A note from Bev Crair, Vice President, Software & Services Group and General Manager Strategic Software Programs Initiatives.
As Intel celebrates National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, October 11, I’m reminded of my Intel recruiting experience in 2010 – which was a testament to a company that strives to uphold a culture where every employee is valued and encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. It’s a company where you can be “out.” It’s a company full of amazing people who make a difference in each other’s lives.
Joining an Intel “family”
Living in the Bay area for many years, my (now) wife and I had grown accustomed to the environment that the greater Bay area provides the LGBT community. My decision to join Intel was contingent on whether we felt comfortable leaving the welcoming environment of the Bay Area for Arizona. We had serious reservations about making such a move – which I expressed to the Intel recruiter. Whether our concerns were based on factual evidence or in misperception, they were present nonetheless. What unfolded next was nothing short of awesome.
To help us understand the Intel (and Arizona) environment, the recruiter connected us with members of the Arizona chapter of IGLOBE (the Intel Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied employee resource group). My wife and I were introduced to other LGBT employees in the business group that I would later be joining. We were brought to Arizona for meetings and discussions about what life is like for “people like us” – both in Arizona and at Intel. The care, concern, and level of effort by everyone at Intel was truly inspiring. From that moment it was apparent what our decision would be. It was also apparent that we were joining an Intel “family” that was inviting us with open arms.
Inspiration for living “out” at work
Being this out at work is new for me. I’ve been out to some people at my previous roles with other tech companies, but never as visibly or with as much acceptance as here at Intel. My experience has been that I definitely have more of myself to give to my team because I’m just not hiding anymore. My colleagues ask me how my wife is doing, and where we’re going scuba diving next – without blinking. I also have been fortunate to be able to help some of them with their own LGBTQ situations – they know they can come to me with questions or concerns without judgment. With regard to being a lesbian – I see it as a part of who I am. I’m also a businesswoman, a mother, and a wife. My parents taught me to “live who you are, and have the integrity to keep growing into that throughout your life.” When I told my mother I was a lesbian, she was pretty upset. Her immediate concern (echoed by most parents of LGBTQ children), was that I would ‘live a hard life’. She worried about how ‘at risk’ I would be. I remember telling her at the time that I couldn’t not come out because I wouldn’t be living the values that she and my father taught me. I knew that I had to be my full authentic self. This is an ongoing growth process that continues to enrich my life with each passing year.
My initial experience with choosing to make my home and build my career at Intel was nothing less than inspirational. After six years, it continues to be a journey where I am compelled to promote that a success path as an LGBT employee is attainable. There are many employees whose life experiences differ. Their varying level of comfort and reserve with being out at work is understandable. Part of having an inclusive environment is to have compassion and understanding for the individual and their perspective based on their life’s experiences.
A vision for success
Last year, I heard Kenji Yoshino speak about “covering”. He noted that 80 percent of LGBTQ employees spend energy on protecting themselves instead of applying their skill and passion toward creating innovative products and solutions in the workplace. Propelled by the philosophy my parents instilled, and inspired to give back to Intel – I decided that it was time to start the Intel Out and Ally Leadership Council. Our mission is to provide an LBGTQ escalation path with the right connections for people to get help when they need it. As senior LGBTQ employees and LGBTQ Allies, we help shape a vision for LGBTQ success at Intel. We continue to broaden the Intel family, share ourselves, and contribute to the spectrum of amazing professionals who thrive in their careers at Intel.
I’m proud to be part of a company that places a high value on individual contribution. A place where LGBTQ employees know they can be themselves and provide value and encouragement to those coming up the success path behind us. We’re choosing to not only grow into our lives with integrity, but to do so joyfully – using all of our energy to solve amazing problems and create amazing experiences, rather than ‘covering’ who we are. And who wouldn’t find happiness in coming out to that?