by Kathryn Douglas
I was fortunate to attend the NACE presentation by colleagues from the Northeastern Career Development office on Reach (OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, a collaborative program with career services, institutional diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ resources that received a 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers “Excellence in Diversity” Award. Reach (OUT), in its third year this academic year, focuses on “the perspectives and concerns of queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, intersex, and asexual students in preparation for co-op, internships, and professional life beyond campus,” and features an evening presentation, one-on-one informational meetings, and a half day of workshops.
I was inspired by the presentation at NACE and the program, and came back to New Haven determined to partner with colleagues on campus to create a two-hour LGBT Career Program open to all students at Yale University.
One of the take-aways from the Northeastern team was to collaborate broadly. This is important advice for idea generation, locating resources, developing an audience and in effect, uniting student groups, offices, and programs at a de-centralized university.
My goal was to create a dynamic program to provide students with tangible tools to take with them as they enter or re-enter the workforce, and to encourage allies to broaden their understanding of how to be allies as well as the opportunities and challenges LGBT peers encounter in the workplace. Given the limited time students I work with have, I tried to create a program that was short but impactful, presenting resources that apply broadly to students going into a variety of sectors nationally and internationally, and providing the opportunity for meaningful conversations and networking.
This month, our office was able to successfully collaborate with other career offices, the university office of diversity and inclusion, the LGBTQ staff affinity group, the university LGBT resource office, local community members, and student groups across campus for a two-hour LGBT career program. Thank you to Northeastern for providing an excellent model!
The LGBT Career Program at Yale this month included:
- A 20-minute primer on workplace laws and the LGBT Community (national and international laws and protections, or lack of protections) with David Salazar-Austin, attorney, Jackson Lewis PC—a specialist in employment law
- A 20-minute primer on LGBT workplace affinity groups (what they are, why they are important, how to create one, resources online if working on a small team), presented by the co-chair of the university staff LGBTQ affinity group
- A moderated leadership panel of alumni and friends covering a range of experience levels, sectors, and identities (developed talking points for panelists that provided structure for talking about individual journeys and helped panelists prepare remarks for common workplace questions and topics)
- A networking reception with refreshments provided by a local LGBT-owned caterer
- Top 20 TIPS for how business can support LGBT Workforce, The Guardian, Bella Qvist, Friday 8 August 2014
- We need to do more to keep LGBT employees from returning to the closet,The Guardian, Beth, Parker, Wednesday 14 September 2016
- Coming Out At Work, from Human Rights Campaign
- Coming Out As A Supporter, from Human Rights Campaign
- Authenticity Can Help LGBTQ Leaders Be More Effective, Katherine Conrad, Insights by Stanford Business, October 2016
- LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers, DOJ Pride, pdf version hosted by thebigidea.co.uk
- Guide to Gender Identity and Affirmation in the Workplace at Yale University, a collaboration of representatives from the Yale University LGBTQ Affinity Group for Staff, Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows, Yale University Office of LGBT Resources, Yale University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Yale University Human Resources Information Systems—although the guide is Yale-specific, I think it is a good model with elements that could be applied to other workplaces.
- Common LGBTQA+ Work-Related Questions from NU Careers website
- Denial, Derek Hallquist, documentary film about the U.S. energy grid and a father’s transition to a woman.
- Becoming Christine: Transgender CEO Hallquist Prepares to Go to Work As a Woman, Seven Days: Vermont Independent Voice, November 2015 (Christine Hallquist is featured in the documentary Denial)
Kathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies