Having Pride: How I Found My Social and Professional Haven
June 23, 2017 | Express Scripts
Jason (left) with his fiance Edwin attending a friend’s wedding.
Jason is a Senior Technical Product Owner managing the technology transformation customer relationship management application streamlining call center processes and improving patient experience.
At Express Scripts, I have come out of the closet more times than Cher had a farewell tour. But our open and inclusive workplace ensures that I can be exactly who I am, every time.
Throughout my career with Express Scripts, LGBTQ+ activists and allies have continued to make progress in securing basic human rights for my community, and yet many more inequities still exist. LGBTQ+ youth are susceptible to being suddenly homeless after coming out to family. Transgender people commit suicide or are murdered at exponential rates. And in many states, an LGBTQ+ employee may be fired or evicted without legal recourse. These and other acts of discrimination, all because of who we love.
For members of the LGBTQ+ community, our havens provide social and professional outlets, where we are accepted and respected. Gay bars and clubs, “artist” communities, and other social havens provide safe settings to express ourselves, make friends, and form lasting relationships. Professional havens ensure that we can find employment and housing to provide for our families and ourselves.
Until now, I have always considered Express Scripts to be a professional LGBTQ+ haven. Since starting with the company in 2004, I have moved through the organization in site operations and training, business analysis, IT business alignment, and to my current position in technical product ownership with Accredo, an Express Scripts subsidiary.
Early in my career, coworkers would ask questions about me based on cultural assumptions. At first, I didn’t know how to react, considering how skewed pop culture can be. I then realized my coworkers were trying to truly learn about the LGBTQ+ community and myself.
Regardless of what obstacles are put in our path, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies continue to work to defend hard won rights and focus on further progress. Over the years, Express Scripts’ diversity and inclusion has not only progressed but transformed. Express Scripts is now both a professional and social haven, actively celebrating the diversity of its people within and beyond its walls and standard work hours.
Express Scripts has created many employee resource groups (ERGs) — employee led organizations that allow the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues on causes you are passionate about — team activities, and internal social media channels to foster a diverse and inclusive work culture. As a member of EXPRESSions, our ERG aimed at informing the business and advocating in the community to advance LGBTQ+ equality, I connect with other members using Bonfyre, an internal social media platform. On this channel, you will see employees attending marches supporting LGBTQ+ rights, posting wedding pictures, celebrating Pride, and more. Having this level of engagement and support across the organization can be lifesaving for individuals, who have felt they do not belong in this world.
Through our cultural transformation, I no longer feel that need to come out to a colleague or a team. I am no longer Jason, who “happens to be gay.” I am now just Jason, who loves the beach; who plays video games; who gardens; who is getting married in October; and who is fortunate to work at Express Scripts.
Ready to find your social and professional haven? Check out our career site for a list of all open positions.« Get with the Program: 3 Life Hacks for a Career in Tech| Embracing Agile: How Curiosity Turned into a Career »