from a financial background, I knew that PR would be quite a big step and change for me – not just the job, but the people too.
As you read (hopefully) this whole post, you’ll see why people are such an important part of breeding inclusive culture – there are even stats to back this up. A study by USAID and the Williams Institute at UCLA found a strong correlation between inclusion towards LGBT+ people and better performing economies, one that is quantified by approximately 3% of GDP for each policy that spearheads LGBT+ acceptance.
In my previous job, I had always kept quiet about my private life – 1. Because it’s nobody’s business, and 2. Because I didn’t feel comfortable with coming out at work.
Fast forward 9 years and I am working for FleishmanHillard, working as my true self, without judgment.
How did I overcome that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to come out at work?
The culture that FleishmanHillard breeds is absolutely one of acceptance, which was a very welcome change to my closeted days working in finance.
Since my first day at FleishmanHillard, I have been encouraged to be myself and been afforded the time to follow my passions and achieve personal goals of helping the LGBT+ community through important pro-bono work. From helping to establish OPEN Pride UK, which has quickly become a force of nature for LGBT+ employees in Omnicom agencies, to naming and launching a Thomson Reuters Foundation initiative, Openly, an impartial news wire dedicated to covering LGBT+ stories from all over the world, that no one else is telling.
FleishmanHillard has been a cornerstone of my career, and had I not come out within days of starting work here, I would not have had the opportunity to do the work that is helping make a difference for others.
Coming out is not easy, the fear of rejection is real and only you will know when the time is right. But what is likely is that you will do so when you truly feel comfortable with the people around you.
Christina Peach supports our brand marketing practice in our London office.