by Cory Hopkins | March 2018
Students, Georgia Tech alumni, and staff gathered March 12 for the second event in the new “OUT at Work” series, a collaboration between the LGBTQIA Resource Center and the Center for Career Discovery & Development (C2D2).
“While the Center for Career Discovery & Development has always provided career development and support to the LGBTQIA students of Georgia Tech, our formal alliance with the LGBTQIA Resource Center this year takes our allyship to the next level,” Dr. Michelle Tullier, Executive Director of C2D2, said. “Through professional development workshops and opportunities to hear from and network with employers and alumni, we in C2D2 aim to send a message of welcome to all Georgia Tech students regardless of their gender expression.”
Four alumni panelists—who also interned while at Georgia Tech—from Mail Chimp, Home Depot, Southern Company, and Emory University, shared their experiences and answered questions from students. The event was moderated by Michael Laughter, the Educational Outreach and Communications Manager for C2D2.
“In our alliance with the resource center and the LGBTQIA student population, C2D2 is trying to strike a balance between ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘inclusivity’,” Laughter said. “Inclusiveness is, I think a more passive version of ‘inclusive,’ while inclusivity is the more active form. We work with all student population segments, but we want this community to feel especially included. We’re able to target our outreach—career prep workshops and programming—through survey data analysis and personal outreach.”
The panel covered topics including: what's it like to navigate the professional world when you're out—or not so out; ways to find out whether a workplace is LGBTQIA-friendly; navigating job applications and interviews; coming out at work; tools for aspiring LGBTQIA professionals to find safe, affirming workplaces and build their networks; and other resources available to students as they pursue their careers.
Aby Parsons, Director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center, said, “Our LGBTQIA alumni have so much important information and experience to share with our students about the unique conditions that they might face on the job market. Our speakers did a fantastic job of addressing a wide range of concerns from how to assess an employer's workplace culture to whether they should include LGBTQIA leadership roles on a resume,” Aby added. “Students told me it was reassuring to hear that so many workplaces are welcoming of LGBTQIA people and that they now have a better understanding of how to find career opportunities that will allow them to be their whole authentic selves.”