In life, there are always going to be uncomfortable conversations that challenge beliefs, ideas and concepts. These conversations are often where the greatest change and growth comes from. A flower must grow before it can bloom, after all. We may think that these conversations are isolated to life outside work, but at Güd we are challenged and welcomed to have these conversations in our workspace and with our co-workers.
When I first began my time at Güd Marketing, I was blown away by the importance leadership placed on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training. Güd Marketing has partnered with the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion to bring incredible trainings and discussions to the company. Not only did the leadership team at Güd seem to care enough about DEI to take it seriously and actively participate in discussions, but so did the rest of the agency. I walked away from my first DEI training session at Güd knowing that I was in a place that I could safely be seen, heard and welcomed.
This is a concept I am not always comfortable with – being my entire authentic self in the workspace. I have continually struggled in my professional career to balance my sexuality and my ethnicity and others’ perceptions/comfort levels with these things. I did not ever want to come across as too brown or too gay for fear of barriers on my journey to reach my career goals.
For a long time, people would tell me that I wasn’t “that gay.” This was meant as a compliment, and I took it as one because I thought I was supposed to hide that part of myself. Hiding my authentic self is still something that I struggle with. However, attending DEI trainings that teach about things like microaggressions, and knowing that co-workers are acknowledging barriers they did not realize I (and others like me) have, has been a huge comfort and relief. These DEI sessions have also helped me to take the first few steps in lifting that personal barrier between my authentic self and who I think people would be most comfortable around at work.
The ongoing DEI education Güd gives its employees is a reminder that, for Güd, this isn’t an obligatory meeting but an important piece of culture and community building for the entire company. The serious commitment to improving ourselves as a company and as individuals is shown in the way my co-workers frequently make an effort to educate themselves, check in and think deeply about the things they say. By having such a commitment to DEI, I believe that Güd is able to create a more welcoming work environment and increase employee retention. My hope is that these conversations do not stop at work but continue in the daily lives of the Güd team. By bringing these conversations into our personal lives, we are able to effect real and tangible change.
I look forward to our next DEI sessions and seeing how they allow the company to grow as a whole. The uncomfortable conversations we have during DEI trainings are steppingstones to a bigger and brighter future for all.
Family, Mitten State of mind, LGBT+, Sparty On, martini shaken, not stirred