Creating a Safe, Inclusive Space for LGBTQ Workers

For Pride Month 2022, a look at how the LGBTQ+ community can thrive in their careers — at Cisco and beyond.

It’s the most fundamental of workplace rights: to simply be yourself.

But for many in the LGBTQ community, it remains a struggle to reveal their authentic selves.

That’s why it’s essential for organizations to support inclusivity — so that all workers feel welcomed, accepted, and valued, and to build cultures that benefit from the perspective and dynamism of a diverse community.

But while companies like Cisco are making great strides to cultivate an inclusive culture many organizations continue to lag behind. And even the most inclusive companies can do more.

“We’re looking at statistics both globally and across North America where we see less than 45 percent of the LGBTQ community are actually ‘out’ at work,” said Gary O’Connor, a Texas-based senior director for global sales enablement at Cisco. “And the human toll, as well as the business impact of that is just phenomenal.”

O’Connor, who was born in Ireland, leads Cisco’s Pride Development pillar, which promotes mentorship, sponsorship, and career development opportunities. He recently mediated a roundtable discussion to assess where we stand during Pride Month 2022 — at Cisco and beyond — in promoting general acceptance and career opportunity for the LGBTQ community.