Tell us about your experience coming out and embracing your true self.
For years, I was afraid of revealing my true identity, both personally and professionally. When I finally reached out, my world opened up beautifully, and people came into my life that supported me, loved me, and helped me become the fully realized man that I am today.
Beginning in 2013, I selectively came out of the closet to some colleagues while concealing it from others. I was also ‘code switching’ – I avoided using male pronouns when dating and used the word ‘we’ when describing someone special in my life. At the same time, I was embracing my true identity with a new support network. I was not yet confident enough to just be myself to everyone, all the time.
It wasn't until a supportive friend at Kimberly-Clark advised me to let go of the fear and simply live my life that I realized the importance of authenticity.
It was a beautiful wake up call to not worry if people did or didn’t know aboutmy true identity. My goal was to keep moving forward and growing and when people supported me, they came along for the ride.
In what ways has Kimberly-Clark supported you on your journey?
In addition to caring and supportive colleagues, the Kimberly-Clark PRIDE employee resource group (ERG) helped me become the man I was meant to be - a proud and fabulous gay man. Attending Pride festivals with Kimberly-Clark PRIDE is one of my favorite activities. It's a privilege to represent our company at events that focus on celebrating love, recognizing tolerance, and embracing differences.
Kimberly-Clark's commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ employees extends beyond words. I am super proud that Kimberly-Clark was named one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, with our 100% score on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index. To earn this top rating, Kimberly-Clark took concrete steps to establish and implement comprehensive policies, benefits and practices that ensure greater equity for LGBTQ+ workers and their families.
How has your life changed since you started living authentically? What advice do you have for others who may be considering coming out as well?
Living authentically means that I bring my whole self to work – I have become a better marketer as I have embraced my true identity. Previously, I was wasting mental energy by hiding who I really was. Now, I am a better listener, partner and friend to my colleagues and business partners.
My advice to others who may be considering coming out: your diversity is your superpower. We grow as people and as a company when we embrace each other's unique perspectives and experiences. Being out of the closet and being professional are not mutually exclusive – find the right balance and lean into it. It will help you stand out and it will make Kimberly-Clark stronger. So, take that first step and you’ll be surprised - you have more friends on your side than you know. Caring is one of the best Kimberly-Clark
How can allies better support their LQBTQ+ colleagues?
My advice for allies is that when someone comes out to you, they are trusting you to help them navigate the corporate environment. Kimberly-Clark PRIDE ERG has a best-in-class ally program. Sign up and you are demonstrating that you are a safe space for others.
How do you relate to Kimberly-Clark's purpose of Better Care for a Better World?
Better Care for a Better World means that Kimberly-Clark focuses on health and wellness around the world and doing it the right way through trust and authenticity, all while protecting our natural resources. Our 2030 sustainability goal of improving the lives of ONE BILLION people in underserved communities also demonstrates our leadership and caring by making lives better.
Personally, working for Kimberly-Clark gives me hope – it’s a company that sees the bigger picture and invests in future generations. I can’t imagine another company that cares as much about its people and the planet.