Celebrating Pride Month with The Myers-Briggs Company
Jeff Hayes, President and CEO of The Myers-Briggs Company
Pride Month is celebrated in the US to commemorate the Stonewall riots in 1969. You can learn more about the history of Pride Month here.
We interviewed President and CEO of The Myers-Briggs Company, Jeff Hayes, to share what Pride Month means to him, his experience coming out to the company, and what The Myers-Briggs Company is doing to celebrate Pride Month.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is accepting, knowing, and loving both who you are and who you want to love without fear of prejudice, hate, harm, or harassment. It’s more than just being tolerated in society. It’s about being celebrated, respected, and appreciated.
Why is it important to have queer representation in leadership? Why is it important to have diverse perspectives on leadership teams?
I think the more diversity you have in leadership and, in fact, throughout your organization, the better the quality of your decisions, the more comfortable people feel, and the more likely you are to attract more diverse talent. I believe that more diverse perspectives lead to broader, more well-rounded discussions, better decision-making, and better results overall.
When did you come out at The Myers-Briggs Company and what was that experience like for you and for others in the company?
Many years ago, a comment was made at a dinner with our leadership team that at the time I didn’t even pick up on that it was offensive. However, my boss at the time, who was a great mentor to me, did and was offended for me. He took me aside and strongly encouraged me to tell each of my colleagues on this team that I was gay. He didn’t want any of his team to feel they need to hide who they were or be less than their authentic self in any way. While he certainly didn’t force me to have these conversations, he did make a very compelling argument. After much soul searching, I did decide to come out to each of the members on my team. They were all very supportive and appreciated the fact that I had shared this with them.
How can companies create a more inclusive environment for their colleagues who are a part of the queer community?
By ensuring those colleagues are respected, heard, valued, and allowed to be their authentic self. Actively listening and encouraging members of the queer community to share their perspectives, including what they need and want to be at their best each day at work. Celebrating events like Pride Month and establishing LGBTQIA+ support groups are some of the ways organizations can help ensure their LGBTQIA+ colleagues feel respected, appreciated, and valued.
What does The Myers-Briggs Company do to create a more inclusive environment for the queer community? How are you celebrating Pride Month?
We recognize and celebrate diversity in all its forms across the company. Our DEI Committee established support groups that included our LGBTQIA+ colleagues. This support group is helping our whole organization celebrate Pride Month. The activities are:
- Adding books of LGBTQ+ storylines and authors to the Sunnyvale office (and sending links to the global employees).
- Donating to LGBTQIA+ organizations:
- It Gets Better: It Gets Better is a global non-profit with a mission to empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth through education and inspiring media storytelling. This helps youth see a positive representation in the media.
- Okra Project: The Okra Project works to help Black Trans people who are experiencing food insecurity. They do this by hiring Black Trans chefs to bring free, nutritious, and culturally specific meals to those in need. The Black Trans community is disproportionately affected by food insecurity and unemployment, both of which the Okra Project works to help with.
- SAGE: SAGE is an advocacy and services organization focused on helping LGBTQ+ elders. SAGE aims to fight for LGBTQ+ elders rights, as elders fought for rights for those of all ages in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center: The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center provides services, support, advocacy, and community for LGBTQ+ people in Silicon Valley. The DeFrank Center was created in response to Santa Clara County residents voting to repeal housing and employment protections for the LGBTQ+ community, and now more than 40 years later they still fight for the community and provide a safe space.
- Spreading awareness of the queer leadership perspective through this blog.