In honor of Pride Month, we’re highlighting some of our employees' experiences as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Jordan Jay, Customer Success Manager
My career started in retail at a Levi’s store in NYC. I loved it because the nature of the work was extremely fast-paced and there was never a dull moment. I then became a manager at UGG Australia, which truly set the foundation of my customer service experience. As a manager, I learned how to think in the moment and quickly adapt to change. I also honed my emotional intelligence, which is something that I still use as a customer success manager today. I pivoted from retail support to customer success because I wanted to help clients in a more strategic way.
How I found myself
The universe has a very weird way of putting you in the exact place you need to be. I found myself during my first year at Lehman College. Funnily enough, I didn’t want to go there. I cried for an entire weekend when I found out I would have to enroll. My first day of classes I literally dragged my feet to my new campus.
With the new freshman class starting, there was an event to boost school spirit and showcase student groups. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I decided to attend. I stumbled across the “Rainbow Alliance'' which was Lehmans LGBT+ social club. The Rainbow Alliance had a mission to fight bigotry and discrimination on and off campus and to create a safe space for all — regardless of sexual orientation. As someone who grew up in the middle of Harlem, this was the very first time that I had seen other members of the community together and be proud about it. I joined the Rainbow Alliance and after my first club meeting, I felt right at home.
To witness how open, proud and unashamed club members were was truly inspiring and gave me the confidence to do the same. That experience taught me to never hide who I am because I want to inspire others to be their authentic selves.
What Pride Month means to me
To me, Pride means unapologetically being your true self. This means walking into a room wearing what you want, talking about what you want and using the lingo that you want. I don’t mean this as a way of “flaunting” your sexuality, but more so not feeling the need to filter yourself to hide who you are. For context, when I’m in the office (or on Slack) and coworkers are discussing their weekends or the shows they’re watching, I am not afraid to say I spent the weekend with my husband watching Drag Race or Legendary. To me that is Pride. I am proud of who I am and I am not going to hide parts of myself in any setting.
Another aspect of Pride is also celebrating how far the community has come. There were so many courageous people before us that broke down barriers so we could have the rights we have today, and Pride is an opportunity to acknowledge and thank them. We’re resilient — and we bounce back from everything that’s thrown at us. In fact, my favorite aspect of our community is that many of us deal with adversity by having a sense of humor and having fun celebrating who we are.
How people (and companies) can be allies
In my opinion, being an ally means you’re willing to have tough, challenging conversations with loved ones in regards to the rights and treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community. People are more willing to listen and have open conversations with family and friends, which is why I believe it's important for allies to take action within their households and circle of friends, not just on social media. Being an ally also means being able to listen and amplify the voices of others.
I've been lucky enough to always work for organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community. All of my previous employers and coworkers have been true allies — advocating against discrimination and bigotry. It's also great to have ERG groups at organizations creating safe spaces for the community and allies when those before us were ostracized for their sexuality. These safe spaces have helped me to become more comfortable being me.